WARNING: Rebecca D. shows flagrant disregard for the rules of punctuation... She uses ellipsis with wild abandon... Punctuation interventions have been done to no avail... If you are offended by such irreverence to the rules of grammar... The very glue that holds our society together... STOP READING NOW... Move on... There is a little button at the top that says "next blog"... You would be well advised to use it... You were warned...

Two Years In A Blink...

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

This past Saturday we celebrated our Lilly's 2nd birthday. I can't believe it's been two years already! We decided on a preppy whale theme in pink & green for no real reason other then it was super cute. Here is a peek into her big day... 

We ordered cupcakes and added a little Mary & Martha flair...

Some super cute bottle labels and rainbow straws...

The bakery went all out on the cupcakes! 

We mostly set up on the deck this year...

I think the little fabric bunting we had from last year's back drop looks adorable around the deck rail.

{Side note: I have been wanting to get a new patio set for the past two years but every year my husband convinces me we will be moving soon and we can just leave this one behind and get a new one when we get where ever the Lord is taking us... I am starting to think he is just stalling me...}

I ordered deli trays to make life super easy... I love deli trays for a party!

I grabbed these paper lanterns on a whim at Target and had no plan for them. Katy came up with the idea to put them on the umbrella and I think they look cute.

We had all these little personalized details we ordered... They made decorating super fun and easy. 

Including this cute banner 

And the little tags we put on the "Goodie Pails" 

We had a fun time setting this party up. We kept it low key and that made it much easier to enjoy our guests. 

Paul & I got her this little retro kitchen set for her birthday and she loves it. The thing she loves most is being allowed to open and close the cabinet doors as much as she wants. No child locks or anyone telling her to "close it"... It's toddler heaven.

Here's the Birthday Girl with her mom.

She is getting so big!

Here she is hugging her beloved auntie... She is going to be so sad when her auntie goes back to school in the fall. 

She was super excited about the cupcakes and just wanted the fuss with the candles over so she could have her promised cake.

And she REALLY enjoyed it...

Really, really enjoyed it...

She would give us this look whenever it was suggested she "share a bite"! 
Let's talk about the dress... It is one of the coveted Lilly Pulitzer's for Target finds. We did not know the frenzy that line would conjure so we didn't get to Target until noonish the day they came out... You can imagine our surprise to find all empty racks, but we did find this dress tucked on a rack in the toddler section. 

It even has a cute little pineapple on the zipper. When my girlies were younger I used to get them a new Lilly Pulitzer shift every summer so it was fun to see the tradition move forward. 

Anyhow, after the cupcake she did a quick wardrobe change to open gifts... She could badly keep her eyes open by that time and mostly just let her mom do all the unwrapping.

It was a super fun day and we could almost forget all the drama in this little girl and her mother's life for a little bit. 

Thanks for listening,

Father's Day... Keeping it Real...

Sunday, June 21, 2015

This is going to be a very long and not so upbeat post, and I just want to say upfront that I am married to an amazing man who is an amazing father. He loves his family with a devotion only second the Lord. He is a bright shining pillar in a life full of tarnished father images...

You see, Father's Day is a tough day for me... I had a distinct lack of strong father roles in my life. My father was born without a father. His father died before he was born. This sunk his mother into a deep depression leaving my father and his older sister and brother to be raised by his grandmother. She had also lost her husband so it was a household without a strong male influence. My father being the baby and the fact that everyone felt sorry for him was doted on and spoiled. He grew up believing his needs were all important and this made him very narcissistic in his adulthood. In other words he grew into a very selfish man. When I was less then two years old he brought my mother, brother  and I to his grandmother's house under the guise of a visit then informed my mother he was having an affair and he wanted to marry the other woman so she could stay there or go where ever else she wanted but he was not taking us home with him. He then married the other woman about a year later and somehow he managed to forget to ever mention to her that he even had children. (She found out after they married when he eventually took her to visit his family.) He was not a totally horrible person and anyone who met him generally liked him. He was the life of every party and people constantly tell me I get a lot of my outgoing nature from him... It's hard to tell since I only saw him about five or six times from that time he left us until I was sixteen and I moved to Tennessee to live with him and my step mother. Let's just say of that two year period, that not much had changed and his world continued to revolve around him. He passed away in 2000 and since he never bothered to visit me or my family and didn't even try to have a relationship with his grandchildren I didn't go to his funeral. (Ironically, after he passed away I reached out to my step mother and we now have a pretty good relationship and she has been a very real part of my daughter's lives.) Ironically he was a leader for "Promise Keepers" for his region. A movement of Christian men to encourage them to put God first and their families second only to the Lord...

