Thursday, April 17, 2014

He Calls Us His {An Adoptive Mom's Story}

There was a time in my life when I thought I understood God's love for His children. After all, I was a mom, and I was used to sacrificing for the ones I love.

But I was wrong. I didn't fully understand the depth of His love and just how far He'd go to bring us to Himself until we were walking through our first adoption.

Today, I have the pleasure of being a guest over at My Little Corner, the blog authored by the lovely and wonderful Cindy O'Brien. I met Cindy last summer in North Carolina at the She Speaks Writers & Speakers Conference. She is an adoptive mom as well, and has been gracious enough to let me share in her space.

To read the post click HERE.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Difficult People {How to Deal}

I change seats three times at the coffee shop before settling down to work because my favorite spot in the corner is taken. I'm used to this game because everyone else knows it's the best spot too.

I creep closer to the good spot as the seat next door becomes available. But also because I don't want to sit near creepy guy. But that's just me. I'm the awkward girl who can't sit next to a man I don't know for fear they are in fact a creep. I know. Aaaand I said creep three times in a single paragraph. Wait, make that four.

I settle into my delightful spot at the counter that has finally opened up, put my headphones on and play a Christmas song on repeat. In April. The other day I discovered that playing Little Drummer Boy by Pentatonix on repeat turns me into a writing machine. The words just pour out of me as I try to remember that the whole coffee shop really doesn't want to hear me sing accapella on repeat. So I refrain from singing along and go with it because I need all the help I can get.

It's finally time to quit stalling and do the work. But who really wants to talk about difficult people? Definitely not me.

I'm not good at dealing with difficult people.

They infuriate me.

They say and do things that just plain hurt.

They're confusing and I mostly try to avoid them.

And usually I think they should just knock it off.
Don't they know how awful they're being and how miserable they're making us? It just. doesn't. compute.

Then I remember compassion. Oh, yes that. And love.
And also their past. That matters too.

Sometimes when we hear the words compassion and love thrown in with the topic of difficult people, we're tempted to think of doormats and push-overs. Two things we don't want to be. So how should we do this?

I know of no other source more suited than the Bible to help us out here. Paul, in his letter to the church at Colossae gives us these words:
12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

So, from the looks of it, we're to put on, or act with

Even when they're being a jerk.

And also
and love (most of all)

We're to
let Christ's peace not be crowded out
and be thankful

Read God's word
letting it simmer and dwell within us

Teach each other in wisdom
praise Him with thankfulness

Do everything for Him
and again, be thankful

Sometimes love means boundaries. That's super hard, but often necessary.
And sometimes you can forgive and the relationship isn't restored. That's still okay.

A restored relationship may not be possible right now if it's abusive or unhealthy. We're called to forgive and love, which will restore our hearts. The act of forgiving another person isn't saying you approve of what they've done. No, it's much different than that. Forgiveness releases your heart and mind from dwelling on and being held captive by their actions any longer. It doesn't mean you're accepting what they did to you as okay, it simply means you're going to be okay with them not taking up residence in your mind any longer as you move forward. You're going to clear the counter off. So to speak.

I may not be good at dealing with difficult people. But I can be good at love because Christ is good at loving me.

They may infuriate me, but I can be compassionate because Christ has been endlessly compassionate with me.

My job isn’t to fix the difficult people in my life or enable them to continue their destructive behaviors. My job is to be obedient to God in the way I act and respond to them.

This will forever be a work in progress in our lives. But there's no better day than today to start making some progress.
This post is linked up with Holley Gerth and company over HERE!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

4 Things I Learned in March

On any given day over the last 29 days, I haven't been able to make an educated guess on what date it is. My brain capacity has been on Full, while the ever-important brain functionality has been sitting on Empty. I don't believe I've called a friend in over a month (thankfully they still check in on me) and I've been sleeping past my alarm because apparently I need more sleep. It's been wiggy and wonderful. I don't know if wiggy is even a word, but it fits, so I'm saying it.

But amazingly, at this late hour with low brain function and all, I was able to think of a few things I've learned. I missed last month's What We Learned Link-Up because we were (ahem) out of town bringing our new son home. So I was determined to make it a go this round.

1.  Despite what we were told and told ourselves, things have turned out better than our very best hope in this new adoption. We are living with a boy who is the most visible evidence of God's grace I've ever witnessed. I'm so thankful to be a part of his story. When I gaze into his deep brown eyes and see a flash of a past sadness when we're having one of those talks that cause our to hearts interweave, I see too that my heart has done a better job of stretching and growing this time as I'm learning to think of myself less and am okay with giving more. Christ cannot fully work through me if I am wound up in me. Apparently I have needed this lesson over and over again. Eight times over to be exact.

2.  All Masterpiece series on PBS are not created equal. I think you know I'm crazy about Downton Abbey. But 8 weeks of once a week episodes, once a year just won't do. Since I get the hankering for a good television series every once in a while, I've dabbled in a few other Masterpiece shows. There's The Paradise and Call the Midwife, two series I absolutely love. But really, how often are they on? But. But! The new season of Call the Midwife begins this Sunday. Swoon.

