Category Archives: House of Belonging Shop

a box of chocolates or a box of darkness?

Mary Oliver

source

mary oliver  hit the nail on the head didn’t she?  really she put in her own words that which God has said from the beginning.
sarah young always has her hand on God’s heart and this is no exception.

we endure can be put to good use by allowing it to train us in trusting God.  it is divine reversal.  fear no evil, for I can bring
good out of every situation you will ever encounter… joesph took this to the bank and so can we!

it is slow here friends.  some moments i am really depressed or discouraged with this bag.  the fact that i have my intestines coming out of my body
i feel ugly most of the time.  i feel as if i will never be back to normal..then i think..”what is normal?  i haven’t felt normal for
years!”  and the pendulum swings the other way and i a blubbering to God that i am SO thankful for this surgery.  i think of my those in my family who
have cancer .. i mean.. come on it doesn’t take a millisecond to think of tragic things.  so YES it can be worse.
i know though that i have to feel the emotions..go through the process.  i am trying to not beat myself up for the down times.
they DO pass.

today this is my LESSON : dark times are gifts..we may have to look at it from a new angle or with a new pair of eyes
but i am BELIEVING with joesph.

what satan means for evil God can use for good

now THAT is something to chew on isn’t it?

the week i came home was dakota’s prom.  i was thankful the surgery fell before prom and graduation.
last year was elise’s prom and this year was his.

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i am so humbled not only to work from home but also to support those who do.  let’s support all the home businesses and put the big box stores
out of business this time…ha!  jk  here are a few of my favorites.  i have LOTS:)  i would LOVE to know some of yours!

my sweet prayer warrior friend mary & her uber talented daughter have a sweet shop HOPE HOMEMADE i want to share.  again…art from the heart.
it is a beautiful thing.

 

my friend BECKY is open until the 10th so be sure to go get you some word art from your heart…

SPRING is coming---happy scrappy skirt-pdf-pattern

i ordered this pattern from Little Bit Funky to make me a skirt.  i am ordering fabric from here tonight.
i can see it with a little T or a tank top with some cute necklaces & bracelets…maybe some van’s or converse?

::SHOP NEWS::

the girls are working so hard.   this is another area i feel discouraged in..i can’t do much.  i supervise
BUT they are getting the signs done.  in two weeks we will be in a good place.  i am thankful for my girls..for my kids
i LOVE them sooooo.  i am also thankful for my sweet customers.  i can’t begin to tell you how amazing and understanding they are being.

AND that means the new changes i have on my heart can be implemented.  we think you all will like them
this down time has given me time to think..pray..reflect.

MOXIE & INSTAGRAM

this FRIDAY we are having an INSTASALE on instagram.  ( we are houseofbelonging )as it draws near we will give you the time and all the details.
due to me being sick and then the surgery nikki had to put MOXIE on the back burner so she is really excited to share
the new designs.  you will be able to buy the shirts right then.  they will be done and ready to ship.

we will be doing more and more of our business on INSTAGRAM plus opening a new site for both the signs & MOXIE

so that is a bit about me right now…how are YOU doing?  any favorite etsy shops you adore?  are you in the midst of a dark time and if so
how is your heart?  …..xoxo
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if the blessing comes through pain will you take it? an update

i am much like the little engine that could right now.  knowing i need to update  you  at the same time i am riddled with feelings of not wanting to bore you with all the grossness going on.  changes even i haven’t really dealt with yet.

i am home.  where do i begin? when it rains it pours and we are paddling…hard.  it seems when the enemy attacks it is from all sides and i am reminded of the red sea..and of gideon..and of her words..

maybe 3 days after surgery. still very bloated with the gas and water retention

Jesus is redeeming this–redeeming everything

i am clinging to these words.  i can’t even tell you how much so.  today i just hung my head and cried..thanking God for being with me even when i am so focused on my own pain.  He has never left me.  it is very up and down.  i feel overwhelmed to have to empty my bag.  it is like a baby i take care of using baby wipes to clean the end of the bag as i roll it up.  i sleep on my back when all i want is my stomach.  and staring at the stoma ( what they call the small intestine that is now coming through your abdomen ) i am scared of it.  changing the bag is scary.  i still feel like a mac truck has run over me.  i just waited to long.  i went in to sick and with a chronic disease that has evolved from mild to severe over the years with that has come pain meds that i now have to work to come off of as well.

