Jul 22, 2015

He never failed...

A year ago I wrote one of the most personal blog posts I've ever shared. I still can't read it without crying. For those that are new around these parts, you can read the post here.

In summary, this time last year I was supposed to go to on a mission trip with my sister and some friends to Ghana. Then I found out I was pregnant and couldn't get the vaccines. Then I miscarried and later found out it was an ectopic pregnancy and ended up having emergency surgery July 25th last year when the tube ruptured.

So, yeah. That month was rough.  As were the months that followed. But God is great and faithful and y'all, so, full of grace.

I ended that post with these lyrics from the song, Oceans:
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.

And you know what. A year later. He didn't.


For those that follow me on instagram, it's no secret that we are expecting our first boy. I just realized I never shared the news here - sorry about that. After everything that's gone on, it seemed like I couldn't just say we're expecting and leave it at that.


But yes, we are having a BOY in October!

It's funny when you have two girls and then find out you're having a boy. People respond in the funniest of ways, like,

"you finally got one" or
"third time's a charm" or
"so now you can quit trying."


And I get it.

But if you knew our story and the fact that we didn't know if we'd be able to have any more biological kids, any child is a miracle - boy or girl. And really, that's what this little guy is, our miracle baby. Hope with skin on.


The night I went in for surgery I was terrified. The doctors warned me about the tube rupturing and if I felt pain to go the ER immediately. If a rupture is severe it's life-threatening. I didn't know if mine was severe or not, I just knew the pain was.

I will never forget the feeling I had when I hugged and kissed my girls in that hospital parking lot. Fear had gripped a hold of me and all I could think was how it could be my last good bye. The last kiss. The last hug. The last time I saw my family. I was scared. Tears uncontrollably streaming down my face.

Several hours, a hospital change, ambulance ride and re-evalution later - the doctors determined the rupture wasn't severe but I still needed surgery and would become a "uni-tube" as my husband lovingly termed it.

Praise the Lord, I saw my family the next day. Celebrated my oldest's 4th birthday a day later and now here we are, pregnant with our third.


There have been so many times where I've felt surrounded by fear since that night. Fear that we couldn't get pregnant again since I only had one tube now. Fear that if I did it would be ectopic and I'd have to go through all that again. And then once we found out we were pregnant, Fear that we'd lose the baby.

So much Fear.

But in all that Fear, we had to remind ourselves that God tells us to, "Fear not, for I am with you." - Isaiah 41:10.

Every day. Reminding to Fear Not.

Every day. Praying for strength.

Every day. Clinging to hope and trusting that even if the scariest thing happened, He still had me.

Those lyrics playing in my head,
"Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now."


Wow. How that song has changed for me. A song that I used to cry to when it felt like I had lost so much and just needed His strength to make it through the day.

Now a song of praise. I still cry through it. Sobbing at His grace and mercy. Thankful for hope and a precious baby. A baby boy with a healthy heartbeat. Kicking like crazy. A reminder each day of His faithfulness.

So yeah. If you ask me if we're excited about having a boy.

Darn right we are. 


To God be the glory. Great things He has done.

Jul 14, 2015

mixed green salad with blueberries, cucumber, feta and lemon viniagrette

We hosted our first ever garden workshop in our backyard this past weekend. It was so amazing and I cannot wait to share more details, pictures and recap the whole day but I'm still working on it. I hope to have it ready this week.

Until then, here's a little peek...

backyard garden patio decor

backyard garden workshop
photo by Ashley

While I'm working on the recap, several people asked for the dressing recipe from the salad we ate so I'm sharing that today.

For the salad, I wanted to share a fresh salad with some veggies from the garden and since it's summer, that meant cucumbers and onions. I started with a spring mix of greens, added the sliced cucumber (seeds removed so the greens wouldn't get soggy), sliced onion and since blueberries are in season - I threw some of those in and topped it with feta and a homemade lemon vinaigrette.

summer blueberry + lemon + cucumber salad

If it would've just been for me, I probably would've gone with goat cheese because I LOVE it with lemon but not everyone likes goat cheese so I went with feta instead.

