Thursday, November 29, 2012

2nd Annual Christmas Card Contest

I love Christmas Cards!  I love giving them and I love getting them.  It is one of my very favorite things about Christmas.  In 2009 I had a Christmas Card Contest and announced the winners on my Facebook page. I had several categories, but one overall winner.

I had every intention of holding my contest the next year, and I actually did choose winners, but the craziness of running a business whose busiest season is December and January meant that I never announced my winners.  In fact, I didn't even send out Christmas cards that year!  {For the record Nathan was out of the country for 10 days just before Christmas, we moved the day after Christmas, and I was trying to get our adoption paperwork in the mail.  2010 was ridiculous.}

So here I am, two years later, Christmas cards on order, and one business down, and I am ready to revive the contest! {Mostly because I really like receiving Christmas cards, so I'm basically bribing you to send me one.}

Um, did you see that little note in the corner???  $50 PRIZE!  It will be in the form of a $50 gift card to Target because who doesn't love Target???  There will also be consolation prizes for the runner ups and winners of alternative categories.  I like to make up the alternative categories as I receive cards... like "Best Use of a Fake Dear" and "Most Disturbing". 

To enter, send an email to letting me know that you would like to enter and I will send you all the details.  All entries must be received by Christmas Day.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Blessing Bags

I am so very excited to tell you about an awesome opportunity for your family this holiday season.

My sister is rad.  You can read this post for more info on that.  She has an amazing business that is really more of a ministry, called Throne of Grace. She is constantly looking for ways to bless people, through this business and through her life.  This year she and her husband have decided to head up Project Blessing Bags, something that they came up with to help their family focus on giving this Christmas.  I personally was thrilled when she told me about this idea.  Nathan and I are a part of a couples' small group that we have been with for almost 12 years, and our group is always looking for ways to bless the needy in our community.  This idea is perfect, and I can't wait to fill my trunk with Blessing Bags.

Below is the email that she sent out explaining this project.  Please read my sister's words below and consider if this is something that your family would like to participate in.  You don't have to be local to participate. 


Hello Dear Friends and Family,

The Christmas Season is upon us and the Garibaldi House is excited! After thegreat success of the World Vision Farm Project last year, we were eager tofocus the season, once again, on the giving rather than the receiving. We'vebeen thinking and planning for months and have finally settled on a new givingproject this year, and we'd love to have you join us!

As the "down-turned" economy persists, the level of need continues togrow, even here in the "Orange County Bubble". As parents, Kevin andI have struggled with the questions Colin and Lucy ask when we seen a man orwoman on the side of the road with a cardboard sign asking for help. Like you,we've struggled between wanting to help, not knowing how to help, and, if weare honest, even doubting at times whether the help is really needed or if thehelp received will be put to good use or used to fund a bad habit. Then God putan idea on our hearts as a way to be a blessing to those in need, while at thesame time giving us an opportunity to bring perspective to our own lives andhelp fight the feeling of entitlement that we find it so easy to succumb to!

We've decided to assemble "Blessing Bags" that we can keep in thetrunk of the car, ready to hand out at a moment's notice to those we comeacross in daily life who are in need. Included in each extra-large ziploc bagwill be a fleece blanket, toiletry items, water bottles, non-perishable fooditems, a Bible, a Bible tract, possibly a small gift card, and more. We've beenresearching and pricing out items bought in bulk for the past couple of weeksand estimate the cost per bag to be $12 - $15 each. (No more than $15). Wedon't have an exact price yet because it depends on the number of bags we make(the more bags, the cheaper the price per bag!) and it also depends on thenumber of donations we receive. We also would like to get a little input onwhat's included from those who want to participate with us. is the plan! Please pray with us and see if God might be calling youto participate in being a blessing through Project Blessing Bags. There are anumber of ways you can get involved, and your level of involvement is totallyup to you. Here are a few:

1) Order and purchase Blessing Bags that we assemble for your family todistribute.

2) Offer your services to help pick up some of the needed supplies at Costco,CVS, Target, etc. We will give you specific items and quantities if you chooseto help in this way!

3) Come help us assemble Blessing Bags! Day and time TBD (will be announced assoon as we get a final date on all the supplies arriving - sometime in the nextfew weeks). Kids are welcome and we encourage you to participate as a wholefamily. We'll be doing an assembly line production to fill each bag. It shouldbe a fun and memorable time!

