May 12, 2014

:thoughts on community // coffee date #1:


i have shared on many occasions how this crazy clan came to be. it all started with an invitation. putting yourself out there can be a scary thing. i know this from experience. there are many scars and shards of the brokenness that has come as a result of letting my guard down. yet the beauty that followed was far worth the risk. the beauty of friendship and community and worship are rare and precious treasures that i do not take for granted. we do not take this gift for granted and we do not desire to hide it only for ourselves. in an effort to continue in the beauty of community we invited the internet to coffee. 

seven beautiful ladies showed up from all around the area. hugs were exchanged upon meeting and saying goodbye. conversations were shared around two tiny tables while laughter filled the sunshiny sky and my heart overflowed in response to this gift. the gift of sharing our stories. i heard their stories, they heard mine and i left with a swarm of words that followed me throughout the weekend. we were not the same age. we were not in the same life stages. we may not have the same interest. we were not all married, not all mothers but we were all women with the desire to make deeper connections and that is all it takes. it starts with an invitation and it ends with the beauty of community. 

our next coffee meet-up will be june 7th, 2014 at starbucks in hickory, nc 1342 2nd street northeast. please join us if you can. there are no requirements just a willingness to step out of your comfort zone! follow along on instagram for more details // @melissabeaver @alilittle28 @jonilwarren


these words so resonated with me after our sweet little meeting. i hope they do the same for you.
"blessed is the influence of one human soul on another"
-george eliot. 

April 16, 2014

:thoughts on being RAD // FREE PRINTABLE:


i am a list maker, note taker & paper lover. 
i make them in my head and on my phone but i am so much more likely to complete 
said tasks if they are on paper right in front of me. enter, the RAD to-do list, 
created with pen & paper via yours truly.
get yours here for FREE and make today the DAY of RAD.

p.s. these RAD photos were compliments of my budding photographer: the Coopster. 

p.p.s for more RAD paper products check out my shop


April 8, 2014

:thoughts on community // it all starts with an invitation:

they walked in a tad late and sat quietly near the door. the room was full and the introvert in me was glad i could fade into the background. five months pregnant with our first child, i was super fashionable in american eagle sweatpants & a hoodie. i don't remember talking with them there, at that first meeting. i do remember sitting across from them at dinner one night, with the same group of people. we chatted about nursing school, which she was enduring & the hopefulness of motherhood. 

somewhere along the way there came an invitation. an invitation to gather around the table. to break bread. to know and be known. the first time we graced her table, she prepared her signature dish, fettuccine alfredo with broccoli & mushrooms. we placed three tiny ones at a table near the window and gathered round her table for the first time not knowing it would become a tradition of sorts for our families in the years to come.
now sundays hold a place in our lives a reservation of sorts. the invitation stands unless otherwise noted. when we arrive we no longer knock on doors, we walk right in like family. we greet one another with hugs and high fives for the kiddos. we hold one another's babies we make meals together as we talk about the week and tend to bruises and scrapes from little ones at play. we shuffle babies, change diapers and wipe tears. we say things like " here, let me take her so you can eat." we ask questions that never get answered. we start and stop conversations a million times. we laugh. we know to where to find glasses and silverware, or at least i do, wink wink. we pour glasses of wine to start our evening and cups of coffee to end it. 
these are my people. my tribe. my i've got your back no matter what. my call and i'll be there. the ones who know us right down to the bones and love us anyway. the ones who laugh when we laugh and cry when we cry. the ones who show up with coffee and meals when new babies arrive or they are just in the neighborhood. the ones who push me to be more, better, stronger just by living their jesus with skin on lives and it all started with an invitation. 

March 24, 2014

:thoughts on motherhood // the one on one project:

he woke up a few minutes before seven like he always does. the girls we had to drag out of bed sleepy-eyed for breakfast. after yogurt and cheerios were consumed i helped tiny feet through the holes of pants, combed hair and gave a tight squeeze to each one. all three were loaded into our car and the girls dropped off at grandma's. 

we could have left them all there for the day. they love grandma and she loves them and every parent needs a little time to themselves. yet we didn't. we invited the boy to spend the day with us. we want to know our children more so we are taking strides to spend time with them one-on-one. the little guy was excited for a day with mom and dad. he was not, however, excited about the long-time road, a.k.a. the interstate, we would be taking to our destination. 
rain fell heavy the entire day.
we wanted to eat at our favorite restaurant but ran out of time and there is always a wait. jacob dropped us at the door of another restaurant because he is always teaching that boy what it looks like to care for a family. he doesn't say it. he just lives it on the daily. working hard. loving well. giving of self. laughing & playing & bringing joy to those around him.

while we waited on daddy to park the car we snuggled and watched the rain. he's nearly five and i know these things are fleeting. so i held him tight and breathed a prayer of thanks for a moment such as this. a moment of him and only him. a moment of peace. a moment frozen in time, burned in my memory. 

this is us on the journey of parenthood. it's messy and ugly and also holy and gloriously beautiful if we have eyes to see it.

how do you manage one-on-one time with your little ones?





