Help The Caballero Family- 30% Sales Goes To Them

You guys, not sure how I can type everything I need to say without crying.

First, I want you to meet Kelly Caballero…

Kelly is a beautiful friend of mine. Our families worked together in youth ministry for many years, and during that time we became very close. I love this lady. She is one of those people who’s light just bursts out of her. She has a smile that is sincere and sweet. And her heart makes you feel like it reached out it’s arms and wrapped them around your heart.

She’s that amazing.

A couple years ago Kelly got sick. Very, very sick. It finally was discovered that she had a tumor that had taken hold of her colon and liver. She had surgery, chemo, radiation…this has gone on for two years and her family has taken a terrible hit emotionally, financially, and physically.

This has not been an easy road for them, as you can imagine. Her two babies are little…and they don’t fully understand the gravity of the situation. And why should they? They are innocent, need to enjoy life, wanting to have fun…they are beautiful.

Kelly’s husband Steve is a wonderful man. He has stood by Kelly’s side throughout this whole thing {as well as Kelly’s entire family, I might add}. Steve is Kelly’s one true love. If you ever heard Kelly tell the story of their courtship, it will make you cry. She loved him with all her heart and the way that she tells it, when he asked her out, it was the happiest day of her life. Pretty sure he felt the same about such a beautiful lady….

About a month ago Kelly was released from her doctor’s care into hospice’s hands. She has lost all feeling from the chest down…the cancer is slowly overtaking her body. Despite all of this, her family put their faith in God and His all powerful hands. He is able to heal and if He so chooses, He will do it.

But that doesn’t mean this isn’t hard. But Kelly is so strong. I adore this recent picture of Kelly and her kiddos…Kelly is in Evy’s Tree sitting outside enjoying the sunshine. I love this lady.

Guys, here’s the reality…. Cancer sucks. I’m sorry I know that’s harsh, but there it is. It takes so much from you. In this case, Steve has taken a leave of absence from his work to help care for Kelly. Financially things are very bleak. Very bleak.

Can you help? 

Many of you are buying Christmas gifts right now. Many of you love to give Evy’s Tree…will you consider buying something? 30% of all sales made between now and December 17th will go towards the Caballero family. It is my hope that we can raise enough money for Steve and Kelly to buy their kids the best Christmas gifts ever.

Please help.

You can still use code CHRISTMAS20 for 20% off the entire shop. Those of you who don’t even know Kelly will get a good deal AND give. What a great thing! Those of you who love Kelly AND love Evy’s Tree…what a great thing for you as well. Please prayerfully consider helping Kelly this season. Go HERE to shop.

Want to donate directly to them?? You can do that HERE.

I love you guys. Thank you for your love and support and thank you for taking time to read about my dear friend. You guys rock.

And Caballeros. I love you. With all my heart. You have no idea. We are praying and believing God has a plan. Remember Romans 8:28. It’s what I keep praying for you all.

Big hugs xoxo

Give People What They Need The Most

Hi Guys, two blog posts in two days. Wow. After I posted this post, I should get some sort of medal or something for being here. ha. Oh boy.

This one is going to be real quick as it’s almost time for church, but this morning something has been running through my mind and I needed to get it out really quickly….

Relating to people is really hard.

That might sound strange to you…but I’m pretty certain this is true, at least in my life. People hurt each other so easily, without even realizing it. This past week I have thought over and over about someone I hurt…and I had no idea I did. As I look back now, I realize how selfish I was and how stupid I treated that person, but at the time, I really was clueless.

Ignorance…I guess thats what makes relationships hard.

Anyway, a couple days ago I read this devotional and it really affected me. Grace. Whoa. That can be a really scary word. In such a judgmental world {both in the church and outside the church}, grace is often overlooked. Sure we preach it. Sure we talk about it. But it’s much harder to put into practice, isn’t it?

This week I needed to give several people in my life grace. And you know what? I can’t say I was super excited to do it. It’s much easier to be angry and frustrated than to swallow your feelings and extend a little grace, isn’t it?

But it’s crucial.

Here’s the thing guys. I want God to grant me grace. Because when I think back to all those people I unknowingly hurt in the past {or maybe knowingly at times}, my heart hurts. Really, really hurts. And it cries out to my Savior asking Him to cleanse me, forgive me…make me new.

So why can’t we allow those around us the same grace?

I’m praying today and the rest of my days that I can give the grace people need. Not be so quick to judge. Or to tear someone apart. Or to complain about someone. But extend grace instead.

