Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Laugh When Life Rains

This was on my mind last week . I mean, last month it was on my mind last week. 

First let me tell you why.
I woke up about 3 days ago with a swollen eye.
Due to a stye or pimple or something. Although the intensity of pain has subsided,
~and trust me it was tear worthy~
my eyelid has gotten larger(?) since then. If that makes sense.
I have one giant enormous looking lazy eye.
I look like Quasimodo from Disneys Hunchback of Notre Dame.
I wish I was kidding.
(Does anyone remember me posting a Quasimodo pic on Instagram?)
Yes, I did actually take a picture of him me.
Actually I took like 12 of them, because I was thinking this morning as I plopped
myself in front of the mirror, that perhaps one day I would be brave enough
to post one on facebook or my blog, just to use, for I don't know... something.
Sorry girls. Today is not that day. If you want to see a very close replica of what I 
 actually look like while typing this, just google it. Quasimodo.  
As a matter of fact, I can hardly see right now. My vision is blurred.
Impaired. Whatevs. The whole situation ain't cute.
Stay with me here, I have a point.
I plopped myself in front of the mirror this morning, hoping to make myself
feel better by putting makeup on the one normal & functional eye.
(Which by the way didn't work)
However what did work, was to laugh at myself.
I seriously just sat down in front of a full length mirror and kept laughing 
at how utterly ridiculous I looked. And yes, I was alone.
And this is what popped in my head at that moment.
This. Below.

 Um, ok the verse...not the picture...
the picture is just for your entertainment.

 But, how completely true is this? How full of wisdom is our God?
Even in things like this! Laughter! Joy! A Happy Heart!
He knows whats up!
Laughter is the best, isn't it! When you are with your friends and you are on the floor,
laughing so hard at something completely lame...
but it is oh, so much fun!
I was tickling my daughter earlier today in bed and she kept asking for more
and more and more... and I always think to myself, how is it that these kids
want me to keep tickling them over and over?  Being tickled is like torture for me!
But the laughter, oh that laughter~ when you laugh so hard your stomach hurts,
is like medicine. It heals the soul. Sometimes you really just need it.
Sometimes when you are on the brink of tears, and you happen to laugh at something,
you actually start to cry. That proves you need it!
And sometimes, it's a decision we have to make. It really is.
Those moments where life throws an unexpected pimple curve ball right at your eyeball.
Or when your three kids are all asking you for 17 things all at one time.
Or maybe something more serious is going on in your life, a family trial,
a tragedy, a loss, a sickness, whatever it may be~
that is the time when you must use faith and let the joy of the Lord be your strength.
It's odd how the times in life when you have NO strength, sometimes you don't really want joy 
neither. Because I think a part of us likes to sulk and feel sorry for ourselves.
But that is when God tells us to let his JOY be our strength. ~Nehemiah 8:10

We need that to just do life. Right? It energizes us!
We have to CHOOSE to LET his JOY strengthen us.
Sit in front of the mirror. Smile. Make dumb faces at yourself.
Stretch your lips, or your eyelids or something.
Trust me, YOU WILL START LAUGHING, because you're alone.
And it's so silly that you are doing this!
But do it! If you are having a day where you are anxious, stressed, worried,
hurt, sad, bored, lonely..whatever.
Sit down in front of mirror, say "The Joy of the Lord is my strength"
and just laugh, girl. Make it happen. You will feel so much better. 
And the best part is you will have this secret smile that you will
carry with you all day long.
It's between you and God, how silly you were. 
 How much you laughed at absolutely nothing. And how much good it did you.
I need life to be fun. We all do!
P.S. I DID actually write this a month ago, so don't feel sorry for me and my eye. I'm all better now !

Saturday, October 27, 2012

If only I was...

If only I was...
more social
smiled more
cried less
could speak publicly
had whiter teeth
could sing
had more time for others
could love bigger
hand longer fingernails
had less scarring on my face
could control my kids better
worked out more
If only I was...
read more
could get a nose job
a boob job
a tummy tuck
had thinner thighs
longer legs
had a different voice
thinner arms
could give birth naturally
didn't get so stressed ou
was more popular 
wasn't taken for granted

If only I would see myself the way God sees me,
I would see this:
 She is more precious than rubies
  Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart
 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness"
  and instead of wishing I was somebody else, I would say this
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,   
I know that full well.

