Wednesday, March 5, 2014

It Is Well With My Soul

Where to begin...

It's been almost a year since I last posted. SO much has changed in that year - an upheaval of everything in my life. And upheaval is a beautiful thing.

This time last year I was in a dark place. I was mourning the loss of a job I deeply loved, and loathing the one that I landed in on the rebound.

It is well with my soul by littlebitseverything

I was mourning the loss of all that had brought me passion and joy before - my art, my music, my home, my family - every corner of my life was under a shroud and life was gray. I couldn't even bring myself to worship God through song; I turned off the Christian stations and quit singing with my church praise team.  Life was dark.

For a brief moment (actually, the first few months of 2013) I thought that pursuing my long-lost fantasy of opening a wedding venue might be my chance out of the hell I was living in. I thoroughly investigated the industry and any opportunity it may provide, but soon realized that this was not what God created me for.

Dreamscape Oil Painting by BingArt

Instead, I plunged myself back into the job market. I prayed that God would deliver me out of the rebound job and into one that would fulfill me and allow me to shine for Him.

And God answered that prayer. This week is my six month anniversary in my new (post-rebound) job, and I can once again say It is Well With My Soul.

Life's not all coming up roses and trouble-free. But I am doing work that I love, with people that I love to work with and for. And the organization that I work for is Christian! Well, Catholic - which is quite different from my Baptist/Non-Denominational roots... but ya'll, we still serve the same God, and proclaim the good news of the same Christ. And can I tell you how amazing it was on my first day on the job to have a campus-wide staff meeting OPENED WITH PRAYER!?! Hallelujah!
So where do I go from here? What will become of this little blog and my undying desire to create, share, write, and build a business from this world of web and art that I love so much?

Rainbow of Colors by OraBirenbaumArt

I don't know. But I do know that I've found my passion again. I've sloughed off that heavy, dark shroud that cloaked everything and weighed down my soul. There is once again light, and color, and joy - and I am soaking it in!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Decide What to Be and Go Be It

For the past four months I've been working at a new job.

Working a LOT.
Retro Ziggy Mug by Glasspansy

Like, 60+ hours a week (on salary, of course).

I am drained and running on empty.

I've lost the joy of serving and singing with my church arts team and even had a rough time getting creative at this month's Joy Journal Project session.

I've been crazy-stressed, to put it mildly.

Panic Button Cufflinks by CuffLinkDC
But through it all, I've been tending to a little dream that's been brewing in my heart for the last decade.

Never Let Your Dreams Be Just Dreams Art Print by leftylettering

I'll share more on this dream as time goes on and details firm up - but for now I'll tell you that I am diving feet first into the wedding industry.

Decide What to Be and Go Be It by awkwardlycharming

This isn't a fly-by-night little scheme... no work-from-home side job.  We're talking big time.  Start-up capital.  Real estate.


Always Chase Your Dreams by StudioGoldArts

I've met with a small business mentor and I'm developing a big-girl business plan.

And today I took my next big step, networking and learning from industry experts at the Wedding Market Expo.

I'm so glad that I signed up.  I've met other vendors in the area and nationwide and I'm learning a lot from the expert presenters.
Patrick Kelly of JJ Kelly Bridal and
presents social media tips at the first ever Wedding Market Expo.
I'm looking forward to another day and a half of learning and meeting other wedding professionals, and I'll share more on my exciting new venture as the plans unfold!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

When Life Throws You a Curve Ball...

This picture was taken at my company's office Christmas party about 4 years ago.  I thought it a fitting image for this post on those out-of-the-blue curve balls that life throws us every now and then.

When Life Throws You a Curve Ball - Laid Off - The Colorful Ones
Tony and I at an office Christmas party about 4 years ago.

I've loved this job.  It has been the center of my identity for my entire adult life.  Almost 9 years ago, I graduated college on a Sunday and started this job bright and early the next morning.  I've learned and grown so much in that time it's difficult to describe in words.  I've met some amazing people and I've made a lot of memories that I will cherish for a lifetime.

Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond anyone's control, my beloved position was eliminated just before Christmas.  I hold no hard feelings - actually I think after almost a decade of ups and downs I was almost ready for a change.

But the news still came as quite a shock.  And on the same day I lost my job, my husband's company announced that they were losing their health insurance coverage.

