May 31, 2010

The Gift of Perspective

I certainly hope you all had a great Memorial day weekend! 
We had a washout of a day Monday and we were not able to 
make it to our family hike or zip line adventure, 
but we hope to reschedule that sometime soon! 
Despite our disappointment, we managed to make the best 
of the dreary day indoors with play dates, puzzles, a movie theater outing, 
and some much needed closet cleaning and studio spruce up still in the works. 
And our flowers and plants said "thank you" to the rain.
It's all about perspective, right? 
Today, I want to share a wonderful article called 
The Gift of Perspective 
written by my sweet friend Lillian
She's an amazing mother, and she wrote this recently 
for one of her church publications. 
After she read my story about meeting Terry
she sent me this and I just had to share it. 
Thank you, Lord, for the gift of perspective and let us take off our blinders 
which often prevent us from experiencing situations like these.
Have a beautiful day!
The Gift of Perspective
by Lillian R.

I was given a much needed and wonderful gift this morning.  It didn’t come in a box with a ribbon, it wasn’t shiny and expensive. The giver of this gift had no intentions and was not even aware of his generosity.  

It had been an unusually hectic morning.  One child didn’t have the “right” uniform skirt and I was to blame.  Another couldn’t help but “press a few of her sibling’s buttons” which resulted in a shove across the room, a goose egg, and tears.  One child’s cat hadn’t been fed in I don’t know how long, the groceries were still on the counter after the previous days run to the store, the dog was desperate for a walk, there was hair drama, and an “I’m not going to school” stand-off.  As the clock ticked on I got more and more anxious about all I had to do and everything got lumped together in my head: get to work on time, load the dishwasher, organize a chaotic household, clean, PTA responsibilities, the horse (Can’t forget the horse!), think of and implement consequences for the inappropriate behavior de jour, dinner or lack thereof, etc., etc., etc.

I finally got in my car to come to St. Martin’s and was stopped at a stoplight near Cotswold School.  I saw a young man and two children walking toward the school and thought “I should at least be thankful that I didn’t have to wrangle with the city bus”.  There was a knock on the window.  I didn’t know this young man but immediately recognized the child behind him: Leo, a former classmate of my sons.  “Are you Henry’s mom?” the young man asked.  “Yes”, I said.  “Would you mind taking Leo to school at A.G. (Middle)?”  I hesitated.  I had so much to do and had to get to work.  “Sure” I responded with little enthusiasm.  Leo hopped into the car.  His brother waved and thanked me and exchanged pleasantries with his younger sibling and walked on to take another to the elementary school.

“Miss the bus Leo?” I asked.  “Well, no, not really….we moved this weekend.  I had to take two busses to get here.  We moved to another apartment…they keep it real clean.  My other brother walked to school…..”  He went on to tell me that he had grown six inches since the end of school last year and now wears a size six shoe.  Their new apartment has three bedrooms, not two like the last one.  “So, you share a room with a brother?” “No, I share a room with both my brothers…my parents have a room and my cousins share the other room and we have two bathrooms…we used to all share one…now if someone is using the one upstairs, you can go downstairs to the one next to the kitchen!”

We finally arrive at the Middle School.  Not knowing the policy, I walked him into the office.  “There’s my brother…he walked to school….I was too cold.”  It dawned on me that this was the brother he had mentioned earlier.  I wasn’t aware that they attended the same school.  “You must be tired”, I said to the child, perspiration running down his face.  “I ran the whole way”, he said with a big smile and he was on his way to class.  Leo turned to me, “Thanks Mrs. Henry’s mom”.  “Give me a hug,” I said, “and have a good day at school”.  We parted ways and I couldn’t help but think, “Thank you…thank you for the gift of perspective.”

Will I still have a chaotic household when I return home this afternoon?  Yes.  Will I still need to discipline my children for inappropriate morning behaviors when they get home from school?  Yes.  Will the dog need to be walked and the cat fed?  Yes.  Will I still need to figure out what’s for dinner?  Yes.  Will there be phone calls and e-mails to return and deadlines missed?  Yes.   Will there be three piles of clean clothes still perched on my bed to fold and put away?  Yes.  Will they most likely go back into the laundry basket unfolded when it’s time to go to bed?  Yes.  Will we have issues in the morning?  Yes….BUT, I will have a different perspective given to me as a gift by an 11 yr. old child eager to get to middle school after having only to share a room with two other people instead of four and an opportunity to have a little more time and privacy in an extra bathroom in an apartment complex that is much cleaner than the last.

May 30, 2010

True Colors

True Colors was the name of the dance recital this weekend. I love that title and that song...
and as I looked around at all these sweet dancers, I couldn't help but notice 
they were all different shapes and sizes;
they had different colored skin, hair and eyes, 
and various personalities for sure. 
But they all had one thing in common, 
they love to dance and they ALL felt beautiful on this special day. 
We are having a full weekend of swimming, golf, dance, 
hiking HERE,  lunch and hopefully zip line HERE tomorrow, 
cookouts, catching lightning bugs, and back yard fun.
Hope you're having fun where you are!

