My friend Shauna moved across the ocean, she is real and brave, and is finding beauty in her new circumstances.  I love how she captures her days, lives with transparency and joy, even when there are tears and hard, hard days.

I love this post that sums up so much of who she is, and how she is seeking to frame the little moments, good and bad.  She inspires me in so very many ways.  She is inspiring me to find little moments in our days to frame.

This week I am framing this moment.
This moment from a sunny day sledding, and a certain DRAMATIC photo bomber.
This moment from a week filled with so much joy, and so many tears.
This moment was good.
This moment was real.
It's going in a frame.

(Spoiler alert... if you haven't watched the season three finale of Downton Abbey, stop what you are doing and run along to it.  I watched it on my phone in the mountains with buffering and spotty 3G reception.  What is your excuse?  If you don't watch Downton Abbey, well, I don't really know what to say except that you should.  Or you shouldn't. Because it will break your heart and mess up your mascara.  Moving on.)

Dan Stevens, I have a bone to pick with you.  I do not approve of you deciding to end your contract.  Matthew Crawley does not approve of you ending your contract.  Most certainly, the Dowager Countess DOES NOT approve of you ending your contract.

You wanted freedom to pursue other acting jobs.  REALLY????  Because your character on Downton Abbey was brilliantly written with feeling and depth and had so very much room to grow.  Couldn't you pursue other jobs during the hiatus? Or was nine episode season just too grueling?  NINE EPISODE SEASON!!!!!

(Can we have a side conversation about how the season is WAY TOO SHORT????  I mean really.  TOO SHORT.)

Or was it you didn't want to be typecast?  REALLY???? Remember the richness, and depth of your character?  You could really go anywhere with that so called "typecasting".  Romance?  Comedy?  Drama?  Action?  Yes, yes, yes, and yes.  Because as Matthew Crawley you displayed all of those facets with depth and richness.

We have a family motto Mr. Stevens.  It is simply this:

Don't want to do something you committed to?
Don't want to show up somewhere you committed to being?
Don't want to finish a job you committed to finishing?

Keep your committments.  Show up for people.  Even when you don't want to.  Even when it is hard.  Even if it isn't what you thought or hoped it would be.  Even when you think there is something better out there (chances are THERE ISN'T.)

Quitting is for quitters.

Endurance is for awesome people.

Sticking it out isn't always easy, but there are far greater rewards in the end.

Now you will always be the guy who quit Downton Abbey.
Lets see how that works out for you.

You were all that was good in Lady Mary.  You made me like her.  I fear what your leaving will do.  I hate that I have to wait nearly a year to find out.

Goodbye Matthew Crawley.  Downton will not be the same without you and your blue eyes.  Nor will you be the same without Downton.

This is what I will remember when I look back on Valentine's Day 2013.
Missing teeth.

 The ever present squirrel dress.

 Little miss sunshine.

(I mean if Valentine's Day makes you cry, he understands.  You have no idea how much he understands.)

So much love for these extraordinarily different four.

(Please oh, please check out Wendy's jenky Valentines.  Favorite.)

Ohmygoodness.  What a full few days.  Too full to forget.  Too full to properly take photos.  Just full enough to remember....
Where to begin?  Indulge me as I make a giant, random, stream of consciousness list.  Because that is how my brain works.
Thought I had a faker, sent her to school.  (She wasn't faking.)  My biggest girl was Martha Washington for grandparent's day chapel.  I painted my nails for the first time in a decade (not joking.)  Colored my own roots (bad idea.)  Spent too much at the gas station.  Got asked at said gas station if I was pregnant.  (I am NOT.)  Can we all sign some sort of pact to NEVER EVER EVER ask anyone that?  Even if they are doing Lamaze breathing as they walk into the labor & delivery floor of the local hospital.  I mean COME ON.  Picked Jessica up at the airport (happy).  Went to Pedro's.  Got my hair blown out.  Went shopping while my wallet stayed home.  Ate crepes.  Discovered Aleve-D.  (SO LEGIT.)  Ate garlic bread with the Choose Joy speakers.  Garlic bread that was detected by my sensitive to smells husband as soon as I walked in the front door.  Made tissue tassels (hot mess.)  Stayed up too late.  Woke up too early.  Fought a nasty cold (it is winning.)  Listened to this song over and over.  Sobbing.  Made final preparations for my Choose Joy talk.  Prayed.  Had the most heartbreakingly beautiful day at Choose Joy (more on that later).  Ate Coca Cola cake.  Ate spicy Chinese food in a effort to burn the germs out of my body.  Ate my favorite cupcake with some rad friends.  Laughed until I cried.  Stayed up too late again.  Watched Duck Dynasty (favorite show right now.)  Went to church.  Sang with a scratchy voice.  Ate a good burger.  Took Jessica to the airport (so sad.)  Celebrated my favorite five year old.  Lost my voice.  Sent myself to bed at 4pm.  Watched October Baby (cried.)  Watched Downton Abbey (Bates!).  Chatted with no voice with one of my favorite couples.  Thanked baby Jesus for Nyquil.  Ran a few ugly miles trying to sweat the germs out.  Tried a honey face mask.  And some other stuff that my cold medicine fuzzy brain can't remember.