Since then we've celebrated Christmas and packed and moved our family (the move was planned before the job loss).  I've spent countless hours tweaking my resume and applying for new jobs.  I actually spent a millisecond considering the idea of becoming a stay at home mom, but God didn't create me for that type of work!

I've had a handful of successful interviews and our family is praying that regardless of where I end up, God will guide our path - and we trust that He will provide as He always has in the past.  But man, job searching is an exhausting occupation!

Amidst the curveball news, I also wanted to share an update on my big 31 in 31 project.  I am still going strong and I'm excited to see where the rest of the coming year takes me.

#6. Connect on a deeper level with each one of "my girls" at church.
Again, this one isn't really "complete" - but in progress!  I have 3 teenaged girls that I've been getting to know and investing in over the last year.  My relationship with one (miss Squid) has really flourished, and I am excited to say that we're beginning a formal apprenticeship program this month!  I am SO excited to see where God will take us, and her, as we serve Him side by side!

#19. Leave a $100 tip for a deserving waitress.
This is an amazing blessing that wouldn't have been possible without our church's Big Give initiative.  In one weekend the church handed out $50,000 to church members, with the hopes that families would match their gifts and give it all away.  After Tony and I matched our gifts, and some sacrificial giving and creative fundraising on our daughter's part, we wound up with $465 to give away!  Among other things, we went for a family breakfast at IHOP the morning before Christmas Eve.  After a frenzied meal service, our daughter handed the waitress the $100 tip - it was an amazing and powerful experience!

#30. Purchase a piece of furniture that we love and need.
Tony's parents gave us a new couch and love seat about 10 years ago.  After 6 moves and years of abuse, the surviving love seat (somewhere along the way we gave the couch to my sister) was ready to be replaced.  When we moved into our new apartment we purchased two new recliners for Tony and I (and we are LOVING them!) as well as this awesome Batgirl recliner for Brianna (shh… it's a surprise, UPS is supposed to deliver it tomorrow).

Do you have any resolutions, or a bucket list you're working on this year?  What do you hope to accomplish?

Monday, November 19, 2012

We're All In

Wow… hard to believe it's been almost a month and a half!  So much has happened, and God is working in wonderful and mysterious ways!

First, a not-so-quick update on my 31 in 31 list.  In just a little over a month I have already accomplished (or I'm in progress with) 4 of my goals!

#9. Avoid soda for an entire year.
From the day I posted this, not a drop of soda (or any carbonated beverage) has crossed my lips.  And you know what?  I really don't miss it!

Give Up Soda No More Soda Goal
So far I am soda-free since October!

I'm drinking a lot of water, skim milk, coffee and unsweetened iced tea.  And wine… but no soda!  It feels so good to be able to say I am successfully whittling away at this goal, I am truly proud of myself (Now just 10.5 more months to go, but who's counting?)!

#24. Save, and then spend, $1000 on something fun for our family.
I had no idea how God would work in this one.  As I wrote the 31 days post I had nothing in mind, just that I wanted to be able to feel good about making a large purchase with saved money and not on credit.

Literally within DAYS of the post, an opportunity landed in our laps and we prayerfully accepted.  After the accident, Tony and I are both driving cars graciously given to us by family members.  Both are older and in need of work.  Because of how immensely God has blessed us with Tony's job, we decided to purchase a new vehicle to rebuild our credit - though the idea of going back into debt really gnawed away at us.

I asked a good friend to pray for us to make a wise decision - and instead she offered to sell us a reliable vehicle for - guess how much - $1000!  Exactly what I had hoped to save and spend on an unknown purchase for our family this year!

God provided a vehicle when we prayed
Meet Bruce, the newest member of our family!

#13. Surprise my husband with an amazing gift.
We've aptly named the 'new' truck Bruce.  He is a beast, and he's already a member of our family!  Bruce is a beat up old pick up truck and though he's reliable, he could use a bit of work… so as an early Christmas gift I surprised Tony last week with a rather large sum of money for he and Bruce to go on a shopping spree.  Tony has never had a no-strings-attached fund to spend on a vehicle and I knew he'd be thrilled.  I'll never forget the joy and gratitude in his eyes when I gave him the gift… worth a million times more than the money itself!

