For Us Moms Who Long To Create

I’m often asked how I do it — how I can be a mom to six and still make time for creative endeavors like art and writing, while also running a business. The shortest answer is this: I didn’t for many years. It looked different in various seasons, and most importantly — I have lots of help (more on that another time!)

We moms tend to think that it’s all or nothing; that we must either throw ourselves into mothering or fully into career, a creative pursuit, or business. We sometimes think that making time for one assumes the demise of the other, but that’s simply not true. 

I spent the first 12 years of motherhood learning how to be a wife and mom. The days were full and nights were short as one or two were always in diapers for the last 14.5 years. I had to learn to rest, again and again. The Lord used motherhood to sanctify me and continues to do so. There was little room for art, but I snuck it in to nap times, evenings, and weekends.

I don’t think I understood it then like I do now, but somehow: We get to reflect our Maker’s artistry, we just have to change the means in which we do so in various seasons. Whether it’s with a sewing machine or supper ingredients, we can use what time and resources we have to do the most with our giftings. It just may not look the way we expect it to. 

I’m honored that part of my story is told by the authors of Life Creative: Inspiration For Today’s Renaissance Mom, Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart. Life Creative, which releases today, is a book in celebration of motherhood woven together with creativity. Wendy and Kelli know what it is to long to create as moms, and they share encouragement for us to do so in various seasons of our lives. It’s a book to inspire women to embrace both by God’s grace and for His glory, because motherhood and creativity are certainly not exclusive of one another.

Are you a Renaissance mom? Are you a creative, desiring to see how God will use your giftings alongside your calling of motherhood? I pray you’ll be encouraged to be equally bold and patient, content yet curious. Our gracious God made you uniquely you…and He’s writing a beautiful story through your giftings, friend.

Because of grace,

 

A Garden of Truth for 2016

I’m slow to learn and hard of hearing…and sometimes hard of heart.

There are 365 days in a year, and 365 days of the year you will find me fighting to keep Truth at the forefront of my mind and in the pliable part of my heart. It’s not just about waging war on sin, it’s about setting our minds on things above as a means for battle. 

I have to continually pull up the weeds that I hope to replace with a garden of truth.

That’s the heart behind the debut of what I hope to be an annual Garden of Truth calendar in GraceLaced Shoppe.  The calendar, which releases today, was designed to 3-in-1, with 12 repurpose-able 8×10 prints, and 12 coordinating scripture memory cards. I wanted to offer the kind of calendar that would draw you in with beauty but would anchor you to truth….all year long. 

Each month is adorned with a flower that blooms during that time of year + a portion of a verse of Truth that is worthy of rehearsing over and over again. The full verse is located beneath the print, so you can easily read it and remind yourself throughout the month. 

You may want to make it a verse to memorize all month long, as a family or with a friend. Once the month is over, you can follow the instructions and cut the page of the month out as a separate print + scripture memory card. I’ve also created a set of 12 lock screen downloads that coordinate with the calendar so that you can have access to your yearlong garden of truths everywhere you go…


To celebrate the calendar release, I’m running a SALE and PROMO through Sunday, September 20!

Take 20% off entire shoppe, including ALL new releases! Use code: TRUTH20

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Every order with a calendar purchase, now through Sunday, will receive an emailed coupon code for a FREE download of the Garden of Truth Lock Screen Set!

(both offers last thru 9/20/15, 11:59 MT)


As always, I’m honored to have the opportunity to share my artwork with you. I’m grateful that He’s chosen to use words and brush offered from this place as a means of encouragement. May His Word richly dwell within us and spur us on in both hard and fertile soil. 

Because of grace,

I’m so honored that you are here. If you enjoy this blog and would like new posts to come directly to your inbox, I invite you to subscribe to GraceLaced by email.

Thank You For 20K Follows

What can I say but glory be to God and thank you. Your loving support and enthusiasm for GraceLaced on Instagram has landed us at a milestone: 20,000 followers. That’s 20K people who will potentially see the truth of God’s word shared in word and brush…20K folks who might have truth interrupt their mindless surfing…20K individuals who could use a little encouragement…20K people who might find they are not alone. I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to share.

I’m at Hope Spoken this weekend, preparing my heart to speak on Saturday, but I’m so excited to pop in and share the good news and rejoice…  **you can follow a bit behind the scenes at the my Instagram feed, of course!**

To celebrate this special milestone, we’re running a one-day sale and a weekend promotion at GraceLaced Shoppe!!

*May not be combined with any other offers. May not be applied to previous purchases.
*May not be combined with any other offers. May not be applied to previous purchases.

Thank you for your continued support of GraceLaced Shoppe. I’m beyond humbled.

Spread the word! Share the sale…there won’t be another one like it anytime soon!!

Because of grace,

I’m so honored that you are here. If you enjoy this blog and would like new posts to come directly to your inbox, I invite you to subscribe to GraceLaced by email.

Growing GraceLaced {How I’ve Come To Build My Team}

I’ve been eager to write today’s post for some time, for your sake and mine. I want to be honest and real about how it is that I’m managing my career and calling: motherhood, homemaking, blog, business, schooling, and hospitality. No one does everything well. I certainly do not, and want to share, lest anyone is tempted to think that I do. I want to introduce you to two new faces to the GraceLaced team that’s making all the difference. But, first, a story…

For the past year and five months, I’ve had the privilege of running an unexpectedly successful and ever-growing shoppe. Mr. Simons likes to remind me that though it has grown rapidly and far beyond what we had anticipated, GraceLaced was not an overnight success but rather the result of consistent writing and creating for almost eight years continually, prior to becoming an e-commerce site as well. 