 

nikki has two more days left at her insurance job.  HAPPY dance!!  she has been MY hero.  she has been taking care of me and the kids and the house and her MOXIE has been put on the back shelf and she is behind there just when it was launched and she is heavy with anxiety & worry

chelsee and her husband and the kids have moved in with us the week of my surgery!  four babies with mom and dad in one bedroom.  they sold their donut shop and are waiting to see whether they are going to move to florida or not.  chelsee has been my cleaner and cook and does our laundry ..she made me an awesome tater tot casserole tonight.  she AMAZES me with her energy to take care of the kids…and me.  both girls are researching to find good protein sources to fix me things i can eat.

i am blessed to have my kids.  i wouldn’t trade them for the WORLD.  they make me laugh..hard!  we mean something to each other.  life is so short.  i don’t want to miss a single moment.  so the more i take care of ME the more i can take care of THEM.

and my mom..she has been an unbelievable support to me.  i am grateful for this time just to be near her.   to learn more about her…to love on her and let her love on me.  she has been my chauffeur and food getter and cheerleader as i changed my bag for the first time by myself.  heck now i don’t care who sees my butt….geesh!

grace & dakota have been so good to me.  dakota tucks me in for naps and helps me up out of chairs and runs and gets more baby wipes when i need them…ha!  graci just misses her mommy.  i miss her–

dakota graduates this month so we are trying to get his grad party planned and all of the other “life” stuff that i know YOU  know very well.  you know life don’t you?  i am sure you have been through when it rains it pours times.

there is a battle going on..i don’t want to speak much of it but the kids dad is rearing his head and it causes me to stress

and i share all of that to let YOU know that we are a very real family and honestly–if  you looked at our circumstances without faith in the living God we would have no HOPE.  none.

but GOD — asked me a couple of weeks ago this question.  not audibly but as if it came out of our dialogue
one morning and it went something like this

if the blessing comes through pain will you take it?..what?
if the blessing comes through pain will you take it?

as the very conditions for blessing
enlarge territory
end of myself & circumstances
stop asking for sympathy for
hard situations or bad treatment
this is how the blessings come abba-
through pain squeezing – clenching the life breath
releases long enough as the next one builds-
where the last drop of me is spilled
so YOU can…taken from my journal 

this is what He asked me a couple of weeks ago and my heart was rent asunder.  you see– even though all of the above things are realities..the gift of this is like you are given a remote control to push a slow mo button.  i get to look around at the beating hearts and feel them.  i have been given a gift.  if i don’t receive it i will be losing out on much.  it is almost as if you are given a glimpse behind the curtain into the spiritual realm where Jesus lives.  i see it watching jen & bill last night.  watching the Duggers.  seeing cancer patients with their families at the hospital.  watching the little girl with downs syndrome LIVE life and be loved..women who are fighting each and everyday to find wholeness..the homeless..the stinky and down trodden.  the drunks..the drug addicted.  while there is a percent of the population who are hardened   who will not be changed.  there are those.

looking behind the curtain though calls to me..it asks me ever so softly to just come.  come to where i am working.  leave all of this noisy & numbing american selfishness and COME

throw caution to the wind–will you receive the blessing? will you receive YOUR life’s calling?  we pray for blessing but i tend to think of it all packaged with twine and kraft paper…not in war, giants & blood.

we had some scary moments in the hospital after i came out of surgery and you know what?

