Monday, November 19, 2012

Changes coming....

Hi, case you didn't know, I have a NEW space!

Mattie Mae Designs has become a very big part of my life, so I decided it needed a space of its own, so I'm proud to let you know that I'll be blogging at - we have a blog section, as well as a shop section!

I will not be updating here anymore, so if you want to keep up with us, you'll need to visit us HERE!

Thanks, y'all...hope you like the new place!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Matilda Jane Clothing trunk show!

Hi, friends! I wanted to personally email you all and let you know about a fun event that I’m going to be hosting.  On Saturday, November 3rd at 6 p.m., I will be hosting a Matilda Jane trunk show.  
Now, those of y’all that know me, know that I’m addicted to this clothing line.  Like, seriously addicted. And for good reason, y’all!  Their items are some of the most well-made items I have ever seen.  Annie Louise loves to wear her MJ pieces because they are fun, comfy (no itching, heavy pieces) and she looks adorable in them!  The women’s line is amazing, too – lots of eye-catching pieces that look great dressed up OR down.  
Matilda Jane is definitely worth every single penny invested in it, PROMISE!
I’ll be hosting a show for the 4th release…if you’re not familiar with Matilda Jane, they have “releases” where they release new pieces to go with their entire fall line.  So, at my show, you’ll be able to order pieces from the 4th release, as well as from the previous 3 releases.  I’ve ordered something from each release, and it’s so fun to mix and match items from each release!
If you're a local gal and would like to attend, leave a comment with your email address, and I'll get back to you with all the details.  If you're not local, but you still want to join in on the fun, leave a comment with your email, and I'll let you know about the ordering process.

I love to endorse companies that I love and respect...and Matilda Jane is DEFINITELY one of them!  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

talking about our loss.

I can remember seeing that faint line start to appear.  Oh, my word…I could not believe my eyes.  It was so faint…if you squinted your eyes, you couldn’t even see it.  My heart began to race.  
We had obviously wanted a baby, but were we ready?  
Of course we were.
Cue the excitement and tears and so many emotions.
Doctor’s appointments to schedule.  Blood to be drawn.  Due dates to write down in the calendar. 
I bought a pregnancy journal…some might say it was too soon, but I couldn’t resist, I wanted to write down every single thought.
We told our parents a special package was being delivered to their house.  A picture of a positive pregnancy test tucked into a priority mail envelope.  The tears, the hugs, the well wishes…more than we could have hoped for.
That joy and happiness would soon be replaced with an overwhelming sense of hurt, paint, shame, hopelessness...for we lost our baby all too soon.  April 18th – my due date would come, but there would be no baby.
This was a pivotal moment in my life – the first time in my life when I can remember turning to scripture for help.  For hope.  For joy.
A friend gave me the book, “I’ll Hold You in Heaven,” and it saved me.  I now know that one day, I will hold that precious baby again, I will cover him or her with kisses and love, and that empty feeling in my arms will be replaced.  God had special plans for my baby and for me.  Although I may not understand these plans…they are HIS plans.  
I still cry and mourn our sweet baby, and that’s okay.  April 18th will never be just another day for me, and I will never stop talking about our loss.
I think it’s so important that we talk about these babies…that we share our stories and our losses.  My sweet friend, Melody, is hosting a special sale at her shop for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month – please read the details HERE.  Consider purchasing one for yourself (even if you haven’t lost a baby) and purchase one for a friend or family member…her nest jewelry is so beautiful and lovely!  

I wear my nest ring daily, and I get comments on it all the it so much!
Thank you for letting me share this story, and I encourage you to share yours, too!
I sought the Lord, and He answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered from shame. 
- Psalm 34: 4-5

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hiding behind my blog.

I’ve been writing, or should I say, trying to write and keep up a blog for over 5 years.  I started as a means to keep a memory book for B and myself…a way to document milestones in our new marriage and to get things out of my head and heart and on to “paper.”   Does that make sense?  I wrote it for myself, and didn’t even realize that other people actually read it.  
Anyways, I have always talked openly and honestly about my blog, and family and friends know I have one, and they oftentimes read it (or I hope they do).

