Five on Friday

 

Another week – another five on friday.

Keeping it super simple and going through 5 of my favorite swag items we got at Craft Weekend!

1- The Turqouise Tomato

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We got this beautiful leather cuff with a beautiful feather stamped on it.  Mine has the word FREE on the side.  Taking it as a beautiful reminder that I am free to just be me – as awkward, broken, and messy as that is.  Check out her shop on etsy!

2.  Ike & Co.

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I have seen her shop before, and actually have a pair of her earrings, so I was super excited to open up a little box with her logo on it.  Inside was the cutest little rainbow beaded bracelet with a Kansas charm – of course!

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My 7 year old daughter snagged this bracelet and wore it to school the day after I got back, to show all her friends where I went.  She said everyone at school knew why it was rainbow because of The Wizard of Oz — the cutest!!  Check out Ike and Co’s stuff on etsy – her stuff is just lovely!

3.  Stella Bella

iusb_760x100.13976915_ow7r il_570xN.708812721_eljnI might have squealed a little when these darling earrings came out during the swag giveaway!!!  They are called “Druzys” and these little earrings are the perfect amount of sparkle.  They would make the perfect gift for a friend on her birthday, at just $16 a pair.  I might be wearing them slightly excessively over the past two weeks!  Her jewlery has the perfect amount of vintage flair!  Check out her store on etsy!

4. Lori Danelle

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We got a fabulous print by Lori Danelle, and I am still trying to figure out the best place to hang mine!  I love the colors and how whimsical the whole thing is.  She has some of the most fun prints in her shop, check it out!

5.  Jennifer Dahl Designs

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Rainbow-Tiny-Prod-1We also got a beautiful necklace from Jennifer Dahl Designs.  Ours was very similar to this one except had the word WHATEVER on it, for of course whatever craft weekend!  You can get lost in her shop, looking at all her beautiful charms.  She also makes custom ones, which is a neat gift to give to someone.  Be sure to check out her shop.

***Well I sort of feel like Oprah – with the list of her favorite things!!  These were just some of the many sponsors we had for our weekend who spoiled us like crazy!!  To see a full list of all of our sponsors and tons of coupon codes for these amazing shops, check out Meg’s post!***

Happy Friday everyone!

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Capturing our weekend

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I was determined to put my phone down more this weekend and pick up my camera to capture what was going on.  I figured if I blogged about it, I better make it happen.

Friday started with a fun visit from my parents and then oh yeah no big deal, my husband decides to rip up the floor in the bathroom and retile it.  I mean why not?  We woke up Saturday morning to our first real snow, and the kids were so excited about getting out there.  They actually stayed out for a while because it wasn’t super cold.

Whenever I asked Leah to smile for me, she either shoved snow in her mouth or made these ridiculous faces for me.  She is our little ham and she knows it.  She cracks me up.

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After being inspired at Craft Weekend, I am determined to bring my sewing machine out more, and staying home all day in our jammies was the perfect excuse!  Gracie was thrilled to use a real machine for the first time.  She made an adorable felt heart garland for our lack of Valentine’s day decor!

We ended our day with making some home made pizza, as some of us didn’t even end up showering till right before dinner.

As usual Leah hated something about dinner, and while the kids pizza was quite boring and plain, we went all out.  Disclaimer if you have never had Argula on top of your pizza you need to try it NOW.  Its amazing, just put some olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper on the argula, mix it up, and be over gracious with your amount you layer on.  Best part is that my friend Meg taught me this and since she has moved away, everytime I make it — I think about her and how crazy I thought she was when she first put lettuce on her pizza!!  My sincerest apologies girl, you were so right.

Sunday is a little to crazy for pictures but I managed to take some before we ate up our late night dinner once the kids went to bed.  We both agree that we can make sushi way better than we can buy it anywhere.  Helps that when you make it you can stuff it with tons of goodness.  Homemade sushi night and SNL is the perfect end to our weekend!

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Five on Friday

 

Sometimes these posts make me so happy because they get to be totally random, which is how my brain works 90% of the time!

