Help The Caballero Family- 30% Sales Goes To Them

You guys, not sure how I can type everything I need to say without crying.

First, I want you to meet Kelly Caballero…

Kelly is a beautiful friend of mine. Our families worked together in youth ministry for many years, and during that time we became very close. I love this lady. She is one of those people who’s light just bursts out of her. She has a smile that is sincere and sweet. And her heart makes you feel like it reached out it’s arms and wrapped them around your heart.

She’s that amazing.

A couple years ago Kelly got sick. Very, very sick. It finally was discovered that she had a tumor that had taken hold of her colon and liver. She had surgery, chemo, radiation…this has gone on for two years and her family has taken a terrible hit emotionally, financially, and physically.

This has not been an easy road for them, as you can imagine. Her two babies are little…and they don’t fully understand the gravity of the situation. And why should they? They are innocent, need to enjoy life, wanting to have fun…they are beautiful.

Kelly’s husband Steve is a wonderful man. He has stood by Kelly’s side throughout this whole thing {as well as Kelly’s entire family, I might add}. Steve is Kelly’s one true love. If you ever heard Kelly tell the story of their courtship, it will make you cry. She loved him with all her heart and the way that she tells it, when he asked her out, it was the happiest day of her life. Pretty sure he felt the same about such a beautiful lady….

About a month ago Kelly was released from her doctor’s care into hospice’s hands. She has lost all feeling from the chest down…the cancer is slowly overtaking her body. Despite all of this, her family put their faith in God and His all powerful hands. He is able to heal and if He so chooses, He will do it.

But that doesn’t mean this isn’t hard. But Kelly is so strong. I adore this recent picture of Kelly and her kiddos…Kelly is in Evy’s Tree sitting outside enjoying the sunshine. I love this lady.

Guys, here’s the reality…. Cancer sucks. I’m sorry I know that’s harsh, but there it is. It takes so much from you. In this case, Steve has taken a leave of absence from his work to help care for Kelly. Financially things are very bleak. Very bleak.

Can you help? 

Many of you are buying Christmas gifts right now. Many of you love to give Evy’s Tree…will you consider buying something? 30% of all sales made between now and December 17th will go towards the Caballero family. It is my hope that we can raise enough money for Steve and Kelly to buy their kids the best Christmas gifts ever.

Please help.

You can still use code CHRISTMAS20 for 20% off the entire shop. Those of you who don’t even know Kelly will get a good deal AND give. What a great thing! Those of you who love Kelly AND love Evy’s Tree…what a great thing for you as well. Please prayerfully consider helping Kelly this season. Go HERE to shop.

Want to donate directly to them?? You can do that HERE.

I love you guys. Thank you for your love and support and thank you for taking time to read about my dear friend. You guys rock.

And Caballeros. I love you. With all my heart. You have no idea. We are praying and believing God has a plan. Remember Romans 8:28. It’s what I keep praying for you all.

Big hugs xoxo

My Family Comes First

My word. Has it been one whole month since I last blogged? Where in the world has time gone?!?!? I think it’s about time to get you guys filled in a little bit….

First, I want to speak something out loud that has been brewing in my mind for a while. Instagram is slowly replacing my blog. GAH…did I just say that? I DID!! While I hate to admit it, I guess it’s kinda true. Here’s the thing: life has gotten so busy lately…our little business is BOOMING. God is so good. I feel beyond blessed to see Him do His thing and finish what He started in our lives.

BUT…..All this busyness doesn’t make much time for blogging. 

So I post pictures via Instagram {ok, sometimes a lot of pictures, hehe} and give everyone a snippet of our lives without having to go too much into to detail…well, it helps, you know? But I miss this blog. So much of my life is chronicled here. I know many of you have been reading from the beginning and will remember many of my struggles as a new mom to two, watched me discover a business, listened to my ups and downs, watched God move us, and now see us grow into a new season of growth. It’s pretty cool, if you ask me. I love the history here.

Guys, I’m going to be honest. God has been dealing with me. Big time. About my family. About my choices. About my future. About my TIME. Do you ever think about time? I’m not sure I really did much, many moons ago. But now, it seems there is so little of it. Do you know what I mean?

Our 2013-2014 school photos. Evelyn grade Pre-K, Jacob grade 1.

So very little time.

Several weeks ago I read this devotional from Proverbs 31 woman. It convicted me to the core. This line in the devotional literally jumped off the page and slapped me in the face: “However, she reserved her greatest energy and most creative ideas for her first line of ministry—her own family and home.”

Whoa.

Guys, I want to be the Proverbs 31 woman. I really do. I want to have a neat and clean house, run a business, make extra money, minister to everyone who needs it. But I want my family and home to be first. First before ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that might come my way. First before ministry, or work, or even friends. I want my kids to know that after God, they are first in my life. God, family, church/work. That’s how my life balance should go.

But you know what? That doesn’t always happen, does it?

