Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanks Worth Giving!

Alas another Thanksgiving has arrived! Time to gather w/ family - friends - those we love -& Feast upon a lot of yummy food - drink & dessert!

Of course I have soo much to be Thankful for this year - too much to post on a Facebook status - too many deserving of sentiments - and too much procrastination in Posting a Thankful thought each day of the month that I decided today was all too appropriate & all too necessary =)

God has Blessed & Enriched my life in so many way this year- & I must admit at times I would have preferred not to be so 'enriched' -lol. However as we know - it's during those stretching of our strength - mental -physical & emotional times-that we come out stronger -more aware (hopefully) of what to do and Not do in the future & more aware of those around us who He's brought into our lives for 'such a time as this' to see us through! & for those people - today- and hopefully a pc of Every day- I Give Thanks!

My husband - of course like many of you ladies out there - I couldn't imagine my life without him! For 17 years now he's Blessed me in many ways & been a pc of my sanity! Through his humor- his goofiness (things that years ago would've made me embarrassed=p) have served as gentle reminders not to take this life too seriously! His love for our Lord - his prayers & positive attitude - they have and continue to see us through so much & I can't Thank God enough for allowing him to have 'faith the size of a mustard seed' all those years ago ;) Love You Joe! & Thank You for giving me the greatest gifts of all - our boys!

To Andrew & Lucas - Mommy Thanks God - not nearly enough b/c there's not enough hours in the day- for you both! Drew 'pc of my heart' - your compassion & love & deep thinking inspire me to be a bit better each day (or at least to try!) - your stubbornness & determination may drive me crazy but they remind me a bit of myself & how can I fault that -b/c I know God's placed that determination in you to carry out His Great Plans He has for You (Jer 29:11) To my sweet ball of energy & 'sunshine' Lucas - Mommy loves you bunches - I love your fearlessness -even though it has me on edge at times -it also has in me in prayer more=p which can never be a bad thing-lol. Your smile and laughter of course are contagious & God sent you into our lives at a Perfect time! Only the Lord knew that w/ the craziness of opening a business only 3 days earlier that You would help keep this momma grounded upon the Most important role I have - that of being a Mother (& a wife) first - and business owner last- Not the other way around! Your energy reminds me of the importance of taking care of myself so I can try and keep up w/ 2 growing boys- and even though I've failed numerous times this year - my prayer is to always try a bit more each day to be the Best Mom I can to you both - for you deserve Nothing less! <3

To my sister - business partner - the one who drives me most crazy -lol - but also who pushes me to not settle into my own groove & nature as much as I may desire- but to grow & to love w/ more compassion our differences that help balance us. Thank you for taking the plunge w/ me in opening up our 66Beans Coffee Lounge - or rather- God's Coffee Lounge. For w/out you by my side that little spot in Charlotte Hall would not be - and the Blessings that have been 'poured' out and upon us have and continue to be countless! We'll never know until we reach the other side the chain reaction of great things that have come & will continue to spread beyond our door- Thank You Ashlee! You are more than my little sister - more than a friend & I am Blessed to be apart of your life! *my prayer is that you begin to know just how great & wise you are* (w/out your head exploding that is -lol).

To my parents- Thank you Both for the firm foundation that you both instilled in us growing up. My life -I wouldn't want to even know how it'd be w/out either of you! Your love for us is always obvious & your belief in what God can do through us is a reflection upon the risks you've taken w/ us throughout our lives. & your sacrifices  - the countless sacrifices - Thank you will never be enough! I love you!

To my in-laws- not out-laws- I Thank God for each of you (4). Your love for us is in such a way as my own parents love - in that it's endless & sacrificial. I am Blessed to have you each in my life & Thank God for the gift of knowing I have family on Both sides who love me! Joe & I again could never say thank you enough!

To my 66 Beaners- our staff - those who are and who have been w/ us Behind the Counter of 66 Beans - I prayed for you - & I thank God that He heard my prayer almost 2 years ago now - that He'd Bless us w/ Great Staff who knew and felt our call beyond just opening another coffee shop! Each of you has enriched my life in more ways than you will ever know - you've caused me to smile - and thankfully never cry (lol) - to laugh & to grow a bit more each day I work with you. You help keep me sane - show me grace on those days when i'm a bit more emotional & lacking in sleep -lol. You've been trustworthy and honest (which is hard to find these days) & Each of you has been and continues to be a Blessing to all those who walk thru our door. For that and SO MUCH more I say Thanks!!

