My life is enough.

lemon maggie whitley

beesential hand soap maggie whitley

painted daisies maggie whitley

special cards maggie whitley

bible verse maggie whitley

crayons maggie whitley

These may not look like very special photos to you, but they are so, so special to me. Just over a year ago I became a mama to the biggest, sweetest, cuddliest baby boy, Maxwell. And over the last 12 months my life has been slowly changing and evolving and shaping me into the woman I am today, right this moment as I type this post. My days are no longer filled with endless sewing and product dreaming — although that was an incredibly fun season (almost 6 years long!).

Now, my days are more often filled with cooking healthier foods and washing hands practically every hour. When we’re out on our daily walks my eyes catch the beauty, there’s so much beauty around us, for all of us to experience. I enjoy praying for my family more (Psalms 119:105 is very encouraging). I am encouraged and warmed by every piece of mail we receive from family & friends, and display it proudly in our home. Who cares that there are cards connecting Christmas to Valentine’s Day to Zack’s birthday to Maxwell’s birthday? I don’t care, and in fact — the wall in our kitchen where the cards are taped makes me smile every day. Seriously. And crayons, I can’t forget about the crayons. Maxwell is just starting to get the hang of how to hold them. Although many are broken and have little bite marks (Bauer? Maxwell? don’t make me check your teeth). And just the other day I saw a little streak of crayon color on our couch. Such is life… marked by the people in our lives who mean so much to us.

I’m so inspired by our firstborn. How he laughs so easily and giggles & shrieks when I walk in his room after naptime. I’m challenged every day to be the best mama, and not just the best… but the best …for Maggie. I have my imperfections and moments where I feel like I’m unraveling. But I have more moments where being a mom is so incredibly easy. Ahhh. My heart is just so full.

I may not have those same long days of stitching with my Kenmore, but I’m no less blessed. I’m being stitched together in brand new ways, every single day. What a huge heart change this has been for me to accept this new phase of life with such open hands.

My life looks different than it was a year ago — it’s filled with the shaping of many lives, and that is enough.

PRE-BOOK | Summer Gift Guide: mama, baby & vacation edition

Our seasonal gift guides are quite possibly my favorite semi-annual blog events, and it’s because the handmade community is spectacular, talented (so talented!), full of great energy, and I love being a part of it. If you’re like me then you love learning about new shops, getting to know the owners, and peeking into their work spaces. Another bonus is all of the cheering on that takes places. Yeow!

So with great anticipation it’s finally time dish all the details on our…

summer gift guide 2014

Summer is going to be here so soon. Actually, this week in Los Angeles it’s supposed to be in the mid-80′s — so don’t hate me, but I already feel like it’s begun. Next month the nation will be preparing for Memorial Day weekend, which is the official kickoff to summer (at least in Michigan). I think I heard all the lakes and beaches cheer aloud… wink. There are exciting times head of us, that’s for sure.

In preparation of the warmer months it’s time to start chatting about our 2014 Summer Gift Guide.

If you’re a shop owner this post will have all of the details on how to sign up (click here for a direct link to the form).

If you’re a handmade buyer, you’ll want to bookmark this page.

This time we’re changing things up a tiny bit with our gift guide, and the main difference is we are now offering a super large ad (700 x 200 pixels; see below) with each gift guide listing. (You can view our 2013 Summer Gift Guide here.)

summer gift guide 2014

We are accepting a limited number of shops into each gift guide, and we’d love to hear from YOU! All shops will be accepted on a first-come/first-serve basis, and we encourage all shops that represent a similar vision as the Maggie Whitley Designs blog to apply.

