Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Me & My Gang | {K's Art 2012} Balloons

What is it about balloons that make children happy?

I'm on a tight schedule today, but I did want to drop by and wish you a day full of childlike happiness.

Blessings,
Anna

Friday, June 22, 2012

Thinking Out Loud | {Inspiration} Promises & Piggybacks

~ via ~
Every day after work I’m greeted by the most precious emerald eyed little girl.

She does one of two things every time I come home.

She runs and hides behind a piece of furniture expecting me to play along like I can’t find her.

I usually loudly proclaim that I really wish Kenzie was around because I need an after work hug.

Or she bulldozes me over (bags and all) and yells “MOMMY, let’s play!”  

Play usually means piggyback rides.

Yes, piggyback rides right after a long day’s work when all I really want to do is sit down and free my mind for a moment.

I usually shake off the tired and run around the house like a wild horse and when I’m just about to faint, I make a piggyback promises for the next day.

Except this day I said “not today Kenzie, mommy is exhausted”.

She stood and looked at me with a blank stare and said “but yesterday you said tomorrow”.

She was right.  I had made a promise… a date for a piggyback ride.

When I saw her face, I knew she had taken my promise serious.

She was expecting a piggyback ride.

I had made my promise as a casual offering, but a 4 year old little girl was depending on it.

Have you ever made a promise?

Has anyone ever made a promise to you?

Has anyone ever broken a promise to you?

Said they’d show up and didn’t.

Said they will, but won’t.

It hurts, right?

This day, I was convicted in my heart to do better at not making casual promises, especially to my children.

Their trust is fragile and every broken promise chisels away at that trust.

They learn to trust us by us following through on what we say we will do.

They gain security in our words and depend on them to be true.

As small as it is to you and even when the very last thing you want to do that day is give a piggyback ride, I encourage you to keep your promise.

The other person may have been waiting for that promise ALL DAY.

Blessings,
Anna

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Encouragement | Little Wild Flowers


Okay, so I’ve driven by this field near my home a million times and never thought anything about it.

Honestly, I probably usually think they need to mow it and leave things a little nicer.

Do you remember my prayer?

I know God is HUGE and GREAT and is BIGGER than I can even comprehend, but a couple of years ago I invited Him to meet me at SIMPLE and show me His beauty in every day happenings.

Recently, I drove past this same field and the sun laid nicely on the green pasture and the white glistened like little diamonds everywhere.


This photo doesn’t even do what I saw justice.

Perhaps it’s because I snapped it with my phone.

Perhaps what I saw was only for me.

You can't see it in the photo, but there are literally thousands of the little beauties in this field.

I slowed down to absorb and at that moment and I knew God was right there with me answering my prayer and His simple beauty was AMAZING!

I drove away and pulled into my garage and looked at the photo above.

I thought to myself “this isn’t what I just saw”.

So, I went back to the field.

 I got out and looked at one of these little guys up close and the “little diamonds” were Queen Anne’s Lace...I had to research it, I didn't know that right off.


Do florist even get a penny for these?  Doubt it.
 
But here I was, yes the crazy lady in your neighboring field clipping them like they were roses. 

Why, because His beauty over shadowed the worth of this little wild flower. 

What am I saying?

I’m offering you corn pudding today.  I know it’s corny, but it’s on my heart.

God can do GREAT things with a SIMPLE heart, a simple man, a simple offering...a simple wild flower.

And me, well I'm just a simple girl forever needing to be covered in grace.


Do you ever feel like a wild flower?

Not worth much. 

Certainly not in the “Rose” category.

And there is no way you’ll ever measure up to the Lily.

I know I do.

The good news, if we let God soak us until we are dripping with His spirit and unconditional love for others, we become wanted and sought after.


Comfort will be found in His beauty in you and what God intended for your life.

A wild flower, for everyday beauty.

Just like these little beauties that are now on my patio.

I’m soaking up every ounce of His beauty through them and I thought I'd share it with you.


