Let me introduce myself

t’s time I introduced myself. My name is Amber and I feel like I know most of you personally, so I may have taken for granted that you know me personally. It’s funny how when we follow someone on social media even if they live in a different state or country, it feels like you know them. We see each other’s lives unfolding.  I love the relationships we build, there are so many inspirational people out there and I love seeing your families and what is happening in your lives. My favorites to follow are the ones that share the good and the bad. They share in such a way that you can feel their faith and doubts, they are themselves, they are real.

“Whatever makes you feel uncomfortable is your biggest opportunity for growth” Bryant McGill

I am going to be honest, this has been a hard post for me to write. I think the reason is that I want to be absolutely authentic, I want to be vulnerable and real. I am finding that I am a little scared to share myself. I have been trying to figure out what I am scared of and why. I love to analyze people, especially myself. I really should have gone to school to be a psychologist. I am generally a confident person, but since I started this blog I have been feeling a little insecure. I want you to feel interested and inspired. I realized that one of my fears is that I don’t want anyone to think that I think I know it all. I am also afraid of offending people, but I also want to be honest and true. I am finding this hard to explain and I am REALLY uncomfortable right now, especially at this very moment while writing this. I believe that when you are uncomfortable you are growing, so this has to be a good thing, right?

“Your largest fear carries your greatest growth” Unknown

Speaking of I should have gone to school to be a psychologist… when my kids were little, I did actually go to the local community college as well as a University to check into going to school to study psychology. I spoke with counselors about my options but, I let fear get in my way and didn’t move forward. And since I am in self analyzing mode right now, I am realizing that my fear was of succeeding. How weird is that? I am still trying to figure out the why’s of this. But I figure if I feel that way than others of you may feel the same. So I hope that in sharing this part of me it will help you know you are not alone, and inspire you to figure out why you feel that way so you can move on from it. I don’t really think about going back to school anymore, I am not sure if I really want to pursue that, but I do know it is never to late and if it is something that I start to feel passionate about again, I will do it. But for now, I am going to leave it at that and just share that moment with you.

“You are my sun, my moon, and all of my stars” E.E. Cummings

So I think it’s time to lighten this up with some facts. I am married to my BFF. We have been together for 12 years, married for 7 of those 12. We took our time because we had both been married before, we did not move in with each other until a few months before our wedding. I want to mention that because I feel like we really got to know each other before we were married and I honestly feel like that is what makes our marriage successful. And, I can’t leave out that this man has the best sense of humor and he is constantly making me laugh, I think that is my favorite thing about him. We have 5 adult children, he came with 3 and I with 2. We love each others kids like they are our own children. Being a mixed family has had its challenges but I feel that we have been blessed with a group of kids that know we love them and love us back. They are each amazing in their own way and they are constantly teaching us life lessons and inspiring us to be better people. 3 of them are married or in a relationship so with them added to our family, we have 8 kids. We feel blessed to have these 3 as part of our family, they are each so good for our kids and we love them just as much as our own children. We have a grandson who is 9, we are both madly in love with the little guy and are excited to have more grandchildren. No-one is in a rush to have a baby at the moment so for now we are eating up every moment we have with him. And I can’t leave out the grand-puppies, we have two of those, two grand-kitties and even though I really do not like snakes, I am going to include her. I don’t spend much time in the same room with her, but my son-in law loves her so I feel it important that I mention her. We are both close with our Mama’s and are blessed to have a wonderful relationship with them as well. They are both strong, inspiring women and I am thankful to have each them as a role model. I am surrounded by amazing friends and family and I feel like these people help mold who I am as a person. My family is always in my heart and thoughts throughout the day. They are what drive me. I want to be an example for them, so I do my best to be a good person and a good role model for them. I think that is part of what is drawing me to work on this blog. I want to help people, but I also want to help our kids on their journey and I hope in sharing myself it will help them as well.

So there is a little bit of me and my family. Here are a few fun photo’s of our family.

 

 

 

 

The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra

Mat in VWI have a friend, his name is Matt, he is almost 28 years old. He is one of the most charismatic, inspiring people you will ever meet. Whenever you go anywhere with him, you are sure to make additional friends because he is so outgoing. He is smart, kind, funny, and loves to be the entertainment at parties. This guy has some serious dance moves. He is fun to talk to because he has such a great outlook on life.

