everybody hurts

i have typed and deleted sentences in this post so many times and almost deleted the entire entry as well.  In business, I struggle with sharing too much or crossing over a line that no one wants to see or saying something that doesn't exude the joy i feel in my life every day.  i fear that i will expose a side of my heart that isn't accepted and that in itself is terrifying.

We recently had someone very dear to us go to Heaven and while yes, that happens every moment of the day, this person was struggling internally with mental illness and that made it that much harder.  It brought mental illness to the forefront of my mind and has made me think long and hard about those that are struggling in this terrible disease. 

But, it did more that that too.  His passing made me evaluate how much I truly know and understand those that I love.  Ask anyone close to me and they'll tell you that I am a firm believer in our stories and what they teach others.  Our paths have been blazed by our Creator and He didn't intend for those stories, lessons and memories to be brushed to the curb as we continue walking.  We all love, we hurt, we cry and we contain a beautiful capacity for His grace to paint a story worthy of telling.

It is when we keep these stories, lies, truths and dreams bottled and hidden that we in turn shadow God's goodness with our shame or fear.  We think that no one else has done what we've done or seen what we've seen.  That we are alone in our struggle, that we are the only ones that have ever heard words of discernment, discouragement or disappointment.  We somehow believe that our dreams could never become real life because we don't deserve or want it enough. 

We forget that our God gave us those dreams, fears, stories and experiences.  He paints us each with a paint brush that belongs to only us.  He never intended to wash our brush out in dirty water and start over with our canvas.  He loves the layers that each paint job tells.  We attempt to 'white out' the ugly picture we don't like then instead of living and drawing out a beautiful painting with what's left, we some how stay in that dirty water and think that is where we are to remain.

So, I say that TODAY, TODAY, you pull that bristled brush out of whatever dirty water you're standing in and for just one moment breath in the clean freshness of a dirty canvas craving to be repainted!  God is the ultimate artist and we are NEVER too far from his grace filled and redemptive paint brush.  He loves us enough to just wash over it all with His own blood and make it completely clean to paint anew.  But, don't ever forget that what's under the newly painted canvas are bumps, tears, mountains and valleys of stories that need to be told. 

You NEVER know who may need to hear that story and feel comforted knowing they are not alone.

always with joy ~ em

Blow Out {the candles} SALE!

Go, Emmy, it's your birthday!

If you know me, you know that I love a shindig of any kind.  my favorite vision is a backyard table scape complete with all the twinkle lights, champagne, laughter and a little one man band on the side.  So, there you go, if you ever wanted to throw me the PERFECT par-tay, DONE!

My birthday is always Memorial Day weekend so school celebrations and friends showing in attendance was never something i counted on each year.  Sounds so pitiful but the older i've gotten the more I have relished in this long weekend the calendar lays aside to celebrate ME....oh yeah, and all those that serve our country like my own daddy!

So, this year I want to share the joy and put on a fun birthday sale shindig!

Enjoy my pals!  This sales on me....or for me??  not sure how that works if it's my birthday but i'm the one giving stuff??  Either way, have fun shopping!!


with joy~em


Hey there, healthy!

So, I have to confess before any of this info that I was raised to be a fairly healthy eater.  As a child of the 80s and a very "good food" conscious mother, there was no hope for me being hooked on bi-product chicken nugget happy meals or mashed potatoes from an Ore-Ida box.  Nope, never, not happening at the Ruff family crib.  The only time we ever "went out to eat" was on cross country trips in the family station wagon with wood grain siding and even then we were LUCKY to do that because my mother had totally thought ahead of us.  She had packed sandwiches the night before, complete with lettuce in a separate bag {so it didn't dare get soggy} and chips distributed in "baggies", not the easy pre packaged kind we snatch today.  We may get lucky and stop at a SERVICE station for a fun drink but that was only, and I mean only, if one of us had to use the restroom or my dad was so desperate for gas that he was already considering who would help push had he waited until the next exit.

i know it's hard but please don't be jealous!  and who needed to be facing forward when you could sit backwards....or on the floorboard to sleep?!?

i know it's hard but please don't be jealous!  and who needed to be facing forward when you could sit backwards....or on the floorboard to sleep?!?