Lord, Your works are wonderful.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Last Week The Word Was Poop, This Week Its Fart

If you're not following me on Instagram , you should be.
Because you miss things like this.

That's Leila. My almost 4 year old. My youngest, My baby.
She is probably the kid of mine you will see most.
Mainly because she is around all the time still. 
So I take a massive amount of pictures of her.

And in case you missed this on Instagram, these are 
the kinds of conversations her and I have.

This pretty much sums up my life.
Thank you and good night.

For more conversations like these, click HERE.
Scroll through. You will find some doozies. Trust me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Simple Moment Creates A Memory You Will Never Forget

Lately I have been thinking a lot about memories.
Some people choose to forget memories.
Maybe because some memories are bad ones.
Or perhaps they make you feel sad. Because you miss that person. 
That time in your life.
Maybe you think that if you look upon your memories of times
in other places or with other people, that it means you 
will lose sight of what you have,
who you are today.
 The past is in the past.
I see my past very differently.
I look at each experience as a part of what has made me 
who I am today.
Every moment, every memory is a piece of me. 
Not just a piece of my history.
But a piece of who I am right now.
And yes, sometimes I miss those days.
A smell, or a song, or my surrounding will turn me 
into a sentimental schmuck
in just a moments time.

Does this mean I am unhappy with my life today?
Have you SEEN my family? How could I be unhappy?
There have been unhappy moments, sad moments, hard moments...
but all in all my life is blessed.
When I seen my kids playing "nicely" together,
or my daughter asking me to tickle her over and over again,
or my hubby holds my hand or snuggles me in the middle of the night...
I am reminded of the good things in life.
But the good things now do not affect my memories from yesterday.
Some days I miss when I was able to buy myself new clothes,
go out to eat any time I wanted...
Life isn't that way for me anymore.
But that is not really what I am talking about.

 During fall, probably every year, I remember this moment.
I remember my sister and I going to a haunted house. 
I was probably about 18-19 years old.
And we were riding in the back of a car with a guy 
that I had a huge crush on from work. 
On the radio was playing "Far Behind" by Candlebox.
I remember hearing the music, feeling the breeze, the laughter, the nervousness.
The opportunity presented itself to hang out with him.
Oh, the excitement.
Music plays a huge part in so many memories...
Does it for you? It's impacting. I mean, life long impacting!
 My senior year of high school, suddenly I had friends of some sort. 
I mean I had a crowd I hung out with .
Listening to Spin Doctors or Digable Planets in the car
of my friend, Laura.
Listening to the Cranberries with my friends, Kelly & Tasha.
Any sort of grunge music, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam...
brings me back to that year. I still cannot let go of the era of music
to this day.
Maybe that is why I love fall so much, 
every happy moment seems to be engulfed 
in crisp cool air and bright colorful leaves.

Or I think back to when I was 16, lying in my driveway, sunbathing...
listening to all my favorite 'christian alternative' music.
I was changing. From being the girl that was handed to me,
to gaining my own sense of style in music and clothing.
I remember my mom driving me from store to store on Milwaukee's east side,
'The bohemian, artsy' side of town, where I searched out long tye-dye skirts
and combat boots (aka: wanna be doc martens) to wear with them.
Why do you think we take photographs?
So that we can remember these junctures.
The funny thing is, the parts of life I actually DO remember 
that made such a detailed impact on me,
those moments, I have very few photographs of.
And the things that I have photographs of, I have very little real soul memory of.
It's not always the Christmas parties
high school formals
 4th of July get togethers
 or weddings
 that I remember
Yet, those are so many of the types of things I have photos of.
It's the simple moments that are carried in my heart 
that are brought to life
with a scent or a season,
and suddenly I will miss that moment of my life. 