God help me.

Someday…wait, RIGHT NOW…I need grace. So if I need it, I must give it.

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38

Love you friends. Happy Sunday! xoxo

Slide Time

Brandon’s sister and brother in law, their kiddos and Brandon’s mom came up last night. Today we stopped by the pumpkin patch.

We had so much fun. The slide was a huge hit. Of course, we need to credit David for these great images.

I think I have a dare devil on my hands

And Grandma got in on the fun too….

And Bryony. She is intensely terrified of heights, but Lincoln HAD to have her join them on the slide…

And if that doesn’t share the emotion she was feeling, how about this one?

{Oh and we should mention that Lincoln left his shoes back in Stockton, so he borrowed Evy’s hot pink Nikes. Didn’t phase him. ha}

Oh and we can’t leave out our photographer’s self portrait…

I was watching from the sidelines and taking selfies…

Love him for putting up with me.

Grandma and her babies….

Left to right, Jacob, Scout, Evelyn, Lincoln, Levi and Grandma

So afterwards we hit up the local taqueria and then Bryony insisted on us having this…

We cut them all up and taste tested them. Like wedding cake tasting. It was so delicious. Ignore the look on my face, I know I look slightly scary.

And in case you were wondering what our late nights look like over here. Well….here you go. For your viewing enjoyment.

Over and out friends. Love you all.

 xoxo

My Family Comes First

My word. Has it been one whole month since I last blogged? Where in the world has time gone?!?!? I think it’s about time to get you guys filled in a little bit….

First, I want to speak something out loud that has been brewing in my mind for a while. Instagram is slowly replacing my blog. GAH…did I just say that? I DID!! While I hate to admit it, I guess it’s kinda true. Here’s the thing: life has gotten so busy lately…our little business is BOOMING. God is so good. I feel beyond blessed to see Him do His thing and finish what He started in our lives.

BUT…..All this busyness doesn’t make much time for blogging. 

So I post pictures via Instagram {ok, sometimes a lot of pictures, hehe} and give everyone a snippet of our lives without having to go too much into to detail…well, it helps, you know? But I miss this blog. So much of my life is chronicled here. I know many of you have been reading from the beginning and will remember many of my struggles as a new mom to two, watched me discover a business, listened to my ups and downs, watched God move us, and now see us grow into a new season of growth. It’s pretty cool, if you ask me. I love the history here.

Guys, I’m going to be honest. God has been dealing with me. Big time. About my family. About my choices. About my future. About my TIME. Do you ever think about time? I’m not sure I really did much, many moons ago. But now, it seems there is so little of it. Do you know what I mean?

Our 2013-2014 school photos. Evelyn grade Pre-K, Jacob grade 1.

So very little time.

Several weeks ago I read this devotional from Proverbs 31 woman. It convicted me to the core. This line in the devotional literally jumped off the page and slapped me in the face: “However, she reserved her greatest energy and most creative ideas for her first line of ministry—her own family and home.”

Whoa.

Guys, I want to be the Proverbs 31 woman. I really do. I want to have a neat and clean house, run a business, make extra money, minister to everyone who needs it. But I want my family and home to be first. First before ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that might come my way. First before ministry, or work, or even friends. I want my kids to know that after God, they are first in my life. God, family, church/work. That’s how my life balance should go.

But you know what? That doesn’t always happen, does it?

How many times have I pushed my kids away and said, “I need to finish this email, give me a few minutes” or “I’m sorry you’re tired and need me, honey, but we have to help someone really quickly.” Yikes. I’ve said both of those things and more way too many times to count. If you are a working mom, or in ministry of some form, I’m sure you have said those things too.

Ok, let’s be real here, it’s going to happen. It’s life. We can’t help it. But as I read that devotional it was like God was shinning a light right on my heart. And my heart shriveled up in embarrassment because it knew it wasn’t putting my family first. As I read those words, tears poured down my cheeks {like they are now}. I went and found Brandon and cried. I told him how sorry I was. And I told him my family will come first. Before work. Before church. But not before God. I will do what HE wants me to do, not what everyone else needs from me. I will make decisions for my children not based on my work needs, or what others around me think I should do, but on what God impresses me to do. I will take any obstacle that comes my way and knock it over, if that’s what God wants me to do. I will say “no” more, and say “yes” to my kids. I will put their needs first, even if it means telling others I can’t.