WE ARE LOOKING FOR THE FOLLOWING HANDMADE CATEGORIES:
– jewelry + keepsakes
– creative art [paintings, illustrations, prints]
– clothing + accessories for mamas/kiddos/babies
– diaper bags/camera bags
– newborn essentials: feeding, playing, teething, bedtime, travel
– home decor + accessories [indoor/outdoor, home + cottage]
– vintage pretties [art, home decor, clothing + accessories]

YOUR 75-DAY GIFT GUIDE AD INCLUDES:
* your shop name
* a short description of  your shop
* your location [city, state]
* a list of the 3 favorite items from your shop
* a price range [ie: $10 to $90 USD]
* a 700×200 pixel ad/logo
* a link your shop
* a “pin” via Pinterest to our dedicated 2014 Summer Gift Guide board
* a group Facebook mention + a link to the guide
* placement in our Gift Guide sponsor blog post + the MWD blog sidebar

summer gift guide 2014

GIFT GUIDE DETAILS:
–Duration: the guide will run for 75 days, from May 15th – July 31st
– Ad size: 700×200 pixels
– Price: our PRE-BOOK rate is $90 USD, paid via PayPal. After April 15th the cost is $100 USD
– Feature: Each participating shop will be spotlighted in a group Facebook post [one time during the duration of the guide], a pin to a dedicated Pinterest board + an introductory blog post on Monday, May 19th, as well as frequent tweets and IG photos promoting the SGG

To create a successful gift guide we are accepting a limited number of shops. Please be sure to fill out the signup form if you’re interested in securing a space in the guide.

 

THE SUMMER GIFT GUIDE WILL BE PROMOTED TO:
Facebook: 28,000+ likes | Twitter: 11,800+ followers | Blog: 115,00+ monthly page views | Pinterest: 8,900+ followers | Instagram: 13,800+ followers

BONUS: If you sign up for both a sidebar ad and a Summer Gift Guide ad, you’ll receive a 15% discount off any sidebar ad booked during the SGG term [the deadline to sign up for the SGG is Wednesday, April 30th]. Please send Jenn an email for sidebar sponsorship rates: jenn at maggiewhitley dot com

summer gift guide 2014

Pre-book now through April 15th for just $90. The final deadline to apply is Wednesday, April 30th. Click here to sign up for the Maggie Whitley Designs 2014 Summer Gift Guide, I’m so excited to work with you.

How to read a book.

The strangest thing happened to me recently. I went out of town. Actually, I went far far out of town to Dallas, and suddenly I had about 10 hours of travel time in front of me. And somehow I had remembered to grab this book before I left for the weekend. And would you believe I took my time reading it, nodding in agreement with what Angie wrote. I re-read some paragraphs, but all in all the pages turned pretty consistently.

It’s been an entire year since I read a book cover to cover.

And that is no exaggeration ;)

I’ve been home for a whole week, and guess what other strange thing has been happening? I’m 68 pages into this book, and it’s totally refreshing to have another book in my hands.

By the way, I am LOVING Shauna’s stories on her childhood in Michigan and near the lake shore. It’s totally making this Grand Rapids girl feel a bit homesick :)

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It’s really a bit crazy to me how I’ve let an entire year pass by without finishing a book.

Sure, I’ve started many. But they sit with bookmarks, collecting dust. And I’ve read pregnancy books and baby books and cookbooks. But a book just for Maggie. Oh my, it’s been so long.

This “let’s finish an entire book, and kinda quickly” milestone has been slowly building since the day I wrote about Why I deleted Facebook and Twitter off my iPhone. Suddenly (ha ha, so ironic right?!) I found myself with more time each day. And this “more time” thing has led me to make better choices with what I do each day, which has encouraged me to… wait for it… choose a paper book over my computer when Max is napping.

I know, it’s shocking.

And I love it :)

Being on the computer every spare moment doesn’t refresh me. Actually, quite the opposite usually happens, and that’s an icky feeling.

bread & wine shauna niequist

Reading a book and thinking about the stories typed out and daydreaming about how this relates to my life and allowing my mind to b r e a t h e by reading a book refreshes me.

I haven’t found any extra time in my day to read, and I don’t have any special tips on how to add more hours to my day.

I’m simply choosing how I spend my time differently, and I’m really happy with how it’s turning out.

So, how do you read a book? Buy a 10-hour plane ticket… or, re-prioritize your day to spend time doing things that really matter to you.

PS. Today is the last day to join the Gussy Club for April & May ($50 for two unique products, shipping included). And today is the last day of this Gussy pop-up shop; once Midnight strikes the shop will be closed.

*Affiliate links included in this post.