4) For those of you not local to Orange County - you can sponsor thedistribution of Blessing Bags by contributing financially to help us be able topass out more bags and/or help us reduce the cost per bag. Non-locals also havethe opportunity to purchase and receive bags, however shipping charges willapply!

5) PRAY!! Pray that God would be glorified through this project and that allinvolved (especially the kids!) would receive spiritual blessings of increasedfaith as we see God provide abundantly! Most importantly, pray that God woulduse these Blessing Bags to truly be a blessing to individuals and families whoare struggling and that their needs would be filled both spiritually andmaterially.

Every one of us reading this email has SO MUCH! When we were out at Costco justyesterday to price out some items for the bags, we were picking up a fewhousehold things as well. Kevin asked me if we needed to buy some more syrup,but neither of us could remember if we had seen syrup in the pantry - the pantrythat we stare into multiple times a day! It just struck me that we have suchfull pantries and refrigerators that we don't even know what we have!

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 says, "The point is this: whoever sows sparinglywill also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reapbountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantlyor under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to makeall grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at alltimes, you may abound in every good work." (ESV)

Please let us know if you would like to be included in Project Blessing Bagsby this FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 30th. We need to know:

1) How many bags you would like to purchase, and
2) If you would like to be involved at some other level, what you'd like to do!

See below for a list of common questions...

Merry Christmas! May the Lord bless you with a wonderful season filled with theTRUE spirit of giving!

With love,
Kevin, Molly, Colin & Lucy Garibaldi

Questions you may have...
Q: If we choose not to participate, will you still call us friends?
A: Of course! There are many, many ways to give at Christmas and we knowmany of you do so much already! This is just one opportunity and we only wantyou to participate if God puts it on your heart to do so!

Q: If you get a big response, how will you find enough people to hand theseBlessing Bags out to in South Orange County?
A: The sky is the limit with this! We will take it wherever God leads!We are well-aware that Orange County isn't exactly the capital of the homelesspopulation so depending on the response we get, we will make sure every bag isdistributed in some way. We can drive to Santa Ana or Los Angeles anddistribute there. We can give them to a rescue mission or church in a moreimpoverished area (we've even had thoughts of connecting with people in theareas hit by Hurricane Sandy to distribute!)

Q: Is Project Blessing Bags connected to a particular church ororganization?
A: No. This is simply the Garibaldi family wanting to run with an idea!We are inviting people from all spheres of our life to participate and ourdesire is to meet the needs of the hurting around us. Though we are including aBible in each bag, this is not a form of proselytizing for a particular church.You all know our faith is important to us and we feel that simply meeting thephysical needs of a hurting heart would not be enough. We want to also makeavailable to them, in an unassuming way, the hope that we have found in Christ.

Q: When do we need to pay for the bags and who do we make the check out to?
A: You will pay for the bags sometime between when you order and whenyou pick up. Again, we will give you more definite dates once we get a handleon how many bags we will be making. Checks can be made out to Molly or KevinGaribaldi. Obviously, we are not a non-profit organization, so this will notprovide a tax write-off. But neither would a donation to a man on the streetprovide a tax write-off! We will not be making any profit off this project andwill keep a careful accounting of every receipt for the items purchased and thenumber of bags made. We will be happy to make these records available to anyonewho would like a copy for accountability sake! :)

Q: What if I have other friends or family that would like to participate?
A: The more the merrier! You can certainly place orders on behalf ofothers not included in this email or have them contact us to order directly.

Any other questions? Don't hesitate to ask! We hope to hear from many of youand will share our progress along the way!

For more information, email Molly at molly{at}throneofgrace{dot}com or visit

Monday, October 29, 2012

Lunch Pails & Lipstick

Isn't that the cutest name?  Lunch Pails & Lipstick.  That completely describes stylish motherhood, doesn't it?

I have a friend Summer Thacker.  She is rad.  She's adorable, funny, and ridiculously stylish on a budget.  I've known her since Junior High, and we both moved back home after college so we run into each other around town all the time.  Especially at Cafe Rio or the mall.  She has styled people like David Archuleta and Carmen Rasmussen of American Idol fame, and has worked on catalog shoots for Lime Ricki.

