Desire Boldness Scarves has LAUNCHED!

Hi Friends! I am always on a new and creative adventure of some sort. I see beauty in really simple things. Rocks, for example. I could sit near a pile of gravel for hours looking for “pretty rocks” and be totally content. What then happens next in my mind is, “Well, what could I do with these pretty rocks? How could I use them in a creative way to make something beautiful.” Rocks. Yes, that simple. Everything in my life works this way. Everything I pick up has tons of potential (hence the reason I literally wanted to physically SQUEEL at the top of my lungs when I walked into our new Hobby Lobby in town). My creative mind automatically switches to overhaul and I get so excited! This can be both good and bad, but mostly I like my ability to turn rocks into something awesome. This leads me into Desire Boldness Scarves and where the idea even came from.

I have had a piece of fabric in my craft room for over a years that was absolutely intended to try my attempt at making an infinity scarf one day. So I picked it up, taught myself how to make an infinity-style scarf; and decided that I wanted everyone I know to have one, too!! I mentioned on my personal facebook page earlier in the week that I was going to be launching something exciting by the end of the week. Well, here we are! I am SO excited to announce, launch and share my most recent initiative, Desire Boldness Scarves! Desire Boldness Scarves is my attempt to encourage woman to be bold through providing a little creativity to personal style at an affordable price. These infinity-style scarves will be priced at $20. I am SO excited about this, friends! PLEASE help me get started by simply giving me a ‘like’, sharing my facebook page and visiting my new website (this is not yet setup, but I am working on it)! I cannot wait to work and accommodate so many different styles, personalities and tastes! So far, I have released two designs. Take a look! I sold and shipped my first scarf on Etsy yesterday! I’m looking forward to this.

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Something else interesting is that I am not trendy. We don’t have money for me to be trendy and buy full-price clothing…ever. I am okay with that because I spend most of my days in the same pair of yoga pants and a jersey-knit t from Old Navy (which reminds me, I need a new t or 5 because most of mine are stained). I’m okay with that. I’m happy in my day-to-day clothes and I’m making no effort to meet the status quo in the fashion world which I am sure is no shock to anyone who knows me. What appeals to me about these scarves? They totally have the potential to DRESS UP my daily attire. Jeans and a solid t can become something creative, festive and fun by wrapping this scarf around your neck! Something this SIMPLE appeals to me so I thought it might also appeal to the company I keep. We will see!

A Happy & Sad Heart!

Here I sit, on the eve of Noah’s 2nd year of preschool. The first day is tomorrow. Aside from him being 4 1/2 and BIG, I just have a tough time swallowing the 4 day a week thing! That is FOUR afternoons a week he will be away. 😦 Not sure I am ready for that! We cherish our afternoons now-a-days more than ever!

How did the time go so fast? Exactly a year from tomorrow, Noah was getting ready for his very first day at PCCN. Here is the sweet, unforgettable picture I took that morning before taking him. I remember sobbing when I left the parking lot! LOOK AT THAT SMALL, LITTLE GUY!

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How does the time go so fast? I started crying while reading The Kissing Hand to him this evening and he asked me what was wrong. I told him that his pure and kind heart makes me so, incredibly proud. I cry happy tears a lot. I feel a lump in my throat just thinking about it. This is a message straight from my heart for tomorrow, baby boy! Tomorrow is a big day and I don’t have a single double in my mind that when given wings, challenge, and opportunity; you will fly!

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Does this ever get easier? Every day I love him more and more! I would and could never wish him or the time I have with him away. I really view every moment as a blessing; even the annoying, hot, why-aren’t-you-listening-to-me moments! Every one!

Getting a Grip

I began the process of praying about some things on my heart a few months ago and tonight I began that journey. I decided to sign up for Getting a Grip on the Basics 101 at church; a class taught by our Pastor Beth Jones. I already feel God moving my heart and getting me equipped and confident in sharing His word with people around me. I cannot tell you the number of times I have made an attempt, when a friend or family member is in desperate need of encouraging word from Him, that I have miserably fallen short. I start witnessing and I almost always fall short or find myself dodging important, faith-building questions. I lose confidence or I feel unsure. I don’t feel equipped to answer all questions about the Christian faith. I am now convinced and I really understand WHY I have always felt this way!! Revelation #1 of many to come I am quite sure!

I have known about God my whole life. I started learning the bible basics, became confirmed and baptized when I was 13 at a Methodist church because I wanted to. My parents always talked about God when turmoil and adversity where at an all-time high, and young, disappointed hearts needed mending. I knew early on that God was someone I could talk to and someone that would always listen. I knew to listen for God to speak to me. In fact, at one point I thought I heard God tell me that I would be a powerful, successful and connected political woman who would never get married or have any children. I thought God told me that! I went to college and worked very hard to earn my BA in Political Science from WMU. I am thankful for what I learned while at WMU and I know a 4-year college degree will serve me well in the future. We all know where this story ends up and BOY WAS I WRONG! That was my plan, my plan indeed! It turns out God had another plan for my life. A miraculous, awesome and wonderful plan!