How many times have I pushed my kids away and said, “I need to finish this email, give me a few minutes” or “I’m sorry you’re tired and need me, honey, but we have to help someone really quickly.” Yikes. I’ve said both of those things and more way too many times to count. If you are a working mom, or in ministry of some form, I’m sure you have said those things too.

Ok, let’s be real here, it’s going to happen. It’s life. We can’t help it. But as I read that devotional it was like God was shinning a light right on my heart. And my heart shriveled up in embarrassment because it knew it wasn’t putting my family first. As I read those words, tears poured down my cheeks {like they are now}. I went and found Brandon and cried. I told him how sorry I was. And I told him my family will come first. Before work. Before church. But not before God. I will do what HE wants me to do, not what everyone else needs from me. I will make decisions for my children not based on my work needs, or what others around me think I should do, but on what God impresses me to do. I will take any obstacle that comes my way and knock it over, if that’s what God wants me to do. I will say “no” more, and say “yes” to my kids. I will put their needs first, even if it means telling others I can’t.

I will be a Proverbs 31 woman. Because she put her family first. Didn’t care what people thought. And work never ruled her.

I guess that’s why you haven’t seen much of me lately. I have only so much time in my day….I’ve spent every spare moment while the kids are at school working….so I can be with them when they come home. Brandon and I have made some drastic changes in our life….making some decisions that we feel are necessary to put our kids first. We are taking our arms and wrapping them as tight around our kids as we can. Because life is so short. And they are growing so fast. We will have lots of time when they are gone to live out our dreams and desires, but for now…we are putting those things second to making sure our kids live a healthy life and see Christianity through US pouring out on THEM…not US pouring out on EVERYTHING ELSE in our lives.

So I’ve taken account of my life and cut things out that I know do not meet with our ultimate goal of family first. I’m not sure how much you will really see of me…I will share our journeys as a family and as Evy’s Tree grows as much as I can here on this blog, but if you want a day to day glance at our life, follow me on Instagram. ;)

 I leave you with this verse: “…let each of us give account of ourselves to God…”  Romans 14:12

So I’m going to preach here for a second, so kindly cover your eyes if this isn’t your thing: but I encourage you to take some time and examine your life today. Don’t be afraid to say no every now and then. I know it will challenge you. Make sure what you are doing lines up with HIS will for your life. Not anybody else’s will, but HIS WILL. Put Him first in your life. Above everything. And watch what He does for you. Watch what He does for your family. Watch what He does for you life. I bet it will be amazing.

I love you all. You are so awesome. Carry on friends, carry on. In Jesus’ name.

xoxo

Happy Endings and New Beginnings

Wow. What a week last week. Seriously, what a crazy, crazy long and exciting week. Wednesday was the big, big day…we finally received our manufactured goods. They came a day later than I expected, but you better believe I was happy they were here…it could have been a lot worse…it could have been one week or one month late, so you won’t see any complaining from me. We moved our car out of the third bay garage {yes, Evy’s Tree now consumes our entire garage} and the freight company unloaded all the boxes for us….

This sweet man was a God send….while he was unloading the truck he looked me square in the eyes and said, “This business is your ministry, isn’t it?”

It gave me chills. Bonifide, hair raising chills. 

While he was unloading the packages, he kept speaking faith over my company:

“You know this is how Steve Jobs started…out of his garage”

“Yes m’am, this business is going somewhere, I can feel it!”

“Next time I deliver your goods, you’re going to be in a warehouse!”

“I better get your autograph now, I can say I was here in the beginning!”

By the time he was finished unloading, I was pretty convinced that he was an angel in disguise. God knew I needed that. He really, really did. Someday I am going to write a post on what I think you need to start a business, but I’ll tell you, one of the first things you need is lots and lots of faith. Faith in yourself first, but I believe you need faith in God as well. See, I put everything I do in HIS hands. And whatever He wants from me, I will do.

Guys, I’m going to be honest with you, if you have followed along at all over the last year, this has been a long, long road. Definitely not easy. There have been many moments where I would wake up in the middle of the night crying because I didn’t know what I was doing, where God was guiding us, and where we were supposed to go. Two years ago Brandon and I stepped out and made a huge step of faith, and here we are. There have been many moments where I stood in the middle of our house and screamed, “What have we done?!?!” Honesty here, sorry.

But over the last couple weeks God has brought a lot of it together for us. He has opened some doors that I never dreamed would have existed two years ago, and shut some doors that I was certain we were meant to go through. Funny how that happens.

See, ministry to me has always been more pulpit. More church oriented. But the crazy thing about Evy’s Tree is that it has shown me that ministry is sometimes different than what you think. I’m finding that ministry just simply means “reaching out”. And that is what, through Evy’s Tree, I’ve been able to do. I’ve been able to reach out to those I would never have been able to meet. I’ve been able to connect, and sometimes inspire, others. And somehow, this has turned into a ministry.

So yes, freight delivery man {I never got his name}…you are right. This business has become my ministry. 