I post on my personal facebook page when I post something new, and I let all of my twitter followers know, too.
So, why do I get that whole deer-in-the-headlights look when someone says to me, 
I read your blog.
Oh, gracious.  Insert frightened look + lots of stuttering = the reaction you’ll get from me.

 It’s not that I don’t want you to read it…I do!  I love getting comments and emails and questions, I really do.  It’s just that I really don’t know what to say when someone says that to me.

This blog has been my hiding place for so long – where I go to pour out my feelings and fears and dreams and hopes.  And I do it behind my nickname of “LeeLee.”  I do that partly because of past experiences I went through because of my blog (my character being questioned) and partly because I kind of liked living these two separate lives.  
But attending Influence (and I’m sure any blogger conference) inserted this magical connector between those two lives.  As Jessi from Naptime Diaries wrote, “the internet is real!”  And she was so right.  
You have no idea how surreal it was to finally connect with these women that I felt I knew so much because of their blog/online space, then to realize that they are in fact, a real person, not just a blog I read!  It kind of felt like a dreamland at first...

I think sometimes I hide behind this blog – here is where I really share my story.  Then when someone approaches me about my blog…I freeze up.  I go blank.  I say nothing.  I don’t share.  I let the words that flow through me so easily on my online space get blocked out.  
Why is it that I can share so much about my faith on my blog (hiding as LeeLee), but as soon as God gives me the opportunity to show them in real life that same goodness, I trip over my own words?

I don’t know if there’s a definite answer for me on this matter.  I know for sure it’s something that I’m working on every single day.  I’ve been praying for God to give me the words He wants me to say when someone approaches me.  I’m praying that I wouldn’t be shy and hide…instead, that I would be bold, brave and courageous.
I think I'll begin with a simple "thank you."
(side note: please do not be afraid to approach me and say "I read your blog." 
I promise I won't be too terribly least I'll try!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Facing my fears.

If you’ve been on my page more than one time, you probably have heard a thing or two about our Annie Louise.  She’s our wild, independent and sassy 2-year old.  
And she’s adorable.
I love watching her explore our world…and oftentimes, I’m a little bit jealous.  

Because she’s fearless.  
She’s sees something she wants, and she goes for it – no matter if it’s the milk jug at the top of the fridge, that Barbie doll that’s trapped under the laundry, or the mini marshmallows that I try to hide, but she always finds them.
She goes for it all.  No inhibitions, no excuses, just pure excitement.
Me, on the other hand?
I’m the complete opposite.
I write down my lists…lists of pros, of cons, of things that might happen.  I list outside forces that could affect my decision, what other people might think about me.  Blah, blah, blah, blah.  The list never ends.
And most of the time? I choke.  I back out.  I give up.
Then, the worst thing happens…I regret.
There isn’t a worse feeling (to me) than regret.  If only I had…I wish I would have…things would be so much different if I had…

I know that I can’t really face all of my fears all the time.  But, I do know that I can face some of them most of the time…with a little help. 
For, I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. – Isaiah 41:13 
Today is a new start for me – a more bold Lena emerges.  I’m ready to attack those fears and do it with Him.  
I’m ready to tell that little voice inside me that says "you can't do it", that he's wrong.  I’m ready to pray harder than I’ve ever prayed before…to have the Holy Spirit move in and through me.  
Are you ready? Who’s joining me?  What fears have been keeping you from reaching your fullest potential in Him?  
Let me pray for you and let’s do big things for Him starting now!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

An attempt at my Influence recap.

Well, here goes my first attempt at an Influence recap post.  And I'm not even sure what I really want to say.  I haven't opened my journal full of notes and thoughts.  I haven't sent follow-up emails to my stack of business cards.  I miss having a late night pizza party and laughing until I cry with my roommates who felt more like sisters to me.

I haven't really even started to process the trip as a whole.  

