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12.22.2013

Christmas Cookie Swap

Last week my neighbor and I hosted what will now be our annual Christmas Cookie Swap.  Y'all it was so much fun! 
 
 
There was LOTS of food, lots of drinks, and a wonderful relaxed time with friends midweek to celebrate Christmas and then take a smorgasbord of sweets home to our families. Although some people apparently had baking anxiety over what to bring, everything was way too yummy! Here are some of details...

Why yes, those are candy cane stands Jaime whipped up for the name cards!
 
 
 
The winners!
Chocolate candy cane cookies // Homemade Baileys (served in ornaments, how precious is that??) // red velvet cookies

 
 
 
 
 

12.17.2013

12K in 12 Days // Gully Family Adoption

 You know those people you meet or hear their story and you just think "Wow, I would hope I could be as bold as them to say yes to God in that way." Well I met one of those people's mom several weeks ago. She shops in the store and is precious.  We chat it up while she browses and this particular time she was gushing on her granddaughters, as all the proud grandmas do. She even showed me this picture of her daughter's beautiful family.


Then two days ago I saw the same picture on 3 of my friends blogs and was honored to read more of their story. After thinking about them and praying over them all day I had to reach out to Jody, whom I have never met, and ask if I could also share here. There is so much glory for the Father, not only in the words she has written but in the way they are living their lives for Him.  

 We have never publicly shared our story in 9 years.  Ever.  We have been asked many times to and have never felt it was the right time.   Honestly, I would be good to wait and share it once the kids are all grown up.  I am super protective of people knowing very much about them and it is such a hard thing to share.  And there are things about our situation that just aren’t picture perfect and don’t make sense to everyone. From the outside looking in, it’s hard to understand.  From the inside looking out, it’s hard to explain.  It’s just not an easy story to write, but I’m going to try.
In August 2005, I met our precious kids.  Ceree, Alajia, De’levyus, and Oceana came to Crockett Elementary to begin their school year as I began my very first year of teaching.  I had Alajia in my kindergarten class, Oceana and De’levyus next door to me in kindergarten, and Ceree a couple doors down from me in first grade.  Jeniyah and JJ were still babies at home and Gigi was three weeks away from being born.   I think it took me all about two weeks of school to know that Mike and I were supposed to be involved in their lives.  I’m not kidding.  I’m sure everyone thought that I had met some kids and this was just a “phase” that every first year teacher goes through of not being used to the poverty and sadness I felt everyday as I came to work.  Mike and I had been married a whole nine months and I was already formulating huge plans of what I wanted to do on a daily and weekly basis to help this family.  I have no idea why or how he jumped on board immediately, but he did and I am SO GRATEFUL.  So, we started taking food and all kinds of supplies to their house and staying over there to clean and organize and do homework and make dinner and run errands and anything else we could think of just to spend time over there to get to know their mom and the kids.  We just wanted to do anything we could to make their lives happier and easier and better.  That year, we continued this way.  We recruited my family and tons of friends to help us and we built a firm foundation that year.  
The next year, we decided to start doing more activities with the kids in our home and taking them places.  We were 23 and 24 at this point and we were learning how to do black hair, discipline some very rowdy kids, teach kids to read, homework,  take them to church, do black hair, teach them about the Lord, take them to soccer and basketball practices, and did I mention learn how to do six heads of black hair?!  We were falling in love with these children and beginning to see some progress as we spent more and more time pouring the love of Christ into them and into their mom. 
The next year, we approached their mom with the idea of getting joint guardianship with her.  Basically, she would still hold primary custody, but she would make us the temporary guardians so they could live with us and we could take them to school and to the doctor and make educational and medical decisions.  She agreed and I’m not sure we had ever been so ecstatic about something in our whole lives.  It was a complicated decision and we spent so much time trying to explain it to anyone who asked because it wasn’t something that many people ever do.  Our whole intention has been to help the children be close with their mom and to also help them have every opportunity and everything they need to be successful in life and to know the Lord fully and deeply. 
We renewed temporary guardianship 8 times.  During those 8 years, we have learned how to change diapers, potty train, crochet extensions, cook in huge portions, shop wisely, bought two twelve passenger vans, and renovated our house 500 times to try to accommodate so many people.  All 7 of the kids have asked Jesus to become the Lord of their life and to reside in their hearts forever which above anything is the only thing that matters.  We have been on road trips that I can’t believe we actually did.  We have had a precious baby who is such a joy in all of our lives.  We have gotten two crazy dogs that the kids talked us into. We have made some ER trips and we’ve had surgeries.  We have spent a ridiculous amount of hours listening to kids sound out words and learn to read and endless hours doing algebra and homework and I know there is so much more to come.  We had a fire in our house and we had to live in a hotel room for two months.  I’m telling you, we have lived a crazy life in the past 8 years with these kids and it has been worth every single minute.
There have been times that have been really hard to understand too.  So much communication has gone into our relationship with their mom.  We have had to work at a relationship that hasn’t come easy.    I have learned so much over the years about humility, grace, and priorities.  There are so many times she has been self-sacrificing in choosing this life for her kids because she has always wanted what is best for them, but there is nothing easy about the situation. She has seen such change in them and is always so amazed at where they are today.   We are truly grateful for a mom that wanted her children to succeed in life and wanted them to escape the cycle of poverty. 
The hardest decision we have ever made in our entire life was made four years ago when we all decided it was best for Delevyus to go back and live with their mother.  It is something I cried about everyday for 6 months.  It is what is best for him and where he is the happiest.  We still see him often and his sisters giggle with him incessantly when we are together.    He will always be my baby.
We have learned so much over the years of relying on the Lord for everything.  I have never had to learn this lesson so many times.  Like 500 times.  Like I am still having to learn it.  We have been so worried about providing for the kids so many times about a ridiculous amount of things, but every single time, HE provides.  People have brought us groceries, clothes, school supplies, furniture, and anything else we seem to need.  If we get low on money, a check will show up under our door mat or in the mail box or somehow something will get taken care of that we don’t seem to have the means for.  I’m telling you--we never would have been able to do this on our own.  There are a ton of people that have surrounded us and poured Christ’s love and generosity on us over and over to provide for these kids in so many ways. 
All of this to say-- we have made the decision, with their mom’s blessing, to adopt the girls.  We started this process 4 months ago after a year of prayer about it and some conversations with their mom.  Our prayer was that if she was not at peace with the decision that we did not want to push this.  When we approached her about it, she was ready and willing and we were all united in our decision.  I had no idea 8 years later this would EVER be in the Lord’s plan.  EVER.   We are so grateful. 
God has blessed us abundantly and we are honored to continue to parent these amazing children. We thank God for entrusting us with them & seek Him in every decision we make and everything single thing we do. Thank you ahead of time for coming alongside our family & being a part of their adoption story.
All for Him,
Mike & Jody Gully