After saying all that, I guess you can imagine how excited I was to receive this shipment. A happy ending to a long time period I’m eager to kiss goodbye and new beginnings to a wonderful new chapter in our lives. Nicole and I waited eagerly all day Wednesday for them to arrive, and when they did, I jumped up and down for joy. So did Jake….when he arrived home from school and found everything in the garage, he was ecstatic. Bless his heart. He knows how important it is to me. 

After we got over the excitiment of the arrival, I had to deal with the huge undertaking of unpacking and consolidating inventory.

Yikes.

Thankfully, I have some pretty amazing nieces. They were exhausted after a full day of school and volleyball practices, but they {and Nicole} came over and helped us unpack and count hoodies.

We finished about half of the boxes that night and then I completed the rest the following day. It took us 19 hours and four people unpack and consolidate the shipment. Yes. 19 hours. By the time Thursday evening came around I was limping to bed, utterly exhausted. But the studio looked neat and tidy, and everything was organized. That’s an amazing feeling.

YES!! That is leftover fabric from the years gone by up on top. If you want fabric, please let me know we are selling it by the pound and would love to get rid of it!

All the hoodies came packaged so beautifully from our factory and wrapped securely together so during shipment they wouldn’t shift. This is how they looked coming out of the box. So nice and neat!

Oh, and Evy wore a mini gunmetal simple to school on Thursday. It’s only fitting that Evy wear one of the first manufactured Evy’s Tree, right?

On Friday morning my niece Brittany came back and pulled all your orders. She made her way through July 30, which was our heaviest preorder date.

While she pulled hoodies, I packaged them with our new packaging. I think you guys will love receiving your hoodies…the packaging is so pretty!

And let me just say, the second thing you should do if you start a business, after having faith, is make sure you are surrounded by good friends. I can’t tell you how many times over the years that my friends have helped me out in a pinch with Evy’s Tree. Natalie and Harmony saw the stress in my eyes and asked if they could come over and help. While I packaged, they finished up sachets for you all. Yes, you get a handmade sachet in each and every box. Hope you love it!

And my dear friend Heidi. I adore her. She came by after school on Thursday and saw the overwhelmed look in my face. An hour later she showed up with this shepherds pie.

It was delicious, and for a family who hadn’t eaten a home cooked meal in several days, it was such a blessing!

We made a huge dent in the July 30 orders.

I am pleased to say that the majority of them should be shipping today. Please watch your inbox for shipping notifications. I hope to catch up with shipping by the end of this week and have our orders back to a 3-5 day turnaround time by next week. Stay tuned!

In closing, I hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day weekend. We were able to catch my nephew’s football game Friday night. It was so much fun and he is AMAZING!

By Saturday I could barely say my name, I was so tired. Seriously. Our friends came for the weekend, and it was so nice. Instead of us entertaining them, they entertained us…seriously, they made sure I was resting, calm, not working. It was wonderful. The kids swam in the pool at my parents while I rested poolside. I haven’t done that in a long time. It was so needed and so wonderful.

don’t mind my toes…pedicure is next on the list this week…yikes.

I love you guys! I hope you all love your hoodies. Make sure you take some great pictures of you wearing them because we’re going to be hosting a really cool giveaway next week and it involves you wearing your hoodies!! ;)

xoxo

PS…did you guys see the new photos by the very talented DASO Photo? Click HERE and HERE.

So Much To Say

Do you ever feel like your world is spinning, and spinning, and spinning out of control? You do? Oh good…then you will understand how I have felt the last year. Whew. What a year. WHAT.A.YEAR.

I say “year” because it’s almost a year to the date that I ended the Save Evy’s Tree Campaign and began my journey into mass production. Ummm…let me just say, this whole manufacturing stuff is NOT EASY. I know I’ve said it before, and you’re probably sick of hearing me say it. Sorry. It is what it is. Hard. Yup.

The past year has been full of some lows…ok, maybe a lot of lows. Not all of them attributed to Evy’s Tree, mind you. In this past year we received a positive diagnosis of ADHD for Jake, which allowed us to finally enter into IEP meetings and the creation of an educational modification plan. This has not been easy. Although our school has been WONDERFUL with the entire process, as a mom you worry. Hope you are doing the right thing for him…am I being too protective? Not protective enough? Is he happy and thriving? Am I doing my best? Living with ADHD is not a walk in the park, that’s for sure. But it’s not impossible either. Thankfully through the lows we’ve felt a lot of hope too. God is good.

And then there are the lows coming with manufacturing. Time constraints. Pattern reworking. Financial surprises {oh boy, LOTS of those!}. Delays {and lots of those too}. It’s enough to want to pull your hair out. And can I be honest? I have no idea what I’m doing. Yes, I said that. Really, no idea. But don’t panic. We’re all good now. Pretty sure I could step into the world of manufacturing and survive, but it hasn’t felt that way during this first run. I definitely have earned my wings in mass production, and I hope I can just grow from here.

