Tuesday, January 29, 2013

O and K

O and K are two great letters.
When used side by side they have the ability to make things all better. (well sometimes)

OK can, however, carry with it various meanings. 

If your talking to your mom and she reminds you that everything is going to be okay -- you suddenly feel a bit if peace in your heart.


if you're asking your husband how you look in your new red dress, and he says "ok" -- you say "is that all, just ok?"

It can sometimes be vague, an easy reply to answer.

Today I was playing upstairs with my son and I took a large bouncy ball and rolled it toward him. Then I randomly tossed a magnetic letter to him. After he finished playing with the ball and the letter, this is what I discovered.

 I had no idea that I had tossed him the letter 'K" 

I looked down and noticed the word.
And right there.
In that little moment.
I felt peace.

Remembering that it will be ok. 

C if U can find O and K 2morrow.

Oh, quick tid-bit.

I learned this week that the word ok, tipped on its side, looks like a little stick figure.
Have you ever noticed him? 
Write down the word ok somewhere, take a breath, and say hi to this little guy you've been ignoring all your life. 

Wishing you an ok week.

Be Blessed friends!  

Monday, January 28, 2013

Unlikely Gifts~ A lesson on Opposites


Yesterday I read my son a book about opposites. It is so important that children
 learn that everything is not the same. They need to know that not
everything is fast, cold, and shiny all the time.

Adults need to remember their opposites too.

I am learning with some wonderful women about remaining
in a state of thanksgiving, even in the midst of hardships.

Yesterday, we met and shared our blessings for the week-- all of
which were positive/happy things that we experienced.
We talked about how this is really an easy thing.
It's easy to count joy when we feel joy.

What about when joy is non-existent?

What about when you feel anger?

What about when you feel grace-less?

James 1:2 teaches us to consider it joy when you face trials of many kind.
Yeah, right. Are you serious about this James? Is this really possible?

The rest of the verse goes on to tell us that the testing of this faith
produces steadfastness, and when steadfastness has its full effect, we will be complete.

Okay James, I see where you are coming from, but still seems hard to me.
Is this kind of what you mean?

What this teaches us it to know that the hurt of the right now,
will bring joy in some way later!

So, in celebration of thinking differently, and understanding opposites, I
brought the girls in our group a gift. Each gift was an unlikely gift.
Not a bad gift, but a gift you would not expect to receive. At the end of our
study, we opened up our gifts.
A can, a straw, a coffee filter, a dryer sheet, a jar, and my gift
I received from myself.... dead leaves!

I got my least favorite gift. I am typically attracted to shiny and pretty!
These leaves are polar opposite- dull, dead, and shiny.

So, what are we going to do with these unlikely gifts?
We are going to consider them as joy and find a way to use them as a gift this week.
Next week we will share how our unlikely gift turned into a blessing.
Each week we will take turns being the gift giver and find the good in the not so good.

Here is what I did with my dull dead leaves.
I placed them in a pretty bowl and set them beside my pretty lantern with sparkly ornaments.

It is actually quite beautiful. A gift.

and be blessed.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Local Love ~ Silver Bliss Shop~

Isn't there something  ~extra~ special about a gift that is handmade by a local artist? 
I mean, if you had a choice between a personalized hand-stamped necklace from an artist in your community or one sent from half way around the world, which would you choose?

For me, as much as I believe it is important to support artists from all over, I would have to choose a local artist.

The picture shown above was a Christmas gift from my husband. My friends, who own Silver Bliss Shop, designed this piece especially for me. What I love most is the precision that it took to make this necklace work. It is obvious that each word had to be spaced evenly, and consideration had to be made in order for the paper plane to lay between each word. Every time I wear it, I think about the time they took to make this piece. I think about my dreams of running my own business, writing a book, and how important it is to learn everyday from people who love what they do! 

I truly love being surrounded by people who are doing what they love. And my friends certainly are doing that!

Here is a bit about the girls behind Silver Bliss....

Shelley Abernethy and Susan Williams are sisters that have a heart, a passion, a love for beautiful jewelry. In 2012 they started hand-stamping jewelry. I remember when they ordered the metal stamping kit. I remember when they told me how hard it was to get the letters perfectly stamped. What I remember most is that they didn't stop. It didn't matter that their first piece wasn't perfect. Art isn't supposed to be perfect. But as they continued, their pieces truly became just that... perfect.

