This is by far the
hardest most challenging post I’ve written yet. I will be closing the shop for orders from February 15, 2015 – approximately April 1, 2015 in order to have surgery on my dysplastic hip (not just for dogs!) I write this not to elicit sympathy from you friends, but to educate, empower and encourage any who are going through trials of your own right now. So a big ‘thank-you’ to all who take the time to read this. (I know this is longer than the posts I normally write) Although the shop will be closed for orders I’ll still be sending out newsletters, posting on Facebook, etc. as well as having some fun giveaways while we are closed (in between PT appointments) so stay tuned!! Thank you all for your support over the years and for your understanding in this situation!
About hip dysplasia… (the short version)
I started having hip pain about 10 years ago which was misdiagnosed until last August. I found out that I have hip dysplasia (yes people can have this – not just pups) and hypermobility syndrome. Both are rare genetic diseases that don’t have an easy fix. (Hip dysplasia is a typically misdiagnosed condition hence my hope is to spare someone the years of pain that I’ve had.) I’ll spare you all the details but basically my joints are very loose and don’t want to stay in place (hypermobility) and my hip sockets aren’t formed right which allows my femur to ‘pop’ out of joint all the time causing damage to the joint and pain (dysplasia). I will be having a Periacetabular Osteotomy (PAO) on February 26th. If anyone is interested there is a cool video of the actual procedure that is animated (no blood and guts) but it is pretty graphic. I’ll put the link here. There is a 3-6 month recovery period, much of this non-weight bearing so I got all sorts of awesome crutches and a wheelchair for Christmas! Basically all of this to say I’m not exactly sure when I’ll be able to open up the shop full-time again, but I’m aiming for the start of April. (This will depend on when/if I am able to get the other hip done in the Fall too.) Thank you for letting me share some information about this often misdiagnosed condition.
Whew – did you get all of that?? I know my head is still spinning! (and if you’re still reading – thank you!)
Here is the BLESSING of all this! (and this is my short list!)
After years of chronic pain I have HOPE for a brighter future with far less pain! How beautiful is the word ‘hope!’ I am now able to see what a gift it is to give someone hope, whether big or small. What a blessing…
My family has been more than amazing in this journey! My sweet Hubby has been so patient and encouraging as he challenges me to ask for help when I’m not feeling strong. I’ve learned that sometimes only in being weak can you really become stronger. It takes more strength to ask for help sometimes than it does to take care of something on your own. It’s been a joy to watch our girls become more in tune with pain, whether mine or someone else’s, as this has grown a heart of compassion in them that they didn’t have before. They are so sweet to help me when I need it. Amazing friends have come alongside me with prayer and kindness that I’ll never be able to repay. Sometimes though, letting someone help you out ends up blessing them as much as it does you! (I still marvel over this fact daily!) For those times when there isn’t support readily available, or folks are unavailable, it’s been nice to realize that I can be stronger than I ever knew on my own!
Since I was told 10 years ago to stop all exercise, my diet went out the window too and I packed on an unhealthy amount of weight. I’m so overjoyed that I was told a few exercises that I could do and this jump started healthier eating habits. It’s been so educational to learn how we fuel our bodies and we’ve tried so many new and yummy recipes! This has resulted in a good amount of weight lost and lots of muscle gained, YAY!! I’ve learned how important support is in this area and that support can come in ways we can never imagine! I hope that I will be able to support others the same way I’ve been blessed!
Ever had those days at the store where everything and everyone moved slower than you hoped? Having this condition has forced me to slow down and be more patient with life. I try to be kinder if someone cuts me off, gentler with someone who may be a bit grumpy, and more patient with someone who may not be able to move that quickly. (I don’t always succeed with this, but I’m really working on it.) I have had my eyes opened to those who suffer from ‘invisible’ illnesses that the world can’t see. How different would our world be if we treated everyone with compassion? We are all fighting battles, some seen and some unseen! Let’s be there for each other!