To say I had a great time would be an understatement.  I went with no real expectations of what kind of trip I would have - I didn't really have an agenda or a list of goals for the trip, either.

I knew I wanted to smile lots, hug even more and meet some pretty awesome women.  Oh, and wear something cuter than business attire for once.  Well, as you can see from all my photos from instagram and twitter, I have a ginormous smile on my face, and I'm standing next to some pretty awesome gals - most of them received a bear-hug from me before we took a picture.  Oh, and I got to wear my cowgirl boots for like 3 days in a row.  Mission accomplished.

I learned oh-so-much.  My brain is working overtime, y'all.  I have my list, full of goals and dreams.

But more than anything, my heart is full.  Even though it was overwhelming and at times, I felt like I had no idea what I was doing, everything made sense on Saturday night.  To close out the weekend, we had an hour of worship.  And it was heavenly.  Nothing else mattered to me at that moment.  All the times I heard "you're not good enough", "no one is listening to you", "you don't matter" - they were all wiped away and replaced with "you are mine and precious and you mean something." And that's what Influence was all about - to make much of Him and to spread the good news.

I know some of you were following the #influenceconf, and you saw the same good news this weekend - through pictures and tweets and saw a group of women radiating the love of Christ.  If you don't believe me, check it out yourself.

myself + mama pea = pure joy, y'all!

One of my favorite bloggers, Sarah Matheny/Mama Pea (who I totally love and nearly peed my pants when I got to hug her neck) said in her own recap:
"And this inexplicable moment.  Right now.
When I feel both hollow and full.
When I am sad to have left but overjoyed to be home.
When I feel like I have nothing left to share, but hear Him saying, “I’m not done with you yet."

I love those words, because she is so right.  So, I'm at the end of my sharing (for the time being), and I'm waiting, waiting to see what He does...and I cannot wait!

some of my favorite pictures from instagram...

Monday, October 15, 2012

Silent Auction for the Turners

I am just returning from Influence Conference, and I'm planning an entire post dedicated to my weekend. But I had to help out with this special project when I heard about it. 

The blogging community is so amazing...especially in instances like this for the Turner family.  I cannot imagine losing my precious husband, left to raise a daughter on my own.  I think it's amazing that everyone is coming together to help this family, and I knew I had to be a part of it.

So, here's the item I'm auctioning off.  If you're interested, leave a comment with your bid.  Bid increments should be increased by a dollar (i.e., if the person before you bids $9, you bid $10).  The highest bidder will receive a PayPal invoice once the auction is over on Friday at midnight.

custom initial or name onesie or shirt from Mattie Mae Designs
Estimated value: $26
You are bidding on a custom, hand-appliqued onesie or t-shirt.  
You have the option of choosing either an initial, monogram or name.  
Examples of each are below, and they can be made for a boy or girl.

Thank you all for your generosity in helping this precious family.  
Happy bidding!  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

It's time!

Today is the day.
I leave for Influence Conference, and I’m a BALL of so many emotions – nervous, anxious, excited, hopeful…the list goes on and on.
But more than anything, I’m eager…eager for so many difference reasons.
Because it’s time.  It’s time that I attend something like this.  I’ve backed out and found “excuses” too many times before.  This time, I’m diving in, eager to learn all that I can grasp with my hands.
I cannot wait to meet all these fabulous women that I’ve been following through all the social media outlets.  Every time I see a new gal using the #influenceconf, I get so excited because I want to know all about her.  I can’t wait to have fulfilling, life-giving conversations with these women.  I can’t wait to be real and vulnerable and share all my fears.  
And most of all, I’m thrilled to see God move this weekend.  I get chills when I think about all the big things God is going to do, all the big things He has already done.  
So, these are the things I’m praying for, would you join me? 
  1. That my heart and my mind will be open and ready to be filled…filled with thoughts and hopes and ideas and advice and lots of good information.
  2. That we have a safe ride to the conference – I’ll be driving with Sarah and Rebecca…we’re super pumped, but we are praying for a safe trip.
  3. That I make lots of connections for all the arenas in my life – for my personal self, for my business, for my blog.
  4. That I relax and have fun!  This is my first time to leave my little family for so long.  My husband has been up north for business for the past week, so I’m really missing him.  And this is the first time I will be away from my Annie Lou for this much time.  Praying for my mama and wife heart!
And if you’re at Influence, please find me and let’s hug and chat!  Blessings, y'all!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What will be in my bag at Influence...

