unfollowLast Friday was a crazy day for me – just super busy and putting out fires for the market and working (etc, etc). That evening someone was at my house and she said that a friend told her that my life was perfect. In that moment  it made me really upset. Of course my life’s not perfect. Blessed? Yes. Perfect? Absolutely not. Sunday at church I stewed over that. People thinking my life is perfect. Why does that make me mad? I really don’t know, but I do know I never want to make anyone feel bad with the things that I put out there. I talked it over with Dave and he basically told me to take it as a compliment (hard to do when I figure it wasn’t meant that way). He said to let it go, which I probably should but just had to get this out today.

In the past few weeks I’ve come across a few blog posts about social media. They’ve been about the reality of it and how people show you the snippets they want you to see. People don’t post everything that happens in their day (thank goodness)! You see what they want you to see. We all know that. I’ve said it many times – I want this little corner of the internet to be a positive, inspirational place. I want my shop, blog, instagram, facebook – I want it all to give glory to God and inspire others in various aspects of their lives. Whether that’s using our gifts, becoming healthier, encouraging others. That’s not to say that I don’t have bad days or days that I raise my voice at my children. Days that I nag my husband or there’s a crazy amount of dirt on the floor. Days that I eat too much chocolate or gluten even though I know I’ll feel sick after. We all have those days. But who wants to see them in their newsfeed? Maybe some do, but that’s not my thing. Thankfully, God has made us all different – so if that is your thing, you can find it.

If my space is not encouraging for you, if it’s not uplifting you and encouraging you (and sometimes challenging you, which is not a bad thing) – there’s this wonderful little thing called the unfollow button. You can do it most anywhere. On Facebook if we’re friends, you can hide my posts. You don’t have to unfriend me, you can just choose to hide my posts. I’ll never know. Or you can unfollow on Instagram or other social media. I don’t check to see who unfollows me – because that will give me a complex and I don’t need that. Truth be told, I follow and unfollow people all the time. It depends on what’s going on in my life right then. One day I might want to follow a photographer with gorgeous nature pictures, then a few weeks later maybe I don’t want to see that as much. Maybe one day I want to see a really talented crafter, and later I realize that those posts make me feel bad that I haven’t taken time to craft in a really long time. It’s okay. Things change. Our needs and wants change. I hope that I can be an inspiration to you but if not, that’s okay. You won’t hurt my feelings if my style isn’t for you. We all decide who to follow. If you are a follower and continue to be, I appreciate you and your encouragement in that way.

I’m coming into the busiest time of the year so it’ll be a little quiet around here as I focus on fulfilling orders for the Christmas season. You can always follow along with what I’m doing on Facebook, Instagram or if you’re interested in wellness you can follow my new site and Instagram. Love and appreciate you all!

I’m sure I’ve written this in a blog post before, but I love the Old Testament part of the Bible.  I’m watching out for lightning as I write this (wink!), but I think it might be my favorite.  I mean, I don’t get way into or much out of all those lists in Numbers and all that crazy law in Leviticus, but you guys!, the STORIES!  Who doesn’t love a really good story?  And you can’t make up ones like these…

Beyond just the entertainment value, however, there are some seriously deep and cut-to-the-bone lessons in there, and it seems like just about every time I read one of them, God is holding up a mirror and showing me how I’m like a certain character in the that story.  And,… yikes, you know?

claris blocksSo I was reading the story of the tower of Babel (Genesis 11).  The one about the people are building this huge, tall tower to reach up to God in heaven, thinking they can be as high and mighty as God is.  God frustrates their plans and makes them all speak different languages, so they can’t understand each other and the work can’t continue.  They all scatter all over the earth (like He had told them to begin with), and then, The End.  God’s purpose is accomplished – people are scattered, new languages are born, the tower is left unfinished, people relearn their place in Creation.