With all that prefaced, life does happen and college does take a toll on our bodies....or it did in the 90s.  {I'm still not sure why these skinny little college co-eds don't take advantage of the freshmen 40 like we all did.  It truly was some fun times and we were all in it together!}  Looking back I'm pretty sure that my body was NOT a wonderland and the inside was screaming for some sort of cleansing that Jesus just didn't provide!

Fast forward to TODAY!  Today, I am super conscious of what I ingest, slather on my face and even feed my own children {like mother like daughter whether you like it or not, gals!}.  I'm thankful that I don't struggle with food battles because I had a mother and grandmothers that instilled upon me that true beauty was in an Oil of Olay bottle!  HA!!!  No, they raised me to believe that Jesus gave me self worth; not the size of my jeans, the color of my hair or the trophies that gather dust.  So, when I was asked by my precious friends at Arbonne to participate in the 30 day Clean Eating Boot Camp I jumped at the opportunity for several reasons.

First, Arbonne has been around for more than 35 years.  It is a company that I know a lot about and trust every ingredient they put into their products.  Second, getting healthy from the inside out is always a good idea and I will talk more on that as this challenge goes on.  And third, I have a daughter.  Silly reason maybe but I want her to grow with the same understanding that her outward appearance or size makes no difference in the end if her 'insides' are full of toxic ideas and negative perception of herself.  AND.....the metaphor for the win!  hee hee!


So, I will be blogging about my results, good and bad, as much as possible during the next 30 days.  I am not getting any endorsement for this.  It's more to keep myself accountable than anything else honestly.  I love the reps in MS for Arbonne and will support them til I die {but healthy though of course!}

Follow along for some good recipe ideas, honesty of sugar depravation and obviously the honesty of where I am these days when it comes to our image and how we need to turn the emphasis back to the heart instead of what fades away.

***ask me any questions you have too***

with joy ~

Bent Out of Shape {a note about rest}

I have a confession....i was super tired and worn this time last week.  That is very hard for a creative to admit, especially a mama creative.  It's not something I am proud of but I found myself forgetting a lot of things, going to bed way too late, running errands that never had a stopping point and neglecting my children in a way I said I never would.  But, thankfully, God grabbed me in just the way He knows how I will respond and told me to breathe because I was "Bent Out of Shape."

This Sunday our pastor had a sermon on how "Normal is Unfulfilled" and i realized i'm much happier being WEIRD!  He had an acronym that spelled the word SHAPE.  Our S.H.A.P.E is declared by our Creator way before we take our first breath.  In Ephesians 2.10, {which happens to be the verse I declared over Sophie while pregnant with her} Paul tells us that "We are Christ's masterpiece {or workmanship}; created in Christ Jesus to do good works which he prepared IN ADVANCE for us to do."  The Hebrew translation of the word 'workmanship' is POEM.....how beautiful is that?  We are His poem, His lyrical masterpiece and we each are given a different stanza, a different rhyme that only He could create.  Well, my poem had turned into an off track record that just kept skipping because it was scratched, badly scratched.

As creatives we tend to take on any and everything we can to fuel our creativity.  We become gluttons of our own creative juices and to be honest, i didn't even have a hunger to create for a while there.  And that alone terrified me.  It stopped me in my tracks and one day in my dining room i broke.  i sat, i didn't say a word and just listened.  it was a prayer of silence where i allowed Christ to flow over me and my spiritual gift.  I heard Him say, STOP.  BREATHE. REST.  He didn't mean go lay down, eat ice cream and sleep {although that sounds like a dream!} .  He was calling me to remember the Sabbath and KEEP IT HOLY.  See, if we become so full of to-dos, people, things, technology or ourselves we don't have time to remember the Holy One at all.  That's why He calls us to rest.  So we He can breath HIS air into our lungs and in turn allow us to breathe out something even more beautiful and poetic.  

I want to create beautiful things FOR HIM.  I want to design fun invitations FOR HIM.  I want to devote time to my family FOR HIM.  I have a craving to glorify Him in every aspect of my life and I know that is meant to be through my work, my relationships and my alone time with my Savior.  He created us to do good works and planned those BEFORE we were even woven in our mother's wombs....that's pretty mind blowing!  Our pasts create lighted ways to our future and He has had His hand in all of that....mind blown again!