That feeling.
That happiness I felt. I want to go back.
I want to take that walk again with that person.
I want to go to the movies with those friends.
I want to feel nervous & excited when I get a note in the hallway.
I want to have that conversation with that person all over again.
Go to that concert again.
I want to read that letter.
I want to sit in my 'fiance's' jeep until 3 am and make out.
I want to go to the hospital, anticipating meeting my first child.
Conceivably, one day I will look back on my life today, 
and wish I could relive having a 3 year old, a 6 year old, and an 8 year old,
watching the girls snuggle with their daddy
still being able to all play together as a family,
listen to my son beg to have a family movie night,
wishing they were here with me.
But for today, I will love them for who they are,
think back about who I was
and let every moment I have lived through, and will live through
~both sad and happy, 
shape me, build me into who I am to be tomorrow.

Friday, October 19, 2012

A New Chapter

Friday night is kind of a lame time to announce this, but I am leaving town and I wanted to get this done before I leave.
Once upon a time, I was a young, newly married girl.  And I was going to rock and roll shows to see my little brother's band(s). His name is Jon and he now blogs over at Life So Aware (although he has been slacking a little lately). At that time, he was about 16 and always playing in bands with a guy named Noah. Noah was pretty much like part of our family.  So much so that we took him on a trip with us to visit my little brother Jon where he was going to college one week. It was then, that Noah decided to leave us, and go to school.  But it's all ok, because he met a beautiful, sweet girl that I absolutely love and her name is Stephanie.
You might know her blog:  Love, Life & Babies.

Looking at all her amazing pictures was pretty much all I knew about blogs. I was a non-blogger that read her blog, but that's all I knew. That, and my Aunt told me I should write, because everyone thought I was so funny when I wrote my facebook status's. She actually told me to write a book. Then when I never did anything, she said "Write a blog or something at least!" So, late one night, New Years Eve of this past year to be exact, I did it. I had NO clue what on earth was going on. But I stayed up all night working on my brand new blog. I simply named it because I thought maybe I'd be telling funny stories...or something? I didn't even really know what a blog was.

It has turned into so much more than that. My blog has grown in numbers, which I am so thankful for. And excited about. And scared about too.This simply means more responsibility. More responsibility to be intentional with what I say on here. But setting aside numbers, this blog changed very quickly from telling funny kid stories, to sharing the deepest parts of my heart, my past...and where God has brought me since those days.  I have seen a transformation in myself as I started to share my life story. I have watched myself grow on this little blog. I grew from this insecure, misunderstood, awkward girl to someone who had something to say. Someone who needed other people to know, who had ever felt like I felt, that they had something beautiful inside of them. They were made with a purpose.

So now, it's official. I've changed my name. I actually purchased a domain. Does this mean I'm a real blogger? A name change has been on my mind for awhile, but seemed to be such a hassle to switch everything over. And I didn't know to what. Plus I have a sentimental attachment to "The Funny Thing Of It Is." But my new name tells my story. It dropped in my heart one day and fit my story so perfectly.  It tells the story of a girl who God has taken  "From Awkward To Art"
 ~In case you didn't catch that in my new header. Wink Wink.

God has taken the tears, the sadness, the insecurities, the ashes...
                                  and made it into something beautiful. He made art out of me.
I praise him each day for it. 
I am humbled that he has used me 
                                 so many times to speak his love into people's despair
To reach people where they are at
And I am ever so grateful he has made me new.

I hope that you continue this journey with me, in the next chapter of my little corner of the internet.
I'm still the same goofball, sarcastic, non-hugger with a big LOVE for all of you "sweet girls."
I'm just a lot happier knowing who I am these days.

I want to thank both Stephanie (who I hear has a fun change in the works too right now) and my Aunt Pat for being such an inspiration and encouragement to me in this part of my life that has become bigger than I had ever imagined.
Please take a look around. I updated my About Me page and a few other things.
Also, if you have my button, let me know what size needs to be updated.

Leaving you with this awesome song, explaining everything I feel.

Pictures of Influence!

Now for fun part!
I am not exactly crazy about the quality or the lame look on my face in most of these pictures, 
but these are people I just met, I am not going to keep asking for repeats like I normally would.
Just sayin... So these will have to do.