I will be a Proverbs 31 woman. Because she put her family first. Didn’t care what people thought. And work never ruled her.

I guess that’s why you haven’t seen much of me lately. I have only so much time in my day….I’ve spent every spare moment while the kids are at school working….so I can be with them when they come home. Brandon and I have made some drastic changes in our life….making some decisions that we feel are necessary to put our kids first. We are taking our arms and wrapping them as tight around our kids as we can. Because life is so short. And they are growing so fast. We will have lots of time when they are gone to live out our dreams and desires, but for now…we are putting those things second to making sure our kids live a healthy life and see Christianity through US pouring out on THEM…not US pouring out on EVERYTHING ELSE in our lives.

So I’ve taken account of my life and cut things out that I know do not meet with our ultimate goal of family first. I’m not sure how much you will really see of me…I will share our journeys as a family and as Evy’s Tree grows as much as I can here on this blog, but if you want a day to day glance at our life, follow me on Instagram. 😉

 I leave you with this verse: “…let each of us give account of ourselves to God…”  Romans 14:12

So I’m going to preach here for a second, so kindly cover your eyes if this isn’t your thing: but I encourage you to take some time and examine your life today. Don’t be afraid to say no every now and then. I know it will challenge you. Make sure what you are doing lines up with HIS will for your life. Not anybody else’s will, but HIS WILL. Put Him first in your life. Above everything. And watch what He does for you. Watch what He does for your family. Watch what He does for you life. I bet it will be amazing.

I love you all. You are so awesome. Carry on friends, carry on. In Jesus’ name.

xoxo

Help Emmy Adopt A Baby

Guys, I have something exciting to tell you…But first, let me explain myself a little, if that’s ok. For as long as I can remember, I have loved to help people. Often my kind of helping is sharing what I have, such as my food, clothes, home, etc. In fact, one time {ok, this is a total side note, but it’s still kinda relevant, ha} one of my dearest friends on the planet was living in North Carolina and was asked to attend a Military Ball. She called me in a panic a couple nights before the event to tell me she had nothing to wear, did I have any suggestions? So being the clothes horse that I was…I overnighted her a dress for the ball.

Yup, true story. And no, I have no idea how I afforded to do that, on a students budget and all, and it was probably a silly thing to do since I could have told her where to go shopping and all, but it so fun to send that dress! ha.

…ANYWAY…. I digress….

I really love to help. The only problem in my life, especially recently, is that money is super, super tight, so if the need involves something financial…I usually can’t help much. I hate that! I believe wholeheartedly that if you give of your finances and time to those in need, that God will bless you. But let’s be honest, you don’t do the giving to be blessed {Read here}, you simply do it because someone has a need. Period. That’s really the only reason you need to justify giving…but if you enjoy giving, then all the more reason to do it, right? {Read here}

Do you love to give?

A couple weeks ago I was scrolling through instagram and I saw my friend Emmy had a need. She and her family were desiring to expand their family, which might not sound like a big deal to you, but if you are Emmy, that’s a really big deal. Because Emmy has Secondary Infertility. Which means that having more kids for her is, outside of a miracle, impossible. So they have to adopt. I’ll let Emmy tell you a bit more:

After seven years of secondary infertility, two and a half years ago we were so blessed to bring home our daughter Penelope. Beau FINALLY became a big brother, a role he was made for. We thought our family was complete. 

But the Lord had different plans. 

Over the last several months we have felt His calling to once again start the adoption process. After much prayer we are thrilled to be starting this journey a second time! We expect to bring Beau & Penelope’s little brother or sister home by this winter.  You can read our whole adoption story on my blog at www.itsjustemmy.com.

When I saw that Emmy was trying to adopt again, I immediately wanted to help…but cash flow would keep me from doing much for her right now. Then I had an idea….

We have product and we can surely tighten our belts around Evy’s Tree to help give Emmy the opportunity to bring home another baby for her family, right? And if you guys helped… well, we would ALL be giving to Emmy, not just me!

So what do you think? Can you help Emmy?

30% off all the proceeds made over the next six days will go towards Emmy and her family. I sincerely hope that you will take some time to think and pray about purchasing a hoodie and supporting Emmy. I know if it were me, I would be eternally grateful for any help I could get because as she says….

The unfortunate truth about adoption is that it is extremely expensive. The Lord provided in a big way when all seemed hopeless with Penelope’s adoption expenses, and we are trusting Him to make the finances work this time around. We are so thankful to Amy & Evy’s Tree for helping us make this happen!