My mother remarried when I was eight. My step father is more then twenty years older then she is so when she remarried at 37 he was almost sixty. He was widowed and has five children all much older then I am. (His oldest is only a year or so younger then my mother.) He had grand children older then my brother and I, so he was past his "parenting" years. He made attempts at being a father figure in my life but he was an alcoholic and also very self centered. (Apparently my mother has a type.) He informed my brother over and over that he married my mother, not us. It wasn't long before we (my brother & I) started spending long stretches of time home alone. When he was home he tended to see us as a free labor source and I think believed that keeping us busy doing yard and house work was the best way to keep us out of his hair. He constantly compared us to his children from his previous family and we were always found to be lacking in some way. Ironic since his adult children describe him as a absentee father who when he was around was so overbearing they avoided him. They had the advantage of a stay at home mother to act as a buffer, but my mother had a career so we had little buffer. We were always in a catch 22... We were mocked for not being more athletic but we were not allowed to be in school sports until we were old enough to drive since nobody would pick us up after practice.
I remember one time when I was in sixth grade that I got pink eye. The school called my mother and told her someone had to pick me up immediately and then because of the contagious nature of it I was sent to sit on the school steps. That was mid morning, the school secretary brought me lunch out there an hour later when nobody had come. I sat there all day, as the kids left to board the busses at the end of the day I had a hard time not crying in front of them. Finally the custodian stayed with me until nearly six PM when my mother got home and realized that my stepfather had decided that finishing doing something in the yard then going to the YMCA to work out was more important then going to get me. He never called her to let her know and being the days before cell phones she was in "off site" meetings all day and nobody else knew how to reach her. I could share dozens of stories like this... For every "father like" thing he did there was always a dark side to it. Whenever I point out what a less then stellar father figure he was my mother tries to point out the one time he volunteered to chaperone a school trip. (ALL parents were expected to volunteer for at least one thing a year, and this was always a source of argument and they usually tried to get out of it by claiming it would cause "undue hardship" but for some reason that year it didn't work.) It was a trip to Boston when I was in 7th grade and he started by informing the trip supervisor that he wanted to be assigned to the bus I wasn't on and paired up with different kids since I could be difficult. He said this in front of everyone and this came as quite a shock to the teacher since I was anything but difficult at school. I had never been kept after school or sent to the office, I was the opposite of difficult. He then spent a good part of the day sharing embarrassing stories about me with a group of boys I went to school with and even participated in mocking me with them over lunch. It was horrible and even though I pretended it didn't bother me and laughed along, I did not miss the glances of pity from the other parents and teachers.

If you don't feel as sorry for me yet as they did you should also know I didn't even have a "real" grandfather figure in my life. My mother was somewhat estranged from her parents so I only saw my maternal grandfather twice in my entire childhood. He was very kind both times but basically a stranger. My father's mother did eventually get her depression under control and remarry. Her husband Bill was as close as I had to a grandfather. He was a gruff, impatient man but did seem to like us kids most of the time. He was very close with my cousin Jim but being my mother's "ex" in-laws we had limited time with them. (I can remember less then a dozen visits.) I do have some fond memories of sitting with him watching the weather channel or following him around the yard and listening to him complain about; well everything... But not about me so that was a nice change. I do remember him telling me when I was about 13 or 14 that my father was a, a**hole and that my step father wasn't much better; that he knew I got a raw deal for men in my life, but it was up to me to break the cycle. To look for a man who doesn't drink and who had good parents and marry him. It was the only good fatherly advice I had ever received and I took it.