“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra” Jimmy Johnson

He is one of those people that gives unconditional love. When he loves you, you know it and you feel it and you can’t help but love him right back. One of the things that makes him special is that he has an extra chromosome. To me, this is one of the things that makes him extraordinary.

“There is no greater disability in society than the inability to see a person as more…” Robert M. Hensel.

Because he was born with an extra chromosome it is part of who he is. The name for having this extra chromosome is Down syndrome. The reason I want to write about this is because October is Down syndrome awareness month and I want to help people have a better understanding of it. I also want to help people understand that even though someone has Down syndrome, the possibilities for them are endless, they may have extra challenges, but we need not put limitations on them because you will be amazed at what people can accomplish even if they have to work a little harder at something.

I think that sometimes as humans when we meet people that have any sort of “disability” we tend to only see that. it is a part of who they are as a person, but it is not their entire identity. He is not Down syndrome, that is just a name for the reason he has to try a little harder to do certain things.

He gets tired a little easier then some people, he has a little trouble with hearing. Sometimes I have to try a little harder to understand him when we have a conversation, so I repeat what he says so that he and I both know that I understand him. But I always want him to feel included in conversations because he is so fun to talk with and it is important to me that he knows I accept him for who he is. I think sometimes it feels a little scary to speak with someone you may not understand very well. Sometimes it takes a little more effort to get to know someone and show them you are willing to try to understand them.

He loves superhero’s, Katy Perry, his birthday, Christmas, his friends and especially his family.  If you ask him about Katy Perry, he will tell you she is his wife. Listening to him talk about her is the cutest thing ever! So Katy, just in case you are reading this when he loves you, seriously there is nothing better than feeling his unconditional love. He occasionally sends me random texts and those texts make my day, I can feel the love coming through the phone. So let me know if you want his number.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela

The reason I want to share Matt’s story with you is because I want to help bring awareness of Down syndrome and that people who have Down syndrome are not Down syndrome. They are just like you and I but with just a little more. More love, more understanding, more kindness. Don’t get me wrong, he can be a challenge to his parents (he’s got an attitude like a teenager sometimes) but mostly he is just love. And more love is what we need in this world. We all need to have an open mind and open heart because when you let people into your life, it can be life altering. The relationships we create are the most important thing we can do for ourselves and others. You never know what someone can teach you. If we open our minds and realize that a person may look different than ourselves, but they are still a person with thoughts and feelings. We need to accept each other for our differences.

I am so thankful that I get to be a part of Matt’s life, I have learned so much from him and his family.  Patience, kindness, and unconditional love are the most important things. But I have also learned that Down syndrome is a copy of the 21st Chromosome, so he has 3 of the 21st chromosome, while I only have 2.  Below is a list of facts I found on  http://www.ndss.org check them out if you would like more information.  Thank you for taking the time to learn about Matt, he is amazing! 

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Facts about Down syndrome

  • Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome
  • There are three types of Down syndrome: trisomy 21 (nondisjunction) accounts for 95% of cases, translocation accounts for about 4%, and mosaicism accounts for about 1%
  • Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. Approximately one in every 700 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome – about 6,000 each year
  • Down syndrome occurs in people of all races and economic levels
  • The incidence of births of children with Down syndrome increases with the age of the mother. But due to higher fertility rates in younger women, 80% of children with Down syndrome are born to women under 35 years of age
  • People with Down syndrome have an increased risk for certain medical conditions such as congenital heart defects, respiratory and hearing problems, Alzheimer’s disease, childhood leukemia and thyroid conditions. Many of these conditions are now treatable, so most people with Down syndrome lead healthy lives
  • A few of the common physical traits of Down syndrome are: low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm. Every person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees or not at all
  • Life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent decades – from 25 in 1983 to 60 today
  • People with Down syndrome attend school, work, participate in decisions that affect them, have meaningful relationships, vote and contribute to society in many wonderful ways
  • All people with Down syndrome experience cognitive delays, but the effect is usually mild to moderate and is not indicative of the many strengths and talents that each individual possesses
  • Quality educational programs, a stimulating home environment, good health care and positive support from family, friends and the community enable people with Down syndrome to lead fulfilling and productive lives

Small changes can make a big difference

Brick wall (2)

Faux brick

Small Changes in your home can make a room go from outdated to cozy and bright

We were at Lowes a few weeks ago and I looked down and saw that they have faux brick paneling. I’ve been thinking about painting an accent wall in our kitchen, but I’ve always had a little fantasy of living in a loft with brick walls. I mentioned to Wade, what if we put this brick on the wall and paint it white? Well, four (4) hours and $65.00 later (including paint) we have a new brick wall in our kitchen and we are both in love!

