Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Making America Great Again

So let's talk about politics and religion! Who's excited?!


The race is getting tighter and Iowa is just a few weeks away. (February 1st). Virginia's primary is only one month later. Eventually, we will all need to make a decision. I thought I'd share with you a few opinions I had on some of the candidates as well as why I feel the way I do.

Trump:

I truly believe that America is still the greatest nation on earth. Because of that, I feel like the office of President of the United States should be one that is revered and greatly respected. I don't feel like Trump respects the job, (or much of anything). I also have a hard time believing that the leaders of other countries would maintain any respect for him either, and dealing with the leaders of other countries is a big part of the job description.

Another thing that bothers me about him is he has changed teams-frequently. He's been a Democrat, he's been an independent and he's now a Republican. I'm a women-so by all means, he has the right to change his mind, but it seems to me like he "believes" in whatever will get him the win. A bit opportunistic if you ask me. He knows how to run a good businesses and that's what he's doing here. I want my President to be convicted. I want him (or her) to actually STAND for something. He leaves me feeling like it's all a big game to him and that frustrates me.

I want America to be great again...but I don't think he's going to get us there.

Bernie Sanders/Hillary Clinton:

Wait. What? You're putting Democrats into the mix?

Yes. It bothers me when Christian's dismiss a certain side without even knowing what they stand for. It's ok to not agree with them. But if you have no idea what their opinions are then it's not ok.

Also, I'm "lumping" them together not because I think are one in the same but because the issue I have with them is the same, and they have basically the same view on it. That issue is Abortion.

Both Sanders and Clinton are pro-choice and have a strong, uncompromising record on that issue. At least we know where they stand on it (*Cough* *Cough* *Trump*) But, I don't agree with them. Actually, I would consider myself a bit of a feminist, but this issue goes beyond "feminism" and to me becomes an issue of dealing with your consequences.  In MOST situations, an abortion is done because you did something you regret, you weren't using the tools available to you etc. It's Biblical to face a consequence for your actions. We do this every day in this country. We pay our speeding tickets, are fined for not paying are taxes on time, the list goes on. Take away the fact that you are hurting a child and look at it from the view point that pro-choice means you don't need to deal with the natural consequence that follows your action. It doesn't make sense. That's not how society works.

I would never be able to vote for either of these candidates because of this key issue. If we want America to be great again, replacing the phrase "my consequence" with "my right" is not the way to get there, it's a slippery slope.

To be honest none of the other candidates have caught my eye. They all have pros, and they all have cons. I think the voting process is difficult as a Christian because if you do vote, at some point you are going to have to make a choice. No single candidate will agree with you on everything meaning at some point, you'll need to weigh your beliefs and make a choice. Which value is worth the least? That's a hard thing to do.

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

What I'm Pondering this Christmas



Merry Christmas!

For me, "Christmas" begins when you wake up Christmas Eve morning and ends when you go to sleep Christmas night. So, I'm writing this post with as much excitement as a five year old.

Probably the most exciting part for me is seeing my family open gifts that they weren't expecting...we have a few of these in store for tomorrow and I'm super excited excited about it.

Also...this year both of my kids really understand what's going on for the first time and that adds a whole other level to Christmas. I'm so excited for them to see their gifts under the tree in the morning, and we've had a lot of fun putting them together as well. As I write this my dad is putting together a giant swing set in the back yard while I keep the kids entertained in the house and John is in the garage constructing a baby doll bunk bed for our littlest)

I think in America, Christmas means so many different things to so many different people. As a Christian, Christmas is first and foremost a celebration of the birth of Christ. I do think that there are other meanings to Christmas that should also be celebrated.

This season is a time for giving. It's not a secret that I'm cheap. But come December I get so excited to spend so much money! Why is this? It doesn't stress me out like it does the rest of the year. I spend so much time thinking about what I can get my friends and family that they will really enjoy. I also spend time thinking of the less fortunate and how I can help them. While part of me wishes I thought this way throughout the whole year...I know that what makes this season special, what makes me want to do these things not begrudgingly, is that it's for a 'season'. I love that Christmas is a time for giving.

Christmas is also a time to be with family. My family lives 30 minutes away and while we see them often, we've seen them so much more over the past two weeks than we normally do. The same goes for John's family. They live about three hours away but we've seen each other 3 times in the past few weeks! Once again, it would be nice if we maintained this throughout the year...but it's also what makes this time of year so unique and special.

