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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Heart friends from China

We had the opportunity to get together with some of the families from our China travel group yesterday for our six year reunion. It was amazing to see the girls together and their connection. We hadn't seen them for three years but time is not a barrier for bond. Here are a few of my favorite shots from the day.



We enjoyed a few hours at a great park in the Bay Area and then on to amazing Chinese food for dinner.

We treasure these families and Ava Lu's heart friends from China.

- Michelle

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Your beauty never changes

After a tender, intimate conversation with Ava Lu this week about friendship and navigating schoolyard relationships, she sat on my lap eager to share more of herself with me. Almost nose to nose with my beautifully crafted daughter, I placed my hands on both sides of her "just bathed, hooded towel still on" face and looked into her pure and perfect eyes and said "you are a very beautiful girl. . . on the inside and the outside, do you know that?" With a slight nod yes to me, she still held lock on my eyes. Feeling the need to reiterate this message to her to ensure it reached her soul, I said again to her in that moment, "do you know that you are beautiful?" While she nodded yes again, she spoke quietly and closely to me, "yes, but sometimes when I look at myself in the mirror, I think 'Ava Lu, you don't look that beautiful today.'" These little words pierced me. I thought, oh no, at the age of seven she is already feeling the sizing up of this world and experiencing the I don't want to play with you today messages that we as females let enter in as we go through life seeking connection to others.

Still very much in this close moment with my daughter, I say back to her with tender firm-ness, "you are always beautiful, your beauty never changes, you are very very beautiful, that will never ever change." She looked at me and threw those soft, clean, cuddly arms around my neck and said "I love you mommy, you are the best mommy I could ever have!" In that moment, I knew that what I was destined for, for that day had been accomplished, and, I heard the small voice in my head say, "this, Michelle, is what your life is all about."

While driving to the next stop on my busy calendar the next day and, at the same time, hoping and saying a prayer that Ava Lu has a good day today and that God gives her all she needs to get through the day, the reel of replay from my conversation with my daughter the night before, played through my mind. I thought, "wow, it is so puzzling to me (with a slight shake to my head) that Ava Lu sometimes looks in the mirror and sees herself differently from day to day. How could that be? Her beautiful 7-year old skin is ALWAYS perfect, she NEVER has a bad hair day, and no matter what she's wearing, she ALWAYS rocks it with her 'oh so cute' style." I mean, truly, as a mom, I don't ever recall seeing her not look beautiful on any day. I then immediately thought, this is exactly like me in the eyes of my adoring Heavenly Father. While life and circumstances change from day to day and the messages that I allow to enter my heart -- from the media telling me I don't look just right, or at work that I don't feel like I'm measuring up, or through other relationships -- change how I see myself as I look in the mirror; my beauty and value never changes in the eyes of God. I am amazingly crafted by Him and, THAT. . . regardless of how popular and fabulous I feel by any given input in my life, on any given day. . . never ever changes.

This truth and parallel, my friends, may be all the gift that I need to live the life I'm intended to live in 2013!

- Michelle

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fall is in full swing. . . 2nd grade, soccer, fall swim team, Brownies, daddy is back to work, mommy's busy work season and more. We are enjoying and living life though these crazy days, even though many of them are busier and longer than we'd like. With the schedule chock full, I'm reminscient of the amazing summer we had. It was a summer of memories and time spent connecting. Below are a few more of our summer highlights before I post on our Fall adventures.
Two wheels!

Happiest family on earth

kickin it with Mater

Last weekend of summer day out on the town
 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Summer lovin

Our 2012 Summer has been full and fun. I need to post "real" pictures from my camera when I get them downloaded. Below are a few highlights taken from my phone.










We are blessed to have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty and magic of California and have treasured every moment of new memories. I am reminded daily that we have to experience life and create memories that will last in our hearts. This summer has truly provided that.

More pictures of many more memories to come. . . .

Michelle

Friday, May 11, 2012

Six. . . it just flew by!




I am busy planning Ava Lu's 7th birthday party, and in the midst of all the details, I am struck by how fast her 6th year of life flew by.  VBS, Swim team, Tahoe, soccer, Daisy Scouts, 1st grade, learning to ice skate (and loving it!), "thrill rides (kid size, that is) at Six Flags, real homework, learning to read, Chinese dance, skiing and so much more, has filled our days with joy as we watch Ava Lu embrace each day with an amazing love for life and people.