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, I am leaving for Influence!  I’ve seen lots of posts floating around about “what’s in my bag?” and I thought I would join in the fun!

You’ll see me toting around a Mattie Mae Designs (little side business I run with my mama) birdie sling bag made by my precious mama.  It’s one of my favorites.  Stay tuned…you might see a shop pop up in the next few weeks with some similar items (if I can convince my mama to make more)!
Here’s what’s inside (not all items pictured):
-Birdie wallet with some fun money (hello, have you seen the vendors that are going to be at the Sashes Market?) 
-The Pleated Poppy zipper wristlet complete with my necessities (lip gloss, floss, wipes, hand sanitizer, gum, mirror and some snackies)
-The Pleated Poppy card holder with extra business cards – I attached dumdums to my business cards since I didn’t get to get them updated before the conference
-iphone and charger
-composition notebook and lots of felt tip pens (in all sorts of colors)
-camera (maybe not all the time, but I do hope to take some pictures on something besides my phone!)
No doubt I’ll probably have some other items tossed in there, but for the most part, I’m only going to try and carry the essentials!  Now, what’s in your bag?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

If you're going to Influence, here's all you'll need to know about me!

So, in case you live under a rock, let me fill you in on something big about to take place in my life…I’m going to INFLUENCE!  Woot woot!  I bought my ticket on the first or second day, so you can imagine how long I’ve been waiting for October to arrive!  And this time next week, I’ll be in Indianapolis with some amazing women listening to some amazing sessions!  Anyways, I saw Blair on twitter post about an Influence link-up, and I thought I would give it a shot, too…I’ve already learned some great things about other attendees, so here’s my Important Things to Know About Lena post!
My name is Lena…my nickname is LeeLee.  I will not get offended if you call me LeeLee, promise! (I’ve already received numerous emails with the greeting “Hi, LeeLee!”)

I blog…occasionally.  I get into these spells when I blog every single day.  Then, I’ll go like 2 weeks without a single post.  So, please don’t judge me on my semi-regular posting.  I’m working on it.

I love coffee.  And I’m definitely a 2 cups-in-the-morning gal.  I was never a coffee drinker until I had a baby.  Now, I wake up in the mornings craving it.  Dear Lord, I hope we have a coffee maker in our hotel room.
I think I have the best roomies (Julie, Melody and Shannon) for the conference.  I’ve never officially met these gals, but I guarantee I will not sleep a wink because we’ll be having lots of pillow talk, and I’ll probably cry when I have to leave these gals.  Seriously, we did a google chat the other night, and it was an hour full of pure fun!

I LOVE to create things.  My mom and I have a business called “Mattie Mae Designs” that we’ve been running since 2009.  We make hand-appliqued onesies, bibs and burp clothes.  We also make fun buntings, rag garlands, tote bags and pillows.  We like to create and have fun in our sewing room.  I was going to be a participant in the Sashes Market, but sometimes, you have to say no to things so that you don’t go plum crazy.  Am I right or what?

I’m in the process of re-launching my blog.  I had high hopes of having it completed before I left for Influence.  Sadly, that is not going to happen.  So, my business cards are outdated and not exactly what I want to be handing out….BUT, you might get a special treat attached with my card to make up for the fact that they’re not my favorite.  Don’t judge, please!

I talk about my family a lot.  Especially about my daughter, Annie Louise (2 years old).  And yes, we call her by both names most of the time…it’s a southern thing.  Be ready to see lots of pictures and hear me ooooo’ing and ahhhhhhh’ing over her.  She’s ridiculously cute and hilarious.  

