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.

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 :)

20140406-212146.jpg

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.

How to design a handmade shop: the story behind Caroline-made.

caroline_made_logoX

It took me two years to make this shop happen. Does that sound a little bit crazy to you? I’ll be honest: it sounds a big bit crazy to me. Part of me thinks that two years is way too long, what was I possibly doing all this time while waiting to launch Caroline-made?

Well for one, launching a handmade shop has it’s scary moments. I mean, more often than not I’m putting a big part of who I am as an individual into the products inside my shop. When I started Gussy Sews I was very much into exactly how those products looked. And ruffles? Ruffles everywhere, please.

But what I’ve learned over the years is that it’s the easiest to design an item to sell that I’ll use on a regular basis because it will serve me so much better. So Gussy ruffles made perfect sense. A few things have changed since then: we’ve moved twice (Minneapolis and Los Angeles), we traveled around the world to Africa, and we welcomed our firstborn into our arms.

How to design a handmade shop // Maggie Whitley Designs

With all of these exciting changes it’s only natural that what I look for in a bag or organizational pouch has changed, too. It’s not that I don’t like Gussy ruffles, it’s that the aesthetic/design of Caroline-made serves me better.

Do you own a handmade shop? How can your products serve you to be the best designer and seller of your wares?

[Read more...]