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?

source

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? 



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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.



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Monday, March 3, 2014

Home.

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. www.instagram.com/amandabaconbits


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