Monday, August 20, 2012

Ella's Party

My daughter Ella LOVES Elmo!

So for her birthday party I decided to do an "Elmo's World" theme. 

I went scouring the internet for inspiration

and here's what I came up with...

Elmo's World DIY style:

I made an Elmo cake

 What 2 year old doesn't like goldfish crackers? :)))

Mr. Noodle's noodles (aka macaroni salad)

 Cookie Monster's cookies

Rosita's chips & salsa

Abby's apple juice

I made all the labels myself, but you can also order them from Etsy

I wish I had gotten a picture of the whole table from the front, but between kids and kids, it just never happened...

The Birthday Girl enjoying  "Elmo's pizza"
{which was also on the table but didn't make it into the pictures}

 Pool party! 

 food & friends

  Make a wish!

All the little buddies eating cake together. Aren't they cute?!

Don't worry we hosed them off afterward :)

Present time!

Happy Birthday Ella Bear!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Ella

Two years ago today, 

my sweet Ella Joy,

you were born.

In one miraculous,

God ordained moment,

you greeted the world for the first time,

and the heavenlies celebrated...

the world would never be the same again.

The moment I looked at you

my heart was changed forever.

The reflection looking back at me
would never be the same.

With one breathe

and one gaze,

my universe shifted.

A mother was born.

My precious baby,

my world changer,

you have brought your daddy and me more joy than you will ever know,

 and have taught us more about love and life than you ever intended to.

It is hard for me to even remember what life was like before you?

I had no clue before this day two years ago

of my heart's capacity for love...

no idea of the incredible destiny that was waiting for me in you,

or how much I needed you in my life.

The easiest thing I ever did was love you and I thank God for you every day.

 Your beginning,

began my greatest adventure.

Happy 2nd Birthday my kind, silly, joyful, spirited, 

adventurous, fun, 

loving little girl.

I love everything about you.



Friday, August 10, 2012

Some thoughts about blogging

When I started blogging two+ months ago, I just wanted to write.  I wanted to share the things that I was processing and learning.  I wanted an outlet for my creativity.  I wanted to bless others.

I had no idea what i was getting myself into....

I had no idea about blog hops or advertising and didn't have a clue about twitter (still don't get twitter.)   I just wanted to make a lovely little space online that people could go to for refreshment, encouragement and maybe even once in a while just to be able to laugh with me or, at me as I attempted to verbally process through life on the world wide web.

But the "blogosphere" is a strange little world isn't it?

It sucks you in.

Everyone in it is working so hard to gain followers.

Everybody wants to be the big blog on the block.

It seems that if you aren't blogging every day...

If you don't have a budget for giveaways and advertising, and fancy blog designs, then at at times it can feel like you are an unimportant little fish in a very full pond.

If you aren't promoting, promoting, promoting then you won't gain followers, and if you don't have a large following, then that must mean that your blog isn't any good right?....hmmm...

So I did it, I jumped on the bandwagon because that is what bloggers do...right?

I didn't have a budget for ads so I began working harder to promote via social media, button swaps and blog hoppin'

Only here is the problem....

I have two babies in diapers,

I have a marriage to work on

and a home to care for.

I have a relationship with Jesus to cultivate

and I need sleep!

I don't have space in my life for a love affair with social media.

I don't do well with balance,

I just don't. Never have...

I am sort of an all-or-nothing kind of gal

I love to be creative, and I am a free-spirit which is both a good thing and a vice.  A vice because I can get so focused on a project, or caught up in a moment that I neglect everything else around me that needs me attention.

I love blogging, I really do,

But I have been an out of balance and unhealthy blogger because I have forgotten one key part to this whole blog thing....

God called me to start a blog, NOT a business.

  When I first started this blog I felt like God told me that HE had an audience for me.

He never asked me to reach x amount of followers, or advertise or any of it- that is something I put on myself - because that's what all the other blogs were doing.

Since I started believing the lie that value of what I put on the web was defined by how many people visited my blog or followed it- everything in life has felt out of balance and I feel like my home and family have suffered.  I have suffered.  I need to get back to my love for homemaking and motherhood, and spending time with Jesus - the very things that inspired my writing in the first place.

So I guess what I am saying is that I need to slow down.  Blogging for me needs to flow out of a life that I am fully embracing and living; not out of a responsibility to blog so I can gain a following, or grow a business, or keep up with the "Blogging Jones.'"  Sometimes I feel like the blogosphere can be a little bit like high school...only the popular girls are alot nicer ;)

You likely won't catch a brand new post on my blog every day, but you will find me blogging when I feel inspired to, or when time allows.  That could mean every couple of days or every couple of weeks, it just depends on life.  I refuse to write something just so that I have a post for that day.  I want to truly believe in and be proud of what I have produced every single time I hit the publish button. For me, that takes time.

I don't want to my material to be dominated by what people will or won't read. My blog is an expression of me, not an expression of what I think others want to read...
I am choosing for now, not to be concerned with numbers and stats.  I don't even know if it all really means anything anyway? I don't want people to follow me because they had to for a giveaway, or  because I hosted a blog hop.  I want people to follow me because they enjoy my material.  I want readers not just followers. Ok, lets be honest, how many times have you followed a blog that you really didn't feel that much of a connection to just so that you could enter a giveaway or because they were co-hosting a link-up. Who has time to read all these blogs that they are following? Maybe its just me, but I don't!

Whether five people or five hundred people read my blog in a day I will rejoice.  If five people are inspired because of my blog, then my job is done and I will be happy because those five people matter. They matter to me, and they matter to Jesus.

Please understand that I am not trying to bash other bloggers!  This is just my personal opinion and conviction.  The blogging community is a wonderful thing, and has been a blessing to me in many ways.  I have learned so much from other bloggers, and networking has led me to some great blogs that I am truly excited about following.

This also doesn't mean you won't ever find me linking-up, hosting a give-away, or popping up on social media sites.  I just need to make sure that I am doing these things with the right intentions and stewarding my time spent doing them.  

I have decided that I don't need to be a big fish to swim in the pond, I just want to be there because I enjoy swimming.

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