I don't do Sherlock. It may be good for some, but I can't handle corpses. And then there's Mr. Selfridge. I tried watching it twice in the last two weeks just to find something to watch when I was in the mood, and I just couldn't do it. It's like it's trying to be the naughty big brother of The Paradise or something. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. What shows do you love?


3.  A plain breve' (espresso and half-and-half) with no flavoring tastes so yummy after you've been off sugar for a while. It is good and comforting and right. I would know. I've had three this week.

4.  Homeschooling two kindergarteners rather than just the one has been easier than I thought. Kindergarten is pretty laid back around here, but it helps having two students in the same grade's education to be accountable for. For some reason, hauling out the teddy bear counters seems like a better idea when there are two hands to make use of them. And truth be told, I have spent time this month plotting how I could pull of homeschooling with some in-home help. I picture paying a young woman to come and assist me with whatever I may need one or two mornings a week around the house or with school for next year. Seriously. I don't even know if this is a thing. But I may make it one.

That's all for tonight (which has turned into a new day already), thanks for reading!

What did you learn in March? 


Friday, March 21, 2014

On Blog Facelifts, Editing Out the Ugly, and Being a Noticer

Welcome to the new blog, friends. Having my face and name share a space that has its own web address is scary stuff. But it's also fun, freeing and official-ish.

The thought of writing on a blog that has my name written across the top as the title has had me turning into a great big chicken since I started thinking about it a couple years ago. But the truth is this: the old blog title and address were hard to remember, making it hard to find me out in the world wide web if you wanted to.

Someone might have known my name but couldn't for the life of them remember the name of my blog. "What was it? The Red Rooster? The Scarlet Petunia?"

Well, now it's easy. All you have to remember is my name, Amanda Bacon.

If you can't remember my name, I'm sorry, I can't really help you there... except to tell you that if you type in The Scarlet Paisley it will automatically direct you here. Easy.

Also, as a side note, if you ever see something here you'd like to pin on Pinterest to save for later, just roll your cursor over a picture and a Pin It icon will appear. I love that.

May I also direct your attention to something else that is frighteningly new? It's the Speaking tab up top. I had to enlist the help of some deep breathing to calm the heart palpitations that presented themselves at finally advertising that I speak. I love to engage with women in person the best, so if you think I might be the right fit to speak for an event or group you're a part of, you can contact me through that tab. If I receive a message from you, I'll try not to faint while I prayerfully consider your request.

Don't worry, I promise not to faint when I get up to speak.

All of that business aside, I want to tell you something that's been bugging me about my writing.

This is consistent with this talk of new beginnings, so I thought now might be the right time. I've pondered how to word it, or if I should even talk about it at all. But it's important to me, so I'll give it a go.

As you know (or maybe you don't), I have eight children. It's been three weeks since we met and brought Jackson home. Yet I can hardly wrap my mind around the number eight. There's eight of them! Anyways.

My life, much like yours, is full. Even though things feel chaotic and busy, I feel this pull to take the time to write words that will be an encouragement to you in an effort to serve you. Messages begin to form out of what I read in the Bible or in books, what I talk about with someone, or what I mull over in the middle of my everyday life.

Message forming and sharing is part of what makes me come alive. Doing this here, in this way, is me playing one of the parts I've been given by God to play. I recognize that and find great contentment in it.

But there's this problem. When I write, I find myself editing out the ugly and embarrassing junk in my head. I don't mean to, it's just that I'm not sure you really want to know all of the junk. Or if I really want to wade through it again in front of you. Or if it will sound like I'm complaining. But what I'm realizing is that maybe you think my life is only filled with precious moments. And by that, I mean that you may think I don't have dark times, thoughts, or days (years.)

It is my personality to be a noticer of the good. So I am pretty quick to change my way of thinking from a negative mindset to a thankful one. But I can't rely solely on my personality for this. I have to purpose to find the good in things and situations. So when I write and things sound encouraging, that's me being a noticer of the good. It doesn't mean my days are perfect.

I learn what I think about something as I write about it. It's the way I'm wired. It's therapeutic for me, and it helps me remember to see the beauty in my life -- in all of life.

Becoming a noticer of the good helps you notice and be thankful for the beauty in your life too.

“The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world.” 
Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

If I edit out the ugliness I started with before I became thankful, you, dear reader, will never know how I got to the good part. You will just assume the good and precious and happy thoughts and times were there all along.

This life I have in Christ and with my family are precious to me, but my thoughts aren't always precious. Sometimes they despair. Sometimes they're selfish and bratty. Sometimes they can't bear to repeat the day that has just ended, and I cry in my room. And sometimes I feel so thankful and want to share with you guys, but I'm afraid to write about it fearing you won't be feeling particularly peachy that day and will roll your eyes at me, viewing me as some sort of goody-goody. Dumb, I know.

I don't want to edit myself in my writing anymore. It's not good for me, and it's not good for you. That's the truth of it. Even though it doesn't come naturally, I'm committing to writing about the hard stuff too. However that plays out.