I’ve learned to be more patient with myself as I complete daily tasks that I used to do with no thought at all. Housework comes to mind! (heehee) I’ve had to be okay with things that don’t get done like they used to – again housework comes to mind. I’m learning to fight back against the guilt that comes when I let the kids or family down because of physical limitations that I now have and focus on the amazing things I CAN do for them! I’m so thankful for a family who has been so very patient with me as we adjust to this new ‘normal.’ And I’m eternally grateful for a God who is even more patient with me as I learn all of this!
6. JOY! (what’s that you say?? no, really, read on!)
We all have a choice everyday – no matter our situations or circumstances. To embrace each day with thankfulness and gratefulness or to worry and fret over what the day will bring. I’m not always able to do this, but if I focus on the little miracles I’m blessed with each day then the pain or struggle doesn’t hold as much power over me! Jut the fact that we wake up breathing to face a new day is a miracle! I now try to treasure each moment snuggling my youngest with a book and it lessens the fact that I can’t be on the floor playing with her. I choose to marvel in my eldest as she shares about her day with me before she goes outside to play instead of feeling sorry for myself that I can’t go jump on the trampoline with her. It’s a joy to watch my family as they have been my rock and support as we go through this together. God has truly blessed me and I will choose to embrace each day with the wonder that He has graced us with!!
If you are still reading, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Again, I didn’t write this to have anyone feel sorry for me, so please don’t. I know that there are many others fighting harder battles than I. But I do hope that along with learning something about dysplasia your heart has been encouraged that you are not alone in your struggle or pain. Something beautiful can come out of the darkest moments in our lives.
Hello again friends! Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by with me today! I’m cheating today and ‘recycling’ an older post of adorable DIY Valentine’s Day gifts that the whole family will love! They are inexpensive, customizable, cute and heartfelt! We actually unpacked ours after our recent move and everyone still enjoyed seeing them and all the love that went into making them.
A few Valentine’s Days ago I made all of the below for our girls and my family and they loved them. Some of the ideas I got off of Pinterest and some I just made up. Hope you enjoy!
1. Date Jar
Wide Kraft Sticks
A wonderful way to show your loved one how much you value your time with them. Easy to make and really gets your creative juices flowing! Instructions can be found here!
2. 30 things I love about you jar!
30 Narrow Popsicle sticks or kraft sticks
Paint (if desired)
I was inspired to make this one after doing the first one above for my hubby. This smaller one I made for my eldest daughter. I labeled 30 sticks with things that I love and appreciate about her. That way she could read one each day of the month. Two years later she still smiles quietly when reading these! (and that makes it all worth it!!) After I made the sticks I simply cut out a circle of fabric out with pinking shears and hand sewed a heart to the fabric at the top of the lid. I then added a ribbon to add some ‘girly’ charm to the gift. (she loved this!) I attached a small heart-shaped note explaining what the jar was to the ribbon with a piece of thread.
3. Knit stuffed hearts
I made these little hearts for my girls with some leftover yarn I had lying around. For my eldest I made them into little hanging hearts so she could hang them on her door. For the little one I just made them soft and squishy with no hangers on them. She loves to carry them around even now! I just kind of made up the pattern, but here is an easy pattern if you would like to try them out!
4. 52 things I love about you!
I love this idea from Pinterest!! The directions are no longer linked to this pin but here’s the link so you can see the picture! You are basically gluing things you love about your loved one that you’ve written or typed to a pack of playing cards. So sweet and such a fun exercise to list all of the things you love about your significant other! The photo shows the cards tied with ribbon, but I simply used an O ring to connect the cards.
5. Poem with children’s footprints
I first found this beautiful poem on Pinterest as a free printable but the link no longer works so I’m just linking the Pinterest pin for you! You can easily type out this poem yourself and just add the painted footprints to it afterwards. What a wonderful way to tell Dad that you love him than with the little feet that love to climb all over him!
I hope that you have enjoyed these handmade gift ideas for friends and family! Thanks for stopping by and please let me know if you try any of the ideas! I’d love to see pictures!
