Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Meet Jared

This is the most personal post I have ever done.  For a few months I have had it in the back of my mind.  You may or may not remember a news story that was all over the internet this summer about a letter written to the mother of a child with autism.  The letter was absolutely horrific.  I was and still am a little skeptical that it was even real, who could possibly be that cruel and inhumane and selfish?  This story is what really got me thinking -
More people should meet Jared.  
Maybe I should be a voice, however small, for anyone with disabilities or who cares for someone with disabilities. And so this week, being the most consciously thankful week of the year, I thought I'd introduce you to someone I am so thankful for, Jared.

He's my younger brother.  He was hit by a truck while riding his bike when he was 3.  He suffered severe brain damage, specifically his brain stem.  His mind is very functional, but the connection from brain to body is damaged.  
He cannot do anything for himself. 
 He can't walk, talk, or eat.  
But he is not defined by what he can't do.

He is all about what he CAN do:
he can smile,
he can brighten a room,
he can lift spirits,
he can invoke an overwhelming feeling of gratitude,
he can teach selflessness and kindness,
he can bring laughter and joy
he emulates all things good.
He CAN do so much. 
Jared is the most patient, optimistic, and happy person I have ever known.  
He enjoys the little things.  A lot of those little things are things we take for granted.  
When he was younger, we could lift him and carry him with little effort. I used to put him on my hip and carry him all around the house.  But he is not little anymore, he is 24.  It's a much bigger challenge to lift him into or onto anything.  
This summer we went on a family trip to Bear Lake.  Since our last trip there, they have installed a new handicapped accessible chair for the pool.  We were so excited to use it to get Jared in the water.  It's been a very long time since he got to swim.  It took my brother Josh, my husband, and my dad to successfully and safely get him on the chair.  But then, he got to swim!

I don't know who loved it more, us or him.  I mostly took pictures and cried with a smile on my face.  Seeing the love and selflessness that surrounds Jared is amazing.  
On this same trip, we were also able to get him out on the lake for a boat ride.

Best picture ever.

My girls love to do anything they can to get Jared excited.  
With what little control he has of one arm, he loves to knock things down.  He loves to watch my kids jump, dance, sing, and just be their silly selves.  He loves to watch us jump, dance, sing and be silly too; and we do all of these things. : ) 
I feel so blessed that my kids have so much opportunity to put someone else before themselves.  

 This is my little Lila trying to help lift him into his bed.  He thinks that's pretty funny!
My amazing mom.  Her and my dad go above and beyond to give Jared as 
much opportunity as they can.  They are truly saints.  
 A four wheeler ride with my sister Meckenna and Josh.
 Look at Jared just smile as my Josh and my dad help him get comfortable.

     All my siblings:  Josh, Jared, me and Meckenna.  
 Most recent family picture, last summer at Meckenna's wedding.

From Jared I have learned forgiveness, joy, patience, endurance, and true charity.  He teaches everyone who meets him, people are drawn to him, his life has been devoted to blessing others and helping us see the good. 
I love him.
My hope is that by 'meeting' Jared, you'll feel uplifted.  
That we will all be motivated to serve people around us, to put others needs before our own and reap the joy.  That we will all try a little harder to be more optimistic.  And that we'll be slower to judge, and quicker to love.  

 I've got to share this quote that represents Jared so well.

Let's choose to be happy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

10 things you didn't know about us

Are you ready for Thanksgiving?  I love, love Thanksgiving!  This year we'll be with my husbands family, (which is also Steffany's husbands family!)  
Gratitude, good company, and good food!  Best ever.  

Have you seen all the '10 things you didn't know about me' posts going around on Facebook?  They are so fun to read!  Steff and I thought it would make a fun post to do the same. :)  

1. I'm very decisive when it comes to picking out a paint color or home decor 
    but not when picking out what's for dinner.