Deal? Deal.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Stitch Fix #2 {A Dress and a Twist}

Want to find out what Stitch Fix is all about? Read this first.
Also, see Stitch Fix #1, where I ended up loving and keeping all five items.

One week ago I received my second Stitch Fix box in the mail. After the success of my last fix back at the start of February, I was eager to try it again. This time, I requested that my stylist include a dress and one of those "drapey sweaters that cross in the front"... I think that's how I described it. Even though I had no clue what that kind of sweater was called, she nailed it and sent exactly what I was looking for.

Before we start, I will reiterate how awkward it is to take full-length mirror selfies. This time I tried not to be such big goof like I was last time, and ended up looking unhappy. I'm not unhappy, just awkward. See? I told you.

Item #1 - Pomelo, Sedona Dot Print Shirtdress

I loved this fabric and this style from the moment I pulled it out of the box. The only problem was that it looked like a giant sack without the belt tied around it. But after putting it on and adding tights, boots, and a scarf, I loved it and the fit was fine. I kept this shirtdress, and will happily and comfortably wear it often. I wore this to church yesterday with leggings and the same boots. If I was a mannequin and did nothing but stand around all day, tights would have worked just fine. But lifting and mommying aren't conducive to an above knee dress and tights in my book.
P.S. This dress is made of tencel, that oh-so-soft and buttery, yet substantial material.
Item #2 - Rikka, Betty Chevron Infinity Scarf

From the moment I laid eyes on this beauty, I knew it was a keeper. Chevron print and a light wispy material = a WIN. I've worn it several times this last week, and have even been tempted to wear it all day around the house. I wish I could gift each and every one of you with one of your very own. This could easily turn into some sort of Linus blankie for me. Please tell me chevron won't ever go out of style and leave the stores for me to buy.

Item #3 - Oxmo, Jayla Front Twist Sweater

Front twist sweater! That's what this is called. I should have known. This sweater caused me some silly girl turmoil. I love the light fabric, the style, and the perfect fit. But the color. The color! I don't own a single stitch of fabric that is coral or orange-ish. And there's a reason for that. My fair skin will tell you why. But this particular color had the potential of winning me over. I put this picture on facebook last week asking for advice. The ladies were mixed, but gave great suggestions for making it work for me. But in the end, I sent it back. I couldn't justify spending a good amount of cash (or precious Stitch Fix credit) on something I'm on the fence about.
Item #4 - 41Hawthorn, Callafia Short-Sleeve Wrap Dress

This dress. I so was excited to lift it out of the box and feel its weight, while drooling over the rich blue. I was really hoping it would fit and not cling to every area in a not-so-attractive way, like the thinner version of this fabric has a habit of doing. But it didn't. Goodness, I love this dress. I love the length, the classiness, and versatility. I plan to wear it to a wedding next month. It'll be perfect (after I iron it or something.)

Item #5 - Gilli, Dawn Jersey Chevron Print Maxi Skirt

I want to give a shout out to my stylist because I love chevron. She mentioned that she didn't want to overload me with chevron prints (which I don't mind), but wanted to give me a chance to look at these pieces before they went out of stock. Which I think is great.
I wish I'd gotten a better picture of this shirt in it's full-length glory, but all the other pictures were blurrier than this one. I sent this skirt back only because I'd just kept a black and white chevron skirt in my last fix. The style and chevron prints were different, but I thought I'd control myself and not own two skirts in the same color and pattern. The only thing I didn't like about it was the fabric. While it was extremely comfortable, it was made out of what felt like a swimsuit with no lining. Super stretchy and comfy, but see-through. I tried it on with a slip, but still. It felt precarious.
So there you have it, Stich Fix #2. I'm loving the anticipation of these boxes and scheduled my next one for two months from now... I can hardly wait.
Want to give it a try? Click here to get started.

Monday, March 3, 2014


After 4 days in the Arctic getting to know our boy in his world, we all flew home today. Home! 

This boy is amazing, humble, willing, and excited. And adorable. He is resilient, positive, and kind. 
And smart.

There is so much to tell. What I have seen on this trip will forever change me. I've said that before, and I pray my life will afford more chances to be moved. I cried buckets of tears for different reasons up there. Some heartbroken, some heart-soaring.

Some thankful, some as a response to injustice. God moved in such blatant and powerful ways, that tears were the only response I could muster. Words just wouldn't come. 

Like the time he announced proudly to his entire kindergarten class after meeting us for the first time with one hand in mine and one hand in Jeremy's, "This is my Mom and Dad!"

It was finally his turn. His turn to have a family who would love and cherish him.

Or the time just now when Levi came over to hug him goodnight. This once broken, now embraced little guy picked his brother up, gave him a big squeeze, and offered to walk him down to his bed. Tears. I can't help it. 

He doesn't even know he's related to him by blood. He just isn't ready for that information. All that matters to him is that we love him, and I think he senses that we're all already related. 

We met the most amazing people, performing some of the toughest work I've heard of out there in the world, and they became like family. Enter more tears. They've loved our boy out of darkness, and into this marvelous light he now finds himself in.

Freedom. He's free. 