So that is a bit more than ten on ten.
I'm okay with that.

I made a little print to put in the swag bags this weekend at Choose Joy, but then I got to thinking...
One of my favorite parts of the event will be the raffle where one attendee will be gifted funds to help grow their family.
I guarantee that I will cry when that name is picked.
I'm pretty sure everyone will cry.
Waterproof mascara all around.

With that in mind, I added the print to the shop for three days only.
Three days to raise a little extra money to add to the blessing coming someone's way.

The verse on the print carried me through the darkest season in my life.
It's promise is true.
What I want most this weekend, is for each person attending Choose Joy, leave encouraged and hopeful no matter where they are on their journey.
Whether they are in a season of tears or rejoicing.

I hope that it encourages you, or maybe someone in your life needs encouragement.
Each purchase will become a small part of someone's story

Purchase the print

Read more about Choose Joy

Thank you so very, very much.

Honestly- I am having a lot of trouble blogging.  I'd rather spend my free time eating jalapeno Cheetos. or mostly not blogging.  It's weird and I can't pinpoint the reason.
So this will be quick and random all in the effort to get me back to the eating of the Cheetos.  They are one of those pesky foods that you can't eat while you type.  Unless you don't mind an orange keyboard.  Which I do.

1.  I am on day five of Operation Quit Biting My Nails.  During one of the most stressful weeks in recent memory.  A smart planner, I am not.
2.  Remember my laundry confession?  Here's an update: months and months later,  I finally finished.  As in every single piece of clothing is either put away, hung up, or sorted by size and put in a bin ready for the next sister.  That lasted a glorious eight hours while everyone was sleeping.  I really loved those eight hours.  When those eight hours were up there were pajamas, and accidents, and so it begins again. ...
3.  I have a crazy goal of finishing five quilts by the end of the year.  Knowing I would totally bail on it, I asked my friend Erin to keep my accountable.  So far she is doing awesome at her end of the job.  Me?  Not so much...  These are what I have so far:
Janey's abandoned quilt  (all pieces cut, many blocks sewn, me: scared to death of it)
Jason's Star Wars quilt (all pieces are cut)
Lucy's quilt (fabric & pattern picked)
Flea Market Fancy quilt (fabric picked, pattern to be determined)
Mendocino quilt (fabric picked, pattern to be determined, part of me knows I could pay half of the mortgage if I wanted to sell the impossible to find, out of print fabric instead of cutting it up...)

4.  This necklace.  My current favorite.  So is Hannah.

5.  This kid.  My tough, brave girl, who has an insane tolerance for pain, just got her ears pierced.  She giggled during it.
Then her big sister who was way too afraid to get hers done felt a little peer pressure, or competition, and decided to do it a week later.

6.  Guess who is going to Kauai to celebrate our 15th anniversary?  Thank you 290,000 frequent flyer miles.
7.  My favorite part of the Super Bowl?  When the preview for Fast Six came on and my phone started going crazy with simultaneous texts, Instagram, and Twitter notifications from people who share my same LOOOOOOVE for the series.  I mean THEY DRIVE OUT OF THE NOSE OF A PLANE YO!!!!!! I don't find it strange in the least that the two movies I am most looking forward to this year is Fast Six and Great Gatsby. Oh, and Wolverine.
(Cheetos are calling.  Need to wrap this up.)

8.  This print.  And Katy.  Also a favorite.

9.  Based on this song.
10.  This toothpaste.  Although it isn't working on my dumb fake tooth.
11.  This book.
Peace out.  I've got a hot and spicy date with Chester Cheetah.