Sweet Shop Lulu provided us with the cutest picnic supplies for our lunch! I made some custom labels for the salad container and chip bag and you can actually download a FREE printable PDF to make your own picnic labels on the Shop Lulu blog.

summer salad by Jessie Leigh Photography

For the salad:
  • mixed greens
  • cucumber - halved lengthwise then sliced (seeds removed if you want)
  • small red or white onion - halved then thinly sliced
  • fresh blueberries - half pint to a pint
  • handful of feta (or goat cheese)

The lemon vinaigrette is easy. Just put the following ingredients in a mason jar, screw the top on and shake, shake, shake - to dissolve the sugar.
  • 2-3 lemons, juiced - about 1/3 cup
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Assemble the salad any way you like and drizzle the vinaigrette over the top.

garden fresh summer salad

If I'm having this salad for lunch I like to add a hard boiled egg, sliced turkey or crumbled bacon, actually, add all of those and it's pretty amazing.


container photos by Jessie Leigh Photography
Salad supplies from Shop Sweet Lulu: salad container / biodegradable cups / straws / berry basket

Jul 9, 2015

Be Crafty Friday Harbor Recap!

Goodness time flies. It seems like it was just last week when I was sipping the most delicious lattes in Sara Parson's kitchen laughing and telling stories with the sweetest ladies. But alas, it was over a month ago.

coffee at sara's

Time got the best of me but I'm finally getting my act together to recap the trip/workshop.

This was the first trip I've ever taken with just my sister. I loved having all that time with her traveling, talking, laughing - uninterrupted, cherished moments we rarely get to have with little ones running under foot distracting us with constant needs.

sister traveling

Traveling was no joke. Flights, shuttles and ferries made for a full day of sisterly bonding and traveling. I road a ferry for the first time and decided I might need to live on an island so I can do it more often. Or at least visit Sara more. One of the two for sure.

Ferry station

Reunited for Be Crafty

And let's just take a moment to talk about how beautiful Friday Harbor is! I think my husband was a little jealous of all the pictures I kept sending. It's pretty unreal.

Cows at Friday Harbor

Baby bump in Friday Harbor

Friday Harbor

After we met up with Amanda, we made our way to Sara's house and got busy taking pictures of ducks...

sara's ducks

er, prepping for the workshop. I love watching Amanda's vision come together and am always amazed at the details she thinks through.

The event took place in the most gorgeous barn so it didn't take much to get it ready for the workshop. A little bunting, balloons from Shop Sweet Lulu, flower centerpieces from The Felt Flower Shop and all the pretty craft supplies and you've got yourself an Amanda Rydell craft workshop!

the masters at work

painted chairs and a truck

Be Crafty Friday Harbor

Be Crafty barn

The day of the workshop we woke up early and prepared lunches for all the ladies. Shop Sweet Lulu provided the cutest picnic supplies and I made some labels for the different items.

cutest salad package

picnic with Sweet Shop LuLu

You can get your own printable PDF of the label set over on the Sweet Lulu blog today!

It was finally time for the workshop and meeting all the lovely ladies!

Be Crafty workshop sign

I love getting to meet people from the online world in real life and this group of women was so special and they just blessed my socks off.

Amanda kicked off the workshop with a little paint craft and macrame pot hanger. This lady and her painting skills - come paint all my things!

crafting with Amanda

crafts in a barn

Ashley was up next with a some phone photography tips and a photo craft. Watching her teach these ladies her passion was a gift! I've taken both her DSLR and phone photography Snap Shop classes and highly recommend them. Hearing her in person was a great refresher for me since it's been years since I've taken her classes.

photo tips with Ashley

I wrapped up the workshop with some lettering and chalk art tips.

lettering with lesley zellers

chalk art with lesley

Time ran a bit short for my part of the crafting but the ladies got to take home supplies to make their own hanging chalk canvas.

Before everyone left, they got to take home a box full of swag from some pretty amazing sponsors.

Huge thank you to:
Shop Sweet Lulu || The Mason Bar Company || Modern June || Maggie Holmes Design || The Felt Flower Shop || Splendid Supply || Sakura || Behr Paint || Mpix || Pen and Paint || Julep || Give With Joy || Ike and Co || Fresh Tangerine || Rebekah Gough || Shop Celebrate Life || Kelly Moore || Sugar Blossom || Bloom Theory || Paisley Sprouts || Catch Swan Dreams

And then we all breathed, had my sister take a couple baby bump photos with those fabulous balloons, kissed the ducks and maybe ate some late night hot dogs, graciously made by Sara's husband, Sean - Sean, you rock, and called it a night.

balloons and baby bump

no words

Then it was back to traveling.