We are moving forward as a family of 10 tonight. And we're hopeful.
We're asking for continued prayer as we transition.

We are confident that his acceptance of us and joy at having a family is due in part, because of your prayers on our behalf. Thank you. 

Sleep is not my friend when I'm away from home, so I've got some catching up to do. So that's where I'm headed, friends. Goodnight.

P.S. If you want to take a peek into our trip, I've posted pictures and videos on Instagram over the last several days.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Trinity Women

Here I sit at my desk with an empty pint of ice cream that I started last night. I also sit just three days from flying 538 miles with Jeremy to meet our new six year-old son. Hopefully by next Sunday night, we'll be on a plane with a little boy in the next seat headed home. We still haven't received the big official okay to bring him home, but it looks promising. Pray for us?

I want time to speed up and I want it to slow down. I ache for him to be home and at home here. But I'm also savoring the last days in this chapter of our family as it is right now. The emotions swing up high and they dip down low.

At times, I'm akin to a boxer in one of those silk robes and a mouth guard, ready to fight for the heart of a little boy.

Other moments, I see myself more like Jesus as he's pictured in a children's Bible sitting on a rock wearing a pleasant expression with arms outstretched happily welcoming children onto his knee. 

And then there's the me I'm least proud of. The me who gets fearful and wants to run into the bathroom and hide behind the shower curtain. There will be changes up ahead that will alter my already stretched out, yet happy bubble. And they make me want to hide.

I'm three-in-one.


I think there might be a three-in-one in all of us.

We fight for the stuff we believe in and love passionately.
But we hide from things that threaten our comfort and seek to change us too much. Oh, how we loathe the process of being changed. We're all in, yet search for the nearest exit.

It's okay to feel more than one emotion even when we're trusting God. It doesn't mean we're wrong, bad, off-course, or strange. I like to think of us as trinity women. We each have many facets, yet are one woman. Of course I don't compare us to the Trinity. Goodness. But I think the analogy works.

I've yet to meet a woman who is able to hold steady in just one emotion before walking into the unknown. There's usually fear coupled with tingly excitement. A healthy dose of confidence mingled with self-doubt. Sadness mixed with pure joy.

As it is right now, when I move into battle for a young heart, Jesus fights for me. Even if I'm trembling rather than bold.
As I love people and open my life to them in His name, Jesus continues to envelop me in His. Even if my arms are weak.
And if I hide from what I fear, He'll tuck in behind the shower curtain and whisper the truth about my future. Even when I doubt.

And He'll do the same for you when you do your thing. That multi-faceted woman thing.

Since Jesus holds our future, we really should believe Him. It will turn out okay in the end. Maybe your okay will come next week, or maybe not for a year or even a far-off ten, but one day it will be made right. That sounds depressing, but it's true. And good.

So tell me, trinity woman, what emotions are you facing as you step out into the unknown?


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

When the One You Want to Help the Least Needs You the Most

An exhausted young mother tosses the question out onto social media, "Does anyone have any tips for getting a baby to sleep through the night?"

Commenters eagerly pounce.

We love to share our opinions. We love to share what has worked for us. We're eager to see our chosen method be successful for someone else.
I'm convinced that posts asking for advice receive the most comments of all.

She'll get answers touting the benefits of co-sleeping, Ferberizing, sleeping on baby's floor, rocking, Babywise, The Baby Whisperer, baby wearing, shushing into baby's left ear, crying it out, white noise makers, earplugs, vibrating bouncy seats, and the ever-faithful wisecrack about giving the baby Benedryl.


Another woman asks for help with a decision: "Which paint color do you like best for our kitchen? Peacock Attack or Blueberry Muffin Top?"

She'll receive loads of votes, leaving Blueberry Muffin Top at the top of the podium, but last on the list of enticing names. We love to make swift and easy decisions. It's satisfying to share our two cents, and we feel useful. Even in the smallest sense.

But then there's the woman who posts that she's struggling. Again.

"When will the family drama ever end? I'm so sick and tired of this. I don't think I can do it anymore. I can't focus at work. I'm so distracted and lame when I'm with the kids. This. Just. Isn't. Working."

Ah, yes... the social media downer. These are the posts we love to scroll right by without giving them much thought., except to type out a chipper, "Praying!" Maybe she's being dramatic or is just feeling lonely at the moment.

Either way, why should we get involved? It sounds like a private affair.
She might suck us dry if we reach out a hand.
She might start calling every day expecting something.
She might want to be like friends or something.

But do you know something?

While the circumstances she finds herself in may be private, a caring voice or gesture of friendship is always appreciated. Sometimes it's a lifesaver. Quite literally.

She might actually need you.
You might be just the one to help her rise to the surface and breathe in a gulp of fresh air for the first time in forever. (I couldn't resist. We're big fans of the Frozen soundtrack around here.)

Your words of comfort and hope just might be the ticket to freedom for her. She may feel the arms of Christ around her because of the steps you've taken in love toward her. When others scrolled right by, you stopped.

Just like the woman who touched Jesus' robe. She was making a desperate plea. But she dared not come right out and say. "Will you help me, Jesus?"