Thank you friends for taking time to consider this! To shop click HERE.

And please feel free to spread the word via facebook, instagram, etc. Let’s try to help Emmy get that baby! Big hugs and blessings to you all!

xoxo

Happy Endings and New Beginnings

Wow. What a week last week. Seriously, what a crazy, crazy long and exciting week. Wednesday was the big, big day…we finally received our manufactured goods. They came a day later than I expected, but you better believe I was happy they were here…it could have been a lot worse…it could have been one week or one month late, so you won’t see any complaining from me. We moved our car out of the third bay garage {yes, Evy’s Tree now consumes our entire garage} and the freight company unloaded all the boxes for us….

This sweet man was a God send….while he was unloading the truck he looked me square in the eyes and said, “This business is your ministry, isn’t it?”

It gave me chills. Bonifide, hair raising chills. 

While he was unloading the packages, he kept speaking faith over my company:

“You know this is how Steve Jobs started…out of his garage”

“Yes m’am, this business is going somewhere, I can feel it!”

“Next time I deliver your goods, you’re going to be in a warehouse!”

“I better get your autograph now, I can say I was here in the beginning!”

By the time he was finished unloading, I was pretty convinced that he was an angel in disguise. God knew I needed that. He really, really did. Someday I am going to write a post on what I think you need to start a business, but I’ll tell you, one of the first things you need is lots and lots of faith. Faith in yourself first, but I believe you need faith in God as well. See, I put everything I do in HIS hands. And whatever He wants from me, I will do.

Guys, I’m going to be honest with you, if you have followed along at all over the last year, this has been a long, long road. Definitely not easy. There have been many moments where I would wake up in the middle of the night crying because I didn’t know what I was doing, where God was guiding us, and where we were supposed to go. Two years ago Brandon and I stepped out and made a huge step of faith, and here we are. There have been many moments where I stood in the middle of our house and screamed, “What have we done?!?!” Honesty here, sorry.

But over the last couple weeks God has brought a lot of it together for us. He has opened some doors that I never dreamed would have existed two years ago, and shut some doors that I was certain we were meant to go through. Funny how that happens.

See, ministry to me has always been more pulpit. More church oriented. But the crazy thing about Evy’s Tree is that it has shown me that ministry is sometimes different than what you think. I’m finding that ministry just simply means “reaching out”. And that is what, through Evy’s Tree, I’ve been able to do. I’ve been able to reach out to those I would never have been able to meet. I’ve been able to connect, and sometimes inspire, others. And somehow, this has turned into a ministry.

So yes, freight delivery man {I never got his name}…you are right. This business has become my ministry. 

After saying all that, I guess you can imagine how excited I was to receive this shipment. A happy ending to a long time period I’m eager to kiss goodbye and new beginnings to a wonderful new chapter in our lives. Nicole and I waited eagerly all day Wednesday for them to arrive, and when they did, I jumped up and down for joy. So did Jake….when he arrived home from school and found everything in the garage, he was ecstatic. Bless his heart. He knows how important it is to me. 

After we got over the excitiment of the arrival, I had to deal with the huge undertaking of unpacking and consolidating inventory.

Yikes.

Thankfully, I have some pretty amazing nieces. They were exhausted after a full day of school and volleyball practices, but they {and Nicole} came over and helped us unpack and count hoodies.

We finished about half of the boxes that night and then I completed the rest the following day. It took us 19 hours and four people unpack and consolidate the shipment. Yes. 19 hours. By the time Thursday evening came around I was limping to bed, utterly exhausted. But the studio looked neat and tidy, and everything was organized. That’s an amazing feeling.

YES!! That is leftover fabric from the years gone by up on top. If you want fabric, please let me know we are selling it by the pound and would love to get rid of it!

All the hoodies came packaged so beautifully from our factory and wrapped securely together so during shipment they wouldn’t shift. This is how they looked coming out of the box. So nice and neat!

Oh, and Evy wore a mini gunmetal simple to school on Thursday. It’s only fitting that Evy wear one of the first manufactured Evy’s Tree, right?

On Friday morning my niece Brittany came back and pulled all your orders. She made her way through July 30, which was our heaviest preorder date.

While she pulled hoodies, I packaged them with our new packaging. I think you guys will love receiving your hoodies…the packaging is so pretty!