family is the only thing that matters!
if anything else is getting in the way of nurturing that..take it out.  when it is your time there is nothing you can do and believe me
you want your family and time

 

::background::

for those who don’t know what is happening..for the last 10 years i have been living half a life.  having a chronic disease called ulcerative colitis that went from mild to severe over the years.  this developing disease grew inside a very abusive deceiving relationship.  it has changed the landscape of me & my family forever.

i had a colectomy tuesday.  my whole colon was removed. 
the colon’s main function is to squeeze out the water and salt from the stool.  since the colon is not needed to live the surgery i had they took my small intestine and brought it through my abdomen creating a ‘stoma’

1 week and 2 days after surgery.  i have 4 small incisions and one 4″ incision under my belly button where they removed
the colon and then my stoma where the bag is attached.  the swelling and water retention has gone now i am trying to gain
weight back.

-i will always have absorption issues
-dehydration will always be an issue
-i went in to the hospital so very sick.  i had waited to long to make this decision for surgery.  i was malnourished which resulted in my first central line so they could give me tpn ( total parental nutrition)

-what i am struggling with now is eating & drinking enough.  i have to eat 6 small meals a day.  think of  a one year old’s plate and chew chew chew.  blockages are common and i am freaking out about that so i am very careful to do all i am supposed to do.

-another issue is pain medications.  i have been on them for so long that i am going to have to work with pain management to work off of them.  keeping my pain under control while working myself off of them.

-recovery will be SLOW for me.  yes-that is hard for an impatient girl.  this too i must submit to if i want to learn.

::thank YOU::

for all of your prayers and words of encouragement.  for waiting on us.  i pray for each of YOU that you know a life of living LOVED.  that you are able to hear his love song over you each and everyday.  that no matter what you have done in the past present or future that YOU are loved and have a way of escape.  that YOU can experience heaven NOW–that you can know PEACE and have a HOPE.  that YOU can overcome the lies of the enemy and break those down so they will have no control over you.  and i earnestly pray you have a front row seat in a life of MIRACLES….i forever love you all.

::IG::

you can follow us here houseofbelonging to follow our journey of finding the sacred connections within the heart-home-handmade

::SHOP news::

this surgery WAS NOT planned!  i had a flare this last november and was hospitalized and was then given the ultimatum…colon or forever living sick and in the hospital and i would not be able to continue to work or have a a good quality of life anymore.  5 months later another flare got my attention so surgery was scheduled.  there would be no good time to do it and now was as good as any.

i am closing the “sign” part of the shop  for a week or so.  Moxie will start up next week with nikki’s first week working here.
my daughters and son in law will start on all of the sign orders on Monday.  i will be sending all orders that are past due, the mock ups etc. a CONVO notifying you of your
status.  i am so disappointed that my customers have had to wait several weeks and if there was anything i could differently i would.  i got so sick the last several weeks i couldn’t see straight.  i don’t know how i got through it until the surgery except by the grace of God.  a million thank you’s.  

REMEMBER – we are combining our shops ( house of belonging signs & MOXIE ) into ONE store.  we will still have our Etsy shops with special items in there but all custom orders and new additions will be in the new store.  nikki will be working on that next week as well
we will let you know the URL soon. 

 

and i cry out for grace.  each day is new and hard.  but it is a brand NEW day..

:how powerful we are when we cheer for each other…read LIFTING OF ARMS by Rebekah Lyons

xotiff

prayer concerns

find the right things to eat to gain weight
for fear of blockages and the bag to vanish
to stay hydrated
for God to be our refuge and strength that we KNOW His presence as that
for the feelings of condemned isolation & powerlessness to disappear
come down off pain meds easy
to be able to catch up quickly on orders with minimal stress

for God to shine through all of this..

