the Sun Ring

Guess what….I love jewelrymost of you are not surprised…But, really I do.

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Not because I make it, and not because I grew up and realized how pretty it was, but for my whole entirety of my life I have loved jewelry. Over the last couple of months I have been really analyzing why I love jewelry, why I enjoy making it and collecting it, and wearing it.

I don’t care really how expensive it is, or how fancy…at least not most of the time…because what I love about jewelry is it’s ability to evoke emotions, remind us of people, and stir up forgotten memories…it’s the stories jewelry tells.

In my life my most cherished pieces of jewelry are Ebenezer stones…if you have no idea what I’m talking about check out this post Faith>Fear

For the next couple of weeks I wanted to share with all of you some of the stories behind my favorite pieces. Some remind me of people, some evoke a memory of a place or a moment, then some I bought with the specific intent or purpose of reminding me of a season of my life, a truth of God that I was struggling with, or a pain that I was walking through.


Up first is the very first of my Ebenezer stones…the Sun Ring.

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At 23 I made the decision to not simply trust God with my soul, but with my whole life…. specifically I told Him that if He opened doors I would spend the rest of my life trusting Him and walking through them…the thing was, I was a drunk who found my worth in the way others valued me.
This meant I was daily fighting a war between living out what I knew to be true and good…God loved me, had purpose for my lie, had good plans for me, and I was so incredibly valuable, precious even…and what I felt…alone, insignificant, incredibly insecure, purposeless.
I would decide each day to live trusting the truth, I would tell myself these truths…and then, each day I would fail to trust, slide back into believing lies, and then wake up disappointed, discouraged, and condemned.
So, I decided on a trip to Mexico that what I needed was something physical to remind me of the spiritual decision I had made. It needed to be something I would see and something I would feel.
I remember the moment I saw it, the moment I slipped it on my finger and then held my hand out to examine it.
It was massive on my finger…it spans my entire first knuckle…It was big, and heavy, and it had a sun on it…a reminder that I had chosen to live a life that honors the Son…I would feel it, I would notice if it wasn’t there, I would smack it on things during the day and be reminded of my decision, of my desire…it was PERFECT!
For years I wore that ring, and it serve it’s purpose. At work I would be frustrated and angry and I’d walk quickly past a wall, smack my hand on the brick…I’m a little clumbsy…and remember to choose love, to choose patience.
Sometimes It would pinch my fingers at just the right moment, and when I wasn’t wearing it I felt like I was missing something. It’s presence constantly drew me back to remembering, it kept my mind on choosing love, choosing joy, choosing to trust…choosing to live like Jesus.

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I no longer wear it every day, but those days when I do pick it up and slip it on, I find myself reminded, not just of that moment, or of what it means…but of how I’ve grown, how I’ve changed. I am not the person I was when I bought it…drunk, depressed, alone, scared…love has changed me.
The sun ring no longer reminds me to choose love in the same way it did…before it was kind of a warning, like a silent siren that would go off and remind me I was getting off course…Now it’s a much more gentle reminder…like a soft touch on my shoulder…encouraging me to remember the beautiful change that comes from choosing love.

 

 

Stuck on Saturday

Last week was a hard one for me! I came up against something I wasn’t prepared for, a sudden grief that caught me by surprise and affected me in ways I wasn’t really prepared for.

As I sat in Good Friday service feeling the pain of my own grief, my heart began to understand in new and deeper ways the good in Good Friday, I began to learn a lesson about hope.

What sadness the disciples must have felt, what overwhelming grief Mary had to have experienced as she watched her son upon that cross. But we call it good, because that is what came of it, the goodest good…there ever was…but that Friday…I am confident…it did not feel good.

How awful that Saturday must have been. How painful. How confusing. To think of Mary, who KNEW Jesus was the Messiah. More than anyone else she knew He was the one. Not because of His miracles, not because of His teachings, but because she had been told by an ANGEL.

She had carried him in her womb…yet had done nothing to conceive Him. She raised several children, so she knew how sinful they are…but she watched Him grow up sinless. She knew He was the promised one, she had received a promise, lived it out, seen in so many ways how He was so different…but He had died, she had buried Him.

WHAT? That wasn’t supposed to happen! This wasn’t the way it was suppose to go! This was not what she was promised!

Had God finally given up on them? Had His patience run out? Had His love for His people dried up?

Maybe that’s not what Mary was thinking, but I’m pretty sure it’s what I would have thought.

Honestly, those are the kind of thoughts trying to overwhelm my mind right now. The thoughts that creep in when pain runs deep, when promises seem to be broken, and when what’s happened just doesn’t make sense…when you’re stuck on Saturday. 

