In Memory of Gladys: Breast Cancer Awareness Jewelry GIVEAWAY

On May 22, my family lost a dear friend, Gladys, to cancer. Gladys was diagnosed with breast cancer as a young mom and fought for nearly 20 years; yet, she never let cancer dictate her life. She was an amazing woman with an unwavering faith and a heart of gold, a model of strength and hope for all who were lucky enough to know her.

Amy, creator and designer of Our 2 Peas in a Pod, has graciously offered to join me in honoring Gladys and all the women affected by breast cancer, with this beautiful Ladies Breast Cancer Awareness bracelet giveaway. This piece is handcrafted with Genuine Swarovski crystals, fiber optic beads, and sterling components. It makes a wonderful gift!


Our 2 Peas in a Pod is a mom-owned boutique, specializing in custom-designed jewelry for infants, children, and adults.  Each and every jewelry piece has been handcrafted using only the finest quality crystals, pearls, beads, and wiring components. Items can be personalized or custom-made to celebrate a special occasion or to accessorize with a favorite Disney Princess.


Amy has even designed jewelry Made to Match kids’ clothing lines, like Gymboree (my personal favorite!)  Here, the color palette matches Gymboree’s Palm Springs collection:

m2m-gymboree-palm-springs-braceletYou can also find jewelry to celebrate your favorite Holidays, like this sweet necklace and bracelet set for Valentine’s Day:


Our 2 Peas in a Pod offers FREE first class shipping to mailing list customers.  So head on over and introduce yourself!

And now for the GIVEAWAY: Please visit Our 2 Peas in a Pod. Then, come back and comment about which piece of jewelry (other than the ones pictured above) is your favorite.  Be sure to include an email address where you may be reached.

This is an extra special giveaway for me, and I sincerely appreciate the loyalty of my subscribers and followers. If this includes you, please indicate so in a separate entry (after you have completed the mandatory first entry) to increase your chances of winning.  

On Sunday, June 21, one lucky winner will be randomly selected by  You must be a U.S. resident (18+) to enter.  Good luck!

In Your Darkest Hour


This week was a tough one for two important women in my life: my dear friend lost her unborn baby, and my mother-in-law lay sick in bed after her first round of chemotherapy treatments to fight breast cancer. It’s times like these when I’m tongue-tied, lost for words. It’s hard to know what to do or how to support someone through a difficult time.  I don’t like to make assumptions about what I think someone needs or wants.  Everyone handles darkness differently.  So, I often end up ruminating: Do I pick up the phone?  Do I make a meal?  Do I let her sleep?  Do I send flowers?  Do I just show up?

A little over two years ago, when the tables were turned (during the first trimester of my pregnancy), I had a friend who did all the right things. Somehow she knew that there was nothing she could say or do to make my suffering disappear.  She never once said I understand or I know what you’re going through.  She didn’t know, nor did she pretend to.  She never made my symptoms seem small or insignificant, nor did she try to play doctor or psychologist and fix my problems (and there were many).  Instead, she sat with me.

A long-time family friend and Hospice pioneer, who has since passed away, Fr. Charlie Hudson, once read a poem about friendship that I will never forget:

We had a jar with a butterfly.

We opened the lid and it flew to the sky.

And there are things inside my head

waiting to be thought or said:

Dreams and jokes and wonderings are locked inside

like the butterfly in the jar.

But then when you are here with me,

I can open the lid and set them free.

I love those last lines: “But then when you are here with me, I can open the lid and set them free.” Notice how it doesn’t say, “but then when you make it better, cook me dinner, bring me a gift, do this, do that.” No. Here, the focus is on our presence, our very being, which may seem not seem like enough (if we judge it). Naturally, when someone I love is hurting, I want to set him/her free. So I struggle, because I know the truth: I can’t make it go away. It is what it is- painful, life-sucking, and really hard.