But all that to say, it’s been an interesting year. I’ve cried a lot. Yelled a lot too. And stress ate a lot. Yup, I’m guilty of it. Do you stress eat? I do. Not proud of it, but there it is. Thank you manufacturing process for those extra 10 pounds that I am working so hard on losing now. Ugh. So awesome.

And my little blog. I had such high hopes for it. But the reality of it is…I really don’t have time much for it. But when I do have time, I pour my heart out. I promise. There was a time when this blog bled ME. It screamed my name. But now, it screams Evy’s Tree. Maybe that is me. I don’t know…can’t say that’s what I want to be remembered by when I die. When I leave this earth I hope people say I loved. And I was kind. And that you saw Christ in me. That’s what I hope. Not that you saw Evy’s Tree.

And then again, maybe I am Evy’s Tree for now. Maybe, somehow, through this small business, you see my heart? I hope so. I really, really hope so. Because the fact of the matter is I’m no different than you. I am just a mom, trying to make ends meet for her family. Just someone who needs extra income so is trying to create it while being there for her kids on a daily basis. I hope that comes through….I hope.

But you know, there is also another issue. Even though I am working at home to be with the kids, I am still so absorbed in my work. I find my kids tugging at my arms for my attention while I shout, “let me finish this email!”. I hate that. My goal in life is to simply be present for my kids…so why in the world do I struggle so much with it?

I guess the bottom line is it’s a balance. And I’m pretty sure it’s hard to find. And I’m trying. By HIS grace I continue trying. God is so good to me. He loves me just as I am. Did you know that He loves you too? He does. You are ok, just as you are. You don’t have to look a certain way, act a certain way, be a certain way for Him to love you. He loves you just for you.

That’s what I hope I say to those listening. I hope I show you that through all the tears, and the frustration, and the tough times…there are good times too. There really are. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, no matter what God does with Evy’s Tree…I hope that through it all you saw Jesus. And what He’s done in my life. And I hope you want Him in yours. I’m pretty sure that’s not very good business tactics to talk about your faith, but oh well. It’s not my goal to offend, so if I do please forgive me…. I’m not here to talk about convictions, or doctrinal beliefs, or dos and don’ts of Christianity…I just want you to know that Christ died for you, He rose again, and He loves you.

It’s that simple. 

So tonight…as I get ready in the next week or so to launch my first manufactured line, I just want to stand here and say, “It is yours, Lord.” Whatever and wherever this business goes…it’s in HIS hands. This mass produced line will make or break me. It’s the tell tale as whether I will succeed or fail. If I will continue to forge ahead or close up shop. It’s my precipice. And I just want to pick up this entire machine called Evy’s Tree, pack it into a box and hand it back to Him. It’s His. Do what you will Lord.

And to my dear, dear customers who have hung in there with me. I’m so sorry I haven’t shared more of my heartaches. I have tried at times, but I realize that no one wants to hear complaining. So thank you for bearing with me. Thank you for supporting us. I hope that through the years I am there for you when you need a shoulder to cry on. You all are the best. I hope you love this new line. It was all done for you and WITH you. Thank you.

I love you all. Thanks for being here, in this place we call The Adventures of The Miraflor Family…and Evy’s Tree. You guys rock!

Stay tuned this week for a tell all on the new line, hopefully by Friday….. xoxo

Us…after the kids woke me up this past week. Thankful for the time I get to cuddle these two, even if it means I’m awakened early in the morning and very suddenly! Thank you again for making these moments with my kids possible! 

So tell me…do you have a lot to say about something in your life right now? How do you deal with it?

Vintage Photo Contest: The Rubix

In case you missed Friday’s post, please go HERE to read about the Vintage photo contest. In short, we are walking down Memory Lane this month and revisiting all our “vintage” Evy’s Tree photos we’ve taken over the years… a fun way to help us get excited about the future. At the end of the blog post I give you an opportunity to share the photo and enter to win one of three $100 gift card to the shop when it opens back up the end of July.

Today I want to talk about one of my first boys hoodie we ever made, The Rubix.

This hoodie is very special to me. First of all, Brandon and I made them together. The rubix is actually a patch, we cut out every single one of those felt pieces, glued them together, then sewed them together. It was A LOT of work, something we realized very quickly that we couldn’t make any money on, so we discontinued it near the beginning. I was so sad, because I loved this one, and was hoping to keep it around for a while.

This hoodie is also very special to me because it makes me think of my little boy. Do you see how small he is?!? I can’t get over it! These pictures were taken just a few days after Jake’s 3rd birthday.

Oh my word I could kiss those little lips. In case you are wondering why we never have Evy  model…well, we try, I promise! But she doesn’t really like to be in front of the camera and pretty much quits after a couple clicks. ha. Jake is a ham. He will go for hours smiling and laughing, so thankfully we have one kid who doesn’t mind posing for us.

These pictures are also special to me because these were our first attempt at product shots. We had no idea what we were doing, but we called our brother in law, the photographer, and he walked us through it. We just had our little Cannon Rebel and these amazing windows that faced East, so we got all the morning sun blasting in. We had to move our couches and everything, but it was worth it because Brandon was able to snag such great shots.