May 25, 2010

Bittersweet graduation...

So today was our girls last day of preschool, EVER!
I am happy one minute because I know they are SO READY, 
but sad one minute because this is the end of an era...
a decade of our four children being in preschool!
Gosh I feel old! (I'm not, by the way!)
Happy one minute because we got a "big financial raise" more preschool payments;
sad because the spontaneous early afternoon play dates and ballet lessons 
will all have to move to late afternoon 
and will eventually be replaced on occasion with homework.
But they have been nurtured like these flowers from the church preschool.
It has been a place of faith...
They have grown academically, socially and spiritually.
Preschool crafts as far as the eye can see...a hallway like a sea of tempura paints.

Doorway decorations telling of summer to come...
The final music performance was a smashing success. 
They managed to get almost every parent to cry
And TK books filled with words, pictures and drawings from the entire school year.
Plus a Father's Day gift wrapped and ready for June!
And discussions about what they want to be when they grow up...
A fun picnic afterwards and hugs from our preschool director, Mrs. Smith...
and hugs from our TK teachers Mrs. Bones
and Mrs. Payne...
More hugs from our friends like Thomas...
Being silly with Jane...
And more hugs from Alice!
Then the class gift to the teachers...
A gift indeed...this year has been a gift.
And now off to summer. 
I am happy because they have been given their wings and have grown
and now they are ready and prepared to fly.
Anyone else out there feeling the bittersweetness of an ending era?
P.S. 3 more days by appointment only!
 Fabulous dresses, tunics, and skirts from Lesley Evers!
And you can take them with you off the rack if it's here in your size!
Forgot to mention they are all 20%!!!

May 23, 2010

More from NYC and Surtex!

More from NYC and Surtex...
are you ready?
Fasten your seat belts!
Sweet Bess Brown contacted me before the show. 
She found my company on the Surtex website and she's a South Carolina gal too. 
She's a junior and fiber arts major at SCAD in Savannah
Bess was one of four finalists in the DesignNext competition. They paid her way to NYC and she gained great exposure and knowledge of this crazy but wonderful industry. Bess is super talented, a Young Life leader, and is an incredibly sweet Christian girl wise beyond her years.
So blessed to have met her!
Kate and Pete Spain...
I was thrilled when I found out that my booth was next to Kate Spain
no not Kate Spade, Kate Spain...this Kate is the real deal. 
Her designs have been placed on beautiful products...
Crate and Barrel plates, Moda fabric, gift wrap, greeting cards and more. 
Manufacturers and press were lined up to meet with her and she could not have been nicer or more gracious. And to boot, her very sweet husband Pete, allowed me several quick restroom breaks. Keep an eye out for Kate's designs...they are gorgeous and on products in Target and stores worldwide.
Breanne and Jeremiah Simpson were making their debut at Surtex this year. 
They are the cutest couple living in Manhattan and are expecting their first baby! Yea!
You'll have to check out their website here...
great picture of them in NYC's winter wonderland.
BRE+JER's patterns are playful and creative and I am certain we'll see 
many of them on beautiful products in the near future!
Fabulous flowers on almost every street corner in the city...
couldn't pass up this shot.
One of my favorite dinner spots an voted one of NYC's best seafood spots.

At Aqua Grill, the walls open up and great sofas spill outdoors for appetizers and cocktails.
How many oysters can you choose from?
And loved their creative!

Annie and Sharyn
Pre-dinner celebration at a fabulous bar called Bemelmans, inside of the glamorous Carlyle Hotel.
Karen and Julie from Jack and Lulu, Kim from Asthetic Movement, Bess, Laura behind Sasha, owners of Charlotte's Paper Twist.
Here's the history of the incredible mural you see behind us:
The Carlyle was the city's premier luxury residential hotel and served as second home to socialites, politicians and movie stars when Ludwig Bemelmans was commissioned to paint large-scale murals in the hotel bar. The creator of the enormously popular Madeline children's book series as well as a successful artist working for The New Yorker, Vogue and Town and Country, Bemelmans transformed the bar with clever, whimsical scenes of Central Park (including picnicking rabbits). Instead of being paid for the art, Bemelmans exchanged his work for a year and a half of accommodations at The Carlyle for himself and his family.