Summer and a couple of her friends have started a new blog, and I'm so excited about it.  I have been trying to get her to blog for years.  Lunch Pails & Lipstick is awesome.  My favorite thing about it is that there are three friends contributing, and they all live in different parts of the country, with different life situations, so there's a great diversity of information.

Today there is a posting by Summer about her friend Lindsey's son's Pumpkin Patch Party.  Um... did you know that you can mail a pumpkin?  Check out what I mean by reading the post.  I'm totally thinking I'm going to do this to invite my family to Thanksgiving Dinner.  I love it.

Lunch Pails & Lipstick also has a Pinterest page that is just completely chalk full of radness. 

Like these cute Halloween ideas:

Don't take my word for it though.  Go check out Lunch Pails & Lipstick yourself.  You'll have a new style go-to.  Leave some love and tell Summer I sent you!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sorry, but my sister is better than your sister.

My friend Mique, the Queen behind The Queen Bee Market is having an awesome contest. It's called "Bee a Queen for the Day", and one lucky winner is going to get a prize package worth over $1000! To nominate a person, you have to write a post about why the deserve to win.

So here I am {of course on the last possible day, because I am the queen of procrastinating}, telling you why my sister should win this contest.

My sister, Molly Garibaldi, is so many things: an amazing wife, the best mother {way better than me}, a great big sister, a giving friend, and a business owner whose "business" is actually a ministry that serves so many.

Molly is the kind of mom that gets down on the floor and plays with her kids, even when there are a million things to be done. She is creative and brilliant, so she comes up with super fun things for the kids to do that don't cost a lot of money. One year for Christmas she gave my son a restaurant kit that included stuff like guest check pads, menus, and an apron.

She is the first one to volunteer to help with her friends kids, or to bring someone a meal, or to just be there to offer support and encouragement to a friend in need.

Molly and her husband are amazingly disciplined with their money. They sacrifice a lot so that they can live on a Private School Teacher's income. Every single time I meet someone from my brother-in-laws school, they go on and on about how much they love him. {Frankly, I would have nominated Kevin for this prize too, but I wasn't sure he would appreciate being called a queen for a day.} He is where he is called to be, but that means that he and my sister have to be very careful with their budget.

My sister rarely buys stuff for herself. Lucky for her, I am getting fatter by the second, so her skinny little butt gets all my hand-me-downs. But Molly basically waits for Christmas and birthdays to get anything she needs.

Being the Queen for the Day would be such a blessing for her, and I would love to get to make that happen. Because on top of all those other things, Molly is the best big sister any girl could ever ask for!

I am blessed.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Choose Joy Tickets *NOW ON SALE*

I have metioned before that I am putting together a one day, faith-based conference for women experiencing infertility or desiring to grow their family through adoption.

Please help me spread the word about this event!  If you know anyone that could benefit from attending, email them a link to the site {}.  Blog, Facebook, tweet, Instagram the photo above.

God is working in this event... it's going to be a great day.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Exciting News from a Friend

Have you ever heard of Lisa Leonard?

Lisa is a designer, blogger, wife, and mom.  She is also one of the most amazing women that I have ever met.  She is kind, wise, generous, fun, and absolutely beautiful inside and out.  I had the privilege of meeting Lisa when my business was just taking off and she shared so much with me about the highs and lows of owning your own small business.  I still think about her advice often.

Anyway, Lisa just shared a huge secret on her blog... her family is working on a reality TV show.  Check it out the trailer:

I cannot think of a more perfect person to represent the light of Christ on TV.  It's a position I don't envy, but I know she can handle it. 

Please pray for my sweet friend to be protected from certain attacks and nastiness that will be headed her family's way as they place themselves out there.

Congratulations Leonard family!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Operation Take my Life Back

Today was supposed to mark a huge milestone for me in Operation Take my Life Back

Today is the first day of fall bible study at my church.  We are going to be studying James along with Beth Moore.  I'm so looking forward to a. being back with Beth... she is one of my very favorite teachers, and b. being back in a regular women's bible study.  It has been a couple of years because for a couple of years my mornings have been dedicated to making calendars.

Except this morning my sweet baby girl decided to wake up at 6:30am.  She usually wakes up closer to 8.  It was already going to be a challenge to get her through to 11 o'clock {when bible study ends} without a nap. 