She came in the back door by simply touching him.
And He stopped and gave life to her wilting body.

Maybe your friend can't come right out and ask for help. Maybe she doesn't know how. So what if we just offered it?

So go ahead, send her a private message. Call to say that dinner will be delivered tomorrow night at 6:00p.m. Offer to meet and talk or watch her kids so she can just be for a while.

We love to give advice, but what if we loved to give of ourselves even more?

Philippians 2:4
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Wisdom from Anne Shirley for the Homeschooling Mom

Creative Commons: Mr Moss

As a devoted Anne of Green Gables fan, I can’t help but smile when I think about Anne.

I love the books, the movies, Prince Edward Island, the trouble she gets herself into, the clothing, and the unintentionally wise or hilarious things she says.

I often feel like Anne, bounding from one scrape to the next in my days as a homeschooling mom.


Continue reading the rest of this post over at The Homeschool Classroom, where I'm sharing wisdom that can be found in the words of Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables!


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

6 Things I Learned in January

At the end of each month, I like to share what I've learned, mostly so I won't forget and partly because maybe you'll learn from me and not repeat my mistakes or maybe you'll learn something new as well.

January was a month of deeply profound moments, along with some silly realizations and lessons learned along the way. So here you go:

1.  I'm a new Apple product user. I own an iPad mini, and can I just say how excited I was to learn that you can take a screen shot by holding down the home button and the power button at the same time? If that's what they're even called. This has been a game changer for me. I save all sorts of reminders in the form of quotes, pictures, or articles. I know you already knew this, but this was huge for me.

2.  I didn't learn this in January, but I was reminded how much I love listening to some good soul music when I'm making dinner. My favorite songs are Aretha Franklin's Send Me, Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell's Ain't No Mountain High Enough, and Natalie Cole's Everlasting Love. Sometimes I listen to a sermon podcasts, sometimes worship music, sometimes I watch old episodes of Downton Abbey, and sometimes I listen to soul. You just never know.

3.  Though they might be cute and they may be cheap, don't be tempted buy those skinny multicolored drinking straws at the store. They're so narrow that you'll turn blue in the face from lack of oxygen before finishing your glass of water. I bought them, so I'm determined to use them up one tiny sip at a time. I've tried the two straws together trick, like my kids do at church with those little stir sticks that aren't even straws. But that was a no-go. I love straws and always have them in the house. So if you come into my kitchen, you will nearly always see a glass of water on the counter with a straw in it. But this month, the straws are skinnier and deeply perplexing and I can see the hope of larger straws off somewhere in the distance.

P.S. McDonald's has the best straws. Though the worst food.

4.  After a carbon monoxide scare earlier this month, which had the children and I evacuated at 7:30 a.m., I learned that one should keep the diaper bag stocked at all times with what is needed for a full day out of the house. Because extra diapers are a really, really good thing. Thankfully, we didn't need the extra diapers, but it was a lesson learned. And then there's the issue of food. We sat in our driveway with the paramedics until around 10:00 a.m., and none of us had eaten breakfast. We were fine, of course, but having water and snacks stored in the car for such occasions would have been smart.

5.  If you are anything like me, and you get a phone call on an ordinary day asking you to adopt a 6 year old-boy in need of a family, your first reaction will be a mix of sheer panic and grief. Panic that has you asking, can we and should we do this? And grief that mourns at the sadness of it all. But panic and grief turn into resolve, which then turns into a mission. It took us a week to come to what we felt was the best decision for this little guy and our family, and wrap our heads and hearts around what God was trying to do. While we thought the process to bring him home would be a little quicker, the time to prepare has been good. So good. We've had the time to tether our thinking, adjust our prayers, and ready our children and home. And part of  that preparation involved the building of two sets of bunk beds. Jeremy has worked non-stop over two weekends and every weeknight to get the beds completed. And now they sit ready to be painted and assembled.

He may be brought to us or we may fly out to get him, we aren't yet sure of the details. But either way, a son is coming home, and that's reason to rejoice!

6.  Now this next one completely blew my mind. I've never gone to Bible school, though I secretly hope to take classes someday, even if only online. But each week, as I sit in my women's Bible study, I get a taste of what going to Bible school would be like. A few weeks back, one of our Pastors, came in to give us an overview of Biblical history at the time of the prophets. We were beginning to study the minor prophets, so we were getting our bearings, making sure we knew the background information. Maybe you've known this forever, but it was the first time I'd ever heard it. For years, I've been confused when the Bible talks about the king of Judah or the king of Israel. Why were there two separate kings? What happened? I could have simply asked someone or looked it up, but I didn't.

Simply put, the twelve tribes of Israel had a falling out with each other, resulting in a bad breakup. The 10 tribes who would become the northern kingdom of Israel, refused to accept Rehoboam (Solomon's son) as their king after King Solomon's death. So only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin remained loyal to the house of David, making up the southern kingdom of Judah. Some time later, the northern kingdom of Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians, leaving Judah the sole remaining kingdom.

My mind was blown. How did I not know this?