#15. Give like never before.
Again, I had no plans when I made this goal.  Just an overwhelming gratitude for how God's blessed our family, and a heartfelt desire to give it back for His glory. 

The weekend after we purchased Bruce (which meant we would not have a car payment after all), our church announced a major new giving initiative.  Not a "building fund" to scrounge up millions of dollars to construct a shiny new coffee shop in a jillion-dollar building - but an all-in missional journey to allow God's work to be done through our giving - to reach people in our metropolitan area and around the world for Jesus!  Amen, and sign me up!

I teared up as the pastor laid out plans for this All In journey, because I knew God had masterfully orchestrated our budgeting for a new car, then our purchase of Bruce, alongside my desire to give like never before - just in time to coincide with the All In initiative.

Just last weekend we made our official commitment.  I won't discuss specific numbers or percentages because it's all about His glory, not ours.  But let's just say, we jumped ALL IN, and we are truly giving like never before - and it's all God's doing and for God's glory!

And it doesn't end there…

God's got some more big ideas brewing in our family and our church community, and through them I expect to check off a number of other goals.  He has placed some amazing people into our lives, whose friendships are much-needed and whose guidance and knowledge we are leaning into.

If it's God's will, we will be moving our family to a nearby community in the new year.  There we'll begin building relationships and laying the groundwork for a new church plant (I am giddy just thinking about it - another of my goals that I trust God will accomplish!) … I will share the details as they unfold, but know that in this busy season we are pouring our hearts out for God - if I am scarce around here it's because I am off investing in the Kingdom (or just crashed out amidst a pile of moving boxes).  :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

31 in 31: My Bucket List for my 31st Year

Today is my birthday, yay!  I say goodbye to 30, which was arguably one of the hardest years of my life (only topped by 29, as we dealt with the immediate after-effects of The Accident).

I welcome 31, and the blessings that God is going to bring with it.  I can't promise that it will be a year without struggle, but it will be a year in which God leads our family in (yet another) new direction.  And along this journey called 31, I choose to focus on the blessings, not the burdens!

In an attempt to proactively focus on God's blessings, and intentionally spread a little joy (including a few sprinklings onto myself!) I created a list of 31 things that I would like to accomplish during my 31st year, before October 9th, 2013.

31 in 31 Bucket List My Life List 30 Before 30 The Colorful Ones

Without further ado, here's my 31 in 31 List:
  1. Write our love story.
  2. Get a new wedding ring that I'm not allergic to.
  3. Hit my goal weight of 150.
  4. Join the modern world and get an iPhone.
  5. Renew my vows.
  6. Connect on a deeper level with each one of "my girls" at church.
  7. Reach 100 blog posts on The Colorful Ones.
  8. Make quiet times in God's word a part of my daily routine.
  9. Avoid soda for an entire year (whoa - can I really do this?). not technically 'done' since it takes a whole year, but I've been soda-free since this post and have no intentions of breaking my streak!
  10. Visit a state that I haven't been to before.
  11. Take a fun mini-vaca with the family.
  12. Build (and maintain) an emergency savings fund.
  13. Surprise my husband with an amazing gift.
  14. Learn to shoot a rifle or shotgun (I already shot a handgun).
  15. Give like never before.
  16. Keep up a gym habit.
  17. Finish writing "The Accident" series, glorifying God for all He has carried us through!
  18. Get all of my old photo prints scanned.
  19. Leave a $100 tip for a deserving waitress.
  20. Make a heartfelt, handmade gift for someone special.
  21. Find & attend a new marriage conference (the one we love isn't happening this year, BOO).
  22. Join a church planting team.
  23. Do something that scares me.
  24. Save, and then spend, $1000 on something fun for our family.
  25. Paint accent wall(s) Hang colorful artwork in the new apartment that make me happy. (don't shoot me - I changed my mind... I want art and happiness all over my walls more than I want color!)
  26. Take Brianna on her first camping trip.
  27. Do a pinup shoot with Hilary Hope Photography.
  28. Create a home that is an oasis for my family.
  29. Ask Santa for an iPad (and get it!)
  30. Purchase a piece of furniture that we love and need.
  31. Get family pictures taken that I love!
As I check these items off over the next year I will strike them through, and when I blog about them I'll link up to share.