She was super cranky.

I tried to put her down for a nap.  But then she vomited all over me.  I mean a lot.

So she got a long bath and then finally fell asleep.  At 10:30am. 

So instead of being at bible study this morning I am still in my pajamas, with dye in my hair, writing this blog.

But I'm okay with that.  Because you know what?  This morning turned out to be a milestone in Operation Take my Life Back after all.  Because I got to sit in my pajamas and rock my baby girl that is not feeling well until she finally fell asleep.  And I didn't have to worry about all the work that was waiting for me or the packages that needed to get out. {Oh though there is still work to be done and packages to be sent, but a weight has been lifted.}  Operation Take my Life Back... in full effect.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

It's Time

Today on my business blog I am announcing that I am taking a break from my business.

I'm sure this will not shock any of my regular readers. 

I am tired. 

I miss my friends and family.

I want my life back. 

The bottom line is that I have spent the last four years building this business. I have sacrificed time with my family and friends, a clean house, folded laundry, and my sanity for the sake of this business.  

I love my business, but I love my family more.  My whole life I knew that when I grew up I was going to be a Stay at Home Mom. It was what Nathan and I had always planned for our family. But being a Work at Home Mom is nothing like being a Stay at Home Mom.  And I just remembered that I want to be a Stay at Home Mom.  

I also am very much looking forward to the Choose Joy event that I am putting together, and I want to be able to give it my full attention this fall.

It's hard to walk away from a growing, successful business.  Very hard.  But I definitely feel God calling me out at this time.

So thank you so much for all your support and encouragement these last few years. I am excited to have more time to spend here with you in the coming months!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Impossibly Possible

Last week was rough. One of the roughest I've had in a while.

I'm overwhelmed.

I'm tired.

I'm weary.

{It didn't help that I saw The Odd Life of Timothy Green. If you have ever experienced infertility, DON'T see this movie in a theater. My emotional outburst was embarrassing.}

It's no secret on this blog that I have had many moments of doubt with my business. I love what I do, but it is hard. Sometimes it is too hard.

Lately I have been feeling like nothing in my life is getting 100%. My house is a constant disaster. Laundry is never put away. I haven't done anything fun with my kids this summer. I'm way overdue on goals I had for the Choose Joy event. And my to do list is never even close to done.

I am a person that likes to be busy, and is not easily overwhelmed, but this season of my life is testing that.

This morning at church we sang a worship song with a line that says, "Nothing is impossible with God, He holds my world in His hands."

As happens often to me with the worship at our church, this song spoke straight to my heart. I pray for and about my business often. From day one I have placed this business in God's hands, and I have confidently followed when I have felt Him leading. He has blessed my business far beyond what I could have asked for, and He has confirmed for me time and time again that He has me right here for a reason.

In this season I've been feeling like peace is impossible, but this morning my sweet Lord reminded me that nothing is impossible for Him. So once again, I am placing my business in His tender, loving hands and asking for His wisdom. And the good news for me is that this is not my first rodeo with Lord. When you have walked with the Lord for a while, you have the advantage of having seen His faithfulness along the way. I am trusting that God will reveal His will for Much Ado About You, and give me the strength to follow that will.

I said the other day, it would be so much easier to quit my business if it was failing, but to walk away simply because I can't keep up with its success would be so difficult.

But here it is... I'm saying this out loud so that you can all hold me accountable: if the Lord asks me to walk away, I'm ready.

I trust Him.

I want peace.

So I'm ready.

But I'm also ready to suck it up, take a deep breath, and push past this rough season if this is where the Lord wants me, because I know that the peace that feels impossible is possible with Him.

Are you in a rough season? Are you overextended and feeling like you have nothing left to give? Are you just tired? Will you do something for me??? Will you join me and trust God to be faithful in your life too? Let's walk this road together and be encouraged by each other's sweet victories as the Lord brings us our impossible peace. And remember that if it seems impossible, that is the best time for God to reveal Himself in our lives.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Adriana Laura Photography & Design

A few weeks ago Much Ado About You had our first Product Photo Shoot with models, and booths, and vintage galore!

My husband's cousin once removed {I think I got that right} is an amazing photographer, and I was lucky enough to snatch her up for this shoot.  You can find her at Adriana Laura Photography & Design.