Blessings to you friends,
I just had to share with you this little miracle that happened over Christmas. It’s not earth shattering, or life changing but it is filled with love, grace and thoughtfulness. It shows that God doesn’t just hear our ‘BIG’ dreams but our little ones too… It shows what can happen when we really love each other and hear what our families hearts are saying. I hope you enjoy and are encouraged by this little tale!
This is the sweet gift of love that my family gave me for Christmas.
This is my ‘new’, old vintage box filled with beans, alphabet soup, noodles and faded wallpaper that is just longing to be useful again.
(A useful piece of information to insert here: we did much of our Christmas shopping this year at Goodwill as it was a great place to find ‘like new’ things at an affordable cost while helping not create more ‘stuff’ to go into landfills. It was wonderful to let our girls age 2 and 9 search for the perfect gift for each other and Mom and Dad without worrying they would break the bank or something in the store!)
Little did my sweet Husband and girls know that I had held this little piece in my hands about 6 weeks before they touched it!! I even put it in my cart! I really wanted to get it and fill it up with new spices and give it a new look! But as I went to check out I decided that the time to buy myself a little something was not while I was shopping for gifts for my loved ones. So I gently set it back on the shelf never expecting to see it in a million years!
When I opened it on Christmas morning they didn’t understand my tears or silence, but once I explained the story we were all hugging and laughing about our Christmas miracle! My eldest even told me she thought I’d like to put my ‘Spice Grove’ spices in just like I had pictured in my mind! Amazing! I am so very blessed!
I know that this little tale won’t bring world peace, solve global warming or erase epidemics from the map….but my hope is that it will encourage you today that miracles DO still happen. Love is the power that moves them forward…
Blessings to you friends and thank you for taking the time to read this!
Are you searching for a last-minute decor idea for your table or tree this Christmas?? Come on by and check out this super easy one that will have your home looking (and smelling) fantastic in just minutes!!
If you haven’t heard of orange pomanders before be assured they are amazing and you’ll love them! I remember seeing them and hearing about them from my Grandma and her friends. I’ve seen gorgeous photos of them all over the web and have always wanted to make some. So this year we decided to give them a try! And they were so easy and fun for the whole family to make!!
Here’s what you’ll need:
Oranges (clementines, tangerines, etc.)
Toothpicks or other sharp tool
3 Tbs. ground cinnamon
3 Tbs. ground cloves
3 Tbs. ground nutmeg
3 Tbs. ground ginger
3 Tbs. orris root powder (dried and ground root of certain iris’ used as a fixative) Although I have a couple sitting in my office that are a couple of years old and had no fixative used and they still smell great!
1. Pick out orange with good solid rind. I picked up a bag of Cuties the other day and not only were they delicious but just the right size for little hands.
2. Decide what pattern or design you’d like to make. You can draw it on beforehand or just ‘wing it’ and see where your imagination takes you! (Anyone else like the idea of planning when it comes to crafty projects – but secretly you’d rather just see what happens?) If you are going to hang it sometimes it’s easier to attach the ribbon or thread before you start placing the cloves.
3. If your orange rind isn’t too tough you can simply push them through the rind by hand in whatever design you like. If it’s too tough or your little ones need some help you can use a toothpick or other piercing device to make a small hole so that the clove pushes in more easily.
(or if your kids are anything like my helper, they may just enjoy playing with the toothpicks!)
Be careful as the whole cloves can be very sharp. My fingers have built up a tolerance from all of the cloves that we use here in the shop though. Here are a few examples of some designs that the tiniest Spice Grove and I came up with!
4. Step back and enjoy your work!
5. Let the orange dry for 2-3 weeks in a dry place. A sunny window is the perfect place! If you want you can let it dry in a delicious spice mix of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and orris root powder. The mix will add an even more delicious smell to your beautiful orange. If you do this last step, just turn the orange in the spice mix every day or so, so that it gets coated evenly. (Sadly I don’t have any photos of this last step as I was too anxious to get this post done and share it with you!