I hope today that you are excited about the next 48 hours. I hope that this season has brought you joy and a bit of childlike anticipation. I hope that regardless of your faith, you are able to recognize the magic of this season. And don't forget to give. Spend some time today researching some local and international opportunities. If there was ever a time to give to the United Way, to give to the refugees, to give to the lower income families in your city or town...now is the time. Now is when we will actually do it, while we are caught up in the generosity of Christmas. In a month, in six months, we will be stressed over the details of life and giving will be the last things on our mind. In a season where we give to ourselves (our family, our kids) take a few minutes to pick someone outside of your circle who could use a blessing too.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Dining Room Table Christmas Centerpiece


A few days ago I posted some dining room centerpiece inspiration for Christmas. I decided to tackle that room first and wanted to share what I ended up doing. I already had these birch candles and wanted to use as much of what I had on hand as possible. I found the wooden sectioned container at Ross for $11. I also already had the berries on hand. So for me, the total cost was only $11 and I will be able to use what I bought for other things throughout the year.

My favorite part is the paper runner though. I had been looking for paper runners on Etsy and they are expensive (also you have to buy then in like 30 feet incriments)! I didn't want to do that. My next idea was to buy normal brown kraft paper and stencil is with polka dots or stripes...but that sounded like a lot of work.

And then I found this WRAPPING PAPER at TJ Maxx. It was $2.99!  and was the perfect width so I didn't need to trim or cut it. I also still have some left to wrap presents!!

It is thicker than normal paper so it is pretty difficult to rip. I was so excited because it was exactly what I was looking for to give my table a contemporary feel...and it was under $3!

TJ Maxx had some great wrapping paper options that were really unique and elegant so check them out.

I love the finished result of my dining room table. Simple, inexpensive and a little modern.






Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Be offended about something that really matters.


In the past three or four years it seems like America has become a nation that takes offense.

To everything.

I really don't remember this being an issue before that-do you? Maybe I just wasn't paying attention. I think a huge part of it is the internet, specifically social media, but I also think our attitude as a nation as shifted.

We are no longer that nation who comes together for a greater purpose. Fewer and fewer of us strive to understand where someone is coming from. The Greatest Generation is dying and their love of community is dying with them. We are a country that takes offense at everything because we feel like it is our right to have our voice be heard...slightly louder than every other voice.

When you are offended, you feel like you've been slighted. There is a place for righteous anger. There is a time for your to stand up for yourself, but there is also a line and we crossed that line a while ago.

I am offended by American's who close their eyes, ears, and hearts to the growing number of children and adults who are murdered throughout the world by organizations such as Isis.

I am offended by the number of refugees that have fled to our country and have no one to help them.

I am offended by American's who spend too much of their time looking for something to be upset about.

I am not offended by things that don't matter. There are far too many real problems in the world to spend my time worrying about things that don't matter, and there is far too little time.

If you're trying to figure out if it's worth being offended about...ask yourself one question:

"Am I offended because I feel like someone slighted ME, or am I offended because I am hurting for what someone else is going through"

Take a few minutes to write down 3 world problems that are offensive to you. (Start by thinking of a group of individuals who is being persecuted...legitimately persecuted)

Then take another few minutes to think about one way in which you can help with those problems in the next 7 days. Maybe you can donate your time or your money. Maybe you can share a link to the cause's website on your Facebook page so that others can learn about the problem too. Maybe you can pray for them.

And when your seven days are up. Do it again.


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Music-Let's Talk About It

So, I think we can all agree that music is the best. Good music speaks to you. It makes you smile. It teaches you something about yourself. It teaches you something about the world.

I've loved me some Country Music now for about 25 years. I remember when Billy Ray Cyrus (you know...Miley's dad) put out Achy Breaky Heart and loving it. It was 1992 and I was five.

Fortunately we've progressed past this song (and this hairstyle).



But I try hard not to stick to this one genre and love a variety of music. We all have those songs that take us back to prom night (hopefully not Barry White...) or to the summer of our junior year. For me those bands are Dashboard Confessional, Yellowcard, The Beatles, Fall our Boy and Green Day. I remember being on our senior trip in Europe and hearing Green Day everywhere we went. Europe loved them some Green Day.