I also recruited some seriously gorgeous models: my friend since the 7th grade and a gorgeous red-head, Katie, and the beautiful and talented Natalie of Take the Canoli.

We are working on new product packaging and a fabulous new home page for the shop featuring the pics from the shoot, but I couldn't wait to share them with you.  Here are just a few of my favorites:

If you would like to schedule a shoot with the ubber talented Adriana, contact her through her website.

She also makes BEAUTIFUL invitations and announcements... multi-talented!

{All photos are copywright property of Adriana Laura Photogrpahy.
Please feel free to share, but credit both our shop and Adriana Laura Photography & Design}

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Getting on my Soapbox

Subtitle: Why I Choose to Support Chick-fil-a

Yesterday I took my kids to Chick-fil-a.  We stood in line for about a half an hour, and waited almost as long for our food. 

Luckily I wore my blue pants, so I could find myself in this picture that was on the LA Times website:

Here's the thing.  The reason I went to Chick-fil-a yesterday had absolutely nothing to do with gay marriage.  I went to Chick-fil-a because {the last time I checked} we don't live in North Korea, and it is not okay for the government to shut down a business because of the personal beliefs of the owners. 

I don't buy Krispy Kreme Donuts because of the owners stance on abortion, gay rights, or school vouchers.  I buy Krispy Kreme Donuts because they are delicious.  {Shoot, now I want one.}  I'm sure that if the owner of Krispy Kreme was asked his personal stance on some controversial issues there would likely be one or more that I would disagree with.  But I'm also pretty sure that I would still buy Krispy Kremes.  I really like Krispy Kremes. 

I am so tired of living in a country that is totally obsessed with tolerance, except when it has to do with Christianity.  It is not okay to say anything against anyone, except if those people happen to be conservative Christians.  And then it is okay to completely bash the hell out of them. 

I saw many heated debates happening on Facebook yesterday {which is actually one of the things that makes me tire of Facebook}, and there was a time that I would have been very judgmental and joined in on the rage.  But in my old age {;)} I have come to realize that hearts are won through love and not judgment, which is why I wish that people would understand that yesterday was not about judgment. 

Is it just me, or is boycotting a business for their personal beliefs completely discriminatory?  And isn't being discriminatory exactly what these people are boycotting???  I'm confused.  

I heard a lot of things being thrown around about what Chick-fil-a has and has not done... most of which I believe to be completely false.  I happen to personally know several Executives and Store Operators from Chick-fil-a, and I know them to be wonderful, loving, giving, and all-around awesome people. 

If you choose not to support Chick-fil-a for whatever reason, that is your choice, and that choice is exactly what I was supporting yesterday by supporting Chick-fil-a.

And that's my opinion... not that you asked for it.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Not a Poster Child

Have you ever heard the phrase, "The cobbler's kids have no shoes."?

The essence of this phrase is that sometimes a professional is so busy caring for their clients and their business that they neglect using their skill to help their own family.

My friend Brooke's husband used to have a side business helping people with their computer woes.  Brooke didn't have a working printer in her house for years.

A friend that I grew up with had a mom that was a practicing Family Therapist while her own marriage was crumbling to an affair that ended up tearing their family apart.

I sell Day Planners.  A place to write down when you have an appointment with your Aesthetician, when you told a friend you would meet her for coffee, when your son has a dental appointment, or when your very good friends are having their son's birthday party {there is even a pocket folder to hold the invite to said birthday party}.

Yeah.  I mention these particular examples because I have missed every single one of them in the last week.  Did I mention I sell Day Planners?  Organizers.  Calendars.  SCHEDULE KEEPERS for the love of Pete!

Oh... look at that.  I just realized that I also missed my friend Nicole's birthday.  And I even texted with her that day about missing the birthday party!  Good grief.

Good thing my customers don't judge my products based on their ability to keep my life in order.  I'd definitely be out of business.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mushroom Chicken

Lately I have been obsessed with mushrooms, which is funny because I used to hate them. See... I may be opinionated, but my opinions can change. I'm open minded like that.

Anywho... one night a few weeks ago I wanted to make dinner without going to the store, so I used what I had on hand and came up with my family's new favorite recipe: Mushroom Chicken

Now, if you love recipes and follow them to a tee, you're not going to like to cook my food. I rarely measure anything and so you'll have to bear with my "some" and "a swig" descriptions. But I promise you really can't mess this up, so just try it.