March 19, 2014

:thoughts on art // FREE PRINTABLE:



because everyone needs a bit of encouragement from time to time, here is a FREE PRINTABLE from me to you. thank you for being a constant encouragement to me as i share my heart and my art in this space. 

there are some new prints in my shop! i'd love for you to stop by and share your favorites!


March 4, 2014

:thoughts on faith // the lenten season:




growing up Lent was not a word that circulated around our church. it was not a practice i was familiar with until well into my twenties when i began to learn how Chrisitans outside of the denomination in which i was raised, lived out their faith. i soon fell in love with liturgy and all the practices that go along with the liturgical year. 

lent is a season of preparation for the resurrection of Christ, a.k.a. Easter. a season that calls for reflection and repentance, self-denial and change. 

the first year i celebrated lent, i gave up coffee. i am sorry to say that this did not draw me closer to God. in fact, there were times where i questioned his existence all together. i'm kidding. Sort of. 

as i've grown in my understanding of the seasons of advent and lent i have learned that these are times of refocusing. times of renewal and beauty. i have a great appreciation for the season and i am trying to teach my children the same. 

we sat down yesterday and i began explaining the season as simply as i could. they surprised me by how intently they listened and the questions that followed. here are a few things that came from our discussion:
we are giving up complaining for Lent. our verse for the next forty days that will be in plain view daily is philippians 2:14. you can get the free printable here. as i was reading different versions i came across the message and was instantly drawn to its phrasing. instead of do everything without complaining, it reads do everything readily and cheerfully, no bickering. i spend a good amount of my time refereeing around my home. so the no bickering clicked right away. i also love the positive spin of how to practice instead of how not to practice. when we say the verse aloud we speak the part "readily and cheerfully" with our hands cupped around our mouths in our best "lets get ready to rummmmmmbbbllleeeeeee" voice. this makes it light and fun and has since turned many heated moments into moments of silliness. 

we are giving 40 gifts for 40 days. i want my children to love others. we talk about blessings constantly.  god uses us to bless one another through our time and talents and generosity. so we sat down and began a list of forty people and forty gifts we can give. they aren't fancy gifts, just small reminders to think of others. we always delight in doing for others which is such a great way to emphasize the joy found in giving. some of our gifts ideas are m&m's, cookies, homemade rag dolls, hugs, cards, artwork and more. they have included friends and strangers to bless and i am really excited to get started! 
i have a passage of scripture that i will be reading and memorizing throughout the season as well as a few
books i'll be reading: 

God Is On The Cross, Reflections on Lent and Easter by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Eastertide, Prayers for Lent Through Easter from The Divine Hours by Phillis Tickle 
City of God, Faith in the Streets by Sara Miles


i'd love to hear your thoughts on Lent!


February 20, 2014

:thoughts on motherhood // FREE PRINTABLE:

this is a constant theme around our home. seeking to live out love through patience and kindness. this setting aside of ourselves in order to focus on and bless others. it starts at home, mother teresa said, it is not how much we do but how much love we put into that action. 

i told jacob, i want to learn first corinthians 13 with the children, picking a few verses each week until we have it memorized. that was a month ago and we are still on verse four. i read it daily to myself and at least once a week with the children. we talk about ways we can practice being patient. we think of ways we can show kindness to one another. each week we come back to it and realize we haven't quite mastered it. i don't know that we ever will and i believe there is grace for that. so for now we are camping out here. i am happy to stay a while soaking up love and grace along the way. 

i hope you'll join me on the journey. in an effort to encourage you, you can DOWNLOAD THIS FREE PRINT, here.






February 18, 2014

:thoughts on marriage // valentine's edition:

we woke up just like any other day, except we were at his parents house. due to the winter storm we camped out there with all the darlings to enjoy sledding and snow cream and all the goodness of childhood memories in the making. as you well know he is the more playful one. the one that stays out until tiny fingers and toes are nearly frozen then brings them in for thawing and cuddles. i dress and undress them in seventeen layers each because southerners are so ill-prepared for snow we close schools and even walmart when the flakes start falling. 

on this day, that was just like any other day, we did not offer special gifts of candies or flowers. that's not our thing. we offered hugs and kisses and the knowing glance, of yes, this is just fine with me. once the snow began to melt we collected our little ones and made our way home. there we had take out and spent the evening snuggling the three we love most in this world. once sleep overcame them we fell into the couch, the one worn by the bouncy feet of four year old boy and many years of a growing family. 

the next day he sent me off for a run, because he knows how much i love it and how much i struggle to get away. the to-do list is so long and there is always something to interfere, some excuse to be offered. yet he knows what i need and makes way for my needs to be met. i came home to grab a shower for date night, so graciously provided by my mom. there under the door i found my favorite thing in all the world. Words. kind words, words of affirmation are truly medicine for my soul. my soul that is often weary in this journey of faith and motherhood. this journey of living out the love and calling to the upside-down kingdom of jesus. this journey of figuring out how i fit my small, every day things in the big bring-heaven-to-earth message that jesus taught. he gave the gift no money can buy. exactly what my heart needed. yes this, this is what love looks like for us. 



