the Sun Ring

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

img_0234.jpg

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.

IMG_0229
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.

img_0232.jpg

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. 

IMG_0593

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.

 

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.

hello-3

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.

1

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.

2

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.

the Emily

I want to start out by saying that I just simply can’t put this woman into words…I have truly never met anyone else like her…but I will attempt to capture a bit of who she is and share her with you.

Emily and I lived together in Thailand…we shared a great little apartment high up above the city with an amazing view that almost made you forget you were in the middle of a red light district…those years we lived together had an incalculable impact on my life. I learned so much from her, I grew so much through her, and I found so much laughter in our friendship.

party-123

Wedding photos…I don’t think we’ve ever looked better

When I first moved to Thailand I moved into a room in a crazy house full of women who were constantly transitioning through…it was pretty exhausting…well, in this room was this homemade sign with Micah 6:8 written on it…

“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

For the three months I lived in that room I would find myself staring at that sign, just meditating on those words, remembering why I’d moved across the world, what it truly was that the Lord wanted from me in Thailand…do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly…That truth got me through a lot those first couple of months…they were HARD!

Then, I met Emily!

She had been home in England for a few months, and I discovered I had been living in her room, and the sign that brought me such encouragement was her handy work.

Within a few hours of meeting we were looking for our own apartment and a few days later we moved into our sanctuary in the sky.

We had so much fun in that apartment, there are so many stories from those years…sometimes my son will ask me to tell him an Emily story, his favorite being the time she brought home bunnies in dresses from the market…we found lots of entertainment in our differences as an American and Englishwoman, escape in “24” marathons…why don’t they ever believe Jack!?! And adventure in just wandering the massive city together.

P8224877.jpg

We just went out to get supplies for milkshakes!!!

But, the most incredible thing I have taken away from my time with this woman is watching her live out Micah 6:8.

Seeing her selflessness when woken in the middle of the night by a drunk and hysterical woman ringing our bell…I was irritated by being woken and inconvenienced but not Em, she just cared about this woman…watching her stop and take the time to talk with broken and hurting people as she encounters them. Once, she passed a woman on the street who was obviously not Thai, homeless, covered in dirt, and smelled of poo, so she brought her to our place, cleaned her up…also one of my boy’s favorite stories because there was quite a bit of hilariousness that ensued…and then worked to get her back to her home country.

Today, I live in a home where things change constantly, where more people live with me than share my name, where people come to visit and stay for weeks and months, and where everyone is welcome. The Lord used this incredible woman to open my heart to this…to prepare me for setting aside my comforts and expectations and instead having a deep desire to love others with every part of my life.

I have never known anyone else even close to like her. Who so fiercely loves justice, who seeks it out on behalf of others. Who seems to walk around surrounded by a cloud of mercy. And who desires to live simply, humbly, and innocent of evil…I don’t know how she manages to spend so much of her life surrounded by evil and yet remain so beautifully innocent, but she does, it’s a beautiful gift God has given her! 

img_2355

Trying to design a piece of jewelry that captures all of this was difficult! I knew I wanted to use red because she had these great red jeans that were so cool…this was way before colored jeans were even a thing… and I knew I wanted them to capture the intensity, the fierceness of who she is…because she is FIERCE! But I also wanted them to be fun, and to sparkle a bit…because that’s who she is, this fierce, sparkly, fun woman! So I went with deep, rich colors, labradorite which has a bit of flash to it, and a unique wire wrapped look. They don’t do her justice…but I think they’re pretty cool.

It’s been six years since we’ve lived together…since we’ve lived on the same continent…I moved back to Colorado, she moved back to England. I have been so blessed to go to England twice in the last couple of years, so I’ve gotten to see her and spend some time with her. She’s doing amazing things there as she continues to live a just, merciful, and humble life…Check out Ella’s Home or message me if you want to find out more about what she’s currently doing in England to live out justice and mercy in the lives of women in England…and pray for her, for the women she works with, and pray about supporting this work.