I asked both of them what they love most about Silver Bliss and this is what they said.

"I love the one of a kind, custom orders- I love that people ask for names, quotes, dates that no one else has. This makes each piece truly special."

"I love seeing the face of a customer who see their personalized item for the first time. Whether it's the names of their children or their pet, it is always the look of pure joy when they know they are wearing a special piece, made just for them, with their loved one's name. So sweet, and it never gets old."

So today I encourage you, wherever you live, show some local love to an artist. There is a very good chance they put their heart and soul into what they are hoping to share with you!

Be Blessed

Thursday, January 24, 2013


I realllllly wish that I loved to run.
I just don't.
It takes every ounce of willpower to get myself out of bed.
It takes every ounce of endurance to keep going after the first mile.

But I love how I feel when I finish.
That's really the only time I love running--- when it's over.

So, here's my question to myself...

If I love how I feel when it's over, why do I toil over the "getting there?"

I guess my answer to myself would be that "the getting there is the hardest part sometimes."

Isn't this true for most things in our life?

We worry our way through the mess.
We wonder how things will turn out?
We get anxious about tomorrow.


We know it is all going to work out.
We know who saved us.
We know we are loved.

My husband always says, "I've read the back of the book, and it all works out in the end."

So where are you today?
Are you in a place where you feel like giving up?
Throwing in the towel?
Walking away from it all?

Hold on.
You are almost there.

Our Father, who art in Heaven, finished His race on the cross.
Surely, we can finish the race we have started.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013


"Forgive them even if they're not sorry."

I read this quote once and it him me like a punch in the stomach.

I've been reading the book, What's so Amazing about Grace by
Phillip Yancey.

It is by far one of the best Christian books ever written.

It has certainly challenged me in the area of grace.

I always thought I had it. Ummm, not so much.

I have learned that I tend to show grace, when it is deserved.

Yancey says in his book that the word grace is truly our last best word.
It contains the essence of the gospel as a drop of water can contain the
image of the sun.

Now doesn't that just make that word sound purrty.

Reflect on this word tonight.

Taste grace.
Receive grace.
Give grace.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Rice Krispie French Toast

Since I was a little girl, I have always loved Rice Krispies.

I mean, what other cereal talks to you while you are eating?

This past weekend we went back to WV to visit family.

As we walked in the door, my step-dad, Dan, said that he and Daniel were in charge of breakfast.

Now that is certainly a perfect way to start out a family visit!

On the menu:

Rice Krispy French Toast.

Say What??? Yes, friends, a combination of two amazing breakfast foods in one bite!

He got the idea from The Club at Seabrook Island. Genius!

So let me just say...  SNAP * Crackle* POP is just as good

on toast as they are in a bowl!

 Below is the super yummy recipe that EVERYONE needs to try!
Look through your cabinets this week and come up with a fun breakfast creation!
I know this will be a new staple at our house!

Rice Krispie French Toast

4 eggs
dash of cinnamon
splash of vanilla
1/2 cup of Rice Krispies
1/2 cup of milk
French bread
1 Tablespoon butter
maple syrup

In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, cinnamon, and vanilla. In another bowl, pour the Rice Krispies. Dip the french bread in the egg mixture, flip it over quickly and do the same on that side. Remove from the egg mixture and dip both sides in the Rice Krispies.

Heat a 9" skillet over medium heat and melt the butter. Add the prepared bread and grill until golden, about 4-5 minutes on each side.

There ya go!
Enjoy every single bite.

Friday, January 18, 2013

How to Start Your Day - Lessons from a 7 month old.

One of the things I love most about my son is the way
he wakes up every morning. And when I say every. I mean every.

He wakes up gently. 
Rolls around a bit.
and lets out a little wimper.

We go into his room quietly...sometimes we crawl
in so he can't see us until we peek into his crib.
It's silly, but still fun for him (and us).

When he sees us, he always smiles.




I slowly twist the blinds open.
Telling him the day has begun.
I go on to explain the weather.

This week I have done a lot
of explaining about the rain.

What's so funny is that the
weather doesn't matter to him yet.

He doesn't get tired of the rain.
Doesn't long for the sun.
He is just happy to see us and start his day. 

Here's what he's taught me.
This picture is the best explanation

Awaken with a joyful heart.

Be grateful for what you have and where you are right now.

Be ready with hands folded, prayerfully open to what God has waiting for you.