What you'll need:
4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
Rosemary {I use fresh and chop up at least a heaping tablespoonful}
Poultry Seasoning
Italian Seasoning
Cooking Sherry or any Dry White Wine

Alright, stop right there for a minute. You should pretty much have these ingredients in your pantry at all times. This is how I season all my chicken for any meal. Put the chicken in a Pyrex baking dish, season well with everything listed and pour the wine on top. You can add lemon, potatoes, asparagus, balsamic vinegar... any number of things, but I promise delicious, flavorful chicken every time!

Okay, back to what you'll need:
2-3 Large Russet Potatoes
Lawry's Seasoning Salt
Garlic Salt
Heavy Cream or Cream Cheese
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Boil the potatoes until they're soft, drain, add a bunch of all the ingredients I just mentioned. Mash. Taste it. Probably add more Lawry's. Done.

Wait, I got side-tracked. There's still more stuff you'll need:
Mushrooms {I use Baby Bella and I buy them in the bag that is already cleaned and cut... I hate cleaning mushrooms}
More Sherry
Heavy Cream
Parmesan Cheese

Okay, so here's how to do it so that it is all ready at the same time:

Peel and cut the potatoes into large slices, about an inch thick. Put them in a pot of salted water and set them on the stove over high heat to boil.

Season the chicken as I described and put it in the oven at 350 degrees.

Set a timer for 20 minutes.

Heat some oil in a sauté pan and add slices of onion, the mushrooms, and about a tablespoon of sugar {keep a little but of the onions and mushrooms aside for later}. Let this cook, stirring every once in a while. Let it all caramelize and get dark and kind of burned looking.

When the timer goes off, take the chicken out of the oven and spoon the onions and mushrooms over the chicken. Don't pour. I use tongs. You want any juices and little burned pieces to stay in the pan for the sauce.

Put the chicken back in the oven and set the timer for 10 minutes.

Add some finely chopped onions and mushrooms to the pan that you just took the other onions and mushrooms out of. About a half a cup or so of each.

When they have cooked a bit add some of the sherry. I don't know... maybe a half a cup to a cup. Let that reduce. Add the heavy cream. I keep adding it until it seems like I have enough sauce for everyone. Then sometimes I add some more wine... then maybe some more cream... just keep going until it seems like it's enough and a good, thick consistency.

You should probably check on your potatoes right about now. They should be done. Prepare them like I told you to above.

I like to make a simple salad to go along with it.

Did your timer go off??? It probably should be beeping right about now. So pull the chicken out of the oven.

To serve, put a big pile of mashed potatoes in the center of your plate. Place a chicken breast leaning on the potatoes. Sprinkle with shaved Parmesan, then pour some of the sauce over the whole thing. Add a small helping of salad on the side. Voila!

Beautiful. Easy. So yummy.

{Sorry about the iPhone pictures... Iwasn't really planning to blog about this, but I just had to share.}

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

You're Welcome

If you're feeling a little blue, or bored, or you just would like a good chuckle... please, to enjoy:

Source: via Emmy on Pinterest

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Choose Joy Event

A few months ago {has it really been that long???} I told you about a new calling that I felt on my life.  {You can read about it here.}

Well I have been dying to share more details, but my life has been a tad bit hectic and I wanted to wait until I had some things in order. 

So I am so thrilled to finally tell you all about the Choose Joy Event: a one day, faith-based conference geared towards women who are experiencing infertility and/or have a desire to grow their family through adoption.

Can I just tell you something really quickly?  When God places a calling on your life, He is faithful to provide the tools to follow through with that calling.  

Within a couple of weeks of deciding to take on this event, I had women from all over the country committed to coming to California to speak at our conference.  Amazing women.  Women who could get paid big bucks to speak, but are coming for free because they believe in this event.

I know how lonely and painful the road of infertility can be.  It is my greatest desire that Choose Joy will be a place where women can feel understood, encouraged, and informed.

Since the day I started planning I have been praying for each woman that will attend this event.  I cannot wait to see how the Lord is going to change lives through the connections that are made on February 9th.

If you or anyone you know {and statistically speaking you should all know someone} is walking this path, would you please share the Choose Joy website with them? 