I always tell people, this business was really a family thing in the beginning {and it still is, actually}. We really worked together. Thinking about it now makes me all teary, actually. We had no start up money, and to be honest, very little time to start a business, but God literally DUMPED this into our laps. To this day we don’t know what He has in store for Evy’s Tree, but we feel confident that whatever it is, He will work out all the details for us. We are blessed.

Thank you for walking down memory lane with us! Want to enter to win one of three $100 gift cards? Here’s how:

1. Go HERE to our facebook page and click “share” under the above photo we posted on the page. Then comment under the photo that you shared it. Make sure to comment so we can add you in the drawing!

2. Tweet about this photo and make sure you @evystree so I can count your tweet in the tally.

3. Pin this photo to your pinterest board {you can even start an Evy’s Tree board if you wish!}. Please make sure you come back and comment on this post so I can include your entry in the tally {I don’t trust that all @evystree on pinterest will actually show up in the end to tally, sorry!}

4. Forward this blog post via email to your friends….come back and comment on this blog post that you did.

Yes! You can do all four things every day! :)

Have fun friends! Thanks for going down memory lane with us!

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I’m Ok With Being White

Is it me, or is it TORTURE to get back to work after a three day weekend? I seriously feel like I have been slammed by a truck this morning. Not good. Ugh.

Anyway, I hope you all had a great time with family and friends this weekend…and I hope you took time to remember those who have fought for our freedom that we so enjoy here in the US. I always think it’s so funny on Memorial day weekend… it’s supposed to be a time when we can remember, but instead we usually fill it will a bunch of activities and family time. I suppose that is the point though, right? Cherishing our lives and living it to the fullest? And that we are able to do that thanks to those who fight to keep us safe?

Thank you to all the brave souls who gave their lives for our happiness and freedom. We remember, love, and appreciate you.

And we did live it up this weekend. Our cousins came to visit us.

Jake’s face! Dear Lord. ha.

If you have been following Evy’s Tree for a while, you’ll remember Sarah. She was my assistant for over a year and was so amazing…she’s the one who helped us during our big move nearly two years ago. She is such a wonderful person…and we love Brian, of course, who is Brandon’s cousin. It was so great to see them this weekend, as we haven’t seen them in a while.

We took them to Sonoma on Saturday. If you ever come to the wine country and are looking for something to do, you must visit Historic Sonoma for a day. It’s so much fun. The downtown square boasts Mission San Francisco de Solona, the last California mission planted by the Franciscans in 1823.

There are twenty one missions in California, and Sonoma’s mission is the last one built…every mission is spanned one days walk from each other and they were built with a purpose to help colonize California. Really, the missions have an amazing history and if you ever have the opportunity to visit one, you will surely treasure your experience.

The kids had a blast, and loved every minute of it. They are a great age…at a time where everything is so real and exciting!

In the back courtyard of the barracks, the place where General Vallejo’s soldiers lived.

We walked around the square and visited a few stores, then let the kids play in the park. I love this photo that Sarah captured of me and Jake, while we were resting in the Basque, the wonderful little boulangerie that I have been visiting since I was a teen.

You are never too big for cuddles with your mamma. And yes, he’s only six. He just looks like an 8 year old. :(

So to explain the rather random title of this post…Sarah and I started talking about skin care issues while we were at the park watching the kids play. There was a beautiful family there, not sure what nationality they were {perhaps Jamaican?} but they had this GORGEOUS GLOWING dark skin. We commented on how beautiful they were, and then I started to tell Sarah how bummed for Evy I was when she came out and I realized she has my “wonderful” white skin. Like see through skin. And this see through skin turns all burned and freckly in the sun, instead of tanning nicely like most of my friends did when I was a kid.

Yes, I’m confessing. I hated my skin when I was younger. {I thought} It was one of my most embarrassing features.

I was a cutie kiddo, I know. But had lots and lots of freckles. My mom kept sunscreen on me when I was swimming, but no one wore sunscreen daily because the sunscreen back in the late seventies and eighties was thick, white and greasy. Eventually I looked like this, sometime in jr high…

Can we say FRECKLE CITY?!?! I was so embarrassed of my freckles, and I really hated to be outside because of them, but I was an active kid…loved to swim and explore, which only gave me more freckles, of course. And I saw dark skin as beautiful, and white skin as not so much. ugh

And no, you’re not seeing things, you’ve seen these before. I discussed them HERE.

Anyway, sometime soon after the above photo, someone introduced me to foundation with SPF. WHAT?!?! Where’d that come from? I seriously could kiss whoever came up with it, because for once I had a daily sunscreen that didn’t leave my face white and milky looking, or greasy and yucky. You can see how much of a difference it made in this photo, one year later from the one above….

Today, I wear this 40 SPF daily. Even during the winter.

