Oct 6, 2014

what? i blogged?

Oh hello, October, and hey there people that randomly check in here. Surprise, there's something here. Here's the thing, I have been busy and haven't made this space a priority. And I'm fine with that because I've been busy having fake picnics with my girls, planting a fall garden, rounding up chickens, reading books I've ordered off Amazon that have been waiting far too long, swinging in the backyard, visiting our land nearly every day for the last month (more on that to come), trying my best at homeschooling a pre-schooler all while drinking sweet iced tea before it's too cold.

Oh, and let's not forget about the west elm, "meet the makers" event bathroom selfie.

I like that kind of busy.
And when I haven't been doing all the fun things, I've been working on some shop updates, including my first ever hand-lettered calendar! I'm so excited about it. When I started that online class this year, I set a goal to complete a hand-lettered design a month for the year. I actually completed my goal, with a little time to go! So I took all these designs I've been working on and gave them each their own month. Here's a little video I shared on instagram of the process.

Speaking of instagram, I'm doing a little giveaway series this week. Since it was my birthday yesterday, and since I like giving presents more that getting them, I've teamed up with my favorite handmade artists and we're giving a set of goodies each day this week! So pop on over, @lesleyzellers, and check out what I'll be giving away along with cole franke, raising up rubies, wifeysinger, jessica-n-designs and amanda rydell! It's going to be good, y'all.

And maybe, just maybe, I'll get on that land post I've been meaning to write!

Aug 28, 2014

west elm local + recipe for crazy

It all started a couple months ago when I got a call from the good people of West Elm. That feels just as crazy to write it as it did when I got the call. I had been contacted about potentially having some of my designs at the new Oklahoma City and Tulsa stores. I was on cloud nine!

After weeks of conversations, prepping and filling out forms, I was on my way to deliver some postcards to the OKC store. It was a bit surreal walking in and handing them my work knowing people would be seeing and hopefully buying it in West Elm!!!

Then yesterday I got to take a tour of the new Tulsa store before it opened and was able to see my designs on their local display. So crazy and so cool. My work is now in a West Elm next door to Anthropology in OKC and at Utica Square right here in Tulsa. Pinch me.

I have liked West Elm for a while but didn't fall in love with the brand until yesterday. Every person I have met through West Elm has made me feel like family. They were passionate about the stories behind their products, enthusiastic about supporting local and handmade and just fun to be around. I'm so excited and proud to be part of their local assortment and honored to be among so many talented local makers.

And having this handsome fella by my side last night made the celebrating all the better. I'm so thankful to have his support and encouragement and thankful for you all of you guys too. Hugs to all.

Aug 25, 2014

Be Crafty : Nebraska!

Happy Monday friends!

Remember when I said there were some fun things coming up? Well hop on over to Amanda's post to hear all about a little Be Crafty event coming to Nebraska this October!

I'll be there. Amanda will be there. A whole lot of pretty crafty stuff will be there. So don't miss out. Registration opens today and seats are limited.

Hope to see you soon!

Aug 21, 2014

Can you can, can, can?

Well, as a matter of fact, I do. Can that is. And I love it. I sometimes feel like an old lady picking things from our garden & then canning them for later but I'm totally fine with that. I really enjoy it and you know, it pretty hip to can these days. Haven't you heard all the kids talking about it? No? Well the older kids are and they're even having canning parties like back in the old days.

Take my girl Natalie, aka "nataliecreates," she's the cutest thing I've ever seen. She has a farm, a garden, she crafts, she blogs, she cooks, she has her own business, she cans - I mean, really, what doesn't the girl do?  She is just as inspiring as person as she seems online.

I had the privilege of meeting her at the Be Crafty OK event a wile back and have been a fan of hers ever since. She just has this way about her that screams joy & comfort.