If you would like to get involved, there are details on the website about how you can help.

I can't wait to share more with you about how this event comes together.  I know there will be God-sized miracles happening along the way.

Monday, July 9, 2012

On my Mind Monday

I have a few random things on my mind today, so I thought I would share them with you:

1.  After almost a decade as a mom, becoming a minivan owner has finally made me feel official.

And can I tell you something... I LOVE IT!  And so does Nathan {although he might deny that if you asked him}.  I'm a Mad Mom in a Minivan and I'm rockin' it!

This is Nathan trying to program our garage door opener.  It took us several days.  We both have been driving 2001 cars for the last decade... we feel like we have entered the space age with this car! 

2.  Nathan told me the other night that he doesn't like Italians.  I said, "then why did you marry one?"  And he said, "I thought you were Mexican."

My husband makes me giggle.  I love him.

3.  I'm kind of a Social Media Junkie, and my current drug of choice is Instagram.

I am obsessed.  I check my feed at least 15 times a day.  It is what I do at stop lights, when I am putting Penelope down for a nap, when I'm walking the dog, when I should be packaging orders.  I love it.  Love.  And while I know I should not find my self worth in social media, I have to admit that every time that cute little bubble pops up to tell me that someone likes one of my photos, or better yet left me a comment, or better yet started following me, I get giddy.  Instagram... please don't let Facebook ruin you.  Please!

What's on your mind this Monday? 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Everyone has Heard It

John 3:16.  I would venture to guess that it is one of the most well known verses in the bible.

"For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life."  {See... I just did that from memory.  I didn't even Google it.}

It is an important verse because it is the essence of Christianity.  It is the why and the how of Christianity.

Then there is verse 17.

"For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

Not so well known.  {This one I had to Google.}

I mentioned earlier this year that God has really been working on my judgmental heart.  I have been very consciously trying to love and not to judge.

A couple of weeks ago a friend posted a photo on Facebook that got me thinking.  It was a picture of a man holding a sign that said, "As Jesus said about gay people, '             '."  I am not trying to start any kind of controversial conversation here, I mention this only to say that it got me thinking about John 3:17.

I believe that the bible is the inspired word of God.  I believe it is the truth, and cannot be cut and pasted to suit your desires or ways of life.  I believe that we are all sinners in need of a Savior, and that to God, sin is sin.  Period.  I also believe that there are certain things that are black and white in the bible, and other things that are much more gray, and that faith is about believing even when we don't completely understand. 

Having said all that, I go back to my previous paragraph.  This photo got me thinking.  Jesus really did come into the world with one goal: to save us.  To save the lost.  And we are all lost.

If Christ, the only perfect human being to ever walk the face of the earth, could live a life of compassion, empathy, understanding, and most importantly love, how can I, a sinner who fails on a daily basis, stand in judgment of others???

I'm going to be meditating on John 3:17 this week.  Will you join me?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Before we moved I had a map on the wall of my office on which we had placed a pin in every city where we have sold a calendar.

I had a new map made when we moved {from my friend Nancy Yuhas of Vinyl by Design}, but I never got around to putting it up.

Until yesterday.

{Excuse the cheese phone pic... I'm lazy.}  The seem down the middle of the map is because it is on my closet doors. 

Pretty cool, huh?  It made me feel young and hip to put it up.  Then I looked in the mirror, saw my gray roots and dorky outfit and remembered that I am no longer either of those things. 

It took us about six hours to "re-pin" our map, which now has at least one pin in every single state {which would also include Hawaii and Alaska, except that they are mysteriously missing}.

Now I am obsessing over maps.

Source: via Emmy on Pinterest

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Flawed Perfection Jewelry

I couldn't resist sharing with you all about my friend Megan and her business, Flawed Perfection Jewelry

Megan hand crafts some beautiful jewelry, and she is currently getting ready to release a brand new line of Swarovski Crystal jewelry that is to die for! 

For the next three days {May 16th to the 18th}, she is holding a pre-sale of this new collection, and anyone that orders during this time is going to get to custom select the colors for their pieces. After the pre-sale Megan will email you to help you create the perfect custom piece.

I am definitely placing my order today!