A small change can make a big difference in your home and how it feels. You don’t have to tear down walls, or re-do flooring. It can be moving accents from one room to another, a simple holiday décor change, painting a piece of furniture or an accent wall. Throw caution to the wind and try something funky. You won’t know until you try. Life is short, don’t worry about what others will think. I hear all to often that people are worried about adding color, or if something doesn’t match. If you love it, that’s what is important, it doesn’t have to be perfect, as long as it makes your heart happy.

I’ll keep you safe, You Keep me wild

You keep me wildYou know what I love about relationships, and I don’t mean just romantic relationships I mean friendships as well as our relationships with family and even co-workers. I love that we stretch each other and challenge each other to grow. For example, I know a married couple and I see her as being a safe person and he is, well, I think he can be a hand full at times, and I mean this in the most loving way, because I adore him! I know neither of them are perfect and there are things that go on between them that no one else has any idea about. But when I see them, I see how they balance each other.

She made me giggle because she saw a sign that said, “I’ll keep you safe, you keep me wild” and it reminded her of them. Because she is such a safe person, in my mind I was thinking that doesn’t seem to apply to them. She isn’t wild, so how would he keep her wild? But, I had an epiphany the other day, because she is safe, she does keep him safe, and he does keep her a little wild. They even each other out, because they are so different from each other. They stretch each other a bit and take each other out of their comfort zones. And that is what I love about them as a couple. I think that is what is fun about life, different personalities can take us out of our comfort zone and if we allow it, help us grow to be better people. Sometimes the challenging personalities in our lives make us better because they help us to find out how to deal with things that make us feel uncomfortable, sometimes we learn what not to do, or even what type of person we don’t want to be. That lesson can be from either our own actions or the other persons actions.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply”

Stephen Covey

I think it’s hard to remember when we are in the middle of a life challenge, maybe a challenge with a person that has a different personality than ours, that each of us just want to live the best life we can and be happy. It can be difficult to see the other persons perspective. We only know how we feel. And sometimes it can be difficult to explain what our heart is feeling and why. All we can do is try to be open with our thoughts and feelings as well as being open to listening. Listening is something that I am constantly working on. I read the quote “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply” years ago and it really made me think, I try very hard to remember it when I am having a conversation. I don’t always succeed but it is something I am aware that I need to work on, just ask my husband.

Basically, what I want to say is that we should celebrate our differences, realize we each have our strengths. Each of us has our own lessons to learn and lessons to teach (whether we know it or not). When challenges do come up between us we need to take a step back, and sometimes take a deep breath and really listen to each other with the intent to understand and respect that we are each our own person with our own thoughts and feelings, and we are here to enhance each other, not to control each other.

 

 

I am thankful you are in my life

Watercolor with JaydenIn all the crap that life throws at us, we need to remember to be grateful for the good things in our lives. Our family and friends, the people in our lives are what is the most important. What we do for a job, the things we have, the money we make doesn’t really matter, what matters is how we treat the people that surround us. In the end, that is what we take with us.

Make the phone call you’ve been thinking about, or even send a quick text or message on social media to let someone know they are in your thoughts. You never know what a difference you will make in their day.

 

Finding Time to do an Office Update

After gramma hutch with stuff on itI’ve had a goal to update my home office for a couple of years. I am always working on projects and have at least two project chairs in my office all the time. I keep thinking after “this chair” I will work on it, and then the next chair comes, the next dresser, or hutch, I think you get where I am going here. I have put it off and put it off, so when Mr. Mantiques asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I said I want my office updated. I know when I get him involved procrastination does not happen. He is always on it! So, we bought the supplies and I finished the few projects I had and then more projects came in, so I started on those and almost a month went by, so…here I was again, after this project, I’ll start working on it. Oh, my goodness!