For me, this poem is right on.  When I’m at my worst, weak and fragile, I tend to push people away and isolate myself.  In essence, I lock myself inside the jar with my fears, justifying my actions with the erroneous belief that nobody wants to see me like this.  But I’ve learned that when someone sits with us, weeps with us, stretches out a hand, and listens, we turn that lid just a little to the left. Even in our darkest hour, we do not have to crawl down the road alone.

Permission to Nap

In general, we moms put a tremendous amount of pressure on ourselves, creating unwritten expectations that reflect an obsession with busyness.  Do you ever say NO to your to-do list in favor of doing nothing? Do you ever catch a few winks in the middle of the day just because you can?  Do you ever allow yourself the time to slow down, lounge, read, or reflect? Doing nothing is a conscious choice, and for me, a no-brainer. Often, this means forgoing a load of laundry in favor of curling up on the couch for a mid-afternoon siesta. My telling you this feels like a confession.  It almost feels wrong; and yet when my head hits the pillow, it’s definitely not wrong.

Like many moms, I am trying to discover the secret behind managing a home and a family (while maintaining some sanity).  Being that we live in a society of doers, it’s easy to feel guilty about doing “nothing”.  I find that even when people preach about being, the truth of the matter is that many Americans today are fast-paced, highly scheduled, and obsessed with productivity and measurable results. Frankly, we’re afraid to do nothing.  We’ve equated doing nothing with being unproductive and lazy.

Maybe doing nothing deserves more credit.  Doesn’t a happy, well-rested mom count for something?

For me, motherhood is not about what I want/need to do today. Rather, it’s about how I want/need to be today. While the first one is goal-oriented and focuses on measurable results, the second focuses on our presence and state of mind.  For a moment, let’s combine the two: How do I want to be while I’m doing what I want/need to do?  Don’t get me wrong: I love clean bathrooms and countertops, but not if it means lacking the energy to smile, laugh, and listen at the dinner table. The reality is that we all have stuff to do. I’m not denying that.  What I’m suggesting is that we give ourselves permission, if only for a few minutes, to turn off the “doer” switch and recharge our batteries.  At the end of the day, we’re better off.

Send the Very Best: Creatively Spun Stationery Giveaway

I love getting mail.  Not inbox mail.  The old-fashioned kind.  I love finding that hand-written note or card hidden between catalogs, coupon packs, and advertisements; it’s the gem amidst the junk.  I have a few friends who send cards for every occasion. They don’t miss a thing: birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, you name it.  Sometimes I wish they weren’t so super-organized and together. These women make me look bad.

It’s not that I’m thoughtless (trust me, I think way too much).  I regularly think about the important people in my life; they just don’t always know it. I have been known to let cards sit on the kitchen counter for days, weeks, even years. That’s no exaggeration. It seems that these good intentions require stamps.

If you’re like me, then today’s giveaway from Creatively Spun is for you! I hope this handmade stationery will inspire you to drop someone a note.  It feels good not only to receive a little love, but to send it too.  You can’t have a bad day when you’ve made someone else’s.

Creatively Spun is an independent graphic design studio specializing in print, stationery, and web.  The studio specializes in creative and affordable solutions for small businesses, including logos, business cards, and brand identity.  Wedding invites, announcements, brochures and beyond- there is nothing they can’t do!  How cute is this logo?

Creatively Spun

At Creatively Spun, all of the paper goodies are either hand printed using a gocco, in house printed, or professionally printed using the highest quality ink and card stock.  There are happy birthday cards, thank you cards, personalized stationery, and more! Below is a picture of one of my favorites, inspired by nature.

Brittany at Creatively Spun has generously offered to give away a set of personalized stationery. To enter, please leave a comment below with the name (first name only) of one person in your life who is important to you and who would love to receive a little old-fashioned mailbox love.  You’ll have to provide the stamps!

If you’d like to earn extra entries, you can Facebook, twitter, or blog about Creatively Spun and this giveaway.   Then come back, and in a separate comment, tell me how you’ve spread the word!

On Tuesday, September 8, 8 p.m. EST, one winner will be randomly selected by  You must be a U.S. resident (18+) to enter.  Good luck!

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