In November 2010, I was married in the Catholic Church my husband grew up attending. We attend that Catholic Church until November 2012 and I actully went to a class and became confirmed in the Catholic Church during that time as well. Until that point, I have known about God. In fact, I felt like I knew a lot about God. I did not begin my journey of knowing God and growing a real, living relationship with him until November 2012 when we decided to begin attending Valley Family Church. That is when the REAL relationship began.

Tonight was my first class and I am already feeling the Spirit move me in so many ways. I am so thankful for my husband who is supportive and has encouraged me to take this class. He, too, wants to take it when it is offered next time around. I am thankful for our Pastors and for Pastor Beth Jones for delivering this material in such a practical and understandable way! Wow! Sometimes, I feel God whisper to my heart and other times I hear Him shout. Tonight, He was shouting. To. Be. Continued.

Revisit on Education…

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I will start by saying I know many loving, caring, kind and hard-working educators and this post is in no way meant to offend or question your expertise. In fact, some of the family and friends that I love dearly are public school educators. I have a bitter pit in my heart regarding public education and for so many good, undisclosed reasons. I am praying and hoping to someday look past those things, but as of now, the wound still bleeds. It has yet to even scar; in fact, because the effects of these experiences are still living in our family today.

On July 24th, I wrote a blog post called “Pass or Fail” leading into my initial feelings on the photo above. I had made reference to a possible future elaboration and I plan to present that tonight because it is fresh on my heart. Again, experiences and observations of real life situations, dating back far before Noah was born, have led me to believe and understand the intended truth described in this photo. I have watched a “state-funded special education system” fail both of my brothers miserably and that is a fact I wish NOT to debate or discuss; as the school later admitted their failure in this particular situation. Total failure.

This picture. THIS PICTURE! It breaks my heart! I came across an interview tonight that was 18-some minutes long. I sat and watched the entire thing….THREE times. Here it is…please watch it.

This child is marvelous and his intellect went absolutely unnoticed. How did they not recognize this aptitude?! His mother certainly did know best; not the school. Instead of challenging him, they labeled him. After all, labeling is quickly followed by significant state funding if I am not mistaken. In fact, I remember the dollar amount the school received for issuing my brother with a flashy “label” that followed him into adulthood. I remember those labels; those pathetic and threatening labels issued to both of my brothers. They were so hurtful to my parents and I remember to this day what they were. It seems they had an unintended, lasting impression on an entire family? I’d say so. Albeit, it turns out those labels aren’t just for the books.

As I sat watching this video this evening, all I could think about was my have-tried-to-pray-away abhorrence for “medical treatment” in these young children. This picture came to mind because I really think BOTH of my brothers were deprived of the opportunity to excel in their “genius”. They truly were. I cry just thinking about the struggle my parents went through always making their best effort to do exactly what the teachers, “experts”, IEP meetings, and doctors recommended. They did it all – every suggestion; every recommendation, EVERY awful symptom-inducing prescription. Every one! After all, “why would you deprive a child of what the medication will offer them, their education, and your family?” Oh, you can’t sleep? Why don’t we just throw another pill into the mix! Oh, you are foaming at the mouth during class and that is embarrassing and degrading by every definition? Okay, we can fix that with another investment into the pharmaceutical industry! Grrrrr. NO. NO. NO. For some many reasons, NO.

I will not go into detail regarding their numerous supposed “diagnosis” (that later turned out to be MISdiagnosis), but I will tell you that as a result of the constant “pushing pills into kids era”, my youngest brother now struggles miserably with a substance abuse problem. Those “recommendations” and “elite expertise” in the 90’s turned directly into a drug problem today. And it is not only he that struggles; our entire family feels the pain. Constant, gut wrenching, wonder and pain; will he ever be the same again?

When you think about a “homeschool”, what does it look like to you? Chances are that if you view it negatively, you and I are seeing it very differently. I see constant opportunity to learn and thrive in the child’s AREA OF INTEREST. I see the absolute lack of standardized testing. I imagine freedom to explore what you love. I see the lack of “rushing” and teachable moments spent teaching. I am not a teacher (as I have been reminded, but I could be with only a small bit more schooling as I have a bachelor’s degree), but I believe whole-heartedly that the impact we have as parents trumps any “school” experience a child will ever have. That is simply the truth. I see lack of pressure and PEER PRESSURE. I see a fun, faith-filled, thriving environment where failure is not even considered. I see failure turned quickly into conversations about strengths. I see social experiences and time spent with children and people of ALL AGES in the real and natural world in which we need to learn to live and operate. I see God everywhere. I see family time, togetherness, and lack of the idea of traditional “school” all together. I see travel. I see wonder, curiosity and imagination gone wild on a constant basis. That is what I see. What do you see?