1. Best Margaritas EVER

Since I am still coming off Craft Weekend and I keep thinking about how I want to go back some day, I am going to share the most amazing Margaritas I have ever had.  The recipe is over at Meg’s blog, look at her pictures of them don’t they look amazing! I think the key is adding a bottle of beer in at the end.  I am not a big beer drinker at all and it was amazing!!

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2.  Cheesecake glorious cheesecake

One more foodie share is that Kimberlee makes one of the most amazing Cheesecakes I have ever had.  For real—there is Keebler Fudge cookies crushed up on the bottom.  Fudge Cookies people, not your plain old graham cracker crust – fudge cookies.  Say goodbye to clean eating and say hello to sweet goodness.  The recipe is from her friend and its over on Meg’s blog as well.  I feel like I walked away from the weekend with a bunch of new recipe ideas as well.  Well done ladies, well done.

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3.  Powersheets

I bit the bullet and made an investment and bought Lara Casey’s Powersheets right before the new year.  These little sheets are incredible!  They have been super helpful for my little sign business and even with my family.  I love working through each sheet, and really taking my time as I create goals for myself and for my business this year.  Even though my strides feel more like baby steps, I am moving forward.  I am hoping that every year God allows me to work in the little shop that I just continue to strive to do better than the year before.

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4.  Fixer Upper

Please tell me I am not the only one obsessed with this show!  HGTV delivers again with the most adorable family out in Waco, TX.  Not only do you spend the whole evening watching how they transform a nasty house into a charming little home, but you get to watch how their family lives out in Texas.  Her rustic style is so calming, she basically makes me want to paint all the walls in my house white!  If you like design and are looking for a new show, this one is super cute!!

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5.  Signing off

I am going to start signing off for the weekends.  A little break from insta and facebook, just to allow myself to really take the weekends all in.  I still may post here and there but I want to try and put my phone away more than I go to pull it out.  My goal is to have my camera in my hand way more than my phone is.  I want to stop checking FB to see what everyone is doing, and start doing more with the people right in front of me.  I want to start to reflect a little more before and after each weekend.  So I can really soak it all in.

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Whatever you do this weekend- enjoy it!  #choosejoy

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Whatever Craft Weekend

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I am still in shock that I flew to KANSAS and got to sleep at the craft house!!!  It was everything I had hoped it would be and more!  There is still part of me that wishes I walked a little slower through the house and let myself really soak up how beautiful every detail was.

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We seriously sewed and crafted till 2 in the morning each night.  We ate the most beautiful and mouth watering food you could imagine (Kimberlee makes a cheesecake that ALONE was worth the whole trip)!!  We made new friends and shared stories about life and family.

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Right away I realized how fast this Jersey girl talks and how programmed I am to want to do everything so quickly.  I literally kept waiting for a schedule to be passed out, when in reality there was one rule  ** You were not allowed to clear your plate, ever**.  At one point I realized we were all still sewing our aprons when we were supposed to be getting ready to leave to go shopping.  Looking around the table, I realized no one cared.  No one was in a rush.  Everyone was perfectly content just sitting and crafting.

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I felt God reminding me, in so many ways, to SLOW down, and to enjoy the freedom to be creative, to chat, and to just linger a little longer.  It’s so hard sometimes to really linger.  To let the schedule disappear, forget about the demands of life, and get lost in a project.  To tap into a side of your brain that often gets passed by because we don’t have “enough time” or “enough energy” to really let our creative juices flow.

 

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My greatest take away from the weekend was realizing that I can make this kind of time a priority in my normal life, away from the magical craft house.  As beautiful as this craft house is, and as endearing as Meg is as she empowers us to tap into our creative juices; the weekend really just gave us freedom to make being creative a priority.

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I don’t want to think anymore that I don’t deserve that freedom, or that I can’t have it.  Being creative is so fulfilling for me, it fills a cup I forget is even empty to begin with.

The value of that lesson is priceless, friends.

Now go right now, and get your name on that list for Craft Weekend!  Right now people, I mean it!

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And yes we had to leave some “Lovely Mosaic” swag for Meg while we were there!