And I am ok with being white. I was telling Sarah that I don’t even think about it any more. Yes, I glow. But that’s ok. Yes, my legs are see through, but who cares. As I hear people compliment Evy on her “milky” skin, I proudly puff up my chest and think, “Yes, that’s my feature, thank you very much”.

I think becoming satisfied and comfortable with yourself is one of the keys to happiness in life. Accepting the things you cannot change and building on what you have is essential to health, I think. I hope I can teach Evy, that despite the gorgeous olive skin her dad and brother have, that white is IN. It’s cool. And it’s coveted. Take care of it, and it will take you far. Because skin that sees less sun lasts longer, and gets less wrinkles. And because you can’t tan, you never have to spend hours in the sun trying to. So you gain more time in life. Bonus!

So here’s to white skin. I’m ok with you. Thanks for serving me well. And remember friends. Wear sunscreen. Daily. It will save your life.

Are you a “whitey”? How do you feel about it?

Hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! Big hugs! xoxo

Fear

What a Monday yesterday was, yes friends? Days like this really make you want to curl up inside of your bed and never leave the house. Ever. My stomach is turning, and it didn’t help that when I went to the news page to read about the bombing, a banner thrown across the top of the page announced that an Earthquake has reported in Iran and Pakistan. I know this sounds crazy, but this especially makes me nervous since our house is located right on top of a fault…we do live in Earthquake country, after all. And let’s not even mention the feelings spawned by the bombing. It literally feels as if I can never leave my house as no place in this world is safe any more.

Last week, before Brandon and I left for a long weekend out of town, I wrote a blog post. It was entitled Fear. After writing it, I decided to wait to post it. Not sure why, but I just didn’t feel to hit that “publish” button. But this morning, when I woke up, I knew it was time to share it with you. I went ahead and edited some of it, but the majority of it is what I wrote last week. So, with knots in my stomach this morning, thanks to the bombings, the earthquake, and worry keeping me up at night over money, health issues, family members and other stressors….I want to give you what my thoughts were last week…with hopes that maybe it will encourage you, but most of all, with hopes it will remind me WHO is in charge and WHAT I should do with my fear.

My blog from last week:

I’m going to tell you a little story. One that I’m actually not very proud of, unfortunately.  Yet regardless, it’s a part of my life and who I am and I think it’s time to be talk about it.

I struggle with fear.

Let me explain… as a kid, I struggled so much with anxiety, especially separation anxiety. I’m speaking of the kind of fear that paralyzed you and wouldn’t allow you to speak, made you instantly nauseous, and made your mind think of all sorts of terrifying things. If you knew me as a young little girl you’re probably nodding your head right now. {ha} I never spent the night over at friend’s houses, hated scary rides at amusement parks, and movies that may have a ounce of intensity terrified me. I never wanted to leave my mom. EVER. She was my lifeline and made me feel safe all.the.time. I remember my parents liked to fly down to Mexico for week long vacations once or twice a year and I have vivid memories of me running after their car when they would drive out of the driveway. My poor parents!! hah. Now it just makes me laugh, but believe me when I say, as a kid it was no laughing matter.

 Thankfully, my mom was very clued into my feelings, God bless her. I’m not sure what triggered my anxiety as a kid. We moved a lot, so maybe that had something to do with it. To be honest, I was very blessed and had so much but….

IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU HAVE OR HOW BLESSED YOU ARE. FEAR AND ANXIETY CAN ATTACK ANYONE!!

In fact, it seems, from my short experiences with anxious people, that often it’s those who have an abundance that struggle the most with anxiety. At any case, I really believe that with all my heart, fear can hit you at any time, stage or moment in your life. Regardless of how blessed you may be.

As I became a teenager, things seemed to calm down a little for me in the fear department. Don’t get me wrong, I still struggled, but I started to learn techniques to combat those moments of sheer terror. I learned to breathe, focus, call on the name of Jesus…all of these things worked and helped me move farther and farther away from a pattern of anxiety. Today, I rarely struggle with those paralyzing moments…and when they do hit me, I usually take some deep breaths, focus on what’s around me and remember that HE HAS IT ALL UNDER CONTROL. That’s the key, I think.

 I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about fear lately. You see, there have been some things recently, that I touched on here, that have caused me to stay up at nights with anxiety. Thankfully it’s not the kind of paralyzing anxiety that I struggled with as a kid, but this kind of anxiety leaves me talking to the Lord a lot. Asking Him “why” and “how” and “what” of about certain things in life. And I’m going to be honest, sometimes I get angry. Because it’s not easy to look down at the full picture and see God’s plan. It’s not. There’s a balance to it, you know. You have to somehow find a way to look through things that might shake you and see the good….see the GOD in it. See HIS plan, not YOURS.

See, sometimes, when you follow HIM…the path isn’t always very clear. And just when you, so full of faith, hop on that path He may have for you, suddenly the path may seem very cloudy {especially when you look around you and it seems the world is falling apart}. And you look back at the other paths you could have taken and they look so sunny, and you suddenly wonder…WHAT HAVE I DONE?!?! …is any of this making any sense to you?