P.S. Allen came home and said “what's the deal with the weeds?” He was joking, but there is a little truth in every joke, right?  Yes, I could have easily taken it as an insult, but I took it as a confirmation that this blessing was just between me and God and an answer to a simple girl's prayer to meet me at simple.

Blessings,

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Simple Things | {6.17.12} Simply You

We don't tell you enough, but you are loved and all you do matters.

Your simple presence in the home adds security, stability and a love that is irreplaceable.


Your touch that is so sensitive to our baby girl.




Your voice that consistently teaches our son.

Today, we celebrate simply you being a part of us and adding so much to our little family.

Happy Father's Day!

Blessings, 
Anna


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Me & My Gang | {Father's Day} A Son's Notes


Today, Allen (my husband and father to my children) was asked to speak during morning worship for Father's Day.  

Although he didn't stick to his notes entirely, I thought I would share them (with permission) in honor of Donnie and all the fathers that give endlessly and love unconditionally.

I know the notes will not even come close to the heartfelt tribute that took place, but I hope you can feel the love that was shared today in our morning service.

Happy Father's Day!

~ Fathers Day 2012 ~
{by Allen Bledsoe}
I am thankful to be able to give honor to my father today. My dad first became a father in March of 1972 and very shortly he realized that the responsibilities of Fatherhood far outweighed anything he had faced to that point. Now that I am a father myself, I can certainly relate to all those times he said "one day you'll understand" or "one day you'll thank me". Well Dad, today is that day......Thank you for everything!!! Thank you for holding to your convictions even when it would have been easier to give in. Thank you for the prayer covering that kept me safe. Thank you for loving my children, they both adore you!! The very fact that I'm here standing before you speaks volumes about the influence my Dad has had in my life.  As I was preparing for this tribute to my father and what a true picture of a Father's love was, I was reminded of a certain story in the Old Testament about King David.  I'll admit that the role of Father is not the first thing I think of when I think about this mighty warrior of both battle and worship and beloved anointed King. You see, this was a very difficult time in David's life. His son Absalom had conspired against him to take his throne and David's armies and Absalom's armies  were at war. Even though Father and son were at odds David had given the order not to harm Absalom, after all this was his son ....and he loved him dearly.  Upon learning of Absalom's death in battle, this was David's response........(2 Samuel 18:33 KJV) And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!......I can't think of any purer picture of a Father's love for his son than this. No, I have never wanted or tried to kill my father, but I am confident that his heart has been broken many times as he watched me make mistakes and know that all he could do was love me anyway and cover me with prayer. It was just a few years ago that I found myself in an extremely dark place, I was definitely at a crossroad in life and not in any shape to make choices and decisions that would affect the rest of my life. I remember one afternoon dad showed up on my doorstep unannounced and I was NOT happy about it and did not want him there. You see I was not looking for his advise and I made my feelings clear to him. I am ashamed of the way I treated him and the way I talked to him. As any good Father would do he came on in and after he took my abuse he offered me this statement " imagine Ethan drowning in the middle of the Lake, would you not do everything in your power to save him and keep him from drowning?", then after my response of " of course I would" he said "son, what am I supposed to do? Am I to just stand back and watch you drown?This man that I have always seen as the toughest  man I have ever known had just softened my heart with his love and it is because of his love that I can stand here before you today a different man and honor my Dad. Some may think this is a lofty comparison, to compare my Dad to a king, but I am pretty sure there have been times when just like King David, that my Dad would have taken my place if he could have.  I'll leave you with this last memory to lighten things up a bit. It was right before Christmas one year and I was framing a house for a Builder that Dad and I had both known for quite some time. I was having a small disagreement with this contractor about getting a payment for the work we had done . After realizing that neither of us was going to back down he left and went down the road to another house. Well the more I thought about it, the madder I became and I went to that house to finish our " discussion". After a few minutes, in great disgust he growled " Boy, your just like your Daddy!" and   my response was to growl back " thank you very much, I'll take that as a complement!" To this very day if you want to pay me a complement, simply say to me " your just like your Dad" I still can't think of any higher honor.