To our 66 Customers - many who are now like family- oh my how you've helped remind me that our place is more than 'just another coffee shop around the corner'! You remind me daily that we All have a story - we all have something to give to one another- and I can only hope that I can continue to give back to you more than just yummy food and drink - but to show you a pc of God's love & grace & compassion each day you stop by our place. Those of you who I refer to as our Characters - I love ya! You have made me laugh and smile and take in a refreshing that at times only God knew I needed! My life is forever changed by each of you & the sense of Community that I now have in an area i said i'd never live- is a Blessing! & of course -without you- wouldn't couldn't exist! =)

& To my girlfriends- we will never be able to visit as much as I like -never chat as much as I'd prefer - but my Thanks go out to you all and to God for Blessing me w/ such a wonderful inspiring loving group of women! There's too many to name and for that alone I Thank God for! You ladies Rock! You are strong - compassionate - loyal -trustworthy -fun - gorgeous inside and out & have helped me in more ways then you'll ever know! I LOVE YOU ladies - and thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a friend of mine!

And to everyone else taking the time to read this long giving of Thanks - you too must be someone important to me in some way -past or present! You have apparently touched my life & to you I say Thank You & Happy Thanksgiving!! May God continue to Bless each of you today and always & may you feel His love through the Good times and bad!

Now - turkey time! Eat- Drink & Be Merry My Friends!

Friday, October 5, 2012

season of CrAZinEsS...

 We look so normal... lol
*pic taken on short OC vaca*

So apparently once again i have slacked Greatly in keeping up w/ the ol' blog & once again i was reminded =p it's nice to know some actually do read these little blurbs about my *our* life & care to remind me they are waiting to hear more. so i chose the pic above b/c i just love my boys & it's the most recent family shot i believe we have - at least one that wasn't taken from my phone.  & it reminds me we do get to squeeze in moments of ToGetHerNess here and there *like celebrating Lucas turning 1 or Drew turing 5 this summer/fall ...even though the pic below describes things a bit clearer

*not my car - or my stuff*

just a fun pic of chaos that reminds me of my *our* life lately - and i chose this shot specifically b/c *i am* i feel like i'm living out of my car lately! we are running the roads a LOT these days - like so many i know but i think many of you must do it more graciously than i b/c i DO NOT ENJOY IT one bit =o
from taking andrew to school - running back and forth to 66Beans - to my parents or mtg spots along the road to drop off lucas or pick him up - or home to run in & out or let luke nap for a bit before heading back out the door - swapping kids with joe while i close the shop - picking andrew up from school - trying to squeeze in a quick trip to the park or library before passing them off to their dad to close up the shop again or take both home alone b/c he's working his part-time job or trying to get to church on time - trying to make it back on Wed. nights b/c we DO LOVE our ECC fam - try to fit in the family needs of grocery shopping - laundry -cleaning or at least ThInKing about the family needs of grocery shopping - laundry & cleaning - and then -WASH - DRY -REPEAT (maybe that's why i got mono in the spring-lol) -oh yeah and TRY to find an hour or two where joe and i can remember we are a couple and we do need to hang out together! lol. yeah - that about brings you up-to-date a bit - in a very brief compressed way.

this SeAsOn though i try and remind myself is JuSt ThAt - a season - and it too shall PASS - either that or I will push and shove *kick & scream* my way through until it does b/c i am eager to get on the other side *w/out a breakdown*- you know -that *grass is always greener* side =p seriously though a needed balance is what i am hard at work on along with the required drastic life changes that are needed to acquire such balance. but i'm a girl who BeLiEvEs and i do know that God is working all things out for His Good which ultimately is My Good as well *again i'm reminding myself of that as i write* & He has Always seen us through & greatly Blessed us w/ loving friends & family who help in more ways then i will ever be able to Thank Them *more ways then i wish were needed at times! *but one day i know we'll be on the GiViNg SiDe*