Five on Friday

Here we go again, thought we could start the new year with another Five on Friday!

Linking up with Darci from, the good life blog this week.

 

 

 

1- Whatever Craft Weekend

I am off to Wichita, KS this morning!  My friend Christine and I are going to Whatever Craft Weekend!  I feel like a giddy 12 year old waiting for her first sleepover!  Work on new craft projects – check!  Eat mouth watering food – check!  Pick up goodies at an antuque store – check!  Can it get any better?!?!  If you have never checked out Meg’s blog before, you need too right now.  Her pictures alone will inspire you, and within minutes you will be in awe of her beautiful crafty life!  Most excited to visit the “barn” and bring back some treasures.  We are actually checking empty bags for the flight there in hopes to fill them up with goodies to bring home!!

 

2- The Best Yes

Loading this book, The Best Yes, on my kindle for my trip.  I have read so many reviews on this book, that I couldn’t pass it up.  The amazon description alone, sucked me in: Cure the disease to please with a biblical perspective on love – escape the guilt of disapointing others by learning the secret of the small no.  Yes please!  Sign me up!  As a recovering people pleaser how could I pass up this book?

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3- Friends

Not sure how I missed this – but every season of Friends is on Netflix!  Literally the perfect show to have on in the background as I work on my signs.  I have only seen episodes here and there on tv, so I am thrilled to watch it all.  Oh yes I am going to work my way through it!   Started right at the first episode in Season one and I am just moving along.

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4- Letting go of stuff

My husband and I are are on this organizing- purge high right now and this quote is really what I want to focus on.  I know I hold on to way to many things that I got on sale years ago, or so and so gave me but I never use.  Suprisingly my husband is doing way better with this all.  Seriously I may be slighly nervous as I leave this weekend that I might come back searching for things he has thrown out.  It feels good to get rid of the clutter and simplify.  Its amazing how much stuff you just end up accumulating that just ends up sitting there.  I have a list of places in the house I want to go through and cleanse!  Not sure how he is going to feel as I lug back suitcases of goodies from Kansas – but he will just have to deal with it all.  I mean it could be worse right?

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5- Projects & Chalk Paint

2015 is the year I will complete the list of projects in my head that I keep saying I want to do.  Since getting a pew from my parents house that was from the church I grew up at, I have debated painting it white.  Seven years later, I finally did it. And guess what it literally took 2 days, and was soooo easy.  I am moving righ a long to the coffee table and end table I had thrifted awhile ago, and let me just tell you it’s taking all the self control I have to not use chalk paint on everything in my house.  I have read about it for months now, and finally joined the club – I am hooked.  The matte finish, the way it distresses, I am obsessed.  I even saw somewhere you can make your own with paris of plaster or something.  Need to get on that quick!

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Enjoy your weekend everyone!

This Jersey girl is headed out to Kansas to craft her little heart away!  Eeeek!!

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Wrecked

I have talked a lot about how I am a type A personality.

Which is a nice way of saying I like control – like a lot.

My perfect life would consist of a Q&A page where I can ask God any question about the future, and recieve a reassuring “specific” answer, in a timely fashion of course.  There would be no worrying, no doubting, no overanalyzing, no fear of the unknown.

Sadly in my real life- there is no Q&A page.  I am pushed to navigate through all my questions myself and have faith.  While pushing myself to surrender to a God that is in more in control than I will ever be.

This week, my husband told me about this sermon he had listened to, which he said pretty much wrecked him.  It’s called “Jesus and We” and its by Craig Groeschel.  Even at 4 minutes in, I could tell that this would be one that would challenege my inner thought process.

“You can have faith, or you can have control – you can’t have both” he said.  This is the exact moment in his message where I got wrecked as well.  I can have faith or I can have control, but I can’t have both.  Seriously I need to get a tattoo of this or something.  (Well I mean I’d  like to think I would get a tattoo if I was brave and not worried I would change my mind the next day – major control & fear issues people – one day at a time!)  But for real, when you start to say this over and over, and really let it sink in, it kinda does wreck you.

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It wrecks your thinking.