Friday Harbor

But before we left Washington, some of our sweet friends took us on a little tour around Seattle.

top pot donut

Public Market Center


Touristing in Seattle

Thank you, Kirby and Sherry, for your friendship and for giving up some of your time so we didn't have to wake up at 4am to catch the ferry and shuttles!

Mt. Rainier

These weekends are such a blessing to me in so many ways and I'm so thankful for the opportunity to work and play alongside my friends, old and new.

Be Crafty friends

And thank you to Sara for opening up your home to us, for all the lattes and your friendship. You and Sean made the weekend magical and I'm so thankful for you.

Until next time, Friday Harbor and Be Crafty.

More pictures from the event from Amanda and Ashley (click names for their posts).

Jul 7, 2015

summer is for corn

Amaize sweet corn

Let me just say, summer is not my favorite season. It's just so hot! Add being 27 weeks pregnant and it's close to unbearable.

That said, there are a few things that make me long for summer and surprisingly enough, they're all food. You can't get a vine-ripened, homegrown tomato any other time of the year and that alone makes the heat worth it. Then there's sweet corn, cucumbers and all the peppers! So I guess summer isn't so bad after all.

I was recently contacted by Amaize sweet corn to try out their naturally grown white corn and I was so excited because we are big fans of corn and I like that it's non-GMO plus corn is kind of a summer meal staple around here - so obviously I said yes. They sent over about 9 ears and we tried it a few different ways to really test it out.

Amaize sweet corn

The end result, we are huge fans and will definitely be buying more! It was sweet and crisp and delicious. You can't always get Amaize here in Tulsa but it will be at Reasor's (a local Oklahoma grocery store which also happens to be one of my favorite places to shop) for a limited time. Which is another good thing because after we tasted it, my husband asked where we can get more and if we have to order it - he said it was the best corn he's eaten. So there you go, big Amaize fans now.

Amaize sweet corn

Since we were trying out the corn, I wanted to make it in ways that would really bring out the corn flavor so I'm sharing those with you today.

The first recipe, Corn, Blueberry and Cucumber Salad, is one I originally found on pinterest and then slightly adapted.

fresh blueberry, sweet corn and cucumber salad

It may sound weird, but trust me on this and make it! It's a really tasty, summer salad that makes the most of fresh produce and has a really fresh, summery taste. I just eat it by the bowlful and it's also good scooped up on tortilla chips.

Amaize-I got corn

Plus it's gluten free and paleo-friendly so it's a great side to bring to cookouts or parties so just about everyone can eat it!

Here's the recipe:

3 ears of corn - husked and cooked in boiling water for 4 minutes
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cucumber - cut in half lengthwise then sliced
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 chopped jalapeno - or more for a little more kick

For the sauce:
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon local honey
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 salt

Cut the kernels off the cobs into a medium bowl and combine all salad ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk all sauce ingredients then pour over salad and toss to combine. Refrigerate overnight and enjoy!

The next recipe is not really a recipe, it's just grilled corn.

sweet corn on the hasty-bake

My husband likes to grill corn without the husks on but if you don't like a browned corn, just leave the husks on while you grill. I roll the cobs in a little olive oil and sprinkle a little salt over them before he puts them on the grill.

Served alongside some grilled hot dogs, fresh garden pickles and watermelon - grilled corn makes for the perfect summer side!

fourth of july feast

The littles agree.

little corn lover

And lastly, it's REALLY not a recipe - just good ol' boiled corn. Corn at it's finest. Cooked in boiling water for 4 minutes and BAM. Crisp, buttery, salty goodness.

Amaize sweet corn

You really can't beat it.

Amaize sweet corn

And you really can't beat Amaize sweet corn. For more info, read up on it here and if you're local, run to Reasor's while you it's still here and go ahead and pick up some blueberries and cucumbers and make that salad. You can thank me later.