Confession

Hi. I am Amanda Rice. I have a confession to make that may not be completely obvious; it really depends how well you know me. I have a tendency of quickly making assumptions, jumping to conclusions, and externally or verbally expressing my concerns with very little thought invested. This only happens when you offend or question something that is incredibly close to my heart. I am actually quite scary when I come “unglued”. Although it does not happen often, it happens. Here it goes.

According to Lysa TerKeurst’s “Unglued”, it turns out I am an external processor and an external expresser. There is a positive side to this; my honesty. This meant nothing to me until I realized what I wasn’t. The flip side? A suppressor. A suppressor has a peacemaking ability I both adore and admire. I am sure you can guess the Godly way of handling these raw emotions whether or not you are a Christian. They exercise the ability to be quit and think things through. However, I suppress nothing; I always find a way to release my thoughts. I am very blunt and to the point and I have never found much sense in “sugar-coating” my thoughts. I never have. All who know me past and present know my thoughtless quickness and ability to share my opinions. I thought this was okay until recently. Turns out that a thought immediately being released from your mouth is less than ideal. God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. With this being said, I have gotten A LOT better with a lot of time and prayer. I have come to understand God’s grace and wisdom, but I still have a long way to come.

Occasionally, becoming “unglued” for me begins with labels. People label people. Women label women. Moms label moms. And family even labels family. Hard to believe, I know. TerKeurst talked about labels and this really sums it up nicely, “Labels start out as little threads of self-dissatisfaction but ultimately weave together into a straight jacket of self-condemnation.” For me, however, it is fighting of labels that I haven’t even necessarily been given. In the past, I have been good at assuming the thoughts of others. You will probably know if you have fallen victim to such an instance in our relationship. I’m so sorry. I then attack that assumption like a tiger. LIKE. A. TIGER. Steam coming out of my ears, face red, and blood pressure elevated to a point near combustion! I have learned recently that oftentimes, these are labels that I have given myself. They get locked into my heart and I don’t even realize they are there. For example, I am too quick to assume. I have now defined this assumption as a lie. Although this may have been true, the point is that labels only remain if we let them!! Isn’t that great news? I thought so! I have prayed and prayed for God to work on me, work on my heart. Reading more of this book today was the answer I was seeking. The book addresses three ways to battle off the labels that really helped me work through this. The short answer? GRACE. I call it grace. God is awesome.

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When it comes to being a woman and rating my life, I have a long way to come. I fall short often and there are many thing I am not good at. I am short-tempered and will defend someone I love before even knowing the story. I am a work in progress as we all are. I believe strongly that personal growth begins when you are willing to identify your weaknesses and faults. Confessing to the ones you love. We all know I love my “labeler” when it comes to order in my daily life, but the madness has to stop somewhere. I can’t stick adhesive labels on my heart. There is a so much power in just getting started. So, get started. Release yourself of those expectations and labels today. Right now. Start. Right. NOW. I have.

**This post was inspired by a wonderful woman, leader, and mother, Lysa TerKeurst. I am inspired daily by her blog posts, books, and Proverbs 31 daily devos. The ideas are not my own, but the heart-felt response surely is. That is 100% raw emotion. ❤

“Curious”

Tonight at the parent meeting for Noah’s class, all parents were asked to describe their children with one word. I defined Noah as “curious”, which describes him to a T as with many others. He confirmed that on the way home from picking him up at grandma’s with an entire astronomy test!

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Among the questions I entertained were:

“Hey mom, are stars hot?”
“How do ROCKETS EVEN FLY THROUGH STARS?!” (this one was said with tons of excitement…and I replied suggesting that maybe they fly around stars??)
“Is the brightest star in the sky yellow? And where is it at?” (he asked this one with his head out his window of the car)
“Is the north pole near the brightest star? Who lives at the north pole? I think Santa does.”
“What is inside earth? Are we inside it?”

WOW! I asked him if he talked about the planets, stars or space at grandma’s house tonight and he replied, “No. We just baked ‘B’ for banana bread and next Wednesday we are baking chocolate chip cookies (with 3 C’s).” Oh. Okay! Needless to say, Noah is normally in bed by 8:00, but since I picked him up late and he was so curious on this clear, star-y evening – I let him stay up an extra 20 minutes and we sat in the front yard grass tracing the big dipper with our finger-tip. I never let a teachable moment like this get “rushed” away. Ever.IMG_7086

He makes me so proud every day. His heart is pure and his imagination never quits! Seriously, does KVCC offer astronomy 101 because I am convinced Noah would fit in just fine!?