Also, the Samaritans? You know those people in the New Testament that were disliked by everyone? After the Assyrians conquered Israel, they settled in the city of Samaria, which was the capital city of Israel making them the Samaritans. No wonder nobody liked them.

Please tell me you didn't know this either.

Well, that's it, friends -- that's what I learned in January.
Did you learn anything cool, silly, or interesting this month?

I'd love to hear.


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Stitch Fix #1 {I'm Hooked}

Today my very first Stitch Fix arrived in the mail! I nearly tackled Jeremy as he walked in the door with it. But instead I grabbed my iPad and snapped a picture. He was more than happy to pose for his ridiculously giddy wife.

Never heard of it? I shared what Stitch Fix is all about last week HERE.

When I scheduled this Fix, I specified that I'd love to have a tunic (long shirt) or two included. I like wearing skinny jeans, but I'll only wear them under a loooong shirt. I've been scouring stores lately looking for some well-made tunics, but I usually only shop clearance racks, so it's been a challenge to find anything that fits my criteria.

Well, my stylist (I love that I can say that) included two tunics in this Fix, and I was so pleased to see them. And then there's my unhealthy addiction to stripes. She fed that addiction by including three striped items in my box. I love her already.

Seriously, this company has great marketing and sheer awesomeness down pat. Look at those little style cards (above right) giving me ideas for styling the pieces they sent! Genius. And then there was a little personal note from my stylist. She had gone to my Pinterest My Style fashion board (I provided the link) to better understand what I like to wear. Or dream to wear. Either way.

Stitch Fix nailed it. I should note that every time I type out Stitch Fix, I accidentally type Stitch Fitch.

I completely loved all five pieces in my Fix, but I did not love posing for awkward full-lenth mirror selfie after awkward selfie to share this fun experience with you. It was torturous. I took 88 pictures for the five semi-decent ones below. Clearly I need to get better at this sort of thing. Obviously this is not required, but I really wanted to share all of this with you. Who knows? You may end up trying it to!

I have to give a disclaimer right here at the start, because I kept it ALL and you're going to think I'm a regular old money bags. I absolutely am not. I have seven kids -- enough said.  

I was able to buy all five items in this Fix because I had enough credit in my account (thanks to a Christmas gift card and credit from friends signing up to try it too) to cover all but $54.50 of it. So I would highly recommend telling your friends about it, should you decide to pay the $20 and give it a try!

Now that the items of business are out of the way, here's what I got in my box:

Item #1 -  Peach Cream Love, Archibald Printed Henley Tunic

This tunic was perfect, and so, so me. The fabric was thick and nice, and super soft too. It was a perfect fit. Nothing pulling or too tight. This was a natural keeper that I won't be wearing with leggings when I wear it out of the house. Skinny jeans or a skirt are more like it... In my book, leggings go under dresses or are worn to bed. They are not real pants. 

Item #2 - Lasome, Pacific Chevron Print Skirt

See? I told you these selfies were hard. When in doubt, just make a funny face!
I'm so crazy in love with chevron print, but I never expected to find it on an item of clothing in my box. What delight! I love this knit skirt, it is so twirly and flowy, and is made of a thick material. Not like those jersey knit skirts that are thin and stick to you, showing (ahem) everything. The length falls just right on my 5'5" frame. LOVE.

Item #3 - 19 Cooper, Clemency Diamond Print Tab-Sleeve Tunic

This second tunic made me so happy as well. I love the colors (navy/coral), they help get me out of the color rut in my closet. The length is great, and so is the fit. Again, I won't be wearing this in real-life with leggings, but that's what I grabbed today. I love me a good tunic. Long shirts rock when you're birthed five babies and would love some midsection camouflage. 

Item #4 - 41Hawthorn, Corinna Striped Dolman Top

I was excited to pull this shirt out of the box for two reasons: the stripes and the red.
Red is my favorite color to wear and to see, but right now, I don't own any red shirts. For shame! So this little number is a welcome addition to my closet. Plus, it's comfy and fits just right. I'm amazed at how well everything fit. This NEVER happens to me in a store dressing room. In your style profile, it has you list your height, weight, body type, etc... I'd imagine that greatly helps them figure out what will work for your body.

Item #5 - Loveappella, Dellen Chiffon Trim Striped Thermal

You can't tell from the picture, but this shirt is a waffle-knit thermal. It's extremely comfortable, and is trimmed with black sheer chiffon fabric at the bottom. I honestly would have passed it right by in a store because of the $54.00 price tag. But, since I received 25% off the entire box for buying all five items, it was was a no-brainer to keep it too. I really do like it, and it can be worn in so many ways!

So I'd say this first Stitch Fix was a huge success! 

I plan to schedule another fix in the next few months, and have an idea of what sort of items I'd like to see in the next box. Go ahead, give it a try!!! There's nothing like trying on clothes in the comfort of your own home that a stylist picked out just for you. 

I'm curious, which item was your favorite??


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

When a Phone Call Knocks You Speechless

You know those seasons of life when you're parting the last of the trees at the edge of the forest, and the freedom of a beautiful green clearing has just become visible? That was me three and a half weeks ago. Even as the mama of seven, I was beginning to have room to breathe. I've been stretching my legs and slowly coming back to the woman I've been searching for.

