the heart of our family

“Oh How I Need You” by All Sons & Daughters from happyrichellephant on Vimeo.

My baby sister has always been the heart of our (Navales) family and she is leaving us for 11 months to go serve 11 different nations by serving people and sharing the gospel that Jesus is risen. I’ve known many people to go on some sort of missionary trip and this is definitely different. Sure, traveling sounds amazing, but she’s not staying in some fancy resort or will even have the comfort of a basic motel. On the contrary, she is going with one big backpack, a light backpack, and a one man tent. She is part of a World Race team will be totally relying on God as they embark on this journey to help the homeless, orphans, churches, and those sold to sex slavery in these various countries.

I’m always hesitant to share these kinds of needs because you expect your life to somewhat be watched (and critiqued) more carefully when asking for some sort of support. She has $16,000 to raise for her trip and has received about $4,000 thus far. Most of the money she has raised thus far, has been her own money from savings and working part-time, while she goes to school full-time. She’s cut back on her extra expenses (hasn’t even made a trip to the thrift store in ages!) since God had placed this trip on her heart, and everything she’s been doing has been going towards the money she needs to raise.

I know she needs a lot of prayer the most, as this will be all new for her and her faith will be stretched in ways unimaginable. If your heart is led to even give $1 (or more!), I know it is much appreciated (seriously, even a buck helps!). Every penny makes a difference and helps her meet her goal (If 12,000 people gave a dollar, the goal would be achieved!). Even if you don’t believe in God, I’m sure you believe in the good done in servings others, and she is going to be doing plenty of that. That’s what her life will be all about for the next few months. She’s going to have to die to self, give up all the comforts she used to, and love and serve other people she’s never even met (this world could use more people like my sister!). Heck, if for some reason you just need a tax break, supporting her is a good way to get it.

Just watching my video you see the joy she has. She’s like that all the time (well, not first thing in the morning because it takes her a bit of time to wake up)! You meet her and you know she’s different. It’s all because of God! And she wants to share that joy with others. I’ve seriously watched the video a ton of times and cry every single time. I’m so, so, so proud of the godly lady she has become. Joy and life just exudes from her. She’s not your average 22 year old and her life is definitely creating ripple effects in this world. I’m going to miss her so much (and oh my gosh I know my parents will be sooooo sad without her) and when she comes back True will be 9!

You can read more about her story here, follow along with her journey here, and if you want to help support her, you can do that here.

Most of all, please pray for her and our family, especially my parents because the baby is leaving the nest! And really, how amazing is that video?! My sister truly is the heart of the family, and my parents are so fun and loving, that you totally see where she gets it from!

 

 

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focus: our days are full

home
home
home
home
home life
home life
home
Our days have been so full. We are down to one car for the time being (Ben’s needs a new engine), so we are making do with sharing. Though with this sharing business, 2 hours of my day, with the girls in tow, is spent taking Ben to work and picking him up. While time already feels like it’s in short supply, it’s been feeling really depleted these past couple weeks with having to spend more time on the road than normal.

We’ve been trekking on with school and I think we will be done with most of our curriculum well before the school year ends. The only one we always seem to be playing catch up with is math. Oh math! It’s never been my strongest suit and I admit that I’m probably not helping my girls love it either. Nevertheless, the kids must study it because otherwise one day they might find themselves way in over their head in credit card debt and it might be because they won’t know have the math knowledge to prevent them from spending money they don’t have. Let’s hope they don’t get there though, so for now, I’ll keep chugging along with math and Ben will keep doing Dave Ramsey Junior lessons with them.

Anyway, I love the flexibility we have in homeschool. If we get really focused in the beginning of the week, we can charge through my lesson plans and then Fridays can sometimes be a light project day. I love that! Sometimes though, it does cross my mind that if I sent the kids to school, I would get all this free time and it might be glorious! But then I remember why I homeschool, and well that’s that. I have to keep our bigger picture in mind rather than some peace and quiet, I’ll have plenty of time for that later. These days are long and time is short thing is really true. They’ll all be out of the house before you know it!

Despite feeling really overwhelmed, more like crazy, yesterday was a good day. I had been waiting for something for a very long time and it finally came! It kinda lightened up the load I was feeling and made things slightly less stressful. I also think I’ve been stressed because I’m working on a little project (can’t wait to share!!!), but I have some sort of creative block and I’m stuck on ideas for this project. It’s frustrating and my ideas about it just feel so scattered. I hope I get it together soon because well, I’ve got no choice but to get it done. Focus, Ruby, focus. 