Have fun with it and get creative! Remember there is no wrong way to make these! They will look (and smell) gorgeous in a simple bowl on your holiday table or hanging on your tree! The beauty is they will last for years!! If you’re really prepared you could have these made up early and give them as gifts for the Holidays. I’d love to see photos if anyone tries these out!
I know there are only 6 days until Christmas – but I wish you peace and joy this wonder filled week before Christmas! Take time to enjoy and see the little miracles!
It’s no secret that I hold veterans and active duty soldiers close to my heart. My Dad was Air Force and sweet Mr. Spice Grove was in the Army. So when I say how impressed I am by all that my friend Brenda over at STRUCTUREbags does for our military members and families, you can be sure that I’m not overstating things!
From her amazing letter writing campaign last Christmas, (distributing hundreds of letters and ornaments to soldiers overseas and to the families of those same deployed soldiers) her partnership with Team Red White and Blue – her heart is to help those who serve! Again this Holiday Season, Brenda is looking to make a difference for military families and YOU get to be involved!!
Here is more information straight from Brenda:
“During the entire month of November, nominators can visit www.structurebags.com to create a wishlist for a nominee and tell STRUCTUREbags about their deserving nominee. Wishlists can feature anything from the STRUCTUREbags store, including items from the soon-to-be-released all-new 2015 Organic Canvas Collection and the expanded Camo with a Cause line – now available in four camo options.
Winners will have their wishlist fulfilled by STRUCTUREbag’s “Deployment Angels.”
Prizes include a $150, a $75 and three $50 gift packages. Additionally, the first 25 nominators and nominees will each receive a complimentary tree ornament in the camo print of their choice. Winners will be chosen based on the written nomination and will be selected by a panel of military spouses. There is no purchase necessary to enter or nominate and self-nominations are welcome. Complete details can be found at http://www.structurebags.com/pages/season-of-thanks-2014.”
“My time at West Point opened my eyes to the daily sacrifices made by our military,” said Brenda Guyader, founder and designer of STRUCTUREbags. “And the holidays can be especially difficult.”
“I first heard of ‘Deployment Angels’ on Valentine’s Day 2013 when someone secretly left a small box of chocolates for a neighbor – the spouse of a deployed soldier. We all teared-up,” she said.
Since its founding location at the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2011, STRUCTUREbags has supported active military families through its Camo with a Cause line of products. For every item purchased in that line $1 is donated to their strategic partner, Team Red, White & Blue, the national organization connecting veterans to their communities through physical and social activities.
STRUCTUREbags continues to invest $1 per item sold or donated from the Camo with a Cause line in Team RWB’s ongoing social and athletic programs for veterans and their families.”
After being married to a soldier who deployed I can tell you firsthand that anything you do for soldiers AND their families will make a world of difference to all of them. My Hubby used to tell me it gave him such peace when he knew that we were taken care of while he was away. So don’t miss out on this awesome chance to make a huge difference in the lives of those who serve this Holiday Season! Thank you so much Brenda for allowing us to share this opportunity with our friends here at Spice Grove Designs!
Have a blessed Veteran’s Day friends and a special ‘Thank You’ to all who have and are serving!
PS…..Don’t forget to click on the ‘Deployment Angel’ photo to nominate someone!!
A big ‘Welcome’ to Fall and all of it’s amazing colors, scents and weather!! I can’t think of anything I don’t like about Autumn! So here are some of my favorite inspiring quotes and photos of this lovely Season!
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
“Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.” [Indian Summer]
William Cullen Bryant
“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.” [Notebook, Oct. 10, 1842]
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The American Notebooks
“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.”
I hope that you are enjoying your first week of Fall and that these words and photos have brought a smile to your face!! Have a wonderful week friends! Let us know what your favorite thing about Fall is in the comments below!!
Welcome to the new blog series titled ‘Use What You Have!’
I am so excited to share a special collection of all things inspirational for your Heart and Home! This new weekly/bi-weekly series will feature so many wonderful ideas you won’t want to miss a moment! Just some of the ideas I have planned for you are:
~Gorgeous DIY Home Decor Ideas using things you ALREADY have!