So I’ve been fighting. I’ve been fighting the anxiety with faith. With thankfulness. With peeling back the fog on my path and forcing my eyes to see the sun. Because it’s THERE. It really is. We walk these roads by faith. But I’m going to be honest, it’s not easy. If these roads were meant to be easy, then more than likely it wouldn’t be called a road of faith.

 I’m not sure how it happened, but two weeks ago I stumbled across Proverbs 31 online devotional journey with Melissa Taylor and I realized I still had time to join before it started. The book they were studying was The Stressed-Less Living. Ok, sounded good right? I hopped over to her blog and read the scripture that went with the first week….

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with My victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 NLT

 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. As I continued to read it, I realized that all the fear and all the anxiety of late was just God’s way of reminding me that I have forgotten… HE IS HERE. He is taking care of it, and all I have to do is hand it over to Him.

Please remember friends. God is with you. I promise, He is. I know sometimes it’s so hard to see it. Do your best to believe that beyond the cloudy, dark and scary nights, there is a sun that is breaking through, ready to shine.

Praying for Boston. Continually.

I love you all!

xoxo

Thank You {and} Coming Tomorrow

Oh you guys. You blow my mind. All your kindness and love you showed me after I bore my heart a little yesterday… you’re awesome. Yesterday’s post was one of the most viewed posts of all year, so I guess it’s pretty safe to say you guys don’t mind an honest post every now and then. {whew} Guess that just means I have to be brave and fess up every now and then. ;)

So thank you everyone for being so great. We’re in this together and I’m glad that we can encourage each other. Love you guys.

With that said, I wanted to tell everyone that one of the most asked about hoodie is coming back tomorrow. The Giraffe Brilla with a lovely Mrs Darcy Brooch will be available Thursday night {tomorrow}, March 7, at 6 PM PST.

I get countless requests for this one and so very many people have pinned this one on pinterest, too. I know, it’s pretty awesome! :) So here’s how this is going to work….

We are going to try something new. I want to make sure everyone gets what size they want, so tomorrow night once the hoodie is live:

1. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS GET THE ITEM IN YOUR CART!! And then once you are popped over to paypal, there is a note to seller section…

2. WRITE THE SIZE YOU DESIRE in the notes to seller. Our sizes are listed in the listing, so make sure you study it tomorrow before they go live and you know what size you want.

I’m hoping this gives everyone a chance to snag one. I don’t have unlimited amounts, but I do have quite a few so we should be able to cover most of you. Just don’t hate me if it sells out faster than I think!! :(

Lastly…do you get our email blasts? Because there will be a discount code sent out tomorrow morning, so make sure you subscribe! If you don’t subscribe head over here

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And find where it says “Get the Evy’s Tree Newsletter” and enter in your info. Wahlah! that’s it! :)

Big hugs friends, see you tomorrow! xoxo

PS…can you pin this one?? :) Thank you!

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Meet Evy’s Tree: The Video

Oh friends. Wow. I can’t even express to you how excited I am today. Our first ever video is now up and ready for viewing. What’s it about you ask? Well…us. As a business. What we are all about. And its about the people who buy Evy’s Tree, and why they love it.

I can’t be more thrilled with how it turned out. I think it adequately displays the heart behind Evy’s Tree {even though I can’t STAND how I sound or look in it. ha}. You’ll get to hear me talk…and walk, and do weird things with my face. ha. But seriously, I think you’ll see my vision with the company and I love it.

It’s all because of you guys. I hope that comes across. We do this for you. If you don’t have an Evy’s Tree hoodie/wrap, I encourage you to watch the video and then hop on over to the shop and shop around. I’m sure you’ll find something you love AND…you can still get that FREE Gussy Sews item. Oh and guess what? I think there is still free shipping going on right now with the code JUSTBECAUSE. But don’t tell the management I told you so. ha. ;)

If you DO have an Evy’s Tree item… THANK YOU. We love you so much. Please feel free to use this video to share our company with your friends. I hope it touches you as much as it touched us when we first saw it. We love and appreciate you.

Before I close, I have to thank Brooke, my graphic designer, and David, my brother in law. The two of them teamed up creating the video. A few others I have to thank: Monika McSweeney, Jenny, Nicole, Carisa, Kirsten, Christie, Nora, Brittany, Brookie, Brandon and Maddie and all their friends. I love you guys.

  Big hugs friends!! xoxo

Oh PS…I haven’t forgotten about the house tour/goals. I’m finishing them up this week. Come back tomorrow. :)

So tell me…what do you think about the video?!?!

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Celebrating Jacob’s 6th Birthday…Western Style

I know, I know, today is supposed to be Food Friday. Whelp, I have a recipe all photoed, and waiting to be edited, but to be honest, thanks to my late night of loading the sale items in the shop, I’m just too tired to do it. So I guess we’ll have to plan on next week. Come back, I think you’ll love the recipe! But I DO have all of the pictures editted from Jake’s 6th birthday party…so would you like to see those today? You would? Well, great! :)

*Warning: Heavy photo post!