It wrecks the way you make decisions.

It wrecks your cute little pintrest perfect life that you’ve been striving towards.

It just flat out wrecks you.

I want so badly to have the kind of faith that pleases God, the kind of faith that doesn’t doubt, the kind of faith that has no fear of the unknown.  Most days I wonder if my desire for control outweighs my desire for that kind of faith?  I have some things on my heart that I truly believe God has placed there.  Things I can’t stop thinking about, no matter how hard or crazy they seem.  The amount of courage and faith it would take to put these into action overwhelms me because I know I would be loosing the “control” I think I have within my life.

If your wondering what one of my new signs will be for this year – you can bet a design is coming for this quote!

Because I need to be wrecked by this on a daily basis.  If I want to live this life that I believe God has called us all to live, I need to have faith more than I need to have control.  We all do.

Praying right now for God to give me a greater desire for FAITH than for CONTROL.

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I could write about how I have neglected this blog.

I could write about how life was busy and we worked hard the past two months, like really hard.

But really….

I don’t want to focus on that right now.  My desire this year is to seek out the joy that this life has and let it overflow my heart with gratitude.

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Life is teaching me that there is joy to be found everywhere – in every broken crack in my shiny not so perfect life – in every major stress that presses on our hearts – all around the chaos that three kids, a puppy, and a hubby in ministry bring.

There is joy.

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If I seek it – it is there to remind me that God is good.  His goodness and His joy are laced through every place of my life.  Most days it seems that my eyes are on auto focus, trained to focus on the stress; focus on how hard things are.  It has become my default setting – constantly consumed with how hard things are and constantly talking about how stressful life is right now.

There are so many goals I could have for this year; be a more present mom, a better wife, have a more healthy lifestyle, exercise more.  All of which are good, like really good.

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But more importantly, I want to be training my eyes to switch off of auto, and manually start focusing on the joy around me.  Begin to really start each day with gratitude, and remember that no matter what God places in our lives this year or this very day – we will remain joyful in knowing that He will keep carrying us.  Through the pain, through the tears, pointing us towards the immeasurable joy that will flood our hearts and fill us with gratitude.

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He has given me so much to be thankful for.  Why let another year go by focused on the stresses of life instead of the joy?

Follow me this year on instagram, @tgowesky and use #focusonjoy, as we start 2015 together with the right focus.

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When we finally reconnect at the end of the day, my husband and I will ask how each other’s day was.  Frequently, its a quick bullet point review of what the kids did, who he met with, what I picked up.  Sometimes, its just a sigh followed by just a few short words.

The other day it was,

“I feel swallowed up.”

Grammer aside, it was the exact thought floating through my head.

Swallowed up by all of the things I need to be directing in our life.  Swallowed up by the amount of fear I feel sometimes sending my kids off to school where I can’t protect them.  Swallowed up by the amount of stuff we have, that I am cleaning up, organizing, and putting away.  Swallowed up by the pain in people’s eyes around me.  Swallowed up by the pressure I have to keep our family connected to each other.  Swallowed up by decisions that I can’t even let myself think about yet.

Swallowed up by the heaviness of a life that seems unbearable to hold up.

Funny thing how even though I know that God is bigger than it all.  I still picture myself standing all alone holding it all up.  Watching the waters rise around me, feeling as if its about to swallow me.  Like an island about to be washed away, forever.

Why is it after years of seeing God’s goodness and recognizing His provision, I often avoid his refuge?  Why do I not run to His word and let those words cover me?  I need to be dwelling in Him instead of dwelling in my worries.

He who dwells in the shelter of the most high will abide in he shadow of the almighty – Psalm 91:1

Circumstances in life are so easily overwhelming, often leaving us feeling swallowed up.  Our eyes need to be upwards and less inward; bringing our eyes out of focus on the things around us and more into focus on His love for us.  We find strength when we adjust our focus on God’s character.

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word -Psalm 119:114

There is not an emotion we feel that God cannot redeem.  As sure as my eyes close for the night and open for the sun I am reminded that His refuge is greater than anything I can provide for myself.  There is a longing in each one of us to feel taken care of,  and there is someone who will fulfill that longing for us.  Though His words may sometimes not seem like enough, they provide something this world cannot give; hope.