2. I cannot tie behind my back.

3. I hate new mascara-I get it everywhere!

4. I'm a mean shot with a bow.

5. My husband is a nurse, and I work power tools.  A little role reversal.

6. I always order the exact same thing at every restaurant I go to.

7. I love new clothes but I hate shopping.

8. I always have Pinesol and water in my kitchen sink 
    for wiping down my counters throughout the day.

9. I love to bake but I don't like sweets.
10. Don't ask for my opinion unless you want an honest answer.

1.  I really don't like winter.  Once Christmas is over the only good 
     thing about winter is a great pair of boots.

2. I do not function well on little sleep-we're talking tears and despair over dirty dishes.

3. I am certain I'll be attacked by a shark if I ever surf - can't convince me otherwise!

4. I'm a compulsive list maker, like way beyond just a grocery list.

5. One of my favorite meals is a good greasy burger and fries, especially with avocado.

6. I make my bed every single day.  The rest of the house might be a disaster, 
    but my bed looks nice. :)
7. I will cry to express about every emotion:  happy, mad, sad, frustrated, scared.  You know those    Hallmark commercials?  I'll cry watching those too.

8. I hate scary movies, unless it's about zombies.

9. I am terribly indecisive and an over-thinker.

10.  I have a handicapped younger brother who is most definitely an angel among us.

You are now wiser in the Mel and Steff department!
Have a great day!  : )

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Holiday help {Flirty Apron} discount code!

The holidays are here! Hooray!
We're so excited to have a killer deal for you to help you get ready for the holiday baking, crafting, and gift giving!  Hop over to Flirty Aprons and use our code to score some adorable aprons for yourself and your whole family - they even have little boy and men's aprons! 

And we must say, these are not your grandma's aprons!  They are super hot ladies!  
It feels great to look stylish and cute while baking those cookies and pies!

I have all girls, you can imagine the use these things get around here.  Not only do they cook with me, they play "waitress" in them, dress up, and craft (my five year old likes to keep googly eyes and glue in her apron pocket.)  

Sugar cookies at my house!  Yu-um!  Fun and tasty, but not always pretty. ; )

Time to get some Christmas shopping done!
Go to Flirty Aprons and use code LOVEIT35 to save 35% + free shipping!  Yahoo!
Remember- this code is only good until midnight tonight!! 
 Happy shopping!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

3 Thanksgiving Centerpiece Ideas

I have been dying to try making a log candle holder, so the other day when I passed by some firewood bundles, I decided to go for it.  I looked them over and chose a bundle that had a couple flat bottomed logs.
Then Steff and I got together to bust out some tools.  We had to saw a small chunk off the log to help it lay completely flat.  It'll be holding fire after all, flat is a good idea.
 These pictures crack me up!  Let's just say, if we can do this, so can you!  Look at us!  
(Steffany was wearing an apron for another post we were working on.)  She actually rocks with power tools! I rocked with the dull hand saw and my socks and slipper shoes-ha ha!   
All you need is a drill and a 1 1/2 inch spade drill bit.  Mark where you want the candles and drill into the log about 1/4 to 1/2 inch.
Place the candles!  Gorgeous!  This decor should obviously not be left unattended.  

Once we got going with the log idea, we came up with this gem.
We used a rotary tool to engrave the words "Give Thanks" onto this log.  'Give' is on one side, 'Thanks' is on the other.  
 To make the words stand out and look more rustic, we torched it!  
Good news, we did not start the house on fire!  
Bad news, Steffany enjoyed this a little more than she should!  Ha!
(This step helped us feel pretty confident that the candles in the first log would be just fine.  We were literally holding fire to the wood and it still didn't catch fire.  We realize, it would eventually, but for Thanksgiving dinner, some attended candles should be just fine.)

My house smelled so good, like a wood burning stove!  So cozy!

 Last, some Terracotta pot stands.
We picked up some Terracotta pots (which are very inexpensive) and glued the saucers to the bottoms of each pot to create a little stand.

 Then we spray painted them a creamy white.
 We added some gold ribbon to some pumpkins and wrapped a couple stands 
with burlap then just lined them up.  (All our pumpkins are Halloween leftovers.)

3 inexpensive and simple centerpiece ideas!  Which is your favorite? 
 I am really loving the log candle holder.  
We hope you're having a great week!  

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