At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words. (Gen. 11.1)

The people of the earth after the Flood put their heads together and decided to build a city and a tower so they could become famous and all stay together.  I’ve always been taught from this story that we need reminded we are not as great as God, we shouldn’t try to become Him, and that people who can’t understand each other really have a hard time working together.  Growing up on the mission field, and then becoming a translator, I get that lesson.  But I’m a firm believer that every story or lesson in the Bible is relevant for me today, where I am right this second.  For you, too – and maybe you’re not a former missionary, who is now a translator.

I started thinking about the miscommunication I still deal with every day.  Sometimes my kids don’t listen.  Or they don’t seem to understand what I’m saying.  I got my feelings hurt because of something a friend posted on Facebook.  I ended up in a fight with my husband because I shot off at the mouth and said something better left unsaid.  It’s not as if we aren’t all speaking the same actual language to one another.  We ARE speaking the same language, and still misunderstand each other, still have a hard time working and living together.

And I realized, we’re all still building our own kingdoms too.  Still making our own plans, going about our own business, pretending like we aren’t disobeying what God clearly told us to do.  Our problems in communication ultimately come from us trying to accomplish our own plans, meet our own needs, satisfy our own wants, and make our own lives convenient.  Now there’s not a whole lot I can do about you and your kingdom-building, nor you about me and mine.

Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages.  Then they won’t be able to understand each other.

But God can.  So next time you’re talking to your friend kindly about something and somehow you end up on the outs with her, ask yourself, ‘Whose kingdom was I building in that conversation?’  Ask the same question the next time a seemingly innocuous request to your spouse turns into a full-blown argument.  You might have to dig a little bit.  I know I did.  But when I really looked at what was at the root of my words – me, me, me, me – it was easier to see that I was laying a foundation for my own city and tower, not God’s.

sharing daddy's breakfast

My telling my kids to pick up their toys and ultimately ending up frustrated was, if I’m honest, really about ME just obsessing about a clean house.

That sarcastic comment on Facebook was really about wanting to be seen as funny.

If you find ourselves in verbal scrapes with others often, instead of saying, ‘oh, that’s just how people are, there’ll always be arguments and conflict with other people,’ we should see if we’re in obedience to God, and if we’re about His kingdom or ours.

Isaiah 46:10 says this, “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.  I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’   From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.  What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do.

But, wait.  Before we get the idea that He’s just up there in Heaven lording it over us, moving us around like pawns to win his game, let’s read on a little…  What’s His purpose?  What does He have planned?  Nothing less than saving us.  Saving us from building a huge tower for nothing.  Bring us to Heaven with Him.  Exactly what we wanted.

I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed.  I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to Israel.

I’m Amber Pierre, mother of 3 (ages 3, 2 and 1) and expecting baby #4.  I love to sew, but I’m not that great at it, and I love to cook, and no one has had food poisoning yet, which is totally how I determine that I’m a fantastic cook.  I am home with my kids, and work part-time as a translator from home.  Sometimes the lines of my “work” get blurry, and I wonder if one more load of laundry is going to make any kind of eternal impact.  After doing some Bible reading, I’ve realized that it’s my attitude about doing the laundry (or whatever) that matters…

I am Brave and Beautiful – a beauty movement that is sweeping the globe. Colbie Caillat started it with her recent song and video called TRY. My blogging friend Megan of Brassy Apple wanted to push this movement along and invited women from all over to share what they looked like without make up and I joined in!! Colbie’s song says, “Take your make up off. Let your hair down… Look into the mirror at yourself, Do you like you? Cause I like you… “

Megan and her friend Cobi of Peacefrom6pieces have been the team behind this whole project. Their worldwide vision included creating their own video inspired by the song TRY. The talent of Robbins Creative made it possible for them to pull it off. You have to click play and see the beauty and bravery displayed and you might even recognize a few faces in there.

I joined with 101+ other blogging women from different backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, ages, shapes and sizes have decided to be Brave and Beautiful! You can join in this movement too by sharing what you look like without makeup on. You don’t need a blog either! Just tag your photo with #IamBraveAndBeautiful on Instgram and search the hashtag to see who else has joined in. ALSO, if you tag it with a second hashtag – #ColbieTRY we just might be able to get Colbie Caillat’s attention since she was the inspiration behind it all!