But guess what???  There's an added incentive for you: place an order during Megan's pre-sale, and come back here and leave a comment telling me what you ordered.  Everyone that comments will be entered to win a $25 gift certificate to Much Ado About You

So go!  Order now.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sorry to Leave you in the Dark

Okay, so I really didn't mean to be so mysterious with my posting last week.  I just wanted to formulate my thoughts a little bit before I shared about what I believe God has called me to do.

For a long time I have had the desire to help families struggling through infertility and adoption. One of the things that has always really frustrated me is the fact that the cost of certain options makes them unattainable for some people. It is the salt in the wounds of infertility.

Since experiencing this painful reality myself, I have felt that at some point in my life I would become an advocate for these families.

Last weekend an idea popped into my head that I knew was from the Lord. It seemed like such an obvious fit for me... like I have been preparing for this for years, with experiences that combine to make me the perfect person to take on this task.

So here it is {this is the part where I very vulnerably share my heart with you}:  I want to host a one day faith-based conference event for women, mainly geared toward women experiencing infertility and/or desiring to adopt.   I would love for it to be open to anyone that felt a calling to serve their friends or family experiencing these things, but keep the focus on bringing together women who have a common thread and need to find a community.

My initial thought is that it would be a luncheon, with break-away sessions on topics such as Adoption 101, Ethics and Infertility Treatments, Infant Loss & Miscarriange, etc., and then have some time for socializing, and finally a speaker and wrap-up. And here is the cherry on top... at the wrap up I would like to raffle off funds for one blessed attendee to use towards building their family!

I’m excited and nervous about taking on a new, VERY TIME CONSUMING task, but I feel like this is what I was made for! It involves everything I love to do: create, plan, socialize, support friends… it’s just me!

I knew this idea was from the Lord when I told Nathan and he immediately got on board!  He has been VERY encouraging and helpful already in formulating logistics and designing a plan.

I already have a name, a logo, a dream team list of people that I would like to be involved, and some ideas on how to raise the funds to do it all.

I will keep you posted on the progress.

And there it is.  My new calling.  My life changing.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Moment

Have you ever had one of those moments when an idea comes to your mind and you know without a doubt it is a calling???

They can be the most exciting and scariest moments of your life.

I had one of those moments yesterday.

It could change the course of my life over the next few years.

I'm ready.

Friday, April 13, 2012

My Escape

About once a year I allow myself to escape.  I tune out my life.  I ignore the laundry.  I don't answer emails.  I don't even really pay attention to my cell phone.

I just escape.

Last year I went to Rome.  I met Hadassah and Marcus, and watched them fall in love. I marveled at Hadassah's steadfast devotion to the man called Jesus Christ that her father knew and loved.  I ached for her, as she tried desperately to show her God to the family that enslaved her.  I cried the first time Marcus realized that the mysterious veiled servant was the slave girl that he had once loved.

I went to Rome and I stayed there until The Mark of the Lion was over.

Since Monday I have been in Panem.  I have hated the Capital.  I have been desperate for Katniss to let herself love.

I have learned that "Team Peeta" is not about animal rights.

I very purposefully saved this trilogy for Spring Vacation.  I knew that once I started I would not be able to stop, because I can't stop myself when I have escaped into a novel.

It drives Nathan crazy.

I finished Catching Fire last night, and have started Mockingjay.  I am already mourning the fact that by the end of the weekend it will all be over.  I will have to come home to Ladera Ranch.  I will have to face the mountain of laundry in my hallway, the stack of dishes in my sink, and the work that needs to be done so that the Student/Teacher Planners can go on sale at the end of the month, as promised.

And I will have to wait for my next escape. 

I wonder where I will go next.

But for now I return to Panem.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I'm having one of those days where I am daydreaming about quitting my business.  I have these days every couple of months.

This morning I am thinking about all the food I would like to make.

Like this:

and this:

and for sure these:

I am also thinking about all the things I would like to do to my house, that after a year and half still looks like we just moved in.

I want to do this:

and have a room as eclectic as this:

and create some fun accessories like these:

and these:

or maybe even these:

Source: via Emmy on Pinterest

I want to plan parties:

paint my nails:

and get my craft on, just because I can and not because someone is paying me to do it:

Source: via Emmy on Pinterest

Today I don't want to own a business. 

I want to be a housewife.

If you would like to see more of the things I would like to do if I had time to do them, you can follow me on Pinterest.