This family's servants hearts are apparent. So would you pray about being a part of what the Lord has called this family to do? If that is loving and supporting them through finances you can donate here:

12.11.2013

Pear Cable Cars

So a few weeks ago I hosted what some of my girls and I like to call book club.  It is actually just an excuse to get together once a month to eat and drink.  We do suggest a book to read to keep it legit but we mostly just stick to reading wine labels.

I decided to mix it up a little this month after I went to happy hour at the Blue Door a couple weeks before. 
{Side note: Midlanders, if you haven't been here yet, GO! It is exactly what our little town needed...a nice bar with fresh amazing drinks, good patio, + fun events.  She does it all so well it will quickly become your new go to for meeting up with friends or date night.}
But back to my point, I usually get the cable car but our waiter suggested we have him make it with the pear infused rum, done in house, that they were quickly running out of. I mean, who would turn that down? So glad I didn't, it was get you in trouble in a quick way yummy.  Sadly he said it wouldn't be on the menu again since they change it up constantly.  I do love this about Blue Door, they have seasonal menus but also make additional treats from whatever is in season and plentiful.

What's a girl to do? I had to learn how to make it so I could serve them at book club and share the goodness with my friends. The owner and I have a mutual friend and she let her in on how she makes it and said I could even share here!  So here it goes... 

I infused the rum a week before.  This seemed like it would be hard but is so simple.  All you do is pour a bottle of good rum in a pitcher, add a few cinnamon sticks, a couple vanilla beans, and some chopped up pears (I think I could only fit two in the pitcher).  Then set it in your fridge for the next 5-7 days and let the magic happen. It will get all brown look kind of weird but don't let they worry your pretty little face!