So I'm sure you can imagine my excitement when the amazing Nats asked me to assist her at her first ever canning workshop at her adorable farm. And though we'd only met in real life once before, it's like we've been friends for life as soon as I walked through her door. Such a great feeling. I mean, to be honest, it felt like home. It was dreamy. I didn't take enough pictures during the workshop, as I was busy helping, so go check her post to see more fun from the day.

But in between helping score tomatoes, wash dishes and chat with the sweetest ladies ever that attended, I managed to snap a couple phone pics.

Have you ever watched How I met your mother? If yes, you'll appreciate this.

I posted this on Instagram with the caption, "today has been legend, wait for it, dary." You're welcome.

Each lady walked away with a jar of canned herbed tomatoes, a fun trifting adventure, a fully belly from the amazing goodness of Kara of arch+craft, a bag full-O-swag and new friendships to last a lifetime.

Thank you, Natalie, for welcoming me into your home & for hosting a fun event at your darling farm. Love you to bits. Can't wait to see what's up next for your farm!!!

Aug 7, 2014

a little update

Hello friends. I realize not all of you are on instagram and have been wondering where I've been since my last post. First off, thank you all so much for your love and support. I read every single comment on that post, mostly with tears in my eyes, and I can't say thank you enough. You guys have blessed and encouraged me so much.

So here's the picture I posted on July 25th on instagram as little update.

Here's what I wrote:

"Ice cream has healing powers. Especially Baskin-Robbins rainbow sherbet - my fave. Also. I haven't really shared anything about the miscarriage since my blog post on Ghana for personal reasons. And I have wrestled with sharing this news today but since you guys have been on this journey with me - here goes. Long story short: my doctor determined the pregnancy was ectopic just after I posted about the miscarriage, we have been trying to avoid surgery the last 2 weeks & attempting other treatment options, then, last night the tube ruptured causing me to go to the ER, and by this afternoon I was in surgery having the damaged tube removed. Now I'm back home with my hideous house shoes, trying to rest & enjoying a healthy dose of sherbet and saltines. I'm so exhausted from it all but am thanking God for guiding the hands of my doctors and getting me through it all. And also so very thankful for the support of my amazing family & fiends. And more sherbet."

To say the least, it's been a rough few weeks but I'm finally on the mend and getting back in the routine of day to day fun. My friend, Haverlee, shared about a devotional she's been going through, Streams in the Desert, and I've been soaking it up. If you are going through a tough time, or know someone who is, I encourage you to read it. Here's an excerpt that I've been thinking on:

So good.

I also have to say how very thankful I am for family because it was my girl's fourth birthday the day after I left the hospital. It was so hard not being able to shower her with love and fun the entire day because I needed to heal and rest a little but I did get to spend some quality time with her and my family came to the rescue and celebrated her life the rest of the day. They also pulled together to throw her an amazing Frozen birthday party the next day - thankfully I got to be there and love on her too.

So that's a bit of what I've been up to. I hope to be back in this space soon to share more because there are some really exciting things coming up! Until then, you can catch me on instagram, @lesleyzellers, where I post a lot more.

Thanks again for your support friends. I love you guys.

Jul 9, 2014

when oceans rise

I'm just going to start by saying this is not a post I want to write and have been dreading writing.

This is going to be long. And there aren't pictures. Just a bunch of rambled words, most written with tears streaming down. Have a made you want to grab a coffee and pull up your chair? Haha.

So here goes.

Do you ever watch a movie you've seen a hundred times and hope something different happens to change it somehow? Like the hard stuff when something goes wrong or unexpected and I think to myself, what if it didn't. I know in my head the plot will continue the way it always does and maybe I'm weird for hoping that it might change but I can't help it. But then, if there wasn't a twist, turn or some crazy surprise, not many movies would be made.

And I guess that's how I feel about this post. I know the ending. Well, maybe not the ending but I do know the couple of plot twists that I'd kind of like to change so "my" movie is more of how I imagined it to go.

