Wonderfully Made {A Tea Party}

It started as an idea for my daughter’s 2nd birthday. A tea party. Tea for Two. So clever, I thought. As I started planning this special day for my little girl, however,  I realized I wanted it to be more than just a cleverly themed birthday party. I wanted my daughter and her friends to grow up with tea parties and all that these lovely events represent. Last year, Charlee and a few of her little friends joined her for tea in our backyard. (You can read all about that adventure here.) It really was a lovely day and confirmed my desire to keep this thing going year after year.

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Throw Back: Charlee’s 2 year old tea party

The tea part of the party seemed easy enough but how could I make this time together in beautiful dresses, drinking lemonade and eating pastries more significant. I was reminded of a very beautiful passage in Psalms. Psalm 139:13-14.

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That was it! I wanted every mommy and sweet little lady to know how wonderful they were. From the tops of the their beautiful bow topped heads to the tips of their Sunday best shoes….they are wonderful.

Inspired by a theme, Charlee and I invited some very precious women and their daughters to join us on the first weekend of June for our 2nd annual tea party.

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We played a teapot version of the game hot potato. As the music played, the girls passed a sweet little pink teapot. When the music stopped the person holding the teapot received some very special encouragement.

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When it landed in the hands of a mommy, her sweet precious daughter wrapped her arms around her neck said, “I love you mommy!” When it stopped in the possession of a sweet little lady, she heard some of the most precious words from her mommy.

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I heard: “I love how girly you are.”

 

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“I love your sense of humor.”

 

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I heard: “You are brave.”

 

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“You are friendly.”

 

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“You are so content and a joy to behold.”

 

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“You are a very determined little lady and quite the artist.”

 

I will always treasure these beautiful transactions of words.

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We enjoyed delightful yummies including fruit, pastries, tea sandwiches….all compliments of Kroger. (I have three kids…no time for homemade in this season!)

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I shared with the mommies the history of some of my teacups and teapots that I’ve collected over the years. Some were acquired as gifts. Others I found at thrift shops or even the dollar tree.

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Despite where they came from, they all hold value because they are mine. I reminded these precious women, that their creator values them. No matter the price tag placed on them by society, they are priceless because they are His.

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Aren’t they adorable!?!

The set up….

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What’s a tea party without a tea cart : )

 

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We gave each precious little girl a bracelet. On one side it says WONDERFUL. On the other side is the scripture reference: Psalm 139:14 “I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

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That’s my prayer for these mommies and their precious daughters.

 

Charlee loved hosting all her little friends and can’t wait until next year. I was only brave enough to invite the girls in our lifegroup and her friends who came to the tea party last year. Next year I’ll be braver and invite more sweet friends. And maybe the theme will be BRAVE. : )

 

Margin

It’s been a busy few years. In the past five years, Marshall and I have brought 3 beautiful children into the world. That’s a really cool thing. But also…3 kids in 5 years. Actually 3 kids in 4 years is better math as our youngest just turned 1 this month!

I’m tired. Marshall is tired. The kids are….bouncing off the walls.

I love being a mom. Marshall adores being a dad.

Unfortunately, being a parent means giving up quite a bit to take on these roles. At least that’s what Marshall and I have come to understand in the past few months. It took us almost 5 years to figure out that you can’t live like you did when you didn’t have kids when you do have kids. Profound huh? But we’ve tried to do so anyway. Marshall with cycling and work and volunteering and me with work and volunteering and just about anything I could convince someone to let me do.

Then our church did a series called Crazy Busy. Being on staff, I was privy to the coming series, and the book that inspired it. I started listening to the audio version while doing laundry one day. It took me a week to get through it but at the end I was convinced there were things in our lifestyle we needed to change.

When Marshall and I got married, he used to joke that we wouldn’t make the typical mistakes newlyweds make. No, we would make brand new never-attempted-before mistakes. This would make me so mad. Of course I knew we would make mistakes but I felt that if we paid enough attention to those who had gone before, if we were sponges and soaked up the wisdom and advice of others that we would make less mistakes and definitely not new mistakes! Alas 8 years later, we’ve made a ton of mistakes and ironically Marshall, in all his humor and wisdom, was right. We have made some pretty impressive mistakes. Even when we did the first born, type A, pros and cons lists and have made what we thought was a well thought out decision, we’ve looked back and saw the things we didn’t think through and often exclaimed: What were we thinking? Were we thinking?

I remember sitting in a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace class a few months back. As we watched the video, Dave was remarking on how those with debt are attempting to maintain a lifestyle that they can’t afford. They are living like they don’t have debt except…they do have debt. Although he was speaking about finances, I realized that Marshall and I had been attempting to maintain a lifestyle that we can not afford either because we’ve been living like we don’t have three small children except…we do have three small children! 

Marshall and I talked about this and so began our adventure in learning to find and value margin. Remember we are list makers, planners, chart makers. Through many talks, dry erase board sessions, praying, more talking, more mistakes, lots of tears, reading another book called Addicted to Busy, we started scaling back our lives. We started owning the fact that we have three small children and they have certain needs and nap schedules and stimulation thresh-holds. It was hard. Giving up activities we love, giving up events we wanted to support through service, stepping down from my job. Very hard stuff. *

We are still scaling back. We are still learning when to say no. But the more we scale back, the more margin we have to do those things that really matter.

We want margin to love our children and each other well. We want margin to serve and give to the right causes with exuberance and joy. We are about 5 months in to this journey of simplifying. We make new mistakes often…that’s just how we are (I think it’s funny most of the time). Thankfully, we are also learning to create some boundaries that are helping us to enjoy our children and each other. We are learning to love others well instead of living in the hurried frenzy where nothing gets done and good intentions sadly stay only good intentions.  Saying no to good opportunities is hard but as we learn to say no, we gain the ability to say yes to the right things.

This year we look forward to margin. Room to do and room to just be.

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*some of the things we’ve scaled back on, we hope to add back in time in reasonable doses, but for now we will embrace our lives filled with the precious demands of littles

 

Socktober: Neighborhood Style

As cooler weather approaches, thoughts of stockings hung with care may go through your mind. For many children throughout the DFW area, however, hopes and dreams of safety in their own home is the only thing on their Christmas list this year.

As a parent of three small children, the thought of my children living in fear in their own home is unthinkable.

But domestic abuse happens. Every Day.

That is why I am so thankful for organizations like Hope’s Door that help women and children flee domestic violence. Since 1986 Hope’s Door has been welcoming women and children into their loving arms in a most critical time in their life.

Inspired by everyone’s favorite Kid President, our little neighborhood will be collecting socks for this organization during the month of October. Many times leaving with only the clothes on their back, basic necessities like socks, underwear, and toiletries are a constant need.

We hope to collect a lot of brand new snug cozy socks for the women and children that will come through the door’s of this phenomenal organization but even if we only inspire one family beyond our own, and clothe the precious feet of just a few, we’ve made a difference.

You can do something similar in your neighborhood. Find an organization in your area. Talk to them. Find out what they need and do a sock drive, blanket drive, toiletries drive, {insert their need} drive. Make a difference! And if this blog doesn’t convince you, check out this adorable pep talk by Kid President and Sesame Street’s very own Grover.

Every. Life. Matters.

 

 

 

 

*Photo credit: Sould Pancake