1. I loved meeting so many amazing women that Ive only seen pictures of the past 10 months.
2. Bloggers dress cuter than anyone. I could sit and stare at everyone all day. That sounds creepy, but I know I'm not alone. EVERYONE looked so cute. I got so many fashion ideas!
3) I smile like a doof. Someday I will feel comfortable smiling, mouth open.
4) I felt really old when everyone was "guessing how old she is." Oh man... Tears.
5) Can't wait for next year!
1:Chicago traffic 2:Amanda {Royal Daughter Designs} 3:Casey Wiegand 
4: Roomies Alli: {Life On Leroy}, Kerrie {The Williams Post}, Lisa {Mommas Me Time}

8:Ashley {5ohWifey}  9: Breakfast  10: Brittany {These Happy Times}

1: Mirror Shot  2:Selfie with Kerrie  3:Selfie with Lisa

14: Erin, L, Kerrie & Me  15: Me, Lisa, Alli & Kerrie  16: Stripes Party

17: Stripes Photobooth  18: L {All Glorious Within} 19: Selfie with Alli

20: Kara-Kae {The Mom Diggity} 21: Of course I would wear my shirt backwards in front of people I dont know  22: Stephanie {Whatever Is Lovely & Noble}
 23: Chelsea {Taste and See}, 
Annie {What She Saw}

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Word Poop

I find it extremely interesting watching my kids grow into real live people with their own little crazy personalities. i am wondrously curious to see what kind of teenagers they become. Most often, I think i look Jada, who is 6 and attached to me at the hip when we are out, but at home, she is the class clown all the way. 

Unfortunately, her favorite word on this planet is poop. When she is excited about something, she shouts "POOP!" in leiu of  "Aweome!" or "YES!"" She calls us "poop" when she is mad or is just feeling bratty"You're poop, mom." When she is tattling on one of her siblings, it always "Mom, Leila said poop." Or "Dad, Wesley's  poop."
I know, disgusting, right? For a cute little sweet 6 year old to make "poop" her catch phrase. 
Don't get me wrong, sometimes she will add in pee too. When she is furious, its "You're poop and pee and dumb and poop." She is disciplined regularly for her use of this word,  but it doesn't matter. As a mom, sometimes i have to scold with my words, but look away because I am laughing.

The most recent situations were probably the funniest.
Jada was praying with her 2 year old sister Leila before a meal and I was in the other room and, of course, thought it was so sweet that Jada was leading Leila in a prayer.
Then I hear these words. "Dear God. please help Leila not to say poop, or pee, or peepers anymore. In Jesus name amen. Thank you for Leila's butt." Whaaaaaat?! I kept my mouth shut that time, as i didnt want to encourage it. 
I just keep thinking, what on earth is wrong with her? Why is she obsessed with poop?
During the holidays, the song "All i want for christmas is you" was playing on the radio, of course, all Jada wants for christmas is "poop." I said "Jada? really? All you want for christmas is poop? Because I can take all your presents back, and there is plenty of dog poop outside I can give you." She quickly changed her lyrics to "All i want for christmas is Justin Beiber. Mom, can you wrap him up and give him to me so he can kiss me?"
But it doesnt end there, the most recent, yesterday, my son asks "Mom, can i have some fruit loops?  Naturally, Jada immediately follows with "Mom, can i have poop loops?"

written: January 1, 2012
Poop is still her favorite word today. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Big "I" Word