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That’s where I am right now…stuck on Saturday. I’m in this place of grief, of pain…of sadness…and my mind is fighting the battle to keep from getting lost in the whys and my heart simply feels too weak to hope.

But…oh how I love when there’s a but…on Sunday the world changed! That glorious Sunday death was conquered, the table was turned on the fate of the souls of men, and hope burst forth victorious.

Saturday was a day that felt so hopeless…but that was not the truth. In fact, the world was pregnant with hope that Saturday. And it wasn’t because the disciples or Mary or anyone else had this great abundance of hope…it says they all left and just went back to life…but in spite of their lack of hope, hope broke through!

I received two beautiful reminders this week before and then after pain came for a visit…

All I need is a tiny bit of courage and He will strengthen my heart!

Hope is not something I need to feel or conjure up. It lives in my heart and remains even when I don’t have the strength to grab hold of it.

I may be stuck on Saturday right now…living in the place between sorrow and joy…but I know true Hope, Hope that does not disappoint, Hope that is more faithful than the morning and in Him my heart takes comfort and finds peace.

Mary didn’t get stuck on Saturday…and neither will I.

 

Legacy

For those of you who follow my Facebook & Instagram feeds, you may have noticed that I’ve been thinking about my Pa a lot lately…actually I’m getting ready to post a piece inspired by him in just a few minutes…I think there are a lot of reasons for this recent nostalgia. For one thing we’ve been cleaning out my Gramy’s apartment and sorting through all of all the things she didn’t take to her new place. In the process we’ve been rediscovering so many of his things; carvings he did, records he loved to listen to.

And we’ve also been discovering for the first time some precious secrets about my Pa, and a secret legacy he left that I never knew about.

My mom discovered that he had printed off and kept every email we’d ever sent him in our journeys around the world. All those years spent separated by oceans and so many miles, he had carefully documented it all.

There was even a file just for me! Every card, graduation announcements, newspaper clippings of articles I wrote in high school and college, and newsletters from the mission field. It was all there, a record of my life.

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My Pa’s response to having only girls…become a boy scout!

I think this sparked nostalgia, and a lot of time spent thinking about my Pa, because more than anyone else I’ve lost, I have regrets about my relationship with him…don’t get me wrong, we had a good relationship…but I feel like I missed out on really knowing him. At his funeral, as I heard all these things being shared about his life and the man he was it hit me…I had missed out.

I should have sat with him more often. I should have asked him more questions. I should have spent less time avoiding his lectures…he was known for his lectures…and spent more time listening to the things he had to say, the wisdom and opinions he had to share.

When he passed I had thought I’d known the legacy he had left behind. There was this incredible legacy of family, a clan of tightly knit people who spent time together outside of major holidays, and who truly love each other. There was his legacy as a maker, and a story teller, and a leader, and an incredible provider, and as a man who loved God…I see pieces of this legacy lived out in the lives and characteristics of his children and grandchildren…but there was a piece of his legacy that I had not known, and it caused me to realize that I could have known him more.

At his funeral stories were shared of this secret. It seems that he was in the habit of walking up to the pastor on a Sunday after church…after hearing someone express a need…and handing him an envelope full of cash with the instruction to keep his identity secret. This habit was news to me…and most of the people there I imagine…and that’s exactly the way he wanted. Even the people he gave to didn’t know who he was.

This man, was not a wealthy man. He was not giving out of abundance, looking for ways to get rid of all the money he had. He was not looking for applaud, or a pat on the back. He was giving because there was a need, and he could, and he made sure his right hand never knew what his left hand was doing.

This is the legacy that he left us…a legacy of humility, integrity, and giving.

It’s fortuitous that I’ve been processing all this as I’ve been refreshing Frippery House. Because it’s helped me to realize something…personally that I want this same legacy…but also that I want Frippery House to be a business that gives…I’m not as incredible as my Pa, because I’m telling you all about it and not keeping it a secret my whole life…but I want you to be a part of this giving, to know the heart and purpose behind why.

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My last photo with Pa, trying to show Gramy how to keep her eyes open in photos.

Because, being a business that gives is not a new concept…being a socially conscious business is maybe even a bit trendy…but the vision of Frippery House is to inspire and to connect people and giving is a natural outflow of that…And, I want to give a bit differently.

So many businesses give to support…or to end…social issues, and while Frippery House will do this as well, we’re going to do it in a very different way. You see, to those who live among refugees, who run orphanages or take orphans into their homes, who live and work daily among women working in the sex trade, or who provide love and care for those who have been returned home after being trafficked…to those people these things are not merely “social issues”.