Sorry I'm being cryptic. I'll stop. I guess I have to get it out at some point. So bear with me as I try to sort through this. This is a very hard post for me to write. One because it's just hard but two because I would normally not share something so personal across the interwebs for all to see.

So where do I start?

Well, my last post was about the Ghana auction I hosted on instagram to help raise money to pay for my trip. You can read more about it here and how God led me to say yes here.

I was blown away by the support and generous bids. Totally blown away. My entire trip was funded and then some! God is so much bigger than I could dream up. The final numbers were still being worked out as far as air fair and some travel stuff but I knew I was going and that we were going to be able to provide some other funding for the people over there. I was so excited.

The "Oceans" lyrics have been running through my head for a while,

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Especially the trust without borders part. So good.

Am actually supposed to be packing today because the plane leaves for Ghana tomorrow. But I'm not.

I scheduled my vaccinations, made a doctor appointment to check my records to see what I needed and the day of the appointment found out I was pregnant!

We were so excited. I'd never had terrible morning sickness and I'd had pretty easy pregnancies so I wasn't too concerned with being pregnant in Africa. I thought it would be so much fun to tell my little one on the way how we went to Ghana when it was just a tiny little thing.

Then my doctor told me I couldn't get my vaccines for the trip because I was pregnant.

Huh? I did not see that coming and it never crossed my mind. Turns out yellow fever is a major no no shot to have when you're pregnant because it could cause birth defects and all sorts of other problems.

No vaccines meant no Africa.

I was crushed.

I cried many tears over not being able to go to Africa. I knew I was supposed to go. How did this happen. I mean, I know how it happened... but the timing!? What?

I felt irresponsible for not knowing about the shots and what it meant for my trip. I worried about the money that was already given so that I could go. A lot of money was raised. Deposits were made. The air fair was bought. What would happen to it? And the rest of it? What would people think about me not being able to go? I was a mess.

Thankfully my friend, Denise, the founder of EverDay Ministry, was very understanding and enthusiastic about the baby. She assured me that everything would work out and was able to get the flight money refunded. I felt so much relief. Since the money was given directly to the ministry, we had options. She could hold the money for when I would be able to go again although it wouldn't be for another year or more or we could fund a pole barn. Since I didn't know when I'd be able to make the trip and I didn't want the money just sitting for a couple of years, I thought it would best be used to give kids an education and place to worship by funding a pole barn.

Instead of being worried about the money raised, I was happy to now be able to give children hope. They were going to get an education and have a place to worship. How great is that? And I'll be able to go to Ghana one day, see that pole barn and smile about this crazy time.

With the relief of knowing the money from the fundraiser would be used for amazing things and the acceptance that I was not going on the trip - I was able to focus on the baby again.

We were having a baby! The name game began as did the questions of if were would find out the gender of this one or wait. I was back to taking those horse-pill-sized prenatal vitamins. And let's be honest, I was already enjoying a little more ice cream than usual because of the baby and all. And it's a shocker I gained 50 lbs. with my first! haha

We were headed to Montana for a family reunion and I was planning different ideas on how to tell our family. I was just over five weeks along and typically wouldn't tell people until after the first ultrasound at 8 weeks but my family would need to know why I wasn't going to Ghana so what better place to tell everyone than when they're all together?!

And then there were some complications. Nothing major but I talked to my doctor and they wanted me to get additional blood work over the next week. The counts came back and weren't as high as they'd like to see but it could have been for a number of reasons so they wanted to check them in two days. Those counts came back better, not optimal but things were moving in the right direction. We were full of hope. But just to make sure things were happening the way they should, they wanted me to do one more round of blood work to check those levels. We were going to be somewhere near Colorado on the way to Montana so the nurse (amazing and so helpful by the way) found a spot along our trip for me to stop and get tests done.

We stopped, had some donuts, waited for the lab to open and had more blood drawn. Later that day I got the call from the nurse telling me things did not look good. My levels had dropped a lot. Instead of doubling, they were falling. And given the other complications, the pregnancy would not last and I would soon miscarry.