Are you brave and beautiful? I am, here I go!

When my friend Megan asked me to participate in this online movement today with 100 other bloggers, I have to admit, at first I hesitated because it doesn’t necessarily fit with the things that I put out on my blog. Then I watched Colbie’s video and with tears in my eyes said “I’m in” because I think it’s that important that we support each other as women in this way.

The song says over and over, “You don’t have to try so hard.” Colbie’s not saying to never try ever in your life, let’s be real. You all know what she’s saying – you don’t have to try so hard to please others by having the hair extensions, fancy makeup & sexy clothes. I’m not saying there’s not a time and place for some of those things (I know my husband appreciates some of these things) but I don’t have to try so hard to impress others with my appearance because I know I am known and loved by God and my family. They love me in the yoga pants or my Sunday best. They love me in the good, bad and ugly.

real-me

So here is me. On the left is Sunday morning “me” when I actually get dressed in something other than workout clothes, do my hair and put on makeup. On the right is regular, everyday “me” – when I’m home working or being with the family or relaxing on the porch. That’s the “me” that you’ll see 5 out of the 7 days of the week. That’s the “me” that I consider to be the real me, because I like being comfortable with my hair up and not having to take makeup off every night before bed. I love the fact that my hubby likes seeing me in workout clothes – it helps.

Why do you resonate with what Colbie’s trying to say – why do you feel like you don’t have to try so hard?

share your natrual beauty - brassyapple.com

Don’t stop here. Get clicking around – its a blog hop! Below are more brave and beautiful women bearing more than their natural beauty. They each have a little bit of their heart to share with you. Some get very personal. Some share stories. For some this was very hard to do yet they gathered their courage and did it anyway. We hope as you click around (and YES pin these different posts!) you will feel the importance of it, the empowering effect it has and that it encourages you in some way.

>>>>>>>Important info! Blog Hops often have glitches the first day. If the link has an ERROR, simply click on the HOME button for each site, or google the blog name next to the link, and you should see their brave and beautiful post there. Links will be updated as soon as possible.<<<<<<<<<<<<

women sharing their natural beauty - no makeup

1. BrassyApple 2. Peace from 6 Pieces 3. Is this Really My Life 4. Among the Young 5. Love Me Dani Marie 6. Sweet Charli 7. Kim Orlandini 8. XO, Ashton Tilton 9. She Calls Me Mama Leisha 10. Raising Memories – Canada 11. A Little Tipsy 12. Amy Cornwell 13. A girl and a glue gun 14. My Craftily Ever After 15. Maybe I Will 16. WhipperBerry 17. Paging SuperMom 18. All Things Thrifty 19. Ashlee Marie 20. The Project Girl

women with our makeup on and what makes them beautiful

21. One Little Momma 22. Entirely Eventful Day 23. Diary of a Brown Eyed Girl 24. Tips from a Typical Mom 25. Utah Sweet Savings 26. Flats to Flip Flops 27. One Krieger Chick 28. What Meegan Makes 29. Simply Kierste 30. Live to be Inspired 31. HoneyBear Lane 32. Pretty Providence 33. Ma Nouvelle Mode – in FRANCE 34. MomEntity 35. Serger Pepper – in ITALY 36. Kiki and Company 37. Girl Loves Glam 38. Thrive

women from around the world share their face with no makeup on - BrassyApple.com

39. The Potters Place 40. Crafting in the Rain 41. Cooking With Ruthie 42. Delineate Your Dwelling 43. The Pennington Point 44. Bakerette 45. The Happy Scraps 46. Shannon Baird Photography 47. Tried and Tasty 48. Lionesses at the Gate 49. Fry Sauce and Grits 50. Lolly Jane 51. That’s What Che Said 52. Sugar Bee Crafts 53. Your HomeBased Mom 54. Happiness is Homemade 55. The Crafted Sparrow 56. R&R Workshop 57. I Should Be Mopping the Floor 58. Sassy Steals