They are people, with stories, with hurts, with joys…with lives. 

So, here’s how giving is going to look at Frippery House…a portion of EVERY jewelry purchase will be given to someone…or somefamily…actively living their lives to love and serve others. We will be supporting “social issues” by supporting, loving, and encouraging those who spend their days living them.

This may mean the money they are given is spent on a trip outside of the war zone they live in, so that they can be reminded that life is not all pain and trauma, so that they can refresh and continue on. It may be spent on a massage, dinner with a friend, or even a new homeschool curriculum.

This money will be given to them for their personal needs and care, because we believe that life is not about connecting with “social issues” but with people. It’s because we believe a life surrendered to God’s call, living and loving people on every corner of this earth is what we are called to…and we want to be a part of supporting those who are doing just this…and we want you to join us.

 

Look for a blog post coming soon that details who Frippery House will be giving to!

 

Is it harder?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about throwing in the towel, closing this joint down, and pretending like this blog never even happened. Because, my life isn’t that interesting, and what could I really even have to say, and being open with all of you is HARD!

And then, as I’m going about my day something strikes me. A thought, a phrase, a situation that brings my heart joy or deep grief…and I find myself wanting to share this thing with you, to encourage you or challenge you…maybe sometimes even to make you laugh.

So, after weeks of silence this is where I find myself, with a thought that I want to share with you so badly that I’ve decided to allow you to see into my heart a little bit.

I have had this thought for a week or so…or this stream of thoughts really…about adoption, and parenting, and teenagers…I feel like I’m ALWAYS sharing about this, but this is my reality so it probably is going to be something I talk about…anyways, back to the thought.

It began as I left a brief conversation with a kind and loving woman that left me a bit unsettled…not angry and not hurt, it’s just that something about the conversation didn’t sit right with me…it’s a conversation I’ve had before, and the words she said I will most likely hear again.

“Adopting a teenager is such a hard thing to do.”

Why does this statement bug me so much? It’s true. Adopting a teenager is hard. But, I think what bugs me about it is the implication that adopting a teenager is somehow harder than adopting an infant, a child, or having a biological child…but is it?

Is there some sort of scale I don’t know about, some sort of system for quantifying and measuring the difficulties of parenting that I have been left in the dark about? Do biological moms sit around discussing their child raising and the one that has it the easiest gets some sort of all expenses paid trip to a private island, and poor me doesn’t even get to be in the running for it because I adopted a teenager (insert dramatic music here)!?!

Sure, there are things that are harder. Walking through his grief and trauma with him is hard. When behavioral issues arise, weeding through what’s learned, what’s instinctive, and what’s teenager is challenging.

The moment I became a mom was hard. It wasn’t simply an elated moment of joy where the child I had spent 9 months growing and loving finally arrived. Instead it was a moment where the child I had spent years praying for and loving from a distance was finally here, and that moment of joy was shared with deep grief, because to acknowledge me as mom means to recognize the loss of the two moms that came before me. The moment I became his mom meant choosing to open my heart fully, to love him with abandon as a mom should, and then to grow into that in time…and to pray he would choose to love me back…it is still a bit terrifying! So yeah, that’s hard.

But, how do I quantify if this is harder than parenting any other child, if these pains are worse than having the child of your womb telling you they hate you…because I’m pretty sure that HURTS!!!

Then, this week, clarity came in the form of a shared video on FaceBook and I heard these beautiful words…

“Healthy seems easier, healthy seems normal, healthy seems nice. What I didn’t know then is that easy, and normal, and nice would do little to make me a better and more complete human being.” Heather Avis watch the video here

Those two sentences welled up a crazy mix of emotions in my heart and I found myself overwhelmed with grief and joy…seriously, I can’t even write about it or re-watch the video without becoming a crying mess…they are written not about teenagers, but about adoption in general, and adopting children with special needs specifically. But, they spoke so clearly to my heart because I suddenly realized why that statement above had bothered me so much…

IT’S A LIE

It’s not harder…it’s scarier, more complicated, messier, and abnormal.

But so many of us have bought into the lie that somehow adopting older children is harder. Adopting children with special needs is harder. And when faced with the opportunity or the challenge this is the lie that many of us tell ourselves to justify inaction…I’m so guilty of this when it comes to special needs.

But, the truth is, our lives were never meant to be about easy, simple, or normal. 