We were devastated. We were hurting and on the road. I just wanted to be home in my bed and cry it all out.

And then my thoughts went back to Africa but it was too late to get those vaccines as you have to have them 10 days before you leave the country. So that's where we are right now.

No trip to Africa.

No baby on the way.

No details I can change or outcome I can alter.

There has been a lot of hurting. There will be a lot of healing. We've been down this road before with losing a baby and it doesn't get easier.

But I do know that I have faith and hope in things to come. My family and I will pull through this with the strength from God. The children of Africa are getting a pole barn so that's something to excited about.

And you know, none of this may ever make sense and that's okay. I don't need to know the ending or be able to change the story even though I really wish I could sometimes. Avoid the hurt. Avoid the pain and wondering why.

But it's not my story after all.

It's His.

It's always been His and always will be. His plans are far better than anything I could ever imagine. And though I'm not saying He planned this, I am saying He will bring glory out of it and bring peace so that I don't even need to try to understand the whys.  I'm just trusting that His ending will be worth the twists and turns because His endings are usually pretty epic.

So now I hear that Oceans song differently and have new lyrics running through my head,

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

He's never failed and He won't stop now.

Apr 28, 2014

Yes to Ghana Auction

Today's the day!

When I posted about my upcoming trip to Ghana and the auction I was going to have to help fund my trip I had no idea how many of you would be willing to join in. I originally planned to just auction off some chalk art hoops I made. Then a couple friends offered to join the auction by donating some items! So I contacted a few friends to see if they would be willing to donate something as well to round out the ratio of my hoops to other items. All of my friends humbled me with their yeses and then I was floored by the outpouring of support by others offering to donate too!

God is good.

The auction starts today, April 28th, on instagram, @yestoghanaauction, at 6:30pm central and goes until 8:30pm Tuesday, April 29th.  All details and rules will be posted on instagram.

So here's a peek at some of the items.

My ten 12" hoops. 8 original one-of-a-kind chalked, wrapped and sealed hoops and two custom hoops.

And then all this!

  1. hand-painted camera canvas  (white) // pen and paint
  2. 3 month subscription to Pinwheel Parcels // my paper pinwheel
  3. infinity scarf // Ella Reu
  4. custom silhouette // red and clay cotton

  1. headband set - infant, toddler or adult // alonganislandsea
  2. custom hand-lettered wood block // kimber creates
  3. she is clothed 8x10 print // fancy that design house
  4. clutch // ragamuffinbeauties
  1. you have been given today 8x10 print // katygirl designs
  2. Pair of Traveling Mason Jars // tweetpotatopie
  3. handmade vintage glass leverback earrings - lemon yellow and green // wifey singer
  4. one small set of felt succulents (one clay dish/3 succulents) // cole franke

  1. Home sweet wonderful home. 7" hoop // lovely little whimsy
  2. 12" hoop and hand-lettered 5x7 print set. // anna joy french
  3. think happy thoughts // foster and fielding
  4. rise and shine // emmalemms

  1. you keep him in perfect peace // kimber creates
  2. sewing machine canvas // pen and paint
  3. snap shop: phone course // under the sycamore
  4. oceans set // katygirl desings

  1. hand-painted camera canvas (black) // pen and paint
  2. sing anyway 8x10 print // katygirl desings 
  3. set of scroll-saw wood art // my grandpa! 
  4. let your light shine 8x10 print // fancy that design house 

I'm in awe. So much amazingness.

Not because of me. All because of God. To give His people access to clean water. To share His message of grace, hope and healing.

I can not say thank you enough.

And if you want to share and help spread the word on instagram, I'm giving away this "Mother's Day gift in a box."

Included is one of my hand-lettered garden notebooks, a "love is the greatest of all" 6" chalk hoop, a "she can laugh" card with envelope, a roll of washi tape to pretty up some things, a packet of zinnia seeds to get some flowers going and a dipped, stamped garden marker for the zinnias.