Mommy bloggers share their face without makeup and what makes then beautiful

59. Let’s Eat Grandpa 60. Being Spiffy 61. Sumo’s Sweet Stuff 62. Ginger Snap Crafts 63. Bless This Mess 64. Apronista 65. Dreaming About Someday 66. Frenchie 67. Tastefully Frugal 68. Four Marrs and One Venus 69. Your Sister Circle 70. Over the Big Moon 71. See Vanessa Craft 72. Infarrantly Creative 73. Family StoryTelling

Natural beauty untouched photos

74. Albion Gould 75. Life as Mrs. Larson 76. Tried and True 77. Play.Party.Pin. 78. Bite of Delight 79. Ink Happi 80. ObSEUSSed 81. U Create 82. My Mommy Style 83. Find it Make it Love it 84. The Contractor Chronicles 85. Novae Clothing 86. Mommy Makes Things 87. At Home with Sweet T 88. We Like to Learn As We Go 89. House for Five 90. Organize and Decorate Everything 91. Sassy Southern Gurl 92. The Creative Mom 93. Keep Moving Forward with Me

raw natural beauty - join the movement

94. The Benson Street 95. Mom 4 Real 96. Sowdering About 97. illistyle 98. The Crafty Blog Stalker 99. A Fiery Red Life 100. Cupcakes & Crowbars 101. One Sweet Appetite 102. My DayLights 103. Restless Risa

beauty and bravery - women wearing no makeup - Brassyapple.com

104. Sypsie Designs 105. Vintage Mother 106. Like Mother Like Daughter 107. 30 Handmade Days 108. Queen Bee and Me 109. Apples by Ashley 110. Boutique Cafe – in CANADA 111. Just My Little Mess 112. Bombshell Bling 113. Sarah Tyau 114. Taradara Make it 115. Capturing Joy 116. Ivory Lime Photography 117. Jenkins Kids Farm 118. Free Time Frolics 119. Bella Storia 120. Dana Ohlsen Photography

#colbietry #iambraveandbeautiful

Ready in join in?Snap, hashtag and share! Tag @BrassyApple and @Peacefrom6Pieces if you can too!

Also follow our Bravery and Beauty PINTEREST board for more inspiration!

planning

Last month I shared how to get out of a creative funk. This month I wanted to share how I plan my days because it was requested that I share what I do. What I do obviously won’t work for everyone, but it’s something that works really well for me. I’m the type of person that if it’s not written down, it doesn’t get done. I can go to the store for a dozen eggs but if it’s not on my shopping list, I’ll get everything (that I don’t need) and forget the eggs. I’m a mess that way. So much so that when my mom asks me to do something she tells me (every time), “write yourself a note.” At least I know I’m this way, right? So here’s how I plan my days, because with three businesses (this, this and this), two kids, a hubby and house to take care of I’m feeling spread pretty thin these days. I know you all can relate. Life’s hard. Life’s busy. Life’s expensive. This method helps me to be a little less crazy. A little.

monthly planning

Before the nuttiness of summertime, I was doing great making Monthly, Weekly and Daily goals with the help of Lara Casey’s Power Sheets. I plan to go back to using them as soon as I make the time to set some goals again. (you can see previous goals here when I was diligent about them). Basically you set a few monthly goals – I did mine by categories: business, spiritual, physical, relational, finances. When you go through the power sheets she walks you through what your big goals are and then how to split them into smaller goals in order to help you better accomplish them. It’s a really great system…you don’t have to use power sheets to complete your goals but this sure helped me break them down. After monthly goals you set weekly ones (something you do once a week) and then also daily goals (shown below). As you can see already from my checkboxes in the picture, there were days when my goals didn’t get done. And I’m okay with that. Progress, not perfection as Lara says!