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my heart. SHOP news. SURGERY & a recipe

::the heart

the physical pain right now..weighed down by the business and  people who really don’t understand is threatening to take me down each day.  i am whittled down to doing the bare necessities.  for those of you who have recently been really sick with the body ache flu or throwing up bug and that feeling of “i’m gonna die” …you remember and relate right?:)  you know how everything just falls apart around you.  for those of you who haven’t been sick in a really long time..i’m glad for you but it is harder to relate until you have been visited by sickness isn’t it?

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hoping that writing it down here will lighten the load.  i feel somewhat helpless in all of this.  i am at the mercy of a disease i cannot control.  not only that it is at the time that i am coming into myself.  my life has been one of seeming to get there then something happens and it all falls apart.  sitting there in the middle of a million pieces of broken glass not knowing which piece to pick up first so i bury my head in my hands and sob.  i dare not shake my fist at God  i have to be cautious not to walk backwards here.  things feel all to familiar and i can hear the whispers even now…see  you will never get out

this time the wave of sickness has knocked me down.  it was only 5 months ago i was in the hospital and Christmas was approaching and i had lots of sign orders and was getting farther behind by the day.  most customers were very nice but people really don’t walk in your shoes.  they don’t know how sick i really am.  after all i post and ig how sick can she be right?  they don’t take colons out of not sick people.  they don’t know that i have 30 orders for custom made signs.  theirs is not the only order and those things weigh heavy on my heart making me feel even worse.  we got caught up..i cycled through to the place of feeling ok..i could function at 65%..then slowly it comes back around

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and this time i am done.  i am sick of being sick and tired.  but when a person is really sick it is craziness for me to try to work when it only makes me worse.  i cry and in reality i think, “this isn’t an emergency” so why are you acting like it is.  you are sick!  people can wait. and most are MORE than willing to wait..they are the precious ones.  it maybe a few weeks at the most.to push myself to work when it makes me so much worse and the simple fact is i can’t is CRAZY!  i have to take care of myself.  to wait several more weeks for a sign is nothing in the grand scheme of things.  Ann Voscamp encourages us that LIFE isn’t an emergency and she’s right.  i have some help coming to work with me very soon and it will all work out.

there is a reason i have insurance right now.  i won’t always have it and if want to be around to work a business i need to deal with this.

we have a family crisis right now.  Jesus followers are not exempt from anything.  we face the same things everyone else faces which is why today i am sitting underneath the shadow of His wings..taking refuge in His love.

nikki and i run this house.  we have to come first.  there has never been a sign not received.  i will and have bent over backwards for my customers.  i value them – their support keeps us afloat.   there is only so much i can share here but YOU are supporting my exodus.  can you tell i am venting here?

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this is major surgery.  life changing surgery and for the most part i am at peace with that.
what i am more afraid of than a bag of poop is being alone in the middle of those broken pieces and not having my abba..my God who will ride through the heavens to help ME.  He is taking me OUT to bring me into a new place of promise..MY place of promise..and nothing is to difficult for GOD.  i have found IT and i am not letting go.  I am saying NO to this surgery as a work to discourage and destroy me and my family.  NO – not THIS time!

i can hear the air still and the soft breeze begin to blow softly brushing my hair back.  the sobbing slows and i find courage and take her hand.  she smiles wide and squeezes my hand as if to say “your in the arena girl…don’t forget” .  she sits with me while an inaudible conversation takes place that goes something like this.

 i will be as vulnerable as you would have me to abba.  i will share what you would have me share and do what you would have me do–i hold my hands out and up..open and let it all go.  after all it really isn’t mine to begin with.  i  don’t have to worry about which piece to pick up first..just get up and do the next thing.  the piece will come as YOU choose to BELIEVE with open hands..held out to the true Giver

i CHOOSE to BELIEVE YOU and i refuse to succumb to those whispers of “see ” in this place of familiar.  in my story He always finds me

He found him in a desert land,
and in the howling waste of a wilderness;
He encircled him, He cared for him,
he guarded him as the pupil of His eye.
–Deuteronomy 32:10