To enter the giveaway, post this picture on your instagram feed, tag #yestoghanaauction &@yestoghanaauction and share about the auction. Winner will be chosen at random and announced Wednesday.

Hope to see you there tonight and happy bidding.

And thank you.

Apr 27, 2014

Unexpected Mother's Day gift!

You guys. I really like my phone. I take a lot of pictures with it, run most of my business on it and connect to the outside world through it.

In fact, I recently thought I lost it after it took a plunge in the loo (that's fancy for toilet). Don't ask.

But thankfully my dad came to the rescue and brought over this like CIA drying stuff and after 3 days of leaving it in that, my phone was back to work.

I share that so you get an idea of how clumsy I am with my phone. I drop it all the time. It needs a case. The problem is I'm really picky about what case I put on it. That may sound silly to a bunch of you but it's like an accessory. And I don't like spending a lot of money on a case I just kinda like.

So anyway, when the kind people at redENVELOPE contacted me about sending me a Mother's Day gift for capturing memories here on my blog (crazy cool, right?) I jumped at the opportunity.

They let me choose from so many amazing items. I was torn between some sweet gardening stuff, pretty jewelry and home decor cuteness. But then I saw it. The phone case I'd been waiting for.

Have I mentioned how much I love Rifle Paper Co.? Because I do. I drool over just about everything Anna creates. So when I saw that case on redEnvelope, my choice had been made.

The case arrived and was even better in person. It is slim and has a soft edge around the phone. It's perfect. And it pretty much goes with everything :)

So thank you redENVELOPE for the generous gift and for protecting my phone! Goodness knows this momma needs all the help I can get!

So if you're in need of a Mother's Day gift, Father's Day gift or just because cute something, you should check redENVELOPE! I know I'll be back!

Apr 16, 2014

How big is my brave?

When I stated taking a class in hand-lettering, that phrase (the title of this post) stood out to me. So I used it for my first project.

Little did I know how that phrase would pop up in so many areas of my life. So let's rewind a bit before I tell you where all this is going.

A long while back, I learned about an awesome organization, Love146, through social media. To say the stories impacted me would be just about the biggest understatement one could make. My eyes were ripped wide open to a truth about human-trafficking I'd never known. I was devastated, angered, to be completely honest, hopeless. How could people be so cruel. So sick and ugly. How could this be happening. Where was God in all of this?

I immediately knew I needed to do something. Spread awareness. I wrote a bit about it here on the blog. I donated money to Love146. My heart ached for the girls that were hurt by such trauma. I wanted to do more.

But what?

I looked into several organizations who's purpose was to end sex-trafficking, to bring healing to the victims. I looked for something to either give my time or energy to in an effort to feel like I was doing something. I wanted to be more than a voice. And I really wanted that voice to champion healing through Jesus. Because I don't know how anyone could get over that life without hope in Jesus and healing found only in Him.

Fast forward to almost two years later.

My mom took my sister and I out to dinner to celebrate our birthdays. We talked about a little of this, a little of that, laughter, jokes, and then my sister all nonchalantly, said, hey, I'm going to Africa next year. You should go.

Say what?!

My sister was going to Africa.

I feel like I should talk about our childhood when she wanted to be an astronaut. I hated it. I didn't want her going on a freakin rocket into outer space. I was also a child of the Challenger days. So it was really, really not cool that she wanted to do that.

And now she's telling me she's going to Africa! I rather that than a space shuttle but it was still scary.

Then she went on to tell us about what they would be doing in Ghana. This friend of ours, Denise, created EveryDay Ministry after she took a trip to Ghana. You can read more about her story and the mission here. But in short, they provide water wells to villages that don't have access to clean water and are partners with two organizations that provide rescue care to girls freed from slavery. And they do all of that to open the door to share the Gospel.