Then get your cute little martini shaker out and fill it with this:
1.5 oz Spiced Rum
.75 oz Cointreau
.5 oz Agave or simple syrup
1 oz Lemon
Strain into a sugar rimmed martini glass
(you could even up your game and make it cinnamon//sugar rimmed)






12.06.2013

Colored Chalk Paint

When we were at Holiday Happening in Lubbock a couple weeks ago a booth down the aisle from us was selling chalk paint.  Not just basic black but tons of fabulous colors, packaged in mason jars (as if I wasn't already sold on the colors).  I went down there and perused the 20+ color options every couple hours trying to decide which ones I needed for any projects that may pop up in the next, I don't know, 5 years. And then I found out that this guy and his fiancé make the stuff. I mean come on, locally made fabulousness, this stuff needs to be in Pink T! So I bought more colors than I needed and continued to be distracted the rest of the day with what I needed to stencil in my house with this chalk paint. I finally decided on the back hallway and was probably a tad too excited when a snow day kept me locked warmly inside my casa a few days later.  

Here is how it ended up:



I'm not quite happy with the styling yet {suggestions for a cool way to hang that vintage map of Paris are welcome} but I am in love with the rust with a pop of navy!

Here is what I did + some tips!

>>> I made my stencil from an unfinished frame that I have had forever + a large piece of cardboard.  Make sure you measure the length of what your stenciling and adjust the size accordingly so you don't end up with half of one at the end.  Mine was actually about an inch shorter on one side since I only did between doors on one side.
>>> Use a laser level, trust this tape measure challenged girl.  These things are relatively cheap and well worth investing in if you haven't yet.
>>> Once the stencil was on the wall I used a smaller brush to outline the edges before filling it in with a larger//regular brush and didn't need to do any touchup, hallelujah! 
>>> Let it dry completely before moving on to the next one in line. For those OCD types like me who need to complete a project in one sitting, get a side something going to pass the watching paint dry time. This paint is thick and only needed one coat so that made it go much faster as well!

Here is a peek of some samples Posh's Chaulk Paint sent to the Midland store.
They come in 3 sizes:
Half Pint $10 // Pint $20 // Quart $30
They also make a paste wax for furniture projects!  

11.13.2013

I don't want a version of God's blessings...

Have you ever felt like the Lord is giving you a word, straight from his heart into yours?  This Sunday I felt like that, and I have been turning it over and over in my head since.  

This concept of expecting God's blessings and believing the promises he has made to me, to us, has always been a bit difficult for me.  I get it intellectually (sort of) but actually putting foot to pavement and living it is hard.  Hard to go against the norm, what our society says is okay and what we should expect.  But Jesus has been teaching me...teaching me to see his way over the world's, teaching me to believe him over others, teaching me that he wants to give me my hearts desires and so much more.  We started a series called "How Far Is Too Far" in church last week about just that.  Pastor Braden has been explaining that Jesus is grace and that he, by the cross, made everything that is in heaven available to us on earth.  That it takes faith to access all that he has made available.  He is breaking it down, and the Lord is opening my heart to receive it in a new way.

So here is what I have been processing for three days now.  I don't want a version of what the Lord promises me.  I want the real true thing, the whole enchilada.  How do I get it?  I must do everything exactly as the Lord commands. (Gen. 6:22) I don't get to pick and choose what to follow, or do things my way, on my time table.  I must trust the Lord, take him at his word. I know that his ways are better than mine, that what he says is truth so why do I constantly insist that I know better, that the world has told me a better way? Answer: I am selfish and oh so impatient. I am not saying that faith is works based, please don't read that.  I am saying I need to start taking Jesus at his word.  Declaring what he says I will have, I will have.  I have noticed that my words about one particular desire are not produced out of faith, but out of fear.  I have bought into the world's lies that a lot of women struggle with this and I should start taking it into my own hands.  I told myself two weeks ago that I had given the Lord a year and a half to give me this and he is failing.  That that was enough time and I was done waiting.  I chose to ignore all the wonderful things he as given me as I have waited for and lost what I want.  Things I would not have been able to receive if the timing was different. But thank you Holy Spirit for convicting me on this.  For showing me that you have more for me if I trust you and do it your way. 

Here are the podcast for the series I'm talking about. Please listen, or better yet come join us Sunday, as I am sure my rambling makes much less sense that Braden's message in entirety! 