planning3

Once I knew my goals, I could start putting them into my planner. In 2013 I used an Erin Condren Planner and this year I’m using Emily Ley’s. I haven’t decided what I’ll use in 2015 – I like to try new ones so I might try the Day Designer. Or I might make my own planning sheets. Jury’s still out on that one. I’ve gone back and forth with a paper planner vs. just my phone. I do keep my schedule in my phone, but I still transfer it to my planner weekly. There’s just something about me and paper.

blog calendar

On the monthly view of the calendar in my planner I plan my blog posts. Yes, I color code the calendar so that I can see which posts are for Amy Cornwell, LLC and which are for Natural Living Real Life. Plus I love colorful pens. And really any office supplies. I digress. So the month is all planned out with my posts, then I check off when they’re complete. That way I know what to start thinking about when I have time on my calendar for blogging. I also put extras on that calendar like photo shoots and freebie fridays. Just to keep my eyes on what’s going out to the world on the blog and enews.

daily planner

Once I have my blog planned for the month, I can start planning my days. Normally I like to plan my days on Sunday – I put all of my appointments in then plan out production days for the jewelry business. It takes priority over anything else, I want people to get their orders in a timely manner. After I plan production days, I plan what days I need to focus on getting my blog posts done and other tasks. I simply fill in the week. If something doesn’t get done on a certain day, it gets bumped to the next (see above where orders have a little arrow…apparently I didn’t get them all done with everything else so they were finished the next day). As I look at my tasks for the day, I refer back to the monthly calendar to make sure no blog posts get forgotten.

planning2

For me, there’s something so gratifying about checking things off the list. Some days I only have one thing to do, other days I have 10 little things to do. But they all go “on the list” so that I can make sure nothing is missed and I can also look back and make sure that I actually did something I was supposed to do. Now it’s your turn – how to do plan your days? Do you plan them at all ahead of time or just take one day at a time? Weigh in below and we’ll learn from each other!

Tell me if this ever happens to you.  Let’s say I’m kind of having a not-so-great day.  Maybe it’s that day a few months ago when I had a two year old, a one year old, and an infant, the washer caught on fire (not even kidding), the hose to it popped off and flooded the hallway, and I had to turn the water in the whole house off until it got fixed.  And it was winter.  I’m sure there were other “crises” that day – I’m sure someone blew out a diaper, more than likely I got spit up on, I cooked three meals, and no doubt cleaned up the same toys 16 times.  Even if you’re not a mom, you’ve had this day.

You’ve gotten to work and you had a project due.  Your network went down, leaving you high and dry.  The other guy who was supposed to help you on the project called in sick, you forgot your lunch, and when the network finally comes back up at 3:30, you get busy, until the power goes out.

I mean, right? I’m sure there’s some Murphy’s Law about all this, or some expression about raining and pouring.  There’s a mountain of work to be done, people to be pleased or helped, and these roadblocks leave us wondering if it’s really worth it.  If it really all matters.  Because no one’s calling me a hero for solving the washer problem.

I’ve asked myself a million times what the value is in one more load of laundry, one more encouraging text to someone who doesn’t reply, cooking one more meal, and realized it came down to who I thought I was giving up for.  Who was I giving up my free time, my rest, my night’s sleep, my family time, my vacation,…who did I give them up for?  My kids?  My coworkers?  My parents?  Friends?

It came down to something Jesus said – If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. (Matt. 16:25)

And here all along, the reason I was getting discouraged was I was looking to the wrong people for affirmation, to notice.  I was doing those things for his sake, or her sake, or their sake, but not His sake.

Next time you’re having that day, remember this one – it always packs a punch: “Work willingly at whatever you do, though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (Col. 3: 23)

I’m Amber Pierre, mother of 3 (ages 3, 2 and 1) and expecting baby #4.  I love to sew, but I’m not that great at it, and I love to cook, and no one has had food poisoning yet, which is totally how I determine that I’m a fantastic cook.  I am home with my kids, and work part-time as a translator from home.  Sometimes the lines of my “work” get blurry, and I wonder if one more load of laundry is going to make any kind of eternal impact.  After doing some Bible reading, I’ve realized that it’s my attitude about doing the laundry (or whatever) that matters…