so here we are - well on our way into fall which no doubt will bring on winter quicker than those *like me who prefer warmer climates* may like but honestly this year - this winter - i'm looking forward - b/c w/ it i BeLiEvE is coming Great Change for our family dynamic - one which will allow me to try and keep this ol' blog more up to date - allow a bit more time for treasured family time -creative expression - designing & raising my boys w/ a more calm spirit b/c i am making the time to Breathe Deeper - soak up Their Youth *b/c time flies and they are growing too fast* and be the wife that my husband needs & deserves - while SlowInG down & EnjoyInG all that God has Blessed me with *instead of just looking back w/ fondness of past fleeting moments* i Will Be Choosing to enjoy a new and blessed season & i hope you all will be as well...


Friday, May 18, 2012

Mother's Day...a Different Kinda Meltdown!

Blessed to Celebrate another Mother's Day X2!
My Heart Melts...

As any mom knows...there is NO greater love then the love you have for your child/children! It's this crazy "i'm going to eat you up" kinda love - and i never even really got that saying until i laid eyes on Andrew's chubby little cheeks when he was born. It's just craziness! And then add another child to the mix and watch the love between the two of them... a whole other level of crazy!
I don't know how most other moms feel -never asked any really- but i know when Lucas came there has not been a day that's passed where I don't look at him in utter surprise and amazement that I now have two- two Boys! With Andrew I felt deep within my gut for years before I became pregnant that God would one day be blessing us with a son - I had NO DOUBT - but with Lucas - I have to tell ya - God surprised me! He blessed me with an extra gift and I will Never be able to justly thank Him enough =)

My little Light - My Sunshine

This little man is my reminder that God can just keep on giving even when we never feel - or honestly are - deserving. A couple yrs prior to becoming pregnant w/ Lucas we were actually "trying" to add to our lil family - but - like many - nothing happened. It was a long time later - after the "trying" ended and the "let's just see what happens one day" turned into the "well maybe we'll adopt sooner than we thought" that AhHa- We're Pregnant day arrived! and the mind... my my it's definitely as God's Word says - Powerful! I think it's because I began to take on a "mindset" that another baby in the womb just wasn't going to be for me - that from that blessed day of discovery that I was wrong -was day One of the daily "Surprise" i feel each time I look into his Big Blue/Gray Eyes =) 
And honestly until I had my boys I never quite got it - I never truly could grasp Exactly what true & total unconditional love was/is all about!?! I mean YES i love my husband as you all do yours - they drive us crazy at times -but Yes the love remains - but the love of a mom - it's just plain different! I mean my boys -really more Andrew of course b/c he's at the 'boy thinking he's a man' stage of 4yrs-lol- he definitely can drive me nutty and frustrate me at times -but just give me a second - or not even that much if he cracks a smile- & I'm broke - my heart melts- and the frustration passes -there's no feeling of 'i'm not going to talk to you the rest of the day' like you might feel with your spouse - there's just that 'awe come give me a hug and it's all forgotten' kinda thing. Honestly it's great... Honestly it's a reminder that's how I should love All the time - no matter who - after all - that's how God loves me/you - so how could I possibly feel right to love anyone else any different. My boys remind me of that everyday! Every day My Heart Melts when I look at them - and every day they serve to remind me of God's Love for me when I don't feel deserving (after all I'm truly never 'deserving') and reminds me of how I am called to Love others - Unconditionally. 

So thanks Lord - for Blessing my life with 2 Fabulously Wonderful Daily reminders of Your Love! And Thank You for calling me to be their Mom- may I love them as You love them - may I listen to them as You listen to me - may I never fail them enough to leave a scar - & may a day Never pass when they don't know and feel Loved by their mom!

God Bless Each & Every MOM out there....w/ Strength that passes all understanding - Love that daily fills their home & Laughter that carries them through to the other side of any trial thrown their way!

*my-being so house bound the past several wks has def. brought out a more sentimental side of me-lol*
Hope You Enjoyed EVERY Minute of Your Mother's Day!

Monday, January 2, 2012

What Year 2011 was....