I married a wonderful man, from a wonderful family. He has been a great husband and an amazing father to our daughters. Now that he is a grandfather I love watching him with her too. Anyhow, father's day is a tough day for me. I try to focus on my husband and have made it clear to my mother that although I take care my step father's needs I will not be making any father's day trips to the nursing home. Don't get me wrong, I am not bitter but I am also not going to keep pretending that my childhood was something it wasn't.

Thanks for listening,

Too Cute Not To Share... AND A FREE GIFT!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Yesterday's post was really heavy so how about something lighter? 

Check out this super cute "Celebrate You Plate" Mary & Martha just released:

It says: "You are special, loved, adored. A gift from God, a sweet reward. Your smiles light up every day. You bless the world hip, hip, hooray! You're fun to be with, fun to love, a happy treat from God above. So thankful He created you, let's celebrate with much ado!"

Even the back is cute... 
It says: "He will take great delight in you. He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:37 (NIV)

This beautiful ceramic plate is 9.5" and the perfect way to celebrate both big events and everyday accomplishments. I have a friend who uses her celebrate you plate to reward her family for all kinds of everyday events. She has six kiddos and they each look forward to using the celebrate plate for dinner but she also uses it to reward everyday events. If one of her kiddos gets 100 on a math quiz, cleans their room without being asked or shows uncommon kindness to a sibling they just might find the celebrate plate at their place on the dinner table. She stresses that her kiddos can't "earn" the plate, it is a surprise reward that always makes for a special direr for the recipient. 

This adorable design is only $26 and only available in June! 
To order go to www.RebeccasBlessedHome.com and click on the "shop" link. 

I am currently trying to reach a HUGE goal this month so everyone who reads my blog and orders one or more of the "Celebrate You Plates" this month will also receive a FREE surprise gift from me in the mail! Just order the plate online then comment below that you ordered based on this post and I will look your order up and send your free gift! (And my gratitude for helping me reach this milestone goal!) 

Don't need one? Think about what a fun gift this would make? Think about one for the new grandparent in your life to use when their grands visit... How about the parent's to be? Even newlyweds would love this. I also think the would be a fun, unexpected baby shower gift that would last long beyond the infant years! Imagine filling it with treats and delivering it to a older relative or neighbor to just let them know they are loved and thought about! I have a customer who is ordering two and intends to keep one and create a "pass it on" tradition in church. She plans to fill it with goodies and include a note saying to enjoy the goodies then refill the plate and pass it on to another member of the church family, so on and so on... How fun is that? The ideas for this plate are limitless...  Order yours today and when you comment below let us all know how you pan to use yours! 

Thanks for listening,

Spilling it...

I have alluded to it, but haven't shared too much publicly but there is no reason to hide. In fact the very process of keeping things quiet has allowed others to control the headlines, so here goes...

Last August Katy came to me just before we left to take Allison to college and told me her marriage was in trouble. She tearfully told me that things started to go down hill towards the end of her pregnancy and that she didn't know what to do. She shared that he was angry all the time, that when they were alone together he was cruel (verbally) to her, made fun of her, would yell at her and "blow up" over tiny things, would not allow her any access to any family money, but most concerning her was getting increasingly rough with the baby. As the baby became mobile and would get into things he believed it was his job to implement discipline and even started spanking the baby at only six months old. She spent a lot of her energy making sure the baby didn't annoy him in any way but that was exhausting and that deep down she was growing more afraid of him. She said he had never hit her but felt like it was only a matter of time at that point.

We were of course alarmed and deeply concerned. We believe in the sacred covenant of marriage but didn't want our daughter or granddaughter in a bad situation. We had seen some troubling things and had been concerned for sometime but it's hard to know what is the normal growing pains of marriage and what requires intervention. The fact that she was truly worried for their safety we decided (prayerfully) to suggest she and the baby stay here at our house while we were gone to take Allison to college giving them time to cool off and pray. Then when we got home they should go to marriage counseling to work on his anger and any other issues leading to it.