Something you won’t see me toting around is an ipad or laptop.  I’m an old-fashioned gal…a lover of pen and paper.  I have a slew of composition books, and a huge collection of paper mate felt tip pens.  I feel much more efficient when I’m writing down my thoughts.  
I’m quiet and timid…until you meet me.  So, if you see me standing by myself looking sad and lonesome, come introduce yourself! I promise I’ll warm up.  And I’ll probably talk your ear off, too!  I’m really nervous about meeting new gals, but the excitement outweighs the nervousness, for sure!

I have been participating with the #SheReadsTruth devotionals since they first started.  I love this group with all of my heart.  Never before have I felt so connected to a Bible devotional as I have now – I love each and every study we’ve completed, and I’m always so thrilled to see what new study they launch when one devotional ends.  And I canNOT wait to have dinner with some of these amazing gals while I’m at Influence, too!  If you’re going to dinner, let me know, so I can say hi!
I’m extremely southern (born in Texas, lived most of my life in Tennessee) – you’ll hear lots of “y’alls” and “yeehaw” and “bless your heart” and don’t be surprised if I call you “sister.”  Because that’s what you are to me!  
But most of all, I’m super excited to be embarking on this fun weekend adventure!  Can’t wait!  Now tell me about yourself…

Monday, September 17, 2012

Barnyard Bash...I'm tired!

our sweet girl...who is obsessed with balloons!
(note: cow  and small red balloons from Oriental Trading, large red balloons from Shop Sweet Lulu)

Exhausted.  Totally worn out.  Can barely lift my arms.

But it was amazing.  And worth every single plan.

I know a lot of y'all are waiting for party pictures and a recap, and I'm waiting, too!  Our precious photographer, Joy Chambers, is working through lots of photos, and I cannot wait to see everything!

It was a crazy and absolutely beautiful day.  I loved celebrating with all of our family and friends, and I know our sweet doodlebug had a blast.

Now, off to try and convince myself that I really have a two-year old!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Annie Louise is 2 years old!

My precious Annie Louise.
Wow, you are 2 years old today.  We have survived 2 years as parents – I can’t believe it.  
Let’s take a minute and look at how much you have grown in the past 2 years.
Here you are when you were just a newborn with your very first hairbow – the first of many.  

9 pounds and 2 ounces of pure chubbiness. 21 ½ inches long – tall like your daddy.

A precious newborn who nursed around the clock, very rarely cried (here’s a secret – we used to let you cry for a minute or two because you were so cute when you did), and changed our lives from the moment you entered our world.

You made us parents.  You made us appreciate every single moment we are given.  You made us grateful.
Here you are at your first birthday.

20 pounds, 30 1/2 inches long – you were skinny and tall.  

You took your first steps in front of everyone at your party.  And that’s so like you – you’re stubborn, but put you in front of a crowd, and you perform.

And now, here you are at 2 years old.  

I’m not sure your exact measurements (we go for your 2 year check-up on Friday) – but I know you’re right at 30 pounds and probably about 3 feet tall.
You are more the size of a 3 year old, but you own it.  You hang with the big kids and love every second of it.
You are so smart, my love.  You love to sing and dance.  You are bossy, and it’s nothing for you to tell mama and daddy to “git up and DANCE!”  Of course, we oblige.  Who can say no to a dance party?
You love to pray – we pray every night, and we ask you who you would like to pray for – your first prayer is for your cousins, Tessa and Tye – always.  Then, you pray for other family members and their pets.  And you always end it with a big AAAAAMEN!  

This year has flown by.  I think this is how each year will be with you.  Every day is a new and different day – everything is constantly flowing, changing.  
I used to get bored easily with my situation, or feel like life was “static”, but not anymore.  Some days, I cry out to our Lord and ask Him to make things slow down, to help me enjoy each and every second, to wake up each morning and treasure the day that has been given to me.
Every day is not always easy, but you have taught me the beauty and importance of GRACE.  
I’m so excited at what the next year is going to bring to us as a family.  New adventures, lots of learning and more love than we will ever know.
I love you so much, my precious doodlebug – 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Influence Conference link-up...all about Lena!