Oh and that picture above has been my daily uniform of late. These Aladdin-like pants from Old Navy and this super comfy top from Gusta are so good together, and if I have to leave the house, I just slip on my leopard sneakers (it was Ben’s love day gift to me from here). Maybe once the craziness in my brain clears up (will it ever?), I’ll be in the mood to throw on a dress again or maybe sewing up a new one will get me in the mood too. I think sewing up a new one should do the trick, now only if I can find more time. Anyone know where I can get more of that?!

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lots of green and rainbows

2014 st. paddy's day
2014 st. paddy's day
2014 st. paddy's day
2014 st. paddy's day
2014 st. paddy's day
2014 st. paddy's day
Sunday afternoon, True came up to me and said, “Oh mommy! I can’t wait until Saint Patrick’s Day tomorrow! I can’t wait for the surprises!” I had totally forgotten and in my head I said, “Oh crap. What am I going to do?!” Then, the rest of the afternoon was a whirlwind and I forgot about it, until it was time to put the girls to bed, and then I started coming up with a plan.

Luckily, I had a helium tank, so I started blowing up tiny balloons and putting them all on a string in rainbow order. I would have done an air pump, but we couldn’t find our hand held one, so it was helium tank it is! I made a quick little note, added that to the beginning of the string at the top of the stairs and the whole string of balloons led to their pot of “gold” at the bottom of the stairs. For the prizes, thankfully I had some little things I had bought from the dollar section at target (was saving it for a rainy day) and each of the girls got one little special treat: Glow got sunglasses, Soul got a My Little Pony coloring book, and True and Brave got those skip-hop-rope-ball things.

I woke up before them, so that I can make one more little string of rainbow ordered balloons. I attached that to their pot, so it would still be floating when they discovered it, and waited for them to wake up. Once they did, they saw the note, and started following the rainbow to their pot of gold. They were all so excited to get their “magical” treats.

The day proceeded like normal, but they all just made sure to wear green, and they made sure I wore green too! We had breakfast together, did school, then lunch, then more school, and then they played and crafted up their own St. Paddy’s Day treats for Ben and me.

2014 st. paddy's day
2014 st. paddy's day
2014 st. paddy's day
2014 st. paddy's day
2014 st. paddy's day
st. paddy's day 2014
2014 st. paddy's day
2014 st. paddy's day
2014 st. paddy's day
Snack time yesterday afternoon was a little bit special too. I took out some ice cream, we just happen to have vanilla and mint chocolate chip on hand (totally perfect for the occasion!), and some rainbow colored sprinkles (the sprinkles and containers are from Layer Cake Shop), and we had ourselves a nice little ice cream celebration. The girls loved it and were totally relishing that they got ice cream as a snack. The rest of the afternoon was a blur of play and crafts, and while we did have some unlucky news regarding Ben’s car yesterday (it bit the dust and now we’re down to one car), our Saint Patrick’s Day was definitely a good day. These girls get so excited about the simplest holidays and it’s fun to feed off their excitement and make those days special for them (even if my ideas did come last minute!).

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focus: happy it’s friday

School-wise this week we were totally on the ball, so much so, that today’s a lighter day filled with studying the desert and doing some art projects. House-wise, I feel like everything is a little bit messier than normal. Sanity-wise, I’m yelling by the time 7:30 rolls around. It’s probably partially because Ben’s worked 3 late days this week, but man oh man, I’m cranky once that sun goes down. Could it be that I’m a mom-werewolf?! All in all, we’re still good over here.

Today’s Friday, that means it’s clean-up day, True will do her weekly baking, and we will have family movie and cuddle time at night. Then, the girls will go off to bed, and Ben and I get our alone time (with our favorite ceviche). It’s nothing fancy, but those simple things are what make our Fridays so great.

My brain is frozen and I’ve got no more words left, but enjoy your Friday!

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focus: blogging and my thoughts on it

around the house
around the house
around the house
I loved Mandi’s post this week about the big elephant in the room regarding criticism and the internet. It’s so true. It’s something I had been wanting to write, but wasn’t sure how to address it, but it’s something that’s definitely influenced my blogging. It’s made me slightly afraid, it’s made me more of a people pleaser, and it’s made me struggle with what I would normally put out there.