My oh my it's been too long since i caught up w/ my ol' blog -you know -the one i promised to keep up-to-date! =0

2011 was a year of Growth for our family in more ways than one.

As many know we were walking thru the process of opening our coffee lounge Sixty-Six Beans in Southern MD early last year on thru the summertime ....I am happy to now say we've been up and running since August 15th! What a blessing & a stress (ol' blood sweat & tears) all wrapped in one -lol. It's one of those blessings in life where you are glad that God didn't reveal the Big picture from the beginning to overwhelm you enough to say -'open-manage & run a coffee shop-Nah- I don't think so'. lol My sister Ashlee & I are definitely glad we did though & have been blessed so greatly by 66Beans- our employees & the community. If you ask me my favorite part of owning such a business I wouldn't hesitate to say it's meeting everyone who walks thru our door! Our customers are a blessing -not just financially of course =) but by opening up their lives to us little by little (or should I say cup by cup=). It brings a smile to our face to say we have what this industry refers to as 'regulars' -the ones who frequent our shop several times a week (if not each day)- for they are the ones who are becoming apart of our 66Beans family and who are spreading great word for us (as we found out quickly-Marketing is almost Everything).  For more info on our hot-spot please visit our site (b/c honestly I could talk for a quite a while)

In other areas of Growth- 2011 brought us a new addition- our 2nd son Lucas Paul Clark -born just 3 days after opening 66Beans on Thursday August 18th. Talk about timing right, lol. (i'll have to write a little 'birth story' soon) As they say though- God's never early or late- He's right on time! We often question that saying don't we? By no means would I have arranged it that way but looking back -and in more years to come- I think we'll realize even more-so how we Grew thru that time (my sister and I- her being left to really manage a new business & me being left to begin the juggle as a mom of 2 and doing business work via the computer (not my specialty-more Ashlee's area of expertise). So you could say I/We were being stretched- but none-the-less we made it thru =) & Lucas is, as I call him, my Sunshine! He's a sweet little boy who's smile lights up his whole face -and the faces looking back at him. He's a pudgy little butterball (Not when he 1st arrived to my surprise- I was told he'd be an 8-lber- but he arrived at 6lbs, 7oz) -but now I am happy to report my baby boy is a chunky happy lil monkey who's looking more like his big brother Andrew all the time =)  Now... if only he'd sleep thru the night....!

& Speaking of Drew- he turned the big 4 this year and boy oh boy is he 'coming into his own'-lol. I love him to pieces (up to the sky & back is what I often tell him- only to have him tell me recently-'well mom I love you up to Jesus and back, so i beat you!lol) He keeps me on my toes for sure and is definitely one PROUD and Happy big brother! I often say he loves lucas a bit too much - but how could he really?! He started daycare in july just a couple days a week and does enjoy it. After a bit of a struggle getting him to go after having Lucas (b/c he realized lucas was going to Gran's without him) he's getting better each day. And of course I know the routine (having worked in a daycare for a number of years -years & years ago=) it def did break my heart those several mornings when he definitely did NOT want to stay. And my little imaginative story teller would often come up with hysterical reasons as to why he couldn't go- like "mom-I have to work today or my boss will fire me" -me "drew where do you work" Drew- "virginia"! lol. Kids a trip i tell ya! =)

& I must not forget how 2011 grew us Spiritually. We've been greatly blessed to be apart of a wonderful new church family -ECC -Encounter Christian Center- right near (thru the parking lot actually) of 66Beans. Joe and I have been encouraged - uplifted & blessed by the Ministers & again- all who enter the door. I never realized I could feel 'at home' so quickly in a church w/ over 300 people. And talk about amazing multi-cultural environment in Southern MD- something my hearts desired in a church but honestly other than a desire the Lord was aware of - I never thought much more of it b/c I know the 'facts' that Sundays are a time when most attend churches w/ others 'just alike'. So it's a wonderful refreshing - one in which has me often looking around during worship/service thinking -"Wow this is what heaven will look like one day"! God is good!

Okay - must wrap it up for now -hope that little briefing caught you up a bit - and I hope that this is just a start to keeping things more up-to-date!

I pray God showers His Blessings Upon us All this new Year! 
Happy 2012!