10.17.2013

This week I have had an overwhelming sense of thankfulness for the people that the Lord has put in my life, those who are here for the long haul.  Last weekend we had a couple friends from our hometown and their families stay the night with us.  So the hubs naturally wanted to cook out and that grew to having 15 people over for dinner.  But I was tired.  Like the kind of tired where you aren't sure wether or not you can make conversation much less host an impromptu party.  So I told him that was fine, but this one would not be making to HEB or doing any cooking.  (Sadly, neither of these are out of the norm for the last couple months)

Saturday night rolled around and by the time I made it home from the store most everyone was there, all with some kind of food in tow, and busy in my kitchen.  It made my heart happy.  To have those kinds of friends and family that don't expect anything but an unlocked door. They just want to see you because its been too long and if you can't make it to them they will just come to you.   By the end of the night, I had been reenergized.  These friends, most of whom Jared + I can't recall a time when they weren't in one of our lives and others who feel like they have been here all along, poured into my soul.  After being pulled in too many different directions for the last couple months, feeling worn down by the overwhelming pace of life lately, I was overflowing with thankfulness and gratitude for these people.  They have refused to let us drift apart, to let our friendships go by the wayside, written off as a season of life.  These are the ones I need in my life. Ones who are more excited for your triumphs  than you think you deserve.  Ones who will crawl in bed and cry with you during a loss.  Ones who will tell you to get your face straight when it is necessary.  None of us are in the same life stage and for the most part don't live in the same town anymore. But these things don't seem to ever factor in.  We adjust to life, each other, and encourage and love our way through it all. Without a night of laughing until we cried I may have not made it through another long week.  

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!"    -Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

10.09.2013

Good Junk. Good Friends. Good Times

So a couple weeks ago Abby + I junked our way to Dallas.  And although the normally 5 hour drive took more like 10, talk about a good time.  At some point in my life I will hook up to a trailer, fully embrace my gypsy side, and junk across the south.  Better get in a few more lessons with the hubs on backing a trailer before I take off.

 
There were lots of hasty U-turns and excitement as we passed through almost every town but we hit the mother load in Baird.  Thank you Naomi for letting us comb through all THREE of your store spaces and giving us an awesome bulk size deal.
 

We thought we would give you a sneak peek at a few of the projects for the new store in San Angelo we have been working on since we got back...

I am obsessed with these stools.  They almost didn't make it back to the store after I recovered them...
 
This couch was a bit of a group//family project.  Abby found it, her hubby tore it apart (it had a sleeper bed in it which was very strange and even more heavy for a wicker couch), I painted it, and her fabulous mother-in-law recovered the cushion.  I have a feeling good friends will be made in the store while sitting on this gem!


 
We found a massive pile of lighting odds and ends.  So we loaded up several boxes of everything we liked and came up with these.
More sneak peeks will be coming soon, before the big store reveal that is right around the corner!

9.23.2013

Momentary Obsessions


 An afternoon cup of joe at the store, in my grandma fab floral cup.

 Wine walks with the besties...this counts as exercise right? 
(And yes those are sippy cups, don’t judge!)

This new deer shirt, cause hunting season is in FULL swing at our house y’all.

Jalapeño jelly...I got this recipe from my mother in law + cannot stop eating it.  On cream cheese with pretzel crisps may be my fav, but I am finding all kinds of delicious ways to use it.


9.17.2013

Exciting news...


Big things are happening at Pink Tumbleweed.  Last week we celebrated our 3rd birthday at the Midland store (you may have seen our birthday present to ourselves). 


The Tyler store is rocking right along, my mom and sister have found their groove and I love watching them take ownership and pride in the business they are building.  Getting to experience this with them has been amazing and humbling.  And now...I have gotten the opportunity to open a third storefront with an amazing friend in San Angelo!  That’s the big announcement in case you were wondering-that we are taking over Texas!