Hi, friends!  I know, I know...I've been absent somewhat.  But I have good reasons - 1) my hubby's busy time at work started, and he has literally been working 15 hour days for the past week. 2) preschool started for Annie Louise - we're trying to get back into our schedule. 3) my doodlebug turns 2 in less than 2 weeks, and we are planning like crazy for her barnyard bash. 4) I feel like I am barely hanging on.

But Labor Day weekend has come, and I'm sorta feeling like I'm getting back into my groove.

And then, I got an email the other night that said Influence Conference was like FIVE weeks away.  I cannot say I'm excited is an understatement.  I'm elated.  Thrilled, even!

So, the community leaders are hosting a link-up to get to know everyone, and I thought it would be great to participate, so those of you that are attending can get to know me better and visa versa.

Here we go...

- my sweet family - that's me, our Annie Louise and my hubby, Brad - 
Three get to know me things:
- I've been married to my sweet hubby, Brad (or B) for over five years.  He's pretty awesome, and we have a good time together!
- I have an almost 2-year old, Annie Louise, and she's the light of our lives.  She always makes me smile, loves to sing and dance, and gives the best kisses ever.  She was born on September 10, 2010, weighing in at 9 pounds, 2 ounces, 21.5" long.  When you meet me, you'll understand why this is such a big deal to me (i.e., I'm a petite gal).  Needless to say, she favors my 6'4" hubby more than me!
- I'm a full-time working mama.  So, that means I do a lot of juggling, balancing, and say no to a lot of things - which I'm getting better at. Try it out.  Oh, and I have a little side business with my mama called Mattie Mae Designs - we make hand-appliqued onesies and t-shirts that are oh-so cute!

Two things I'm looking forward to about the conference:
- Meeting my roommates (Julie, Melody & Shannon)...they are awesome, and I can't wait to spend a few days with them!  So excited!
- I'm super excited about all the sessions - how will I ever pick?  Everything sounds right up my alley, seriously, I think I'm going to have to draw out of a hat!

One thing I can't leave home without:
- My burberry perfume.  I've been wearing it ever since Brad and I met, and I wear it every single day.  He always gifts it to's my signature scent!

Going to Influence, too?  Leave me a comment so I can meet you and hug your neck...yes, I'm a hugger.  Hey, I'm from Tennessee, we all hug!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Girls Craft Brunch

Do you have a circle of gals that know you better than anyone else?

If you don't, I suggest you go out and find a group right now.  For real, don't waste any time - go find one!

My group of gals consist of Megan, Lauren, Meagan, Betsey & Courtney.  We are all mamas - some of us are new mamas, some of us have little ones entering kindergarten.  We love to talk...and eat.  Yes, food is essential.  Throw in some mimosas, and you've really gotten our attention. 

We love to get together every few months and hang out and socialize.  Our craft get togethers started because we wanted to have time to gab and make something creative.  We've been rotating hostesses for almost a year, and I love this girl time.

This time was Lauren's time to host, and she pulled out all the stops.

Food, glorious food......

drinks + stripey straws (c'mon, it's a girly party)!

 Our set-up for crafting and chatting....

Courtney (and Benjamin) + Meagan + Lauren + Betsey + Megan = busy, busy gals

Sometimes, our little people get to join in the's precious Benjamin!

and adorable Ava Grace...seriously, those little toofers!

 Here's what we created...fabulous post-it note holders!

And here's the whole these gals with all my heart!

So, if you have a group of gals that you love to spend time with, I highly suggest having a girls craft day - make it brunch or dinner or just drinks.  Peruse pinterest, find a fun craft and plan away!  You'll have a great time, I promise!

And to my precious gals - I love each of you very much, and I can't wait to have fun again!