When Jacob told me that he wanted to have a Western style birthday, I freaked out a little. I shy away from ANYTHING western…it’s just not me and I feel so out of my element with cowboy boots and country music, ha.  But Jake was insistent upon it, so a Western theme it was, and I actually had a great time planning this party! Brandon and I first hopped on pinterest to see what other people have done for a “Western” theme. We found a LOT of cowboy stuff, which was cute, but Jake was clear he wanted not a COWBOY party but a WESTERN one {I guess he thought it opened up the costume department a bit more for his friends? who knows….ha}. Anyway, we got really inspired when Brooke sent over Jake’s invites. Isn’t Brooke amazing?

Something about this invite got me super excited and I saw immediately what I needed to do. Call me crazy, but I knew I needed Pompoms. Yes, for a boy party. Throw your darts if you must, but he loved them {and I ADORED them}. :)

I really, really MUST learn to be a little better organized. The party started at 5 and at 4:30 I was still running around like a chicken with my head cut off finishing things up. For the record, I spent a LOT of money on Jake’s ice skating party last year, and we just didn’t have that kind of money this year, so I figured for a 1/3 of the cost, I could do the party at home…if I cooked all the food, made the cakes, etc. WELL…I did. I did it ALL. I mean EVERYTHING. Yup. Call me crazy. And that’s why I was running around like a lunatic at 4:30. ha.

ANYWAY, when a couple of the moms got there, I threw the camera at my friend Jenny and told her to start take pictures. She, and later Sara, did an amazing job of capturing the party. Seriously AMAZING. The only thing is I never told them I wanted a full shot of the room with the hanging the pompoms and didn’t realize that until I had nearly cleaned up the room Saturday morning. So here’s a somewhat idea of what the full room looked like. ha.

The pompoms were so much fun, I just loved doing them. I followed THIS tutorial if anyone wants to make them. They were super easy. I used pipe cleaners instead of the flower wire stuff they suggested and I got a huge pack of them from the dollar store. I figured the each pompom cost me $1. Not bad! :)

One more picture of the pompoms, this one from the night of the party. I love this picture. You can see the pompoms, you can feel the happy spirit in the place, and my boy is too cute in his costume. I think I may frame this picture. I am SO GLAD that his special night turned out exactly how he wanted it. And it felt so good as a mom to host all his friends and have everyone have a good time. Special memories for sure!

Ok, pictures…I’ll tell you details of the party at the end. :) Here’s the Desert table..

Hot Chocolate Station…the kids LOVED this!!!

S’mores Station…so much fun! I think the adults liked this more than the kids. :)

We served dinner for everyone….

Waiting outside to greet his guests… He kept running around shooting everyone. Ugh. What a warm welcome, yes?

Friends….

Ev. :)

When we moved into our house we had this dug out hole that we could not figure out what it was for. We even asked the neighbors, but no one knew. We finally decided it was a fire pit {still not sure if it was, ha}, so we used it for the first time to roast s’mores on. We LOVE it!! Will definitely use it again. Such a great way to spend a chilly evening with friends. 

Jake, Gramps and Jake’s new Hike America Stick from our good friend Roy. Never heard of Hike America? Well, you’ve probably seen them, if you’ve been to any national park. Hike America sources the walking sticks for most National Parks and hiking areas. Roy is the brain behind it and one of my dad’s dearest friends. Jake was so excited to get his own “kid size” version of it. Thank you Roy!!

Making him refuel. He was obviously thrilled about it, can’t you tell? ha. 

Probably his favorite card of the night. It sings the Chipmunk song. We can’t figure out who it’s from as it’s not signed?? ha. But he loved it whoever gave it to him. Thank you! :) 

Mumsy and Gramps gave him a basketball hoop. He was thrilled.

Yes, I made the cake. Scroll down for more info. :)

Favors. Super easy, cost about a $1 each. Brooke made the bifold toppers for me, I bought a pack of 30 small bags from Target, went to the dollar store and found the water guns, harmonicas and sheriffs badges were from Party City and the gold chocolate coins were from the dollar section at Target. Win win for everyone!

Whelp…that’s it! It was a successful party for sure! We had friends stay until nearly 11 that night and we loved being with everyone. Thank you to all who came and made the night so special for Jake. We were honored you joined us. We love you!

And no, I didn’t clean the kitchen up that night, for all you who were wondering if I followed my own rule after a big party. I actually allowed myself to go to bed and wake up to this:

It was worth it. :) Big hugs everyone. xoxo

Chocolate Cake: Barefoot Contessa HERE {and yes, I used the coffee buttercream, it’s amazing.}

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cupcakes: Barefoot Contessa HERE

Coconut Cupcakes: Barefoot Contessa HERE

Chili: Jamie Dean HERE {It was unbelievably good, and I don’t even like chili!}

Cornbread: Trader Joes

Salad: HERE {which I never served, ha, oops!}

Hot Dogs: Costco, cooked by Brandon :)

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