He reluctantly agreed to this plan and they saw very little of each other while we were gone. When we got home we pushed for a couple weeks for them to get into counseling and were hopeful when they found someone. It became apparent early on that he was just going thorough the motions. He was spending more hours a week with his personal trainer then his daughter or his wife and he would mock the therapist at every opportunity. Long story short, Katy tried three times between late October though November to move back into their home, each time to end up back here through a series of escalating incidents. The last one in late November, they left here and in less then two hours a terrified Katy called her dad and asked him to come get them. He had become so enraged because she said she was having a bad day that he yelled at her and proceeded to punch in the side of their vehicle (so severely you could no longer open the passenger side door). It was the final straw, she told him she couldn't do it anymore and thought they should get divorced. (On a side note, he was also not supporting her or the baby financially in any regular way and she still had no access to family funds.)

About a week and half later she got a call from his close friend telling her that he had caught Jed and his wife together and they confirmed they had been having an affair and they were "in love". The other woman left her husband (and their two young children) and moved her into Katy & Jed's home. Katy was not shocked (which is another story) but did have a hard time wrapping her mind around it. So her dad took her over there while he would be at work. Thankfully no one was home but in fact all the other woman's belongings were there.

On a side note, Jed was still leading worship all this time at church even though we made it clear (or so we thought) that he was in a very bad place. After the affair became public knowledge, the pastor confronted him and told him to take the woman back to her husband and to seek Katy's forgiveness. This of course did not happen, but in their effort to "not choose sides" but allowing him to continue to lead worship up until the affair came out made Katy feel alienated as if sides were in fact chosen.

Things have gone from bad to worse with Jed. We tried to facilitate public visits with the baby (at indoor playgrounds and the like) but at one visit there was nobody else there and he verbally accosted Katy while holding the baby (preventing her from getting down or going to her mother). It was so dramatic (and traumatic) that the baby (who was speaking quite a bit and using simple 2-3 word sentences) stopped speaking. When I say she stopped, I mean TOTALLY stopped. That was in Feb. and she just started saying "no" again in April. She doesn't even say "Mama" anymore. At nearly 2 she should be talking up a blue streak but we are lucky to coax babble and one word here or there out of her.

Soon after that incident a judge ordered Jed to have ZERO contact with Katy for her safety and that he have professionally supervised visits with the baby. He was also finally ordered to pay child support and although he rarely ever pays it, she is always amazed when he does. Everything is a huge mess these days... Court dates, lawyers, his lies and rumors he spreads all over the community... There are some days she feels like she is drowning.

She did go to a local group that offers support for women leaving domestic abuse situations... She was reluctant at first, but her lawyer thought it would be eye opening. They had her go through a checklist of "abusive behaviors" and she was shocked to see that she checked off more then 3/4 of the list. It said if you checked off four or more boxes you may be in an abusive relationship and she checked off almost ALL of them! We were all so ignorant to what domestic abuse really is and that it comes in so many more forms then just hitting someone. All his controlling behavior, threatening and name calling (among other things she probably wouldn't want me to share) were emotional, verbal and several forms of physical abuse all along.

We are still in the middle of this big mess but Katy is slowly starting to heal and slowly starting to look forward to her future. (She has been reluctant to make plans.) So that is where we are... Please pray for us but especially for Katy and our grand baby.

Thanks for listening,


Monday, June 8, 2015

My husband and I were talking yesterday about a time in our lives when we lived in a more urban area and it seemed like the social norm was to "keep up with the {generic name}" but the goal seemed to be to be better then them... Anything short was considered an embarrassment. Having people over for dinner required weeks and weeks of prep time... It was overwhelming and only feeling accepted because of how big and beautiful you house was, what you drove, what you wore, or even what foods you served was exhausting and you could never win...

Here's the thing, "winning" should never be the goal of friendship. There is no trophy... If you find yourself feeling this way feel free to just stop. Seriously, be real... Be authentic... You will figure out pretty quick who is your true friends are and they will probably be relieved.

For the month of June Mary & Martha is doing the "#NoCompareDare" we are asking you to spend a month trying not to compare yourself with anyone else... And one way to do that is to stop trying to portray your life as perfect and flawless to others... When you just stop, take a breath and reveal your true authentic self you will not only feel less stress but others around you will feel free to do the same. 