So, i say all this as a pouring out of my heaped up heart today.  So you know, as a customer or not, that my heart of hearts is truly for my God!  He created me to create and for that i am over the moon thankful.  But He also wants me to give myself grace and time to rest so my SHAPE doesn't get so out of whack again.  As Shauna Niequist book says, we are to be PRESENT OVER PERFECT {go get this book---you can thank me later!}

I also want you to know that I will be scaling back on what we "offer" at RDP.  We have too many irons in the fire and rather than being a "Jack of all trades and a Master of none", we want to do what we do WELL.  So, please give us grace and know that if we don't do it, we will always refer you to a super creative business that does. 

Wholesale is coming to a halt right now too----that's an entirely different can of worms that I don't feel God is calling me to at this time.  Custom is where we began and it is what keeps this train rolling.  It's truly where my heart is and what feeds my soul----that's important.  Of course, what i have in shops locally is staying and growing and i'm all about the local love:)

Where I am sorry for the essay on my little hiatus, i'm not sorry for what God is doing in me and what He has done thus far.  Not a day goes by that I'm not grateful but I know now that gratitude has to be accompanied by a rested heart to truly bless others.  If my cup isn't filled then I cannot pour into anyone or anything else that needs some filling.  So, here's to a full cup and prayers that it will runneth over to bless those around me.

the man that keeps my head out of the clouds but happily adds air to my crazy balloon when he knows i need it.....God did a good work in the one!  photo by  Vicki Eastland

the man that keeps my head out of the clouds but happily adds air to my crazy balloon when he knows i need it.....God did a good work in the one!  photo by Vicki Eastland

Moving into our Christmas card season, I can already feel God's hand on each card and i promise that each family is prayed for more than once in the design process and again when I receive cards in our own mailbox.  So, if I could be so bold to ask that you please pray for me, my family and my carpel tunnel {kidding but not really} over the next 3 months.  And if you see me and i look like i've been out all night drinking----i may or may not have {now i truly am kidding}, know that I love what I do and all of you.  I can say that with all honesty......

...and a RESTED heart whose shape is no longer bent but whole again.  {for now;}

with joy ~ em


{for more on this topic of your SHAPE and God's calling on your life please visit Pinelake and watch the Sermon Series on Weird}  You can thank me for that later too!


Salty Hair, Don't Care

I wish I could say I wish you were here BUT, the truth just so happens that I truly don't wish for anyone to be where we are but the 3 I'm surrounded by.

I believe there comes a time in your life where you can honestly say you are content with little and yet happier than you've ever been.  When you can count on one hand your tried and true, ride or die homies and that's better than ok with you.  I have sort of always been the type with many acquaintances but a few super close friends.  The friends that are with us on vacation are THOSE friends.  

This summer my prayer has been that we will relish in every . single . tiny moment that our family has together.  We are gifted only 18 years, if we're lucky, of summers together under one roof.  18 years!  That's 6.570 days!  That's 157,680 hours! That's 9,460,800 minutes and that's....well, you get where i'm going {and i'm super bad at knowing if i'm even doing that math right}.  

I prayerfully ask God to not allow my mind be consumed with the world's perception of me during these summers.  May I walk on the beach in my bathing suit without judgment over my own body.  May I be filled with the joy in my children asking to play in the sand with me, do a kart wheel in the grass, or wake one morning and have plans to have no plans!

I was reading an instagram post that Jones Design Co. posted last week and it stopped me dead in my tracks!  Her prayer was the same prayer I have and i KNOW every mother, daughter, sister and friend need to practice.  Lord, help me be PROUD!  She wasn't referring to narcissistic pride but for us to be PROUD of the body God has gifted us.  I have birthed 2 babies, been through 2 miscarriages, played tennis my entire life, wear a bathing suit in public and could probably run a marathon but let's be honest, who really wants to do that??  I should be proud, and my pride should turn to thanksgiving of all my Lord and Savior has bestowed upon my family and me.

So, this summer {and any other time of year}, take a minute to stop before you look in the mirror and disgust yourself at what you think you see and rest for a minute in His presence with a prayer for pride.  Repeat it any time that doubt creeps in; knowing that the evil one is trying to make you question God's every growing grace, and that includes grace on your thighs too!

His Grace is Enough....and because of that, SO ARE YOU!

with joy ~ em

We will be on vacation 6.22-6.27, please note that shipping will be delayed 3-5 days!