I am always a little sad her age increases to another number because I truly love each age we've been blessed to experience with Ava Lu. She is truly our daughter of promise and a constant reminder of God's fulfillment and plan for our lives.

- Michelle

Sunday, December 18, 2011

December!

We are nearing Christmas and December seems to be streaming by. This year feels a bit more crazy and busy. I think it's my very busy work that has added to the hecticness and not the enjoyment and celebrations we are trying to ensure happens.



Speaking of enjoyment, we did go on our annual tree cutting day at the end of November. It was a beautiful in the foothills. Hard to believe the ground was covered in snow last year when we went up.



We are enjoying this Christmas season and praying for continued Peace in our hearts as we reflect on Christ, God's own son!


Michelle

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Beauty found on blogs

I discovered Jennifer Rizzo's Web site today and such beauty abounds in her items. I love the mixture of vintage, creativity and fresh touches. She's offering a give-a-way of some amazing items including a vintage picnic basket filled to the brim with goodies. The winner will receive:1- in flight pillow cover1-white linen La Parisien pillow cover3-number towels3-french inspired tea towels3-tea time tea towels1-set of vintage inspired cloth napkins1-hat and fingerless glove set1-set (4) of tea plates1-set(2) of vintage ironstone mugs1-vintage book and organic tea lavender sugar.


Finding fabulous items and beautiful blogs are my main drive behind blogging and visiting other blogs. I learned about Jennifer's items while visiting a favorite blog tonight. I have purchased a number of items on blogs I would have never heard of had I not entered the blogging community. So, head on over to her site and enter to win her give-a-way and to her etsy to purchase something lovely just for you! I am particularly fond of darling pillow


Happy shopping,
Michelle

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fall is here







I am so seriously behind on blogging so I'm not going to attempt to catch up right now. Fall is upon us and that means so many things in our house. Ava Lu started 1st grade, soccer season is in full swing and a busy busy time for me at work with our annual Care Begins with Me event. Ava Lu and daddy stopped by the event this year to see the fruit of mommy's many hours at work. It was a great event. Abby Rike from The Biggest Loser was our keynote speaker. What an amazing night.





This is my 4th year of planning this event. What a blessing to work on such an amazing women's event! This year was truly our best year. The last photo is me with my boss, Jill and colleague Robin at the end of the night. We were pooped but somehow refreshed!


I'll share more on our family fun this fall very soon,


Michelle

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Swim team

This is Ava Lu's second year on swim team and oh it is so much fun! She is improving with each week, lesson, practice and meet. What's most important is that she is enjoying it thoroughly.




I love the dedication, focus and spirit in which she brings to this sport. She's a tiny mite and we are soooo proud of her. She may be the smallest on the 6 and unders (and she's 6) but she has all the heart.
Go Gators!


Michelle

Monday, July 4, 2011

Celebrating America - Happy 4th of July

It's always an honor to celebrate our Great Country and the Freedom we have as Americans. We got to celebrate it for four days this year. I only took a few pictures of Ava Lu on my phone (which are not the best quality) but I can't help but capture her in red, white and blue.




The first day we went to a neighborhood block party. It's a fun night that our association plans. . . filled with activities for the children and a fireworks show. We met up with our CG neighborhood friends for such a great night kicking off our 4th of July festivities.

The second day we went to our Cabana Club. They plan a celebration each year at the pool and the night ends with another great fireworks show! We had friends join us at this fun night as well. We are blessed by such wonderful friends in the neighborhood.

The third day was our 4th of July celebration at church. It was a great service but the treat for me was the parade at the end with all the children carrying festive 4th of July handmade flags, stars, etc. The tears were flowing. . . I will was reminded of how blessed we are that God sent us all the way to China to fulfill his promise of our daughter and to see her proudly celebrating America is just something I hope that I never take for granted. We enjoyed a BBQ and then another trip to the pool.

Today was actually 4th of July and we spent the day with my mom joining us. . . relaxing a bit with a matinee and then a BBQ at the pool (again).

I am thankful to God for our freedom, our great land and my amazing family.

I am truly proud to be an American!

Michelle