Sometimes I sit back and think…I can’t believe I know this woman, I can’t believe she’s my friend…I am so grateful for her in my life, for who she encourages me to be, who she inspires me to be…When I look at her life, when I see who she is all I can think is…if anything is going to change the world it’s going to be people like her who love the Lord and live out His love!

reception-107

To purchase the Emily click HERE

Untitled design-4

 

 

Faith > Fear

Ok, so last weekend I was at a woman’s retreat and the amazing teacher, Lenya Heitzig…seriously she was such a blessing and you should check her out…was sharing about fear. I always love/hate the fear topic…because I KNOW it’s going to apply to me…but I also know I’m going to be busted! I have fought fear my whole life…the Lord has grown me soooo much…but it’s still a battle whenever I step out, and years ago I told the Lord that if He opened doors I’d walk through them…so lets just say there’s lots of opportunity for fear.

*I need to give some credit for the title of the blog post to one Julia because she told me about seeing “Faith > Fear” on a necklace and I just love it, and I think I’m gonna make me one

So, Lenya was teaching from the first part of Joshua from Moses’ death to the Israelites entering the promise land, including the fall of Jericho and the crossing of the Jordan River…it’s a pretty epic couple of chapters…after Joshua leads the people through the Jordan…the priests are standing in the middle of the river which has dried up so they can cross through…God tells him to take 12 stones from the river and place them on the bank, so that when the generations after them see it they will ask ‘why are there stones piled up there’ and then they will be told the amazing things God did for the people of Israel.

I have always loved this concept…maybe it’s my love of rocks, or my love of story telling, but this has always resonated with me.

In Samuel this idea of leaving a stone of remembrance is called an Ebenezer stone. In my life, my tattoos are my Ebenezer stones. Each one is a stone of remembrance, each one marks a point in my life where things changed…behind my ear is the stone that marks when I surrendered not just my eternity but my today to the Lord, on my foot is the remembrance of God’s provision for me on the mission field and His faithfulness in bringing Ian and I together…each one marks a season of my life the Lord brought me through, each represents an amazing thing He did, each one is a miracle…even the ones I got before I was walking with Him.

And, what’s really amazing to see is that it’s working, I now have a son who wants to hear the stories of my tattoos, he asks me to share with him the history of God’s faithfulness in my life…so incredible!!!

img_0064This weekend, as Lenya was teaching, what really stood out to me was not the 12 stones God had them place on the shore for all to see, but the 12 stones they were to place in the middle of the Jordan…stones that would be covered by the rushing waters as soon as the last priest stepped onto the river bank…it was the 12 stones that no one would see. There is something about this symbol that I don’t think I fully understand yet…but I can’t shake that it’s important, that it means something specific for me in my life.

I think it’s maybe it’s the faith of it…because seeing rocks and hearing the story is one thing…believing that those rocks you can’t see are there is another. It’s easy to look at the physical and believe, it’s harder to trust a story, to believe what’s unseen.

Recently I got another tattoo…sorry mom and dad, I know you hate them…it is another Ebenezer stone…another reminder of God’s provision and faithfulness through a season of my life.

The most current season of my life has been difficult…there has been so much grief and so much pain and so much sickness…This season of my life has been beautiful…I’m a wife and a mom, I’ve seen God answer my prayers and show up in absolutely incredible ways…This season of my life has been lonely…I’m a wife and a mom and they must be my priority and I’ve had a very broken child that needed a lot of me…This season of life has been joyful…we went from three people to a family, we’ve traveled and experienced so much together, and I’ve grown SO much in the depth of my love for God…

My Ebenezer stone is a reminder of these things, of what God has done in my life the last couple of years, of His faithfulness, of His provision, of His goodness…in the midst of and in spite of each and every circumstance.

The tattoo is a ship on a choppy sea, cloudy skies, and a bit of sun poking through. All this is contained inside of a rope…but outside that rope is this simple anchor connected by a straight line to the ship.

IMG_0065.jpg

Life is great, and hard, and joyful, and painful. It is love and grief…laughter and tears…If I look at life as it comes at me, the circumstances that surround me…and I let that determine the course of my life…the waves will overtake me.

Instead, I stare at those rocks I can’t see, at the anchor that is secured outside of this world and outside of my circumstances…and I remember WHO it is my hope is in. When things are great, they are great…but when things are hard, I know the rocks are still there, the anchor still secure, and that eventually the sea will calm and the sun will burst through…because I have seen and will see again the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

 

As always, thanks for reading…make sure to follow, like, share and comment!