Do you have a bucket list, a 30 before 30 list, etc?  I would love to see what your goals are.  Leave me a note in the comments so that I can check out your life list!

Monday, October 8, 2012

50 Shades of Stupid {31 Days Edition}

Here's my embarrassing moment of the week.

50 Shades of Stupid The Colorful Ones

I love blogging, I truly do!  But my life is busy; crazy-busy.  So carving out even just a little time to share a new post with ya'll is pretty hard (case in point: I currently have 3 recipes that I've created and photographed, still waiting to be posted because I just haven't had the time).

So what did I go and do last week?  I committed to a new post a day for the entire month of October (in which time I will be attending 2 leadership meetings at church, serving on the praise team, celebrating my birthday as well as 2 other family members' birthdays, traveling on business for 4 days, attending 2 school functions for my little girl, trying to settle details on 2 HUGE family decisions that loom in our future, and oh yeah, planning a killer party to celebrate our 10 year anniversary).


Needless to say, if you've checked in lately you'll notice that I never got past day 1.


Sorry for the let-down, but folks, let's get real here.  I got crazy-excited, and I simply over-committed myself (yet again).

I hate to be a let-down, but I am officially resigning from the 31 days schtick.

Pointing and laughing may now ensue.

Linking up With:

Monday, October 1, 2012

How to Pick a Wedding Date

31 Days to Planning a Wedding on a Budget

Day 1: How to Pick a Wedding Date

Now that you're engaged (or in our case, deciding to celebrate your 10 year anniversary!) the first decision to make is when you'd like to get married.  Choosing your wedding date first will help you make all of your other planning decisions, from the style of dress you'll wear to the colors and theme of the entire day.

How to Pick a Wedding Date: 31 Days to Planning a Wedding on a Budget: Blog Series at
Background image purchased here.

Talk to your fiancee about how far out into the future you'd like to plan, as well as certain seasons (or even specific dates) that you would like to aim for (or avoid).  Have you always dreamed of getting married on your parents' anniversary?  Would he love to rock it with a Halloween costume ball?  Do you want to avoid the heat and humidity of a summer wedding?  Now is the time to think these things out.

I can remember the day Tony and I selected our wedding date as if it were a movie playing in my mind.  At this point I didn't have a ring yet (that's a story for another day!) but we knew we would get married.  We were talking more theoretically about what we had in mind, and lo and behold we had BOTH been thinking the exact same thing!

His birthday is in April, mine is in October.  With Christmas in December, it would give us a gift-giving celebration every quarter if we planned a wedding in July.  And for simplicity's sake, we were both thinking around the 15th… how crazy is that?  Because of the coincidence, we immediately settled on July 15th.

But then we pulled out a calendar.  Here we sat in late 2001, and the next time July 15th would come on a Saturday wasn't until 2005!  We couldn't bear to wait that long (oh the drama of a young couple in love!) so we instantly settled on July 12, 2003.

At the time, I had never even been to a wedding, let alone planned one.  I scoured the internet for rules and customs and traditions, wedding etiquette and planning ideas (and this was in the age long before Pinterest or even Etsy - how on Earth did I pull my big day off?!?) … at the time, off-beat or non-traditional weddings weren't nearly as prevalent as they are today, and I was very worried about making sure I followed all the 'rules'… so of course our wedding had to be on a Saturday.

However, the #1 tip for brides on a budget?  Get married any day BUT Saturday.  Generally venues and vendors will charge less on a Sunday, even less on a Saturday, and MUCH less if you are daring enough to schedule your nuptials on any other weekday.  So decide now if you'd rather be able to have a blow-out bash on a Tuesday, or if keeping the traditional Saturday slot is worth paying more.

Another tip that works if you are flexible (or in a hurry): plan a wedding in the very near future.  When vendors have un-booked slots in the next 30, 60, or even 90 days they will often slash their prices in order to book the date.  You'll have to be flexible both on the wedding date you choose and on the vendors who will be available at the last-minute, but booking a last-minute wedding could save you BIG bucks.

For those readers who are already married or planning a wedding now, how did you pick your wedding date?  Leave a comment; I'd love to hear your stories!

p.s. Check here for an introduction to the 31 Days to Planning a Wedding on a Budget series, and links to all of the posts as they go up!