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:: the shop

we are going to combine MOXIE and the HOUSE signs into one store.  it will be up and running soon.  we will have a few things left in Etsy but all the new signs/shirts from here on out will be in our new store.  yay!!

nikki is trying to take care of me and finish up loose ends at work before her last day
as soon as she does that she will hit MOXIE full force

when dreams are being written you can bet your bottom dollar there will be war.  dreams don’t happen without …
i am choosing to hang onto this mindset and tell the other one to take a hike jack!
we may have some bumps in the road but we are WHY NOT girls!!

and for my IG friends the banana ice cream recipe:)  you can find me at houseofbelonging

::nourish

 banana “ice cream” with sweet & salty roasted almonds

Photo: .for banana almond ice cream. #nourishourbodiesinthekitchen

this recipe has all the rich, creamy texture of ice cream with none of the dairy or sugar.  the crunchy topping is a snap to put together and so, so good

makes about 1 pint

4 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced into thin rounds

1/4 c finely chopped roasted almonds

2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons good-quality maple syrup, divided

a pinch of coarse sea salt

1/2 c unsweetened almond milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

freeze the banana slices in a single layer on a tray or plate lined with parchment or wax paper.  once the slices are frozen
use them immediately or keep them frozen in a zip-top plastic bag or airtight container for up to a month.

meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the almonds with 2 teaspoons of the maple syrup and the pinch of salt and set the mix
aside.

combine the frozen banana slices, the almond milk, the remaining 2 TB of maple syrup, and the vanilla in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is the texture of soft serve ice cream, scraping down the sides as necessary.  don’t worry
if the mixture is not totally smooth at first–once the bananas start to break down and defrost in the food processor, they’ll
give in and the “ice cream” will take shape quickly

spoon the banana ice cream into bowls immediately and sprinkle each serving with a bit of the almond mixture.

enjoy!:)

taken from Its All Good Cookbook by Gwyneth Paltrow

 

::surgery

update – they have moved up my surgery to THIS tuesday april 23.  i am soooo thankful..i don’t think i can hang on that long.  i go today to meet with the surgeon one last time.  i have a LIST of questions.    i know it is like a 6 hour surgery.  i have never had major surgery before.  i am a little ok a lot scared.
monday i go meet the stoma nurse for placement of the stoma.  i have to bring clothes i normally wear to see how the bag will work with my clothes.  i have to be there at 10 to check in and then surgery is at noon.  we will keep you posted on everything here on the blog and on IG.

love you all….xo

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taking the party over here & a giveaway

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i heard the birds singing even before my eyes opened this morning.  i was thankful
today is my 45th birthday and i must say i am really enjoying the 40′s journey ( minus the colon issues )..i agree that the 40′s is where we break into our real selves.  it has been for me anyway
i am baking my cupcakes today for tomorrow.  i dialed up my friend sash and got two recipe’s.  not sure which one yet.  this one or this one.  gluten free of course:)  all of the girls are getting together for lunch to celebrate tomorrow.  so i will bring the cupcakes to share.  it will be my daughters, my mom and my sisters.  it truly is what i look forward to each and every birthday.  just laughing, sharing and EATING of course!

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–our beYOUtiful MOXIE shirt:)

my grandbabies are coming up tonight to stay all night.  they sang HAPPY BIRTHDAY to me on the phone a little bit ago.
it was precious and i smiled.  BIG.

my internet was out all night or i would have posted this sooner cause we are SO EXCITED to be celebrating with the HANDMADE HOME today with a giveaway and a coupon for 10% off ITSMYPARTY.  fun yes?  i celebrate with them that the Lord was willin and the creek didn’t rise and they were able to launch their new website…it is full of crazy awesomeness..just like the two of them!  are they not just adorable or what?  so stop on over there and enter to win yourself our newest addition