This morning I woke up, and of course checked my twitter (I'm going to pause right there and say 
how grateful I am that I am checking twitter instead of facebook, like I was 2 years ago).
I feel that after 10 months blogging I have officially conquered the "facebook" demon.
It's funny, a year ago as much as I loathed the time suckage that social media had presented in my
life, apparently it never sucked enough time and life away from me to quit completely.
Either that, or I was just obsessed. I am sure I was not the only one.
I am one of those "facebook quitters." Where if I feel overwhelmed in anyway, facebook is the first thing to go. Because its the last thing I need to be worrying about, the last thing I need to be checking.
Yet I will do it several hundred times a day anyways.
So I will shut 'er down. I get texts from my friends all the time asking if I'm ok. Or I seem to be a running joke that "Julie shut down her facebook again.' But I know what works for me and I intentionally become unaware of what people think or say about me or anything else, just for a few days or weeks.
 But, as I was saying, I opened my twitter feed this morning and I saw that #influenceconf was trending on instagram and on twitter and as cool as I think that is, I had been contemplating
all weekend on whether I wanted to "write" about the conference or just organize 
my thoughts and put them into action. 
Part of me wondered if people were tired of hearing about it & I hate to bum anyone out.
This is why I call it the big "I" word.
So I'm just going to briefly share a few things that had captivated my heart this past week and then later in the week, I share some more photos.
  I have been battling the past few weeks with where I want my blog to go.
I feel as though in the 10 months I have been blogging, I have tried a little of this and that, but in the end, writing is what I love and I fully intend on being intentional in my time spent on the computer. 
I realize the giveaways and fashion posts get me more comments and followers and exposure, and I am grateful for & not completely opposed to those things, because I have fun with those, but I want  to be intentional with my life, live intentionally & this includes my time spent in social media and not just to do it to suck time like I used to do with facebook. I want to develop myself as a person & pursue what I know God has put inside of me. I'm so excited about it. I can't even begin to tell you.

 Eeeesh. I can't even believe I am putting those words out there. That freaks the heck out of me. But why not? This desired jumped inside of my skin only about 2 weeks ago and I can only assume somehow, in's God. I think. Maybe? I'm not sure what, not sure how, not sure when. It's just a thought. A thought that I didn't care for a year ago. No matter how many people told me "Julie, You NEED to write a book" it simply wasn't a desire. It's funny how God placed the desire in me RIGHT before the conference, so I would come away completely inspired to be bold and intentional with my life. I would feel like what I have to say DOES have influence.

I completely connected with the hearts of these leaders and speakers. In particular..Emily Freeman, Casey Wiegand & Jessi Connely. Everything I have been wanting to say and share and be all came out in their words and their hearts this past weekend. I feel like seeing art and beauty inside of people, and being the Jesus that people need is my strongest desire. 
In all my mess and awkwardness, I want Jesus to be seen. 
And if that means to be brave and to be real and to embrace all those weird little uncomfortable, scary, questionable desires in me, that not everyone understands or is passionate about, then it does.
Because he is able to shine in SO many ways THROUGH different kinds of people TO different kinds of people. This weekend, I learned to keep being the Jesus that people need. And these women were a glimmering example the of Jesus that we all needed to go out and do the same
 in OUR sphere of Influence..
more pics to come later this week
I could go on and on and tell you about the time I cried while talking to Casey Wiegand, or how awkward I felt smiling and pretending I was a part of random conversations when I didn't know where my roomies were, how old I felt when groups of girls would "guess how old I am" or how extremely grateful I am to have meet so many of these amazing women in real life that I have gotten to know via blog and twitter and instagram this year. (That's still just so crazy to say!)
I could tell you all my thoughts and plans for my blog, my life, my family from this point on,
but for right now I just want to say Thank You to ALL the lovely women who listened to Jesus, did this big scary thing and put on this conference, but definitely touched so many hearts and connected so many of us in a much more real way to each other and to finding our purpose and passion in Jesus.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I'm okay!

Roomies:  Lisa, Alli, Me, Kerrie

How does one go to a conference that involves social media and not tweet and update facebook to let everyone else know I am ok?
Oooops my bad. 
My dear friend, from Christina from Tico & Tina tweeted me earlier to ask me if I was okay because I have been so quiet the past few days.
I feel like pieces of my brain and heart are being torn and broken into so many directions. Between being overly tired and letting all these beautiful and overwhelming thoughts stir inside of me, I just haven't even thought about letting everyone know I am having a great time at the Influence Conference. I cannot begin to tell you the amount of times I have been close to tears in awe and moved by so many beautiful women of all denominations with a heart and passion to let God use their lives in so many different ways.
My heart is filled with compassion, my soul is filled with emotion and my brain is racking up all kinds of ideas of how to be a better Jesus to people I have influence on...whoever that may be. I value every person and am always striving and praying for more and more compassion.