This "#NoCompareDare" thing is the perfect chance to get off the fake perfection hamster wheel! I dare you to take the first step. Tonight I am having people over and other then some minor tiding up I am having them over to my "real" house... The tiny, frequently cluttered, place we call home. And I am not going all out for the food either... No pouring over Pinterest for the menu, no desserts in individual mason jars (although those are fun), no fancy at all... I love to throw parties and go all out but there is a time and a place for that and that is not on a Monday night after an extremely busy day! 

Join me... I dare you! 

Thanks for listening,

What I am loving these days... Gigi Edition...

 Now that Katy & my sweet Goobie are here full time my life is filled with all things toddler... 
Not that I mind so much... 
Take a look at that face from an outing this past weekend...

We were outside at an event and she was so happy...

There were animals and some of her favorite people... Mix that with festival food and getting to be outside all day... She was in heaven!

It took me awhile to get back into the swing of having a toddler around full time but now we are all settled in. The products these days are so fun and so much more advanced then they were when the girlies were toddlers... So here are some of the things that make life with a toddler more fun these days.

 First off, lets start with those shoes. These adorable little Keens are a cross between a sandal & shoe. They are super durable and easy to put on! These things are a summer time lifesaver...

And also that stroller she is in... When you live in a rural area and one day you are going to the farmer's market, and the next you are off to take a walk around the block, then you are headed down a bumpy dirt road to explore the beach you need more the the garden variety stroller... Meet The Bob... This baby set us back a pretty penny but it is worth every one of those pretty pennies! 

The next one is a "Goobie Specific" need... Meet "Chick Chick"... Hers no longer looks like this one... You see Chick Chick is her "lovie" and hers is dingy and smells bad but a day can not go by without him!

Now that summer is here I have been in the market for things that Goobie can do outside. She love splashing in the dog's water dish so I decided to find her a "water table" and it turns out there are A LOT of them on the market. After much research I decided on the Little Tikes Spiralin' Seas Waterpark Play... It is sturdy, not likely to tip when a two year old decides to climb onto it (and they will), and most importantly, she could play with this thing for hours! 
Allow me to introduce "Duck & Goose"... These two cute characters are a favorite around here. Our Goobie knows where the book section is in almost any store we frequent, even if it's way in the back. In fact the closer we get to the book section the more excited she gets and she picked one of these cute books one time and now she gets super excited every time she sees a new one! 

Last fall our little Goobie decided she was too big for her crib so we needed to find a toddler bed. We had about three to choose from when my girlies were little... These days there are dozens to choose from but when I spotted this little beauty on the Target website the search was over. We wondered how she would take to it, but we needn't have worried, within moments of Paul assembling it she hopped on and has loved it ever since. I know I have been pretty close lipped about why Katy is back home with the baby but it has been very traumatic and still some days are worse the others for this sweet toddler. Those days this bed almost seems like a magic safe spot to her. 

There are about a million other things she loves or make our lives easier, but I will stop myself here for today! 

Thanks for listening,

Meet Callie Mae...

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

My girls have been bugging me for a few years to get another dog. We love dogs but Paul & I were predicting an empty nest and were not sure how a dog would play into that...

As it turns out, our nest is anything but empty and that was also a concern. If you recall, we have a tiny home and instead of our nest emptying, people keep coming back to stay. Where would we put a dog? We have almost always had golden retrievers but I was sure we didn't have room or time to train a puppy. I reluctantly promised to pray about it and keep my eyes and heart open for the right dog for us. 

Then last week this photo showed up in my FaceBook feed...

Meet Callie, a five year old beagle who was left at the local shelter. She is incredibly calm, loving, quiet (surprising for a beagle). She likes cats, small children & is fully house broken. She does have some separation anxiety issues. She gets physically ill when locked inside a crate and has panic attacks when left alone for long periods of time. Thankfully for her, we are also a little neurotic and there is rarely a time when someone isn't home. 

Plus, look at that face!!

We brought her home for a seven day "slumber party" last week and made her adoption final yesterday. She is a perfect fit for our family! She came with the name Callie but Allison decided to add a middle name, hence, Callie Mae! 

Thanks for listening,