Quench your thirst- Enjoy a cup of coffee, orange juice, water... whatever suits your fancy and receive a double blessing by opening up the word.  Our bible quenches that thirst, the thirst from our soul.

My oh my, he teaches me daily.

What will a child teach you today?
Hope your blessed with a moment that you can share too!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chevron + Glitter

This is a definite must!

I fell in love with this canvas the minute I laid eyes on it!
I love everything about it.
The colors.
The sparkle
The design.

Got a little time this weekend?
Make something fabulous.
Give it away. 
Leave it for someone to find
Make a special place for it in your home.

Have fun. Make a mess. Be proud of your work!

Good night my friends!

a picture

Question for you.

When was the last time you went on vacation and didn't look at a picture of your destination before you left?

How about.... Never (at least for me)!

We love to know where we are going, don't we.
Pictures persuade us, inspire us, unite us, and
 create a longing for places we have never been.

Where is that "place" for you?
Maybe it's the beach
the mountains

or maybe it's just
your home.

Here is a picture of my first home.
One of my top twelve places, indeed!

You look at the picture and see
green grass
a log home
and some trees in the background.

I see the picture and I see
our tire swing
our front yard football games
halloween parties
our clubhouse
I see memories.
I see love.

What do you see when you look at your home?
What do you "want" to see when you look at your home?

Take a look around today. Does your home reflect your heart?

Right now, as I look around, I see a few pacifiers and dried milk spots on the floor.
And I love it!

Soon the pacifiers will be gone.
Milk will be replaced with dirty shoe marks and mud.
Formula cans will disappear.

Well for a little while. Hopefully we will get the chance
to experience it all again with a second.

Appreciate what your home is right now
Whether it's perfectly organized or a perfect mess.
Be thankful.
You have a home.

If you are unhappy with how your home looks
Change it.
Add some paint.
Get a new candle.
Make a wreath.
Get inspired on pinterest.

Whatever you do, do it with love
and I can guarantee it will be beautiful.

Grace and Peace.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

everything will be okay

Today was rainy
and gray.
I didn't care though
I had a hair appointment!
Uptown Salon. One of my favorite landing places.
A place to chat, get your hair beautified, fellowship, and just relax.

Now, I love gettin my hair "did"
but I also love that I have an A-W-E-S-O--M-E stylist
that I also call my friend. She is a great mom and a great Christian.

As she was drying my hair, we noticed there was a young boy cleaning
the outside of the shops' window.

She said, "hmmm, that's funny.... no one has ever come and cleaned
my window before."He continued. Taking his time.
 Cleaning them thoroughly from top to bottom.

All of the sudden, we hear the door open and he walks in.
He quickly says hello and proceeds to clean the inside.
We continue to wonder who this boy is.
He neatly arranged everything back in its place, said goodbye, and walked
out the door.

She ran to her purse, grabbed her wallet and said she would be right back.
When she came back in she said, "He's gone." She had walked up the street,
even looked down the alley. Nowhere.

She said, "You know what's ironic, Andrea, just the other day I told my husband
we really needed to clean those windows. They hadn't been done since the spring."

So who was this kid?

We may never know.

But later she texted me and said

"You know I just feel like God was reminding through that little experience
that everything is going to be okay."
And it's so true.

Whether our windows need cleaning, a friendship needs healing, or we just don't understand
why we are going through a hard time....God is always there, always present, and always working.
From this we can always remember...

He that began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 6:1

Wishing you a window cleaning experience sometime soon!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Chapter 1~ a picture and a plane

Chapter 1...

This is gonna take awhile.
Writing a book is a process and I am in NO rush to finish it.
Well, I do have a deadline though.
12 months.
1 Chapter each month.
During the next 12 months I hope to grow, learn, reflect, and gain confidence as
a writer.
I just know I am letting the spirit lead on this one.
I'll just do my best to be faithful, fruitful, and thankful.

My class I am taking right now is teaching me to think clearly through
my intentions and goals. Being organized is fun for me and I plan to take make this
process as organized AND fun as possible along the way.

One of my goals to help with my focis
is to participate in the HelloMornings Challenge.

Here's the Big Idea
Every morning during the challenge YOU:

1. Experience quality time with God.
2. Intentionally plan your day
3. Exercise regularly

If you are up for the challenge click on the link and join in:


Hope your Tuesday has been blessed extraordinarily!