I love you Dad ! Happy Father's Day!!!!!

Blessing,
Anna

Friday, June 15, 2012

Me & My Gang | The Story of E {Happy ONE TWO!}

~ Random Thoughts of E’s Journey to the Big ONE TWO ~

Currently he enjoy...
Loafing {just like any TWEEN}
Baseball
Video Games
Making Survival Cord Watches/Bracelets
Doritos {he usually love them a half bag at a time}
Testing His Limits {see below}
Being Creative
Making People Laugh
Aggravating His Sister
Eating Ice
Music {he is the best "name that tune" guy around}


I always knew Ethan would be feisty.

I’m fairly certain he thought there were monkey bars in my tummy.

From the moment I saw him, I loved him.

Love greater than anything I’d ever known.


From the moment he could talk (right out of the womb) he was funny.

Seriously, I think I’ve laughed at this child every day since he was born.

The first time he was sick, I knew it before there were really any symptoms.

It’s true, a mom knows.

At 7 months old he got pneumonia.

I can remember watching him sleep and watching to make sure his itty-bitty chest was moving.


He was unfortunate to have ears with flat canals instead of inclined, so we spent a lot of time sleeping upright to help his comfort when enduring an ear infection.

There were several nights we both cried ourselves to sleep.

He’d cry and I’d cry right along with him.

I remember his best friend and never leave home without it sippy cup that he carried under his arm everywhere he went like a little wino.  ;-)

Here a drink, there a drink.


Pre-school was a big change for him.

I thought we’d never get through the transition, but it wasn’t too long he was running the place and set up camp in all the teacher’s hearts.

His best bud is Drew Taylor.

They’ve done most everything together since birth.

Ethan is always on guard for Drew.

Ethan’s Kindergarten teacher told us that she just knew she’d see him on TV one day or the Presidential campaign trail.

She said her mom would call her to get the latest scoop on Ethan.

You see, Ethan has always made people laugh with his wit.


From an early age we determined that he was extremely social.

He doesn’t really like the spotlight, but he loves people and LOVES to talk.

When Ethan was 5, he fell and sliced his chin open.

Our first major accident and our first ER visit.

Let me tell you, I hurt.

My heart ached having to watch him go through pain.

He was a champ and we got through it.


I remember when he told us he thought he was ready to be baptized.

It melted my heart.

He said “Mom, I really think I’m ready, but….”

I said “but what Ethan”.

He said “it’s just, I’ve done so much that I’m not sure baptism is okay for me”

At that point in time I got to teach the most amazing story of all to my E of God’s love and forgiveness to cover our sins.

After all, what’s the most a 10 year old could have done?


Fast forward a little bit and here we stare the teenage years in the face.

Me scratching my head thinking how did this happen and him pushing the envelope reminding me almost daily that he’s soon to be a teenager.

Why?  Why must he do that?

So, here we are E!  The big 12!  The year before you’re a teenager.

I look back at all the sleepless nights, the countless “hold you mommy”, the art projects gone bad, the nights before school projects are due, ALL THE HOMEWORK, the performances, the baseball games, the football games, the 400 million questions you’ve asked since you could talk, the noisy boy syndrome, the rocks and sticks in the laundry, the holes in your jeans, all the boo boos, all the kiss and make it betters, all the I’m sorry and I forgive yous, but most of all, all the love, joy and growth.

Ethan, it’s been such a joy watching you learn, grow, discover and become who you are today.

I wouldn't trade it for ANYTHING!


You are mine and your dad’s one BIG experiment in life.

We’ve never been parents to a 12 year old before.

But I can assure you one thing, whatever comes our way in the years to come, we’ll get through it just like before.

You are FOREVER our June Bug!

Happy 12th Birthday!!!