So Chris and Scott, friends of Karen's, met up with us at a fabulous Italian eatery called Morandi
Scott, who works for the Hollywood Foreign Press was a few minutes late because he was interviewing Sarah Jessica Parker, who lives near this restaurant. We told him to bring her and we'd treat for cocktails and dinner but she went home instead; Bummer!
Last evening at WHYM before heading home. Dining with with Mark and Michelle, Christine, special friends of Sharyn's, and of course Annie was there too. She came along from Washington state with Sharyn to play in the city while we worked. that's more from the trip. Hope you enjoyed the ride. 
Told you I would try to make you feel as if you went with me!
Hey, if you're in Charlotte, pop on over Tuesday to my home...any time between 9am and 2pm.
We'll have fabulous dresses, skirts, and tunics from Lesley Evers and also great jewelry from S. Burke. I may also pull out a few licensed products I have designed if you're interested.
Oh, and I'll have delicious key lime bites out for munchies!

May 22, 2010

Home run!

He finally did it!
Walker has been dreaming of hitting an "over the fence homer" all season.
Today was his day! 
I am always there...always on those bleachers, rain or shine. 
And today, I had walked away for a few minutes to watch William on the other field. 
Ughh! Sigh...
But his dad saw it, his grandmother saw it, his coaches saw it, and his friends saw it.
We weren't the only ones happy for him...
Way to go Walker!
Keep the faith and never give up...
bet you can do it again
when I am watching!
Love you!

May 20, 2010

Wonderful Whirlwind in NYC!

There's no place like home! (can you hear me clicking my heels?)
BUT boy do I loooooove being in New York City!
It is so opposite of my world at home,
(no carpools, no laundry, no dishwasher)
but it surely is fun to be there for business once a year.
Great energy, great art, great food and so much more!
I have so many things I want to share, 
but family and "follow up" are calling my name.
So here are a few highlights and many more to come...
Here's a quick BEFORE picture of the booth...
soooo much work to do!
And the picture AFTER! 
Ahhh, much better, don't you think?
Can't share all the juicy details yet, 
but met with so many amazing manufacturers 
who were interested in my art and designs for their products....
from fabric to paper plates, from stone coasters to ceramics, 
from scrapbooking products to stationery.
Exhibiting at Surtex was worth it and I am grateful I made the leap of faith.
Night time view in the city...
lots of these...
Could not resist taking a picture of this Salvation Army sign 
above the subway entrance...
Love it.
How cool is this decorative door to a Portuguese church near our hotel?
And can you see this tiny tiled scene of the subway
which I found in the subway stairwell.
Fantastic detail!
And my precious friend, Sharyn who was a fabulous roommate and Surtex mentor.
Folks, this is just the tip of the iceberg...I have so much more to share. 
Other designers I met, fabulous NYC dinner hot spots, and more. 
Check back soon!
And wow! Thank you for all of the votes while I was away! 
You guys are the best!

May 13, 2010

Stop, Look and...

Well I am off the the Big Apple and look forward to exhibiting at Surtex! 
I cannot thank you all enough for your support and encouragement. 
I have been flooded with e-mails and phone calls full of well wishes and prayers. 
So many asked if I would blog from NY, but I just can't. 
It's time to work and there will be no time for blogging. 
But I will miss you and promise lots of photos of the set up, booth, 
fun NY dinners, and show pictures so it will feel like you traveled along with me.
 I'll do my best to make it feel that way.
The nicest thing you can do while I am away would be to continue to vote for Multiple Blessings. 
I can tell that you have been...WOW! 
Thank you! Click HERE to help Multiple Blessings 
win the 2010 Leading Mom's in Business competition. 
With gratitude and joy,

May 12, 2010

Kid's Art Projects!

image above from Imaginary cool!
Moms ask me often if I will ever teach children's art lessons again. 
I used to... and loved every minute but I am not able to do so these days 
with design work and family responsibilities. 
Plus, art camp really happen every day here
since kids pass in and out of the studio 
but it's with just my kids and often with friends and neighbors. 
You're welcome to come over and participate though!
If your children have great imaginations 
and they need to let it run wild this summer, 
try Imaginary Factory! Love this site!

This is a great site for Kid's Art Projects too!
Here's a fun site for creating art using recycled materials. 
We have so much of this, we are definitely going to create 
recycled sculptures with our trash this summer!
And if your kids love tree houses like mine do, 
they'll love this site with amazing tree house kits!

There are so many great resources out there 
but this list should keep them busy and creative for a while!
Enjoy and let them run wild with creativity, 
but take the scissors out of their hands first!

Follow Up...

I have been overwhelmed by your sweet e-mail messages but let me please say, this journal entry below was not to boast about me or anything I did, this is about how we all have the opportunity each day to be a piece of Jesus to someone. And although we can't change the entire world at once, we can be part of the solution each day by spreading joy, hope and love to others. If anything, this encounter with Terry was a reminder to me ..."a wake up call" so to speak, to not be asleep at the wheel and miss opportunities to witness. 
Thank you for reading and for sharing your similar experiences too!