I first came across GOMI a couple years ago. Some of the things they say over there are hilarious, and I get why they need this place to vent, but nevertheless, what was said in a forum about me, definitely cut. It’s no surprise to me to get ridiculed for our kid name choices (we aren’t oblivious to how unusual they are), and we were well aware of Soul Glo when we decided to name the child after Soul, Glow. And I know I have many blind spots about myself, we all do, and I have friends in real life who help me navigate those areas that need work. I’ve tried to think through the negative things said about me and examine if there’s any validity in it and if there’s something I need to change. I think there were possible truth in some things, but I think what hurt most was being said I was fake. I try as hard as possible to be as honest and candid. I have no problem sharing our messes or talking about me dropping f-bombs. I’m not a perfect mother and I’m always learning daily how to fight my natural inclination to be selfish. I want to always love serving my children, but sometimes I don’t, and just want to throw in the towel and crawl into bed until Ben gets home (yesterday was one of those days).

I’m not going to lie. There are some bloggers that make me scratch my head (maybe I’m one of those bloggers for you), and I’ve headed to GOMI to see if they make anyone else scratch their head too. I get it’s kind of a way to vent and see if your feeling are validated. After awhile though, the negativity got to me, and it didn’t make me feel great, and I’m not one to easily shrug these things off. As a blogger, I know I’m not going to please everyone, though I do struggle with wanting to, and I know not everyone’s going to like what I have to say. It really is such a battle of the heart for me, but for me, it’s better for me to not fill my self with it. I feel much better when I don’t indulge in reading the negative banter, even if it isn’t about me. Plus, kindness is magic, right?!

I have very much appreciated when readers have emailed me to voice their concern of how I might have come across in a certain post, or have kindly left a comment disagreeing (or questioning) something I do in the comments. It doesn’t feel great at first because criticism is always hard to swallow, but after rereading it and they way they said it , made me realize that they really just care. I’ve also received sarcastic comments, and those are especially hard because I don’t get the point (did they just want to put me down for fun?!) I’m well aware that this is just part of the nature of blogging, so I don’t expect it to go away, and if I didn’t like it and can’t take it, then I should just get off the internets.

So far though, I’m not going anywhere. I love blogging. I love the creative outlet. I like thinking of projects and things to share and it’s all things I would be doing anyway if I didn’t have a blog. We would still have our garden, I’d still be sewing, the girls and I would still be crafting, there would still be cooking, and our life would basically still be the same. I probably wouldn’t be taking step by step pictures, but there would definitely still be a lot of picture taking because I love capturing moments. Additionally, I have loved all the sharing that goes on, I love watching Rachel use her mad power tools skills, I love watching Katie’s bus to home transformation, and I love how Danni grows her business, or how Merilee keeps coming up with the cutest paper crafts! We all learn so much from each other and I’m thankful for that. Creative opportunities (can’t wait to share more about them!) have come my way that wouldn’t have happened had I not being blogging.

There’s so much good from it, and they definitely out weigh the bad, so I’m going to keep trekking on. I just wanted to share my thoughts on it because it has made me a little bit of afraid and I don’t want to be. I don’t want to be paralyzed by what others think of me and it’s something I continuously have to battle. Blogging tends to be a place where we want to garner the praise and affirmation of others, but with this platform, we will undoubtedly also draw the insults and critical eye of others too. I have to be able to take both.

Jessica at House Inhabit also made a good blog post of how mommy blogging has changed. I never knew exactly where I fit in because I started my blog when I started my etsy shop and wanted to jump into the community of crafters, so it was about crafts and vintage hunting, but somewhere it also became about my life with my kids, so I guess I’m a mommy blogger? After a few years,  opportunities came and I’ve been able to collaborate with bigger companies. I’m thankful for the opportunities. It’s not something Ben can quit his day job for, but nevertheless, I’m thankful. I say yes to some things, and I say no to some others. Yes, I am a blogger who does sponsored posts on occasion, but I try to keep it real. I know not everyone may agree with sponsored posts, but again, I can’t please everyone.

Even now, I’m nervous to press “publish.” I know some will just think this comes with the territory of blogging, so I need to suck it up, which is true, and others may empathize with my feelings. I do enjoy thinking of projects and recipes and sharing it, I really just love being able to do creative projects. I love that I do get to stay home and work on these projects for and with my girls, and I’m thankful that it some thing that I sometimes get paid for. In the end though, I really just try to enjoy God through all of it. I know it may not make sense to some of you (and might sound ridiculous), but it’s understanding how my trust in God plays a role in every aspect of my life. I’m not perfect at all, so all my imperfections just teaches me to depend on God more.

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