Love,
Mommy

P.S.  Thank you for giving me 20 minutes of your precious TWEEN time to shoot these photos.  I know it’s not your favorite thing and you are too cool for the camera now.  One day, you’ll thank me.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Design | {Freebie} Father's Day Print

Last year, I did this quick last minute project with the kids for Father's Day.

Allen loved it!


I had a couple of people ask for the template.

So, I thought I would share it this year for any of those last minute folks out there looking for something quick and super cheap.

It's super easy!!!

Just print, trim to fit 8x10 frame, stamp hands and frame.

This one was under $10 because I used the 50% off coupon at Michael's for the frame.

You can find the 2012 version HERE!

Enjoy!

Blessings, 
Anna

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Me & My Gang | T-W-E-L-V-E

Look who's the big ONE TWO!!!


Happy Birthday to my little-big boy!

I'll be back to to share my thoughts.  

For now, I'm continuing this crazy juggling act and heading to the West side of the state to get this guy to camp.

Blessings, 
Anna

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Simple Things {6.10.12} | Puppy Love


I can count a hundred things that's wrong with this photo and why it doesn't measure to the standard of Simple Things Sunday, except that it makes me smile and it captures a relationship that is truly unique.

Zoe became part of our family about the same time K did.

She was a gift to E for his birthday after a few years of begging.

I love animals, but had to adjust to the idea of a pet in the home and taking care of one more breathing thing.

Zoe and the kiddos have a very special bond that I believe is only present between animal and child.

Zoe has watched over Kenzie since she was in the crib, sleeping beside her during naps, sniffing her when she cries and running from one end of the house to the other and from window to window to check on the kids when they are outside and she can't get to them.

Zoe has endured puppet shows, make-up sessions, wearing sunglasses, bracelets and tiaras and the good ole' choke hold that K tends to put on her when she "carries" her.

If Ethan isn't home, it's evident that Zoe misses him.

Zoe is very protective of the home.  Weighing in at a whopping 6 pounds, she is the first one to go running if an unfamiliar noise is heard or she suspects something foreign around the house.

We usually know someone is going to ring the door bell a minute or so before they actually do.

I think you get my point.

Never under estimate the warmth of a cold wet nose.

Blessing to you and yours on this beautiful Sunday.
Anna

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Design | {Before & After} DIY Chalkboard Frame


You may remember, I expressed my crush on chalkboards a few post back.

While this one doesn't even measure up to those that I pinned, I still tried my hand at it and wanted to share with you here.

When I saw this little beauty at a local thrift shop, I knew immediately it's new birth was to be a chalkboard.


I couldn't resist the thrifty find at $7.  Couple that with a $5 quart of chalkboard paint, a misting of Dover white spray paint (already had) and a lot of scrubbing and you have a $12 chalkboard.

Believe me, you can't find a chalkboard in this size for $12 anywhere!

The hardest part of the entire process was getting the old paper off.

I googled how and found a formula for half water and half fabric softener to dissolve/soften the paper so you can scrub it off with device of choice.  For me, it was the Mr's razor blade tool.

After 2 soaks and the entire family trying their hand at the scrubbing, I was ready for the chalk paint...a breeze compared to the last step.  I chose to do two coats.

Here's the little guy finished.

Well, I say finished, but I still have some touch up to do.  You'll see, white on black and black on white...Grrr!!!

 I also need to desperately practice my chalkboard writing/art skills...not a talent of mine.

Here it is anyway.  Enjoy!

  





Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Faith | The Sum of All Fears (What Do You Fear?)


My pastor hit a home run with me with one of his recent statements or questions.

What do you fear?

Well, a lot of things.

I fear failure.  I fear not being accepted.  I fear defeat.  I fear change.  I fear imperfection.  I fear not measuring up.

Are any of these familiar to you?

I could go on and on because insecurity is something the enemy has tagged and targeted with me.  Just being brutally honest here.

My pastor's point was as simple as this, do we fear God or man.

It could be asked this way.

Do we want to please God or man?

Where is our focus?

Do we fear (want to please) God, the almighty, the creator of the universe, the one that spoke light into existence, the one that gave His life for us?