Emmalie is fast approaching two years old, and the three year-olds are making great gains. They're not acting so... well, three. It's a hard year, no? The twos have nothing on the threes.

Then enter a phone call. It's amazing how one "hello" can change so much.

On a Wednesday morning, we received a call that rocked our world and stunned us speechless. We were asked to adopt a child. A 6 year-old child. The sibling of one of our little ones.

This was huge. A decision we did not want to take lightly or make too quickly. And then there's the wow factor in all of this. Wow. Just wow. We were NOT expecting this. At ALL. Not in the furthest reaches of our imaginations.

We questioned, cried, prayed, gathered information, laughed at the wonder of it all, and waited for an answer. We needed to hear a sure word from the Lord. Should we do this? Can we do this? We were excited, yet terrified. But even before a decision, we loved this child. We knew for sure that this child had no family, and that is not okay, no matter who you are. Our hearts were (are) beating on the outside of our chests.

After a week, He spoke, and we had our answer. We should and we can. So we began moving forward to bring this child home. So here we sit weeks later. We've been fingerprinted, have filled out mounds of paperwork, and are now waiting to hear the "when." All we know is that it will be soon.

We're up to our eyeballs in projects to ready the house and ourselves for homecoming day.
We're building bunk beds and painting dressers and walls.
We're buying mattresses, clothing, and stuffed animals.
We're sewing blankies and pillows.
We're preparing to extend more of ourselves.
We're discussing how we'll parent differently.
We're talking with the kids about the empathy and compassion needed.
But mostly we wait and pray.
We have an idea, but we don't know exactly how things will change in our family life.
I've had moments of panic. Moments of missing this child so much I can't hold it together. And moments of sheer worship. God is so good. So, so good.
Just because it appears as if we're entering another forest, doesn't mean we will.
And just because another forest may be ahead for us, doesn't mean it won't be good.
We've received the emails warning us. We know. We aren't walking into this blindly. We know adopting an older child isn't a cake walk. We teach classes on this very thing.
We're as prepared as we can be. And that's okay with us.
Our God is so personal. We know He is holding our hands, and will continue. A child is coming home.
And do you know what?
Maybe the person I've turned into while living in the forest these years is the person God meant for me to be all along. I don't need to search for the true woman any longer. She's not gone, nor is she hidden among motherhood. She's already here. And I like her.

This is all the information we'll be providing for now.
You may have questions. We understand. We have our share as well.

Hopefully very soon, our home will be rejoicing and swelling with thankfulness, as we wrap Christ's love around another.


Friday, January 24, 2014

A Bit of Small Talk {My First Stitch Fix)

So, January hasn't turned out to be a stellar blogging month. Writing three posts so far this month is not what I'd intended, but it's not horrible either.  I think about it each day, but can't seem to get myself to sit down long enough to work on anything new, coherent, or interesting.

So let's just small-talk for a sec, shall we? I'm bursting at the seams about this one:

I finally scheduled my first Stitch Fix. And I'm crazy excited. Stitch Fix is a personal styling service that ships 5 items of clothing and accessories that were hand-picked just for you for a styling fee of $20. You give them all the details: sizing, style, budget, and the date you'd like your Fix to arrive. Then voilĂ  -- a box full of goodies arrives on your doorstep.

And what's best, is that the $20 you've spent to be styled turns into a credit to be used toward an item in your box. Anything you don't want to purchase is sent back in a prepaid mailing bag. Easy-peasy.

These guys are legit. I've been watching some of my favorite bloggers enjoy their fixes for a couple years now, and it's finally time to give it a whirl. I can't wait, and I promise to post about the experience. I may even model them for you. (I'm crossing my fingers they fit!)

You can schedule a fix just before a big event if you're looking for a certain sort of look, or schedule one whenever you get the notion! There's no commitment. That's why I've been drawn to it. Plus, can I tell you a little secret?? For every person who schedules their first fix and signs up using the links in this post, I'll receive a $25 credit to my account. I'd hate to neglect mentioning that, because that's one of the greatest perks. Once you're signed up, you can share your own link with your friends and family and start earning your account credits too. Win-win.

Clothing without the shopping, and trying them on in the comfort of your own home? YES, please.

Here's to a box of clothes coming in the mail! Schedule yours HERE.

Happy last week of January to you, friends.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Forward {Moving Past the Regrettable Moments as a Mom}

I'm going to state the obvious right out of the gate. It's the bad news we're familiar with.

Being a mom is incredibly difficult.

Had you said that to me when I was pregnant with my first child, I would have laughed in your face.

Had you said that to me when I was a new mama with a fresh babe in my arms, I would have laughed nervously because the giving birth and recovery part was hard, but the mothering? It seemed so easy from my vantage point. My new baby needed me. And that felt good. Sure, I was exhausted. But incredibly difficult? Nah.

Had you said that to me when I had three young babies and preschoolers, I'd have nodded my head in agreement. Remembering how many timeouts I'd doled out that day and that someone was always following me around. Even into the sacred space of the bathroom.