As I’ve said in this interview and this interview, running an online business from home has certainly made use of all the lessons learned during the years I set aside those dreams and served (often invisibly) within my own home. Those were the years I trained my heart to define what real success is…something I’m now grateful for when the pull and demands of writing, painting, selling, and speaking threaten to redefine it.

Knowing what my most important callings are while running a business of this magnitude in my current season of marriage and motherhood, has pushed me to evaluate what choices I must make in order to do what I do best and what I feel most called to. I spent all of 2014 scrambling and trying to make it all work. With the addition of selling our house last year, I came to the end of the year resolved to make some changes that would bless my family and benefit the business. 

At first, I knew I couldn’t do it all, but I tried anyway. I tried so hard that there was barely any margin in my life for rest, laughter, friends, or hospitalityI knew that no one could paint for me, no one could write for me, and no one could oversee the vision of the business. And certainly, no one could be Mom to my six boys better than me. I was created for that role, regardless of how hard it is!

However, there were so many things slipping through the cracks that needed attention: emails, shipping, inventory, bookkeeping, customer service….to name a few. And on the home front: perpetual laundry, cooking, cleaning, and the need for a few quiet hours each week to take care of conference calls, writing, and meetings. And on the personal level: too much burning the candle on both ends, too much work, too little rest, too much business in the midst of my marriage. 

I soon realized that finding the right people to help with the things I didn’t HAVE to do, would help me be better at the things I truly feel called to. And so, it was clear when the Lord brought two wonderful ladies, the first two hires to the GraceLaced team…


Marcie is my personal assistant and the face behind all things customer service at GraceLaced. I love when the Lord surrounds us with those who are gifted in ways we ourselves are not. She is meticulously organized, good with systems, and keeps me doing what I do best. Marcie loves the Lord fiercely and I couldn’t be more grateful for someone who so balances administrative prowess with a servant’s heart. You will be blessed to work with Marcie if you should need her assistance. You can email Marcie via the form on the contact page or at info (at) gracelaced.com

 

Emily is our superstar intern who specializes in maintaining our stock, studio, and shipping supplies. She is also a multi-tasker extraordinaire and keeps up with my littles as she works to keep me organized in my home and in the studio while I lock myself in the office to work or at a coffee shop to write and paint a few afternoons a week. Her presence in our home each week has become a joy and delight…a balm to a mama’s heart who is not used to being away from my children any length of time! I’m so grateful for her love for the Lord, my kids, and for the shoppe!


I’m so thrilled to introduce them both to you as they have become an integral part of the ministry that is GraceLaced, day by day. As I learn to build this team and grow this business, I humbly ask that you keep me and my team in your prayers…that we might seek to honor Christ first and foremost…in the little and great things we get to be a part of. Our prayer is that we might make His name great through our words and the meditations of our hearts…and that we’d inspire you to do the same.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

— Psalm 19:14

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Because of grace,

I’m so honored that you are here. If you enjoy this blog and would like new posts to come directly to your inbox, I invite you to subscribe to GraceLaced by email.

Tea and Cookies {Taking Time To Pause} + $100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway

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In the last year or so, some wonderful new roles have surfaced in my life in addition to being a wife, mother, and home educator. I’ve unexpectedly acquired some new hats: Entrepreneur, Writer, Artist, Speaker. I’ve become a work-at-home mom whose commitment to my family has been graciously paired with my passion for creating art and inspiring the art of living. I’m grateful to do what I love. 

I couldn’t have embraced these additional roles ten years ago, and I don’t think I would’ve managed my priorities well at that time. I’ve grown up quite a bit in the things that I value most, and so these new unexpected opportunities have fallen upon a foundation that is not dependent on career or success, but on knowing who I am in the ways that matter most. The timing has been good, and I couldn’t be more sure of God’s blessing in it all.

But with new hats to wear and roles to learn, there is always a pull towards hustling, busyness, chaos, and reacting to the tyranny of the urgent. The temptation is to juggle it all in hopes of living well, but being spread so thin that you aren’t hardly living at all. For me, the struggle is often real, and I’m constantly seeking to steward my time well: being purposeful in evaluating priorities, counting the cost, and ultimately discerning when to give it my all, and when to let my all take a break. 

Life is not a sprint to the finish line. If it were so, there would be no lively flowers that peek up between the cracks in a sidewalk, the intoxicating fragrance of freshly baked bread, or the satisfaction of a good conversation with a true friend. All of those delights to our senses are available and waiting, but none of those come without purposeful pause and a deliberate choice to rest.

Lately, I’ve been reinstating the afternoon tea, simply because sometimes I just need to slow down, sip and enjoy a moment to be quiet, a moment to give thanks…a moment to be alone. Pepperidge Farm® Milano® cookies tip their hat to us ladies who juggle many of our own, and make it easy for us to savor some sweetness. 

Taking a few moments to pause has become such a refreshing routine in the midst of kids, school, business, and home. Even when the boys are home and nearby, they know what it means when Mama has a warm cup of coffee or tea in hand: they’ve learned that I, too, need time to recharge. And most often, it takes but a few moments for me to enjoy a pause in my day…and I’m back to sharing all the sweetest, noisiest, busiest of life’s journey with my crew. 

How do you pause and enjoy the day? Tell me in the comments and you will be entered to win a $100 VISA Gift Card!

Entry Instructions: 

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected. 

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 3/2/15 – 4/30/15.

Be sure to visit the Pepperidge Farm® Milano® Cookie brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

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