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 Be Thou My Vision’s words are chill bumby.  I remember singing them in church surrounded by hundreds of people and literally felt as if my soul was transported to heaven.

i have met God at this depth before…that He be my all…and the irish”ness”of mingled with it makes it all the better.

our signs have become like a mirror – reflecting to us HOW we want to live..each and everyday.  that is the beauty about word art hanging on the walls of your home.  it inspires you..calls to YOU daily — to LIVE in the moments

stay tuned for more of MOXIE - our new clothing line –  slowly emerging.
nikki only has 3 more weeks of her job then she is here FULL-TIME…and i am so thankfully happy about that

i know for sure that the pathway to your best life isn’t the route of denial.  it’s owning every moment.  Staking
a claim in the right now.  and, with GRATITUDE, embracing the age you are — oprah winfrey

now get on over to visit ashley and jamin….go go go
oh…love ya!

 

 

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the deets…& my party

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i have always worn my heart on my sleeve kinda gal so when the time has come for me to make a major health decision wearing my intestine on my abdomen just seemed to — come natural.  most people if asked would never know i have a bowel disease other than the thinner i would get while really flaring they would comment

oh my you look sooo goood!  now that is sad girls..just sad.  they didn’t know though that i was sick.  our society just thinks the thinner the better

i have battled this beast for almost 10 years.  i have severe  UC/Crohn’s.  they are both auto immune bowel diseases NOT the same as IBS or diverticulitis.  the main difference is that with UC..it is the large intestine/rectum and with Crohn’s it can be the whole digestive tract.  My GI .. Dr V whom i LOVE to pieces has tried everything and long story short..FAIL

so here is how my life cycle looks prednisone dependent.. cycle of prednisone, taper, get sick, prednisone, taper, get sick..and so it was easy to think “oh, i wasn’t living on pred but in reality i was and still not with  any quality of life.

it has been just about 6 months since my last hospital stay.  so about every six months i am really bad again.  i have lost 5 works days this week and roughly i loose 2-3 hours a day toilet sitting.  i know right?  thank heavens for iphones pinterest & ig 

after the last stay i knew i needed to make a decision .. well i thought i HAD but then after weeks of medicines i felt my “normal “self and thought i will eliminate wheat…yada yada..to see   if”.  NOPE same and i am cycling back down

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SIDE NOTE:  i love being wheat free that i am keeping the lifestyle!  i am continuing on in the eating because after i do have surgery i can see it just being really good for my body and soul.

i have such a heart full of ideas for our business..and if i don’t just get this thing done i will continue to have hard times that put me out of commission for weeks and that is no fun for me or for my customers PLUS the risk of colon cancer for me..with the polyps they always remove etc. is sky high!

cancer or no large intestine….kinda puts it in perspective huh?

my surgery is scheduled for April 29.  that should give me enough healing time to be good for may 18-22 graduation festivities!  ( my fourth kiddo graduates high school ) SUMMER and the holidays!  last year just was miserable for us all

when it is all finished, you will discover it was never random

i am working right now on scheduling all of our sign orders we have at the moment to have things prepped in advance.  i may close the shop for a couple of weeks again soon.  we will take care of everybody the very best we can.  it is a learning curve but i have the absolute best customers EVER.

———-big announcement

nikki is coming to work with me full time!!  i can’t tell you what that will do..how that will change things.  her last day is may 2 so once my several weeks of recovery are over…we both can rock and roll!

and YOU…you know who YOU’s are that have been praying with me.  i know some of you i was talking to when i was in the hospital all of these times.  it never EVER goes unnoticed.  ever!

here
here
here

well…i have meds for pain now so hopefully i can hold out till the 29th.  honestly–there are moments that i am not sure but it is what it is.  i will do the best i can…after all this is my STORY that is being written and it is about to be cracked wide open

———its my party

it is my birthday FRIDAY..so stop back by for some its my party FUN ok?  we will share a cupcake..or two

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