My mom-ness may be more complicated than most. I may not have memories of my child as an infant or toddler. I didn’t hear his first words, or see when he took his first steps. I wasn’t there to send him off to his first day of school. But I have been given an incredible gift. Because when those moments come when I’m discouraged…as they do for all parents…when I feel inadequate, and like there’s no way I can be the parent I need to be, there is a sudden gust of wind that rushes in and lifts me back up and reminds me…I was chosen for this…I was chosen for him…he was chosen for me.

Is adopting a teenager hard…yes. Is raising a young man hard…yes! Is being a parent hard…YES!

But this was never meant to be about simple and easy. Because what growth, what depth, what demonstration of true love ever came out of simple and easy?

Turn and Face the Change

In the last couple of months I have been working through some changes with in Frippery House.

I started to realize at the end of 2016 that I didn’t really like the direction things were headed. For one thing, I really wasn’t enjoying making the same design the exact same way over and over, it was taking the joy out of it for me.

I also noticed that when people ordered these designs off of Etsy or FripperyHouse.com the transaction was fairly impersonal and lacked the connection I was hoping for when I began FH.

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You see…jewelry is really just something pretty…frippery…not essential to life, frivolous. But, it holds amazing potential to connect us to each other.

Most of my personal jewelry has a story. It reminds me of someone, some place, some moment, or some emotion. It has the power to connect with me in a moment and touch my emotions; to send my heart moving in a different direction than it was just moments earlier.

This is the true beauty of jewelry, the potential it holds to draw us out of our current situation or circumstances and point our hearts in a different direction.

Connect

This is why I make jewelry, because I want to enter into your stories, to create for you pieces that evoke emotion; things that remind you of something, some one, or some place. And that you walk away knowing you own something special. And, when someone asks you about your unique piece you then get to encourage them through telling your story.

Encourage

I also want you to walk away knowing that your purchase benefitted someone other than yourself, and to connect you to the amazing works of love God is doing around the world through His people. The goal is to leave you feeling confident both in your purchase and through your purchase.

Inspire

Frippery House desires to create handmade jewelry that connects, encourages, and inspires.

Phase 1 of the transition has already begun, as some of you may have noticed. I have begun posting one of a kind and small run designs for sale on Instagram and Facebook. This is a great way for me to connect with many of you, and simply share with you the things I create as inspiration hits me! I absolutely LOVE working this way, and I hope you enjoy seeing my work this way.

 

Phase 2 is a transition away from Etsy and a complete overhaul of FripperyHouse.com…which is in progress.

This is the part I that benefits you most immediately. I need your help transitioning my discontinued inventory into your hands.

Starting Wednesday 2/22/17 you will receive 25% off your ETSY purchase with coupon code INSPIRE. You will have to be quick, because I only have 1 or 2 of each design available on Etsy.

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But, if you miss out on Etsy, don’t worry; I’m clearing out FripperyHouse.com as well.

All discontinued designs will be marked 20% off and designs I will continue to carry will be 10% off, no coupon code necessary.

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There are more phases to come, updates on what “lines” of semi custom and small run jewelry I will be making and which works of love we will be supporting, so make sure you are following FH on Facebook and Instagram and checking back for updates.

…HOPE…

I’ve been seeing lots of posts in the last week about people choosing 1 word to define their 2017…I guess it’s the new resolution…and while at first I thought it was a little bit silly and a bit lazy…how much easier is it to pick a word than set an actual goal…but then I realized that I have a word…HOPE.

It’s not a magical word that suddenly became meaningful or important as the clock struck midnight on 12/31/2016…in fact my most recent tattoo and a recent blog post Faith>Fear are both focused on HOPE…but it is the word I want to hold on to as I walk boldly into 2017.

Four years ago Ian and I were waiting for a child. We didn’t know how God would choose to bring this child to us…but we knew there would be a child. We didn’t know when He would bring our child to us…but we knew there would be a child.

 And then sometimes I didn’t know…sometimes I doubted. Sometimes I felt it would never happen…the obstacles seemed too great. Sometimes fear took over and it drove out hope and I found myself afraid to even speak my desires for fear of the pain that would come with failure.

One night Ian and I had the privilege of speaking with a couple that had adopted. They shared their story with us, it was powerful and incredible, but then at the end of the conversation the husband said something that spoke straight to my heart…and continues to run through my mind over and over…

“Don’t be afraid to hope.”

That moment changed my heart. I decided to share with people the things God had put on my heart, I began to speak openly about our path to pursue adoption. When God began to place specifics on our hearts about a 12 year old boy, HOPE is what gave me the boldness to pray for my child, to begin to write him letters, and to share with others to pray for him…because I knew there was a child.