Monday, January 14, 2013

my book

today i am making a declaration.
a dream that i am determined to bring to life.

many years ago i said i would write a book.

although i have had the idea for a few years
this morning, i put the ideas into action.

i'm excited/nervous/hopeful.

so today, this is my declaration:

(it will be published)

let the fun begin.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Facing the Sun and The Son.

I jogged up a hill this morning.
I could feel the sun against my back.
I knew when I turned around at the top of the hill, it would blind me.
As I rounded the turn, my eyes were suddenly pulling in a brightness that filled up my soul.
It really felt like that- a filling up, an overflow, an abundance.

This is what I saw...

That moment needed captured. Not just with my eyes, but with my camera.
So I caught it! I looked the sun in the eye and I snapped a picture of that most beautiful moment.

Isn't that exactly what happens when we face THE son? Isn't that what HE does for us, every time we show up thirsty? We meet Him and bask in His gifts, His grace, His love.

As I worked my way back down the hill, the sun dipped out of my sight. Still there, but not for my eyes to look upon.

Our son, Jesus Christ is always there.
Just a cloud away.
Sometimes bright, sometimes hiding, but always there.

Look directly at Him this week. Talk to Him. Listen to Him.
Thank Him.

Face the Son and be blessed friends!

Friday, January 11, 2013


Today I googled images for the word balance...

There were pictures of a scale, a woman on a balance beam, rocks stacked on top of one another, new balance shoes, a tight rope walker, a yin and yang symbol,  a woman on an exercise ball, and a pie chart.

Next, I looked up the definition of balance- Here is what I found...

a state of equilibrium, equal distribution of weight, mental steadiness or emotional stability, habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc.

Isn't this what we are all seeking?
We want balance.
We want to feel a mental steadiness, a calmness, a peace.

How do we do this?

When I saw the image of the pie chart, I couldn't help but think about what my own pie chart would look like. Would God have the greatest portion shaded? Would family? Would friends.

So, today I plan on making my pie chart!  Not sure what it will look like yet because I need to take an honest inventory of my priorities first.

What does your pie chart look like?

I'll end with this...
When you focus on the Lord, your life will come into balance, and all the areas of your life will be blessed.
Seems so simple doesn't it?

At least I know where to start  in my search for balance...

The Lord.

Be blessed and may you move and sway with your day today!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Just a moment...

The bubble squeezes out slowly from the wand.

It lands a second away on the grass,

We watch. We wait. Soon it will pop

Just a moment.

That bubble held on longer than most.

And we did too.

We caught it.

In those few seconds we caught a bit of time we will never find again.

to watch my sweet weston stare at the bubble...
to watch the bubble hold on...
to watch my mom smile...

all a blessing.

How many moments did you catch today?
How many moments did you miss?

I wish I could say I "stay in the moment" all the time.
I don't.
Life gets busy, it's fast. We get caught up in what's behind us
or what's ahead of us. We often miss what is right in front of us.

Just a moment... find a few tomorrow.
Breathe them all in! 

Remember them, and be blessed!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Christa Wells is one of the most talented Christian Indie artists I have heard in awhile. Her voice is truly angelic and brings a peace inside of me, especially when she sings, Image of God. This song is about our brokenness. Yet, when we bring our brokenness to the foot of the cross, He makes us whole. If you have a few moments this evening, close your eyes, take a few breaths, and let her words blend into your soul.

Be Blessed.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


I'm keeping my words few tonight. 

I read this earlier and it struck a few chords in me.

"You will either step forward into growth or you will step back into safety."

Hmmm, think about that this week!

Onward Ever, Backward Never.

Be Blessed Friends!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

listen to your silence

What does your silence sound like?
Isn't' that some sort of oxymoron?
Shouldn't our silence be just that--- free from sound?

My silence doesn't work that way though.
My silence carries sound.

In my silence, there is a voice.
That voice. That spirit. It has been there long time.
The Holy Spirit.

While jogging this morning, I was listening to a song
 by the Ting Ting's called- Silence.

It has the perfect beat.
But what I liked most about it was the message.

Listen to your silence.
They repeated that line again and again.
I needed to hear it.

Tomorrow I am trying that.
I will listen to my silence.
In that stillness may His voice
ring loud and clear.

My silence is His voice.

Be Blessed.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Creative Challenge # 1

I have a challenge for you. 
It's a fun challenge. 
It's a mixed media challenge!