More to come, I am sure. But family and friends, know that I am alive and well, eating lots, building friendships, and not getting enough sleep.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

10 Things You Should Know Before You Meet Me

I can hardly believe in about a week I will be  trying on outfits, packing my bags, desperately
trying to lose 4 lbs in one day as I prepare to head to meet  Lisa & Ally,
2 other Wisconsin girls that I have never met and then we will make our way to Indy together for
 There we will meet up with over 200 other girls, bloggers, shop owners,women of tremendous
influence, including our other roomie, Kerrie and there we will gain inspiration in glorifying God in all that we do and just have some good ole fashioned girl time fun. I think?
I thought it was only appropriate that I take a minute to introduce you to my roomies, who I will
know so much better in a week and a half, but for now, I will let you know that I already love them.
Lisa from Mommas Me Time
Alli from Life On Leroy
Kerrie from The Williams Post

And I thought, Hey I better let them and all of you other people that may meet me soon
 a little bit more about me...

1) Just to clearn any rumors from the get go, despite my lack of wedding ring, I am STILL happily married.  I never got my engagement ring and wedding band saudered together back in the day and I lost it a few years ago at an indoor water park. I do still have the engagement ring which I wear sometimes by itself, but I haven't had the cash flow to replace it yet.

2) A few health Issues: If you see me popping pills, it's for low iron and an ulcer , I swear.
Also, and inhaler is a must for me, especially if I laugh a lot. Annnnd~I depend on nasal spray to let me breathe. Horrible I know.  Addict? Uh, kinda. Ever see this episode of King Of Queens? I love it.
I can totally relate.

3) I have been overly tired like all the time. (Just found out it was because of the low iron thing)
 Naps have been a must. Not only tired, but extremely fatigued.
Using the stairs over the past few months have felt like I did an hour jog. And I am
not exaggerating. My body looks like feels like jello when I walk up the stairs in my house
and I start huffing and puffing, all out of breath. So, uh, don't mind the heavy breaths? I guess?

4) I swore I would lose 10 lbs before Influence. Thanks to NO energy, muscle fatigue...
and an ulcer which requires me to eat every hour (not kidding) to feel better, this has not happened.
Instead I gained 5 lbs. Whatevs.

5) The show Friends. You may hear it pop up in conversation alot.
I watch it nightly. Even when I know every episode by heart, own all seasons, I will
still watch it on tv if its on before anything else. So needless to say, I can find a moment
in every situation that "reminds me of this one Friends episode."
Just Warning You.

6) Despite my expression of my inability to hug in this post: I Thought Thats What Bloggers Did,
that I wrote a few months back, I want you to know...Seriously, I DO hug on occasion of first meeting, saying goodbye and if someone comes to hug me first at any other random time. I just feel awkward initiating most hugs. So, please don't let what I said scare you. wink.

7) And I wonder if maybe because of that post and my sarcasm & sense of humor, I may come across in verbiage as if I'm rough around the edges or dry? Maybe? Kinda? I think I'm just a little awkward?
But here's the real deal.
I'm definitely OVERLY sentimental. 
I cry at EVERYTHING. Just warning you. I will avoid "goodbyes" or "closing statements" if I can, because I promise you, I will cry. You can see what I mean IN THIS POST.

8) Is it just me and my hubby, but whenever we get a break from the kids, all we really
want to do is sleep? We go out, try to figure out what we should do, dinner and a movie perhaps?
Nope, usually its dinner and "lets just go back home and sleep." I hope I don't feel that need
while with new friends, but those kid breaks always put me right in "I just want to sleep" mode.

9) I hope to God we are all wearing name tags with our name and blog/business  posted right on them .Please do not be offended if you approach me knowing who I am and suddenly your name and/or blog gets lost in my mind somewhere. Or if your real life self looks different than your pictures...I need to go through the Influence Meet & Greet posts. (No, I have not done that yet) to get better acquainted with your faces this week, so I don't humiliate myself.

10) Is there a Chick-fil-a near by? Because the closest one to me is 45 minutes.
Just so you know. That's all.

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