Had you said that to me when I had grade schoolers, preschoolers, and babies under my care, I'd have high-fived you, and hugged you in the same movement. Because it is difficult.

And if you said it now that I have a teenager, middle and grade schoolers, preschoolers, and a baby my eyes might start to well up in the corners. Because it is incredibly difficult.

It isn't incredibly difficult because of my kids. Not always, anyways.

Mostly, it's hard because I don't always behave well toward my kids.

Moms are faced with opportunity after opportunity to choose wisely or unwisely. Selfishly or selflessly. In light of the grace given to us or not.

And that is incredibly difficult.

It doesn't matter how many kids you have, or how big they are. It just so happens that for me, as the number of kids grew and then the actual kids grew, the stakes grew too. The choices you make will become more and more important as your kids grow.

You'll be less and less able to sweep bad choices under the rug, because kids notice.

They're forever assimilating information. And unfortunately we don't get to choose what they keep and what they overlook. It'd be swell (though creepy and harmful) if we were able to program their brains to remember only the good stuff. But alas, we can't. So we're stuck with the risk of them remembering the junk too. Because there will be junk.

We will utter careless words.

We will get angry, and react in embarrassing and regrettable ways.

We will raise our voices to levels we never thought possible.

We will argue with their father.

We will be so exhausted that we treat them poorly.

We will partake in sinful habits that are hard to shake.

We will push them to the backburner in search of our own interests.

We will be impatient with questions, nagging, messes, the dragging of feet, and bedtimes.

We will be overly sensitive.

Yeah, there's a lot of junk. But it isn't all bad. In fact, it's good in a way. Without screwing up and feeling awful about it, we wouldn't see our need for help.

Help in the form of Jesus.

He is the good news in all this.

The moment we accept His covering -- His redemptive act on our behalf on the cross, is the very same moment He lifts us from our mess. Sets us back on our feet, and bids us to keep walking toward Him. Grace lifts. And urges us to keep moving forward.

There is no grace punch card that is full of punches and then must be handed over. Jesus doesn't run out of the desire to lift us. He does it because He loves us.

Just as we lift our toddling child as she learns to step -- face plants and steps again. We cheer, we lift, we cheer again. We never grow tired or weary of lifting our children back to their feet. They are learning and growing, so we show them grace.

“The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.”  -  Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage 

See? He loves us this way.

He bids us forward. One step.

I kept my voice controlled in the face of a lying child.

Another step.

I held my tongue this time when my child repeated the same mistake. Because she already knows.

This is forward.
Not perfect. Just onward.

This is you. Moving into and reminding yourself of the grace given you. He lifts.

So we lift. Again and again. Choice after choice.

 Psalm 19:14
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be acceptable in your sight,
    O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.


Friday, January 3, 2014

Hello, 2014. {forwards and favorites}

Moving into a new year is always thrilling to me. Yes, we're still in the dead of winter and the daylight hours are short. Even so, there's a newness and a fresh perspective that comes with a clean calendar.

This year, I'm all about moving forward.


Care to move forward with me?

Let's be women who...

Seek God's approval above all others'.
Delve deeper into The Word. Treasuring, Learning, Growing.
Say no to fear and yes to God-led risk.
Remember Christ is in us to help. We're here to help make Him look good. 
Aren't afraid to say no.
Say yes to kindness, patience, unconditional love, and peace.  
Keep our promises.
Forgive and ask for forgiveness.
Think of ourselves less. Not less of ourselves.
Are slow to speak, quick to listen.
Keep focused amid distraction.
Pray as a first resort. You get first priority every time. 

Even though we're moving forward, I would like to take a step back and recap some favorites of 2013.

The Scarlet Paisley Reader Favorites of 2013

When Your Life is in Ruins {Turn Around}
Confessions of a Pollyanna
5 Reasons Why a Bigger House Isn't Always Better
Homeschooling: You're You, I'm Me
So much GRACE

Favorite Books of 2013

A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman


What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst

The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp {Advent Devotional}

The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones
(This has been a favorite since 2010, but it's that good. Really. Get your hands on a copy.)

Modern Essentials {A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils}

Favorite TV/Movies of 2013
Downton Abbey - Season 4 begins this Sunday, January 5th on PBS
(Miss an episode? Catch it HERE during the week.)

Funny Face (1957)

Honestly, I don't remember seeing many movies that became favorites this last year (but I may want to add Frozen to this list after I see it tomorrow with the older kids), but here's a couple old-favorites I've watched and re-watched so many times, I can't not recommend them.

Emma (BBC, 2009)

Father of the Bride & Father of the Bride 2 (1991, 1995)


Favorite Music of 2013

Ellie Holcomb - With You Now is my current favorite album. Download it HERE or listen on Pandora.
Dallas String Quartet
Passion: Let the Future Begin
Christa Wells, song Shine
Christy Nockels

There you have it, a peek inside my brain this last year.

May God bless your efforts and make you more like His Son. .
May you rest in and accept His gifts.

What are you moving forward into in 2014?
What will you be intentional about?
And of course, what were your favorites from 2013?

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