I love love love mixed media art. This is basically a technique in which more than one medium is used. There is nothing greater than starting with a blank canvas and knowing you can add layers and layers of fun on top of it. Kinda like a plain vanilla cupcake--- add a layer of caramel and sea salt and you have a WHOLE new cupcake. (yes, I had one today)! 

So I found this picture below in my Ikea book tonight. I glued the words "life is full of open fields" on the page. This week I plan to add a few more layers to my picture. There is a very good chance I will add a layer of spray glitter to top it all of. Sorry, the glitter obsession must go on (at least for a bit longer). 

So, here's where you come in. 

Find a picture-- tear it out of a magazine- take a picture with a camera, use a page from an old book! It's up to you-- be creative! 

When you are finished with your art--send me picture via facebook or email (alhussell@gmail.com). Anyone who submits their picture will get a free lettering print on a book page of their choice from me to YOU! 

Step out.
Find a picture.
Give it a makeover!
Be creative!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Wish Tree

Hello All!

Happy Third day of the New Year!
Who's still motivated?

Each year I do the whole goal-setting thing, create my vision board (I'll blog about that later) and aspire to do things a bit better than I did the year before.

I started thinking about ways our family can help others this year and came up with the idea to create a Wish Tree. I found a branch in my backyard, spray painted it silver, and added a dusting of glitter.

The hubby and I came up with 12 acts of kindness our family can do each month of the year. Hoping this is something we can continue on through the years with our children... passing along the idea that it is important to improve ourselves but just as important to meet the needs of others around us!

So here is our tree.

It sits on a table as you come in our house. So.... there is no excuse whatsoever that I forget about following through with this idea!

Happy New Years My Friends!
What did you do with your family to bring in the New Year?
I would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


i am trying something different this year.

an idea from mom (again).

an idea that starts with one word.
one word that is the focus of your year.
one word that you want to sum up the next 365 days.
one word that can change your perspective a bit.

so it's easy.
pick a word.
you have plenty to choose from.
think about it.
use it.

here's mine...

i like this word. i want this word to like me this year.
i hope to have more discipline in my health, my art, my marriage, my relationship with God, and my work. this is a tough word, but like i said, i like it.

when i'm tired..discipline.
when i'm weak..discipline.
when i'm mad...discipline.
when I feel like not running...discipline.

so here we go.
another year.
let the good times (along with the bad) roll.
and in the mean time, pick a word!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

What can a pair of glitter shoes teach you today?


I've always loved it.

I used it as a child for most of my art projects.

I wore it on my face in middle school in high school. (You did too, Loren)!

I just love the sparkle. The shine. The way it brightens up a plain old white piece of paper.

So what's the lesson in all this?

My mom was always notorious for finding the "lesson or God connection" to almost every life experience. And because of this I am always looking for that little lesson, that connection to everyday life experiences.

As I covered my flats in a layer of modge podge and glitter I thought about how this is much like our everyday lives. We are always covering up aren't we?

Make Up. Warm Coats. Socks. Hair Color. Nail Polish. Fancy Cars.
These things make us feel pretty, warm, significant, loved.

All these things are okay. I appreciate those things.  But at the end of the day, what matters most is what covers our hearts and minds.
What we have inside of us is what God places His lens upon.

I hope my heart and mind have a little glitter, a little shine, and a little extra sparkle because I know my heavenly father Loves me and cares for me all the days of my life. I hope my thoughts and words are coated in love, in grace, and in peace.

Today is a dreary, dull day here in Mount Holly. God must haven't wanted it that way. I'll put on my glitter shoes later, walk out into the world, and remember how is love for us shines and sparkles whether we can see the sunshine or not.

So the moral of this lesson (mom)...

God made glitter- Use it!


1. Find a pair of flats (any color will work) and paint one half of the shoe with Modge Podge.

2. After applying a liberal coat, sprinkle a generous amount of glitter onto the shoe. I used the Recollections brand in Champagne (extra fine) from Michael's. Allow the shoe to dry, then repeat the same steps on the other half of the shoe.

3. Give your flat another coat of Modge Podge and glitter. I gave the "toe" an extra layer since it will get the most wear and tear.

4. Let dry and "obviously" repeat the steps on your other flat.

5. To finish, spray on a clear acrylic sealer. I bought Patricia Nimrock's sealer from Michaels.

Ta-Da-- you are finished!
Warning- Be prepared to leave a little trail of glitter with your steps! It's okay, the world can always use a little more sparkle.