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!)

1. Hope!
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…

Hope clouds

2. Strength!
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!

Strength

3. Health!
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!

4. Understanding/Compassion/Empathy!
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!

5. Patience!
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!!

Living is Joy

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.

Darkest night

Blessings,

Charlottenew bio

Remembering on Veteran's Day

Remembering all those that have served today…

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.”

Click on this photo to nominate someone!!

“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!

Daddy's Homecoming

Daddy’s Homecoming

Have a blessed Veteran’s Day friends and a special ‘Thank You’ to all who have and are serving!

CharlotteCharlotte

PS…..Don’t forget to click on the ‘Deployment Angel’ photo to nominate someone!!

 

Our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

Our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

I just love this time of year! The wonder of our girls as we unpack our Advent Calendar and Nativity is precious! Chasing my 20 month old around to try to get Baby Jesus back so she doesn’t hide Him somewhere I’ll never find Him is hilarious! I love the cooler weather and the comfy clothes. The yummy treats and family time are such a blessing! Basically, I love everything about Christmas – what is means and what it brings. We don’t do fancy decorations in our Home but try to keep things simple and meaningful. One piece of decor though that I do look forward to bringing out each year is our ‘Charlie Brown’ Christmas tree!

Our Vintage Star

Our Vintage Star

This tree was with my Father years ago when he was stationed in the Philippines with the Air Force. It was sent to him again when he was away in Italy for a year when I was 8. It then traveled to Arizona to be with me in college and then on to Oregon to be with my brother at college. It’s next journey sent it all the way over to Iraq to be with my Husband when he was deployed with the Army. And though it is literally falling apart, it gets more precious to me every year. It serves as a wonderful reminder to our girls that beauty on the outside fades, but a beautiful heart will never age or grow dim.

The trail of 'needles' that our tree leaves behind now!

The trail of ‘needles’ that our tree leaves behind now!

It teaches them about sacrifice and courage as we tell the story of its journeys. They marvel, touching each branch, at how this little tree has traveled more miles than any of us probably will in a lifetime. It tells them of love that can never be dimmed by distance or time. But most of all it shows them that just as this little ‘falling-apart’ messy tree was able to impart joy and hope and comfort in dark time, so too, the Messiah born as a baby in that messy, dirty stable was able to give hope, grace and the ultimate gift of love for all of us……

Yes, this little tree will always hold a special place in my heart. As we spend time together this Christmas, we wish you and your loved ones a Blessed Christmas and Peaceful New Year.

The Decorated 'Charlie Brown' Tree

The Decorated ‘Charlie Brown’ Tree

Blessings to you and yours friends,
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As we near the end of our week of inspiration I have to say thank you to all the amazing ladies who by being who they are inspired this week!! What an amazing group I am blessed to know!!

I can go on and on about the amazing things that move me, such as Nature and Faith and Family, but I want to make sure that you all know that YOU inspire me too!! YOU make my days of creating brighter by your feedback and your response to my designs. You make my long computer nights sweeter with your kind comments on Facebook! Your encouragement after a rough day makes more of a difference than I can ever say!! Your creative ideas, shared opinions and moving stories are priceless, valued and appreciated!

In short, YOU inspire me!! YES, you!! The one who takes a second to like a quote on my Facebook page. The one who browses our shop and comes up with an AWESOME idea for a custom design. The one who shares their heart and story with me. I treasure each and every one of you. YOU are the reason this dream has gone forward. You are the ones in my heart when I sit down with a blank piece of paper to create a new design. Your lives are the ones I think of when I find a new up-cycled beauty that I just have to share! And you are the ones who make all of this possible. It still boggles my mind to imagine my little designs sitting in their new homes……

So from the depths of my heart I can only say a humble and sincere ‘thank-you.’

I’ve never had a giveaway this HUGE, so make sure you enter the drawing below and WIN any design of your choice from the Spice Grove Designs shop, PLUS free shipping!! The best of luck to all of you friends!

Spiced Thankful Card from Spice Grove Designs

Spiced Thankful Card from Spice Grove Designs

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you haven’t already, make sure you stop by Facebook and Twitter to say hello! Or stop by and check out our inspirational Pinterest boards! Make sure you sign up for our newsletter on the right so you don’t miss anything! To view see all the giveaways offered this week click here!!

Blessings to you friends,
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