May 11, 2010

Safe at home plate

It's baseball season and like some of you, 
I have been spending lots of time at the baseball fields and have loved every minute of it. 
This is our oldest son's last season in the major league 
and it's such a fun team of kids and parents, 
plus they are playing great ball!
So as I kept watching run after run come in the other evening,
and the thrill of the boys sliding into home plate,
I began thinking about HOME PLATE 
and how important it is in the game of baseball. 
There are certainly many important words in the game, 
but HOME and SAFE are two standouts to me.
It "strikes" me, (pun intended) that for most folks HOME is SAFE. 
Home is our safety place; a place where we feel secure and safe from the outside world. 
A place we can rest and be ourselves.
A place where we feel loved.
A place where we can dust ourselves off, get clean and be fed and nourished.
For some, unfortunately, HOME is NOT SAFE. 
For a young man named Terry, HOME was not SAFE
and our paths crossed as he was leaving his home. 
I met Terry recently when I flew to Kentucky 
for my dear friend Susan's wedding. 
You know the drill, you're entering the airplane
wondering who your seat mate will be. 
My seat mate was Terry....
*an African American 19 year old high school drop out from Memphis, TN. 
*with earrings, baggy pants, and huge muscles 
*with only a small backpack, no checked luggage (he told me so)
*with beautiful eyes that pierced me with his story of pain (even before he shared it)
*one of 8 children
*loves his mama very much and siblings too
*father in prison for abuse and dealing drugs
*with an invisible wall he had built to protect himself; he was clearly a survivor

And so I found myself next to Terry on a VERY small plane heading to Kentucky. 
I have to admit, I was a wreck. It was turbulent from the start and I am not a huge fan of flying.
So the conversation began about that 
and I found myself grabbing for his arm, for security, at points during the flight.
I learned quickly, this day was his very first time flying! 
He was as calm as a cucumber;
Me, not so much.
I was reading The Hole in the Gospel by Richard Stearns, an amazing book. 
He started to ask questions so I closed the book and we talked. 
We talked about his life and his family and his struggle. 
How he was bullied
and then kicked out of school for defending himself.
He admitted to being "not the best role model" for his siblings
and trying to make that right.
He told me he wanted to start over
and "do good things" and make something of himself. 
He wanted his mama to be proud of him.
An uncle was paying for Terry's flight
so he could go live in KY and try to have a new start.
The plan was to live with his uncle and three cousins
and work construction together.
He also planned to finish his GED.
After answering some of his questions,
it was evident early on that I was a mother and a Christian.
I found myself in a "motherly role" giving advice but wanting to do that gently
so as not to scare him or overwhelm him.
We talked about what his God-given talents may be,
what he enjoyed doing,
and what he could do to break the cycle his father started.
It's hard to explain, but we had the most wonderful conversation
and he thanked me profusely for listening and for the good advice
and he assured me he would finish his GED.
Terry left his seat to use the restroom
and I felt the Lord telling me to write him a note
and slip it into his backpack, so I did.
Dear Terry,
I will be praying for you as you begin your new life in KY. 
God has a purpose for you!
Trust Him.
So I hope Terry found the note that night.
And I hope he keeps it and remembers our conversation.
I hope and pray he can find God in KY.
I hope he will find a SAFE HOME.
Everyone deserves a safe home, even Terry.
As we said goodbye, he leaned over and hugged me.
Not a loose hug; a bear hug, like we had known each other for years.
I tried so hard not to cry.
Then I handed him a twenty dollar bill to help buy his first dinner in KY.
Then another bear hug.
Terry does not know me; he does not know my last name.
I will likely never see him again
unless we meet in heaven,
which is really the safest home plate.
And I hope we do.
The following is a song called SAFE
and is by one of my favorite Christian artists,  Phil Wickham.
So now every time I hear this I think of Terry.

Here's another great one called Heaven's Song by Phil Wickham. 


May 10, 2010

Vote for MB!

Could I be so bold as to ask for your vote? 
Multiple Blessing is in the running for the 2010 Leading Moms in Business Competition
Would you be so kind to pop over and vote for Multiple Blessings? 
And if you are super sweet you can enter your e-mail 
and you'll receive a reminder to vote for MB daily. 
Only one vote per day though, now through August 31st. 
You can leave comments too if you'd like!
I'd love that! 
I love what I do and I am fortunate to be able to have two amazing jobs...
mom and artist. 
Many thanks for your support! 
Click HERE to vote for Multiple Blessings!
P. S. Here's a little about the competition:

The 2010 StartupNation Leading Moms in Business competition 
will rank the top 200 mom-run businesses across America as determined by popular vote.
Registration and voting begins on May 1, 2010.
Judging and vote tabulation will occur throughout September.
StartupNation will select a variety of moms from among the finalists 
and create editorial feature stories about them.
Winners will be announced October 5, 2010.

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