And this upcoming trip my sister planned on going on and invited me to go with her on, was to serve in one of the houses providing the rescue care. I think I started crying when she said that.

I thought about that trip a little here and there and how it would be amazing to go. I also kind of pushed it aside not thinking I'd ever realistically go.

Then, a few months later, I was at church. The preacher was a guest speaker and talked about fear. He asked the question, what's the one thing you would do if you had NO fear and KNEW that God was behind you? Ghana immediately came to mind. I hadn't thought about it weeks and then BAM.

I thought about the fears I had keeping me from realistically thinking about going. Being away from my family for 10 days. I've only really not seen them for an entire day. 10 days is a long time. Going to Africa. Same fears I had for my sister but now for myself too. What if something happened to me? What if I didn't come back? What about my kids? What if something happened to my family while I was gone? And I wasn't there. What about the money? I didn't know how much a trip like that would cost but I imagined it had to be expensive. We don't have that kind of money. Who would watch the girls while I was gone? Was I ready for my heart to be wrecked and changed because you can't do something like this and it not change you. What if...

So all these fears. Holding me back. Stopping me from doing something I had asked God to give me. When I asked God nearly two years ago to help me find a way to do more than give money or be a voice to help end human trafficking - I had no idea He'd ask me to go to Africa and now here I was, struggling to say yes.

And then my grandpa died. It was unexpected and I haven't shared about it here because I don't have the words yet. But it's an important part to this story because it made me realize how short our time is on this Earth and if God tells you to do something, it's a good idea to say yes. Not because God needs you. But because you need it and you may not get another chance to say yes.

So I began praying about it more. And then my sister asked me to go with her to a pre-trip meeting for Ghana. I listened to more facts and felt God even more. Urging me to say yes but still wresting with questions and fears.

And then I thought, how big is MY brave? Or better asked, how big is my FAITH?

So. To sum it up, I said yes to Africa. I said yes to God.

I'm going to Ghana in July.

It's so crazy to say that out loud. It's real. It's happening. Do I still have fears? Yes. But I'm trusting God and whatever happens, happens.

There's not much I can do about those fears aside from the money part. My family and friends have financially stepped up huge to help me and their support means more than they'll ever know. But there's still a good chunk I need to dome up with.

That's where you come in. I know there are a ton of organizations, causes and all kinds of things you can give your money to, but if you'd like to help send me to Africa - I'm going to be holding an fundraiser on instagram under the user @YESTOGHANAAUCTION, April 28th at 6pm, Central, where I'll be auctioning off chalk art hoops.

Remember those things we made in Arizona? I'm working on several different ones and hope to the final money needed for the trip. The highest bidders will be giving directly to EveryDay ministry for my part of the funds needed. I hope to see you there!

I'll keep you posted! But until then, please pray for me and my sister, our families while we prepare and safety while we travel.

Thank you!

Apr 11, 2014

10 on 10

Since I'm a serious blogger these days, yesterday was the 10th so there's this thing called 10 on 10 where you take 10 pictures throughout the day. My sweet friend, Rebekah (one of the awesome gals I met in Arizona) hosts this link up thing to share your tens.

Here are my 10.

6:30 - morning person like her daddy, morning hair like her mommy

8 - Thursday donut date with great-grandparents

11:30 - lunch with my ladies - because we were all craving Mexican food

12:30 - little window washers helping clean the old house

1:30 - taking pictures of the old house to list online

2:30 - dirty face from playing in the backyard while I took pictures inside

3:30 - picking up new prints from my printer man with a sleeping girl in the back while the other watches frozen 

4:30 - chicken duties

5:30 - watering the garden and kiddos

And 6:30 - dinner - quick and easy chicken salad sandwiches with a side of fruit

Happy Friday friends! For the fun of Friday and a new print in the shop - use code FRIDAYFUNDAY for 30% your total order from my shop. Ends at midnight.