Or man, our equal part, no better than us and will fail us unquestionably?

I think all of the examples of my fears fall into the category of fearing what men will think of me if I fail, or I’m not accepted, or I’m defeated or I’m not perfect or I don't measure up.

Our pastor pointed out that this type of mindset is an insult to God.

It’s an insult that we don’t strive to please Him FIRST in our daily living.

Do you fear God or man?

The question is simple, yet the answer hesitant.   

I really want to say yes and I really want my heart to be of the same result, but I must say that I have fallen into the trap of really caring what man thinks of me, yet forgetting the one that created me thinks I’m pretty AWESOME!!!

Why is this? Why do people forget God and only live to please man?

Man in his personal exaltation has invented for himself a system of reasoning influence by many things.

Media mostly…

If we have flawless beautiful skin, shiny locks, white teeth, drive a BMW, carry a COACH, keep and immaculate and organized home, our kids attend the best private schools and we are among the elite…all while sporting a 110lb frame…THEN…then I’m acceptable, successful, a champion.

Perfect, in the eyes of man.

All the while, the corners of our hearts are draped with cob webs and leave nothing pleasing to be found in the sight of our Creator.

How did we get it wrong?

It's a complete trick of the enemy!

Where we fear the acceptance of man more than we long to please God.

I don't know about you, but I don’t want my mindset to be an insult to God.

Do you?

I challenge you to ask a daily question along with me.

"Today, will I please God or man?"

I'm thankful for a Pastor that always induces spiritual growth with his message.

I hope this inspires to you walk daily with your Creator and find a way to include pleasing Him in your daily decisions.  

I'm going to work on it too!

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 KJV

Blessings,
Anna


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Monday, June 4, 2012

Me & My Gang | Lately {Instagram}

Do you love Instagram?

I love Instagram!

It's just a fun and quirky way to capture/share your daily happenings right from your phone and it fills your photo library with and abundance of journaling material.

Quick and effortless, which is the way I roll.

I just thought I would share a few things that may never make it here to the blog and a peek into our/my daily life, just for fun.  ;-)

Who knows, I may add it as a "lately" feature here on the blog or something.  Dunno?

Stay tuned, but for now, here is our/my "lately" via Instagram.

Enjoy!


crisp white towels | late night travel | finished project | sweet note
jaybirds from the fam | garage sale | mall pizza | many miles
finally blooming | pocket surprise | potato lover | grand slam
chillin' | maniac's | walkin' in memphis | iphone hacker

If you wish, you can follow here.

Blessings, 
Anna

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Simple Things | {6.3.12} Pink Blossoms

You may remember this post from a while back.

K started her very own back yard butterfly garden with a mixture of flowers.

This little girl loves her some flowers and has a bit of a romance with the color pink.

Couple the two and you have complete 4 year old bliss.


After much waiting, watering and a little bit mommy prayer, she has pink blossoms.

Her excitement was priceless!

She said "Mom, I think we need a picture".

E said "they're just flowers Kenzie"....such a boy.

Who doesn't love flowers in your favorite color?

I hope this Sunday and the following week brings your equivalent of "pink blossoms" and fills your heart with joy.

Blessings,
Anna


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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Design | Election Campaign {Donnie Kemp}

Anna & Co. is proud to have been asked to be a very small part in the upcoming
Elect Donnie Kemp campaign.

Don't forget to get out there and VOTE!!!



Blessings,
Anna

Design | Mickey Mouse Inspired Party Package

Meeska! Mooska! Mickey Mouse!!!

I just thought I would share a little design project I was privileged to have my hands on lately for a very special rising 3 year old.

This little guy is apparently eat up with Mickey.  Do you blame him?

I hope this very small contribution adds a little Mickey magic to his very special day.

~ Invitation Front ~


~ Party Package ~
~ Thank You Note Cards ~

~ Favor Tags ~

~ Toppers/Punch Outs ~

Blessings,
Anna
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