“You will never “find” time for anything. If you want time you must make time.” Charles Buxton

So, my post last week got me thinking, I am always going to have projects, so I need to make time for this, for myself. Taking photos of finished projects is one of my favorite parts of my job, but, let me tell you whenever I thought about taking a photo in my office, I cringed. But now, I am so excited! I have an area that I can easily stage and take photos.

Here’s a Before

Before Grandma Hutch

Team work makes the dream work!

So now, on to the fun stuff! It took us about five (5) days to get it done, because we were working on a few projects for people in between. Otherwise my husband would have had it done in two (2) days. Mr. Speedy Gonzales does not mess around. We pulled everything out, he tore up the carpet. I patched and cleaned the walls. I cut in the corners and he painted the walls. He painted the ceiling and I cleaned the floor and painted the molding. The fourth day he painted the floor. The fifth day I painted the stencil on the floor and painted the Grandma Gardner hutch (it belonged to my husband’s grandma).

The floor is just the sub floor, we cleaned and scraped it. It’s not perfect, but that’s what I love about it. It’s fun to get creative when you’re on a budget. I was inspired by someone that I follow on Instagram (@chairloom if you are interested in checking them out) I am including a photo from their Instagram feed so you can see it, mine is on a smaller scale of course but I just love their floor! And their chairs!!

Chairloom inspiration photo

It’s 90% put back together, I am still doing a little organizing, cleaning and getting rid of some things that I don’t use or love. You know, part of that simplify and living with intention thing I am working on.

I would love to hear from you with feedback, and if you want to see detailed tutorial style posts. My main purpose for the blog is to get everyone thinking about how we can all live a mentally/emotionally healthy life. But I know some of you may be interested in learning about our projects as well. I would like to do a few project posts each month as well as lifestyle posts. Let me know what you think!


 

 

 

 

 

So busy

Clocks

I had a post almost ready to go last week, but for some reason I just wasn’t feeling it. It seemed good, but at the same time it felt a little “meh”. Last week was a very busy week. Between working on projects, working at the store, getting ready for a sidewalk sale we had last weekend, and taking care of life, it was one of those weeks that made me feel a little tired. So, it may have been the head space I was in. Just want to keep it real here. So, this is a good lead into what that post was about. What I started with was talking about being busy. This is an important subject to me because I am trying to be more aware of what I spend my time on.

“Time is precious, waste it wisely” Unknown

As I’m getting older time is becoming more important to me. I find myself contemplating projects and wondering is this worth my time? We are all so busy, but sometimes it feels overwhelming to choose what is worth our time, what is going to add value? A mentor of mine opened my eyes to this… You can be busy all day long, but is what you are doing making a difference? Those words resonated with me and honest to goodness, I think about it every day. It is something that I work on constantly. It is so easy to get caught up in being “busy”. What are we busy doing? I don’t want to be “busy” I want my time to be full of the things that I know are making a difference in my life or someone else’s.

We all need to work unless you are a lottery winner. We need to be able to eat and pay our bills. But when you are working are you really taking the time to do your best? Or are you just keeping yourself busy to get through the day? When you are outside of work are you doing things that make a difference for you or your loved ones? (Rest is included as something important that makes a difference in your life)

“Instead of “I don’t have time” try saying “It’s not a priority” and see how that feels.” Unknown 

I am trying to be more aware of using the word priority rather then busy. When I’m contemplating a request from someone, an invitation, or purchasing a project I think to my self is this something that is a priority for me, is it worth the time I will spend on it, do I truly have the time available to work on it? Will I do it immediately, or will I put it aside until I can get to it? If it is a purchase, will I really use it, do I have somewhere for it, will I truly enjoy it in the long run, or is this just a moment in time of being in love with this item? It’s ok if it is not a priority, sometimes that’s a hard thing to balance, you may feel selfish but if it’s not a priority be honest with yourself. This is something I am working on, thank goodness I have a husband that gives me a little nudge when he knows I need a reminder that I already have several projects that I am working on, or already have projects I have in the queue to work on. So maybe find someone in your life that can help hold you accountable.

I feel like I have a lot more I want to talk about with this subject, but I want to keep these posts short, in the interest of time (that’s funny). I would love to hear your ideas, and this may become a series of sorts since it is something I am personally working on.