Our boy would have come to us even if I doubted…but would I have been ready for him, would I have been so quick to answer the call…how many people got to see this AMAZING thing God did, because I choose not to be afraid…because I choose to HOPE.

A few months ago “don’t be afraid to HOPE” began playing in my head again…over and over and over…I don’t know if this is the year we grow. I don’t know when or where the next Dizon is coming from, I don’t know how old…or even how many…their will be this time…but I know there will be more children.

I will not be afraid to HOPE!
I will cling to HOPE with all my might!

I will remind myself that my HOPE lies outside of life’s circumstances, that my HOPE is constant and steady, that with all 2017 throws at me…good, bad, disappointing, joyous, and painful…that HOPE will remain.

This may seem crazy to some of you…most of you…but I know I have more children, I know some of them are already in this world and my heart is sick from waiting for them…but I will HOPE and I will trust God’s perfect timing.

Please join my family as we pray for direction, timing, and provision on bringing more of our children home. Step 1 is finishing the basement so we have room for more.

This Christmas

It’s December! The cold has arrived…kind of…snow has fallen…a little…Christmas lights are going up all over the neighborhood, the shopping has begun, the Christmas worship rehearsals have begun…goodbye lazy Sunday afternoons as a family…and the plans for Christmas Day have begun.

So far, this holiday season has been the hardest on my boy. I don’t know if it’s because it will be just the three of us this Christmas…no big trips to London or grandparents visiting…or if it’s because he’s getting older and emotionally processing the losses he’s experienced differently…or if it’s simply because with time he’s finally allowing himself to remember and to miss those he’s lost.

All I know is that my boy misses mom #2.

She LOVED Christmas! She loved decorating, went all out with décor and throw pillows and lights all over the house.

I am just not that person.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas, I’m just not a major decorator. I have some simple decorations I put around the house…and then forget about and leave out the whole year…sometimes we put some lights around outside…but I don’t have throw pillows and garlands don’t hang gracefully from my ceiling.

Andrew misses that. He misses the decorations and the garlands and Christmas throw blankets…because they remind him of his mom and his Grandma…and they are who he really misses. He wishes he could have just one more Christmas with them. One more Christmas full of tradition and routine…because his Christmases now are anything but routine and we have weird traditions…

As mom #3 I find myself in this awkward place of being fully mom…but also not…sometimes I find myself wondering what mom #2 would have done…if she would have been better at handling a situation…and this Christmas I have found myself wondering if I should be better at decorating to fill that spot in his hurting heart.

I want to help his hurts, to fix his pains…but these are hurts that can not be fixed, they can heal but they will forever leave scars, they will forever be tender spots in his heart…even if our house turns into Santa’s workshop it will still hurt…it may even make it hurt worse, because it would be me pretending to be her

So instead I bought him a tree for his bedroom…I set it up for him so that when he came home from school it was there and ready to be decorated…because I wanted him to know I love him and I wanted his heart to find comfort, and I thought that instead of me pretending if it was him finding joy in decorating his space it might be healing…he loved it!

But then…

I get all ugly on him because he wants lights to hang all over his room, and he wants to use lights I had planned for decorating the porch…yeah right like that will happen…and he asks if he can get some of those $3 wired lights from the dollar spot at Target and I suddenly transform from loving mom to selfish beast…I grinched outwhy would I buy more lights when we have a box downstairs that work perfectly fine you just don’t like the color and you’ll just have to use what’s there…he leaves to go back upstairs and “make do” with what we have.

He doesn’t give me attitude or get yucky back at me, he just says ok and walks away…but I can see the disappointment on his face.

And that’s when the quite, peaceful, and loving voice inside me starts to talk to me…why did you do that? Isn’t it the most important thing that he knows you care, that you see his pain and that you are a place of comfort? Are your things and plans really more important to you than bringing his heart joy? Just spend the $9 to make his heart glad!

So, we went and got him lights and now it looks like Christmas exploded inside of his room!

As mom #3 I recognize how easy it would have been for this child to take the stance that he already has a mom…two in fact…and to lock me out of his heart.

I am so grateful for my boy who has a heart open to all three of his moms. He calls us all mom…he says things like my mom before this, or my birth mom, or this mom so casually it both blesses and breaks my heart…he loves us all for different reasons and in different ways, but he loves us all as his moms…and the weight of this is not lost on me…even when I have grinchy moments!

“A child born to another woman calls me mommy. The magnitude of that tragedy & depth of that privilege are not lost on me.”
-Joy Landers