I have never, in 5 years of being a business owner, felt this much of an overwhelming presence of the Lord in my work.  I know in all I have done he has been there.  He is the reason for any success I have, period.  Everything is His, and I only have any of this because he chose to bless me with it.  But maybe this time around I am finally getting the concept of leaning on His strength and provision and not fighting to do it on my own.  Cause lets face it, I am in over my head on this thing.  Maybe I am opening my eyes a little wider, or maybe he is choosing to show me his timing and provision in the moment rather than in reflection.  I know it is not anything of my own doing but more of His generosity in showing me.  A couple weeks ago, Abby and I got to talk about how this has been in the works since before we met.  She went to school in Angelo and always said she would love to own a boutique on Concho Street.  When I first opened in Midland people would ask when I would open one in Odessa and my natural response was that I would go to San Angelo next, and picture in my mind this certain block downtown that would be perfect.  (Tyler totally plopped in my lap=Jesus always has better plans//timing than me).   Then about a year later this cute girl with fringe boots (that just may have gotten her the job) walked in and applied at the store.  Talk about a God send.  She was exactly what I needed.  When her husband got transferred back to Angelo it was bitter sweet for both of us.  I cried about her not working in the store and so did she so what better solution than to start our website for her to run?  Again, God was providing by moving us in the direction of business partners, not just employer//employee.   Over the next year this was always a thought, a suggestion, a dream but each time we tried to move forward there was a roadblock.  And I am glad there was.  We have found the perfect space (on Concho Street) at the right time of year to open.  So we, especially Abby, are working our tails off to open the middle of October!

To say that this new adventure is overwhelming is a massive understatement but I have been praying over it for almost exactly a year and now He has said go, so we are going.  This is not the baby I thought I was going to be having in October but there have been lessons and growth in even that and I am choosing to be grateful for them.  I am excited about a new journey, but also tired from the others I am still traveling.  But everywhere I turn there have been reminders to trust in God because I cannot do this in my own strength, my own knowledge, and lets be honest, my own stubbornness.  And the best part is that He does not want me to.  He cares so deeply for my daily routine, my businesses.  Holy Spirit has whispered this truth into my heart countless times in the last month. 
He made me with an entrepreneur spirit because He has plans for me in that.  And that has to be my focus and purpose in these stores.  How am I going to glorify Him in it?  How can His kingdom be furthered in this?  While I don’t know his overall plan and reasons for giving me these businesses I know he has one, and it is always going to be bigger than what I could have imagined.  Isn’t it wonderful to serve a God who always has more for us than we even know we want?  He has taken what I saw as an overwhelming, massive dream and literally triple it for me?  What else is there to say but 
"Thank you Jesus".


7.29.2013

We had an awkwardly fun Saturday night.  
It was our ten year high school reunion, enough said.  

It really was great to see some old friends, most of whom I have known since we were in elementary.  Some have changed so much, and some never will.  But we had a blast laughing and reminiscing about all the dumb things we used to do.  
This weekend really made me grateful for where we came from.  Hobbs is a small town {some may say ghetto boring} but it was a wonderful place to grow up. There are some amazing people who I learned more from than I can say.
But more than that, I was overwhelmingly thankful for my high school sweetheart.  I love that we got to grow up together and that I am more in love with him in the second picture than the first.  We ended the night walking by the first home we bought together, talking about where we had been.  Here's to ten more!  


{That's right, we were voted cutest couple}

7.18.2013

I have a new crush...

Not a man crush, I am still totally in love with the hubby!  But on Crossfit.  Obviously, if this morning grouch is getting up at 6 am to go.  I have always had a love/hate relationship with working out.  I love how it makes me feel, but absolutely hate the during most of the time.  I usually need a good push, or shove, from a friend to get me going. 

I have basically only been running for the last two years and have really enjoyed doing two half marathons but was ready for something new.  There is a local church who does Fit for the Cross for FREE and I thought it was a great way to try out the infamous Crossfit I have heard so much about.  I drug my partner in crime with me and we could barely stand up straight after the first couple classes but it is getting better.  I have only been at it for a few weeks, and I don't know that it will ever be "easy". They change up the work outs everyday, and you sweat A LOT during those 30 minutes. Hopefully I am on the track for only mildly sore, where I can actually function during the rest of the day.  And, maybe one day I will be able to do a pull up without a cheater band!

We also started this 30 day squat challenge at the store last week.  So if you come in and we are squatting away don't laugh!

7.11.2013

I had a spirt of crafty.

It was a small one, didn't last too long, but it has been a while since I have been creative at all so it was fun.   

I had some euros left over from our trip through Brussels in January + knew I wanted to make some jewelry with them but just haven't done it.  They have actually been sitting in my car console since we got back + I cleaned them out of my wallet. (that is embarrassing, it's July!) I had originally thought of doing a necklace; my mom has one with a lot of coins on it that she wears the heck out of.  But, once I sat down it was only bracelets that came out.  There are a few left, maybe I will do a necklace eventually.

Here's what I will dream about when I wear them...