I had friends who listened to different music than me and I learned to love Usher, Jimmy Eat World, Cake and The Killers because some great friends lent me their CD's. (Compact Discs...they used to be put into something called a CD player. It's a long story)

I am impressed by an artist that writes their songs. I feel like most anyone can sing (although not me) but it takes real talent to write. Because of this-Taylor Swift and Eric Church have been my top two artists now for a long time. Both of them have such incredible, incredible talent when it comes to writing. And they can sing pretty well too. Eric Church walks a fine line between country and classic rock and you don't hear that too much.



I've been to both of their concerts and they know how to entertain. Both were excellent.


I try to always keep an eye out for new music that I love and I'll mention a few now.

Chris Stapleton

If you happened to watch the CMA awards you might have noticed him singing with Justin Timberlake. What an AMAZING duo.  All you need to do to go from "who is he?" to being famous is sing with Justin Timberlake. Chris Stapleton gained 100k followers on Twitter within 12 hours.


Cam 

Her hit Burning House, is what would happen if Adele went over to country. Beautiful. I look forward to hearing more from her.


Canaan Smith:

I love his style and really love that he is from Hampton Roads. His single in the video below talks about Virginia Beach!!



So who do you love? What's your favorite kind of music and what makes an artist "good"?

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Christmas Decor Ideas for your Dining Room

I know. I know.

It's only just November.

But...I do love Christmas and before you know it Thanksgiving will be here...which means it's getting very close to time to decorate. I am going to try very hard this year to decorate well. I don't necessarily want to go overboard but I would like to do each room well and with style. I love the idea of a good dining room centerpiece so I thought I would start there.

Here are a few that I've found that have given me some (p)inspiration for my own dining room.

I love this one for a few reasons.

1. It looks simple enough to duplicate
2. I have birch candles like this already
3. Love this table!

This one is also simple, rustic, but beautiful. I love the garland going down the center. 


This one is a bit more traditional and I love the fresh greenery.


Finally, I like this one for either an outdoor dining area or an indoor one. It would be easy to duplicate simply by cutting up a log. 



Stay tuned to see what I end up doing in my own dining room this year!

Monday, November 2, 2015

So, what is it you do?

So, it's come to my attention that people still don't really know what I do...so I thought I'd try to provide a little more info on that.



Here we go.

Up until this summer I was a Realtor. I have been working on and off in real estate since I was 18 and I really did enjoy it. But, my heart wasn't in it anymore and it was a difficult job to do with little ones so over the summer I put my real estate license into referral and started a new venture.

I created a company called Carriage House Lane. CHL is a direct sales company that specializes in unique and modern women's jewelry and accessories. Most of our items are made in the US by small (women owned) businesses. I spent a long time finding a good mix of products that I fell in love with and created our first Lookbook (Fall/Winter 2015). We have a great mix of modern and traditional jewelry and scarves and I'm very proud of our initial product line.

As a direct sales company, CHL sells our products through a variety of venues. We have an online website and also sell through online or in-home Trunk Shows. Our hosts have the opportunity to receive free products when they host these shows. 

We also have Ambassadors. Ambassadors are our representatives and receive commission on all the products they sell. This is a great opportunity for those women who want to work from home. It is a flexible and fun career!

For those who are wondering how they can be involved here are a few ways:

1. Host a show! Host a party in your home or even through FB (all you need to do is invite some of your Facebook friends and you get to take home free jewelry and accessories!)

2. Spread the word! Talk about us to people you meet, and share our posts on your Facebook page. Since we've only been around for a few months we are still trying desperately to get the word out!

3. Help us Brainstorm! Right now, I am trying to get our products into a few small boutiques (or larger ones as well) I would also love to partner with a few schools and use our products for their next fundraiser. If you know of a school or corporation who is looking to do a fundraiser please let me know. We give 25% of all product sales back to the organization to help with their fundraiser! Let me know who you know who might be interested in that (your school band? sports team?)

4. Pray! We have a few applications floating around out there with some larger corporations and I would love to see those turn into something solid. I am also in the process of putting together our Spring Line and would love prayer for that as well. I want to choose products that are unique and will do well.

And of course, if you have any other questions please let me know!