And let me just say, the second thing you should do if you start a business, after having faith, is make sure you are surrounded by good friends. I can’t tell you how many times over the years that my friends have helped me out in a pinch with Evy’s Tree. Natalie and Harmony saw the stress in my eyes and asked if they could come over and help. While I packaged, they finished up sachets for you all. Yes, you get a handmade sachet in each and every box. Hope you love it!

And my dear friend Heidi. I adore her. She came by after school on Thursday and saw the overwhelmed look in my face. An hour later she showed up with this shepherds pie.

It was delicious, and for a family who hadn’t eaten a home cooked meal in several days, it was such a blessing!

We made a huge dent in the July 30 orders.

I am pleased to say that the majority of them should be shipping today. Please watch your inbox for shipping notifications. I hope to catch up with shipping by the end of this week and have our orders back to a 3-5 day turnaround time by next week. Stay tuned!

In closing, I hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day weekend. We were able to catch my nephew’s football game Friday night. It was so much fun and he is AMAZING!

By Saturday I could barely say my name, I was so tired. Seriously. Our friends came for the weekend, and it was so nice. Instead of us entertaining them, they entertained us…seriously, they made sure I was resting, calm, not working. It was wonderful. The kids swam in the pool at my parents while I rested poolside. I haven’t done that in a long time. It was so needed and so wonderful.

don’t mind my toes…pedicure is next on the list this week…yikes.

I love you guys! I hope you all love your hoodies. Make sure you take some great pictures of you wearing them because we’re going to be hosting a really cool giveaway next week and it involves you wearing your hoodies!! 😉

xoxo

PS…did you guys see the new photos by the very talented DASO Photo? Click HERE and HERE.

First Day of School 2013

Annndddd…..that’s a wrap folks! Summer is over! Where in the world did it go? Am I the only one who feels like the summer has flown by? And we didn’t even do anything exciting….well, that is if you don’t consider launching a fall line exciting. 😦

ANYWAY, I can’t say this was the most thrilling summer ever, but I do think we had a wonderful time as a family. We took little day trips, enjoyed our time together, tried to sleep in and take every day as it comes. I’m so thankful for my family and our beautiful life!

So today was the day all our fun and sleeping in ended. The kids were excited, especially Evy. She COULD NOT wait to get to school and play. She loves school! Oh boy, I adore her!

Jake was a bit bummed out that summer was over, but happy to be with his friends again. This kids…such a ham!

The two of them together…such a mug shot!

It’s funny, I’m so used to fussing over Jake’s first day, but I’m realizing that 1st graders don’t get fussed over. We literally watched him walk to the door and we waved goodbye…but Evy, well, we got to hang out in her classroom, talk to parents and the teachers and just get comfortable with the whole new year. It was so nice.

We have met so many wonderful friends through school. It’s been such a blessing. And all Evy’s friends from last year are also doing preschool/4 together this year. Here is Evy’s friend Gabe… we love Gabe! He’s a little man!

This is Gabe’s mom, Natalie.

These preschool moms I have met over the last couple years are such a treasure. This will be our third year that our kids are all together {most of the moms have kids Jake’s age} and I have to be honest and say these ladies are such wonderful blessings to my life. I love them all!

And Evy loves her teacher Mrs. E. She was so excited to give her a hug!

I thought Evy would be sorry to see me go, since she was so insitant that I hang out in the class for a bit….I tried to say goodbye, BUT….

She was too busy with Mr Potato Head. Isn’t that awesome?!?

After we left Evy we made it over to Jake {sheesh good thing I only have two kids to tell you about, clearly I have a lot to say about the first day of school! ha}. We caught up with him just as the whistle blew and he was lining up. I was able to snag a quick hug.

But it didn’t last long, he was too ready to go….

Now isn’t that a perfect photo? The mom…hanging onto her son for dear life, while he’s taking off for adventure and is screaming, “let go!”. Ha. No, that didn’t really happen, but maybe that’s how my mind thought it was.

ANYWAY….

We were allowed in the classroom for two seconds only to snap a quick photo of our kids in their seats. Ummm…two things:

1. He is sitting next to the girl who he had a crush on last year. Can you see the excitement?

2. He is in the front row. Smart teacher!

He got to pose for two seconds with his buddies….

Love those kids. Thankful they have each other.

Well guys, that’s it. Our first day of school. How was your first day??

PS….Don’t forget to get your little one a hoodie for back to school! Click HERE to shop all our kids styles!

xoxo