~Easy, Healthy Recipes using what is ALREADY in your pantry!
~Inspirational stories and thoughts to uplift your spirit!
~FREE tutorials! (These will make your Holiday parties so special!)
~Festive Holiday ideas and Gift Guides!
~And MORE!!!! (giveaways too!!)
I’m so thankful for all of you and that you took the time to stop by! Do you have a recipe or awesome DIY you’d like to share with us? Just contact us here!! (or leave a comment below)
Have a beautiful day friends!
Blessings to you,
Larger than life
So many qualities that made my Dad special…..but my favorite……that he is MINE!!!
I’ve been so blessed to have a Dad that served not only his country, but his family too. Whether it was teaching us how to ride our bikes or letting us practice hammering on his extra 2X4’s, Dad always let us know we were important to him by the TIME he was willing to spend with us. I think we spent more hours with him in his beloved garage than in the actual house. He loves creating things with his hands. Even now, (many) years later, he is always coming up with projects or special things for our girls to invest in their lives. There really is nothing he can’t build/fix/invent/or change to make something work better! I pray I am half the parent he has been to me! I love you Dad!
I’ve also been blessed with the most amazing Husband who is an amazing Dad to our girls!! Their faces light up when they hear him crack the door upon coming home from work!! Like my Father, he also served his country selflessly and also daily serves his family at home. Whether playing a rousing game of ‘tickle fest’, ‘chase me Daddy’ or ‘wall-softball’, it is pure joy to see the three of them together. He gives of his TIME to umpire little league softball games, go on mountain hikes and to read books to the girls. We all love our books and I’m so thankful that the 3 of them can share stories that they’ve read and scenes they’ve imagined. And they adore him in return……. I think they would do anything for him and I’ve seen him move mountains for them! We are truly blessed, thank you Todd!!
To all of those Dad’s, Step Dad’s, Grandpa’s and other amazing guys out there…….we are so thankful for you and all you mean to our family and to your families. Wishing you a blessed and wonderful Father’s Day with your loved ones today!!
Blessings to you friends,
Happy New Year Friends!
As we enter into the season of ‘New Year’s Resolutions,’ I did some soul searching about making goals. I’ve never been one to make resolutions as I’ve never been able to keep ones that I did make! So I wondered what if I just found a simple way to live better and more fully……Hence the title and focus on being intentional and inspired! I suspect that this could have a profound impact on life personally, relationally, spiritually, and business-wise!!
I think living more intentionally for me means putting more thought into what, when and how I do something rather than just going through the motions. It means if I set aside time to play with my kids than that is ALL that I do – not 10 other things at the same time. It means making a schedule for the business that I can stick to. It means only checking my email 2 times a day. It means being okay with NOT multi-tasking. The list goes on and on. Now obviously life gets crazy and I sure don’t expect to do this perfectly, but I would love to climb into bed at night knowing that I did my best to make each moment count. That my kids know that they had captured my heart while we were playing. That my Husband knew he had my full attention when he came home from work. That I started each day in prayer, talking to the Lord. That my customers knew they could count on exceptional service and quality with every interaction.
What a BLESSING this would all be!
And just think – if we could live more intentionally, wouldn’t that free up our hearts and minds to be inspired by little moments? I want to be inspired as I open my jar of star anise, wondering at each perfect shape, so individual and unique. I want to wonder at the little eyes that ask to be read a book for the 100th time, trusting that I will say ‘Yes!’ I want to marvel at the amazing world around me that God has created from the smallest flower to the mountains behind our house! I want to set big, brave goals for Spice Grove Designs and make plans to see them happen. I want to remember to be grateful for each day I have with family and friends knowing that tomorrow is never promised. I want to give more back than I get. I want to ‘choose’ joy daily since it is a choice not a given!
So even though I may not have a list of resolutions, I pray that this new way of thinking about each moment I live may have life changing effects! I hope that whether you set goals, resolutions or make changes you know I will be here to encourage you and wish you JOY and PEACE and INSPIRATION this year!!