February 6, 2014

:what i'm into // january edition:


january has been a blur. even though we have committed our days to slowing down they still seem to have moved at warp speed when looking back. i usually spend most of january recovering from the rush of december. we do a lot of purging and organizing. the month of january also has me in birthday mode with two girlies to celebrate early in february. none-the-less i have been into things that might peak your interest. 

read and reading

i read Pastrix by Nadia Boltz-Weber and loved it. she's raw and genuine in her love for jesus and others. i love how transparent she is with her feelings. she's not perfect and doesn't pretend to be. a recovering alcoholic and cynic turned lover is just sheer beauty to me.

also read Unschooling Rules by Aldrich Clark
this is a great read for anyone considering the path of home education. he gives many benefits to an alternative style of teaching our children. this is our second year homeschooling but i found the book encouraging for our journey.

as a read aloud with the children this month i choose Robber's Daughter by Astrid Lindgren. when i read the first chapter there were some harsh words and phrases which made me question if it was appropriate for my little first grader and four year old that would listen in. i read a bunch of reviews that sang its praises so we read on and i'm so glad we did. this book is about a girl learning to be herself. learning to be honest and do the right thing when those around her do not. it's about a father's great love for his daughter and her great love for her friend. i highly recommend it. 

currently i'm reading Free to Learn by Peter Gray. two chapters in and it is rocking my world. also, picked up Take This Bread by Sara Miles and started it last night before bed. i think i'm going to like it as well. she shares about her conversion via the eucharist and how she started food pantries and began feeding people all across the state in response. 

not sure what our next read aloud will be for the children for now we are returning to little house on the prairie. we go back to it often in between the other things we are reading. so much knowledge and life lessons to be gained in the stories told. 

tv

i watched the following, season one. it was disappointing but a good filler while folding laundry. parenthood leaves me in tears every single week. we are waiting for the return of the walking dead and scandal. 

music

i've been listening to all sons and daughters or gungor in the mornings. when the kids are outdside playing or i'm cleaning house i crank up dashboard confessional or the cure radio. throughout the rest of the day we keep the pandora station set on Symphony no. 5. it plays a beautiful mixture of classical music from many different composers. 

things i love

running. my husband is training for a half marathon and has been encouraging me to do the same. i've always loved running but i've never been a long distance runner. i'm setting goals and working toward them! 

coffee dates with this gal and this one scheming about something awesome in 2014. 

sunday nights with friends. 

this piece of art that i hope to hang on my wall soon. 

date nights often granted by loving parents that are amazing grandparents. 

this is a perfect gift for teachers or friends or your kiddos as a sweet surprise! use code VALENTINE to save 15%. also the more you buy the more you save so check out the bundles.
i would love it if you joined me in this!  follow me on instagram @melissabeaver and #thefunmomproject to see all the goodness. 

taking pictures of my kiddos in case you hadn't noticed. here are two that i love!
what are you into?





February 3, 2014

:thoughts on motherhood // the year of fun:

we let her sleep in our bed the night before her big day. as we tucked her in i reminisced about that same night seven years before. jacob looked at me from the other side of her and smiled that knowing smile. the one that lets me know we are on the same page and makes me weak in the knees all at the same time. i told her how we were going to bed and when i laid down my body told me she would be here soon. she didn't ask for details, she doesn't need them yet. her little heart simply needs only the details of how big our love is for her. jacob told her how it snowed the day she was born. that part of the story, her story, is magical in her eyes because she loves snow and we don't get it often. what a birthday present for such a tiny one!

after snuggles and giggles we tucked her in and gave her kisses knowing when she awoke the next morning the realization of a full year come and gone would fall heavy on this mama heart. 

the birthday girl told me her desired theme for the party and we went to work late in the night to make it happen. birthdays are a very big deal around here. we celebrate the person like crazy, but we keep things simple. birthdays are always celebrated here at our little home. we invite our family and close friends to join in the fun. this means 30-35 people cram into our place and not a complaint is made. conversation and laughter ring from wall to wall. children run in and out. doors are left open. dirt is tracked everywhere and i couldn't be happier, for my little one is truly celebrated. 
we had some special time together this weekend. i talked her into a photo session for her seventh birthday. seven must be documented, i told her. after a couple of outfit choices she landed on the new blue dress gifted by her mimi. add a scarf, a sweater and a top knot and we were off. we went down town and walked around. she looked in shop windows and admired cars that went down the road. she giggled with her new dolly, francine and insisted she accompany her in the photos. i didn't mind. i stayed up late sewing francine as a surprise on her special day. eisley has a deep love for the eiffel tower and all things paris. so francine was made of this fabric and the birthday girl was elated. 
after a ton of photos we made a stop by goodwill. there she picked out a bell for herself and a car for her brother and we finally found a beautiful sheet for the back part of the quilt we are making, we headed home. on the way we talked about year seven. i suggested we give it a name. i offered several suggestions and she turned those gorgeous green eyes to the sky as she thought hard. the year of fun, she said. yes, the year of fun is perfect! i went on to explain that we could make even the things we didn't love so much fun because we are together and that alone brings joy. we topped that off with a little tickle session because, FUN! 
 S E V E N ---> THE YEAR OF FUN