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Come thou fount

il_570xN.669933717_pfsjThere is something so comforting about a song that has been sung for generations, knowing the words have provided comfort to so many.  I grew up in a little church where I stood next to my parents singing the iconic hymns each and every Sunday.  I can remember walking into my grandmothers house and hearing the old hymns being played as she worshiped God right in her home.  We may not have the heavy burgundy hard cover hymnals in my church anymore but I know my kids need to hear those words that were so beautifully written by men and women before our time.

One of my favorite hymns is “Come Thou Fount”.  This classic points us right to the book of 1 Samuel, where Samuel is raising an Ebenezer towards the Lord.  I love how the Ebenezer, a stone of remembrance, is a reminder to have an attitude of gratitude.  Pointing us to recognize how God has helped us in our times of need.  Samuel writes in chapter 7, how we are to commit to the Lord – all of our hearts.  The Hebrew word, commit, means to be fixed, established, and founded.  He urges the Israelites who have just confessed their sins before the Lord and are about to be attacked again, to commit to the Lord.  This hymn continues with the iconic words, of bind my wandering heart to thee.  Showing us that Samuel knows how hard it will be for the Israelites to keep their hearts committed to God.

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When singing the words to this song, our voices still cry out for God to bind our wandering hearts to Him.  We are all prone to wander, we are all prone to leave the God whom we love.  We are still being delivered by the same God again and again, the very same God who saved the Israelites so many years ago.  Asking Him, to take our hearts and seal them for the courts above.

Let us grasp the importance of not only singing these words but actually raising our Ebenezers to God, the one who never ceases.

I will remember the deeds of the Lord yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.  I will meditate on all your works and consider your mighty deeds.  – Psalm 77:11-12

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“in between”

Last weekend I was struck by how big my kids are.  Even though I call them my littles, they aren’t so little anymore.

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Looking at this shot, I realized that – there is no pause button on this crazy train of life.  No matter how hard I try I cannot slow it down.  These kids keep growing and we are basically holding our breath trying to hang on through each new stage.  The diapers and the diaper bags have left the house, the crib has been disassembled, and finally we have freedom from the sippy cups that loved to hide under the van seats.

Life has taken a new turn, around the corner from 3 and under, and headed down the street towards “mom all my friends have iPod touches”. We are in the “in between” stage, where my kids are not quite preteens – and the scariness that comes with middle school is a only couple short years away.

Babies and toddlers are so darn hard and so deeply exhausting at times.  Most of the time it feels like the mothering never stops.  Never.  Ever.  The nights are long with the rocking and soothing.  The days are sometimes longer with 5 page books on repeat, wiping of the runny-nose-faucet, changing of the diapers  and round the clock snack service.  Its amazing the strength we have as mothers to accomplish all of these things not only daily but on “freaky friday” repeat day in and day out.  Thank goodness they are so cute!!

Whether or not I want to embrace it, I am on the other side now.  The side where you wonder how many more times your “not so baby boy” will embrace you with a hug and a occasional kiss on the blacktop before school.  The side where you have to explain to your kids that you don’t know why people are mean and why some don’t include you.  The side where your mothering gets tested in such an intense emotional way that you would give anything to go back to the physically intense part of mothering where your 14 month old having a stuffy nose was the worst part of your week.

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When I hold my 3 month old niece, it is as if my uterus is contracting, trying to tell me– I need and want to go back.  But I am slowly realizing it’s ok to not go back.  We put the hours in and thank the Lord- he has filled my mind with a magic filter that allows me to look back and see that it was all worth it – and it was all good.

The long nights that taught me I was the mother they needed.  The longer days showed me how important my job was.  And the bouts of toddler tantrums reminded me I did have enough patience.

Life is funny how you can’t always see the goodness shine through until you take a couple steps back and wait for the fog to lift.  The welcome sign is lit for the next stage of life, and I will walk forward, contracting uterus and all.

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