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God Nods

We all have a purpose. We may discover our purpose early or late in our lives. We may find it through a job, a hobby, a life circumstance, tragedy, or through a relationship. Sometimes our true purpose is so great, so impactful, that should God show us His plan, we would become fearful and consumed with doubt fleeing from the very thing we are called upon.

I’ve had more “God nods” in the past two years than I can even count.

Instead He shows us little flickers to guide us on our path. He sends people into our lives when we need them. A song you need to hear pops on the radio at the right time. A chance encounter with a stranger that eerily shares your struggles. Even a reassuring phone call from a friend who speaks truth to you when you need to hear it most. I like to call these “God nods”.

I’ve had more “God nods” in the past two years than I can even count. Looking back it has been perfectly orchestrated by His hand. I feel the need to tell you about one particular encounter that happened a few months after receiving the news of Scarlett’s autism. The news was still raw and I was very much still grieving but doing my best to stay strong in front of others. On this particular day I was filled with nervous excitement. I was meeting at the home of my mentor, Jennifer Allwood, to shoot footage with Sebastian De Geer of GeereD Up Films, LLC,  for her upcoming course. I knew there were going to be other business women there but was I unaware of who would be there.

(Pictured L-R: Michelle, owner of Boodle-Lou, me, Jennifer AllwoodChastity, of Chastity Stemmons Enterprises, and  Anna, owner of Inspired by YOU Jewlry )

Sitting around the table with Jen, Vicki, Jennifer’s assistant, Michelle, owner of Boodle-Lou, Anna, owner of Inspired by YOU Jewlry , and Chastity, of Chastity Stemmons Enterprises was one of the most impactful “God nod” moments I’ve experienced to date. I didn’t know it then but it was a major turning point for me; spiritually, personally, and for my business.

We individually spoke about what was going on in our businesses and small talked while we were each pulled away to film our specific part. As the women went around telling their stories, the cards started to fall in place. Anna was a school principal whose goal was to take her leather earring business full time. Michelle’s job was teaching children with special needs while she ran her furniture and decor business on the side. (You see where I’m going here, right?)

Then there was Chastity. You see, Chastity is one of those women who walks into a room and people stop dead in their tracks. She has a presence about her that is unmistakable. And when she speaks, you can’t help but listen. I was not ready for Chastity. I say that with all the love. I was not ready. I was not ready for the truths that this amazing woman was about to speak over me. I was not ready for her to shake me up and turn me inside out with her words spoken out of love.

She spoke that my purpose was being handed to me but I wasn’t receiving it. Her words of truth were unable to penetrate through my armor of grief. I couldn’t hear that the very thing that I was grieving was in fact my purpose. That my purpose was to be a voice for those who would come behind me on this journey. As she spoke over me the flood gates opened. Have you ever full on ugly cried in front of five women who you not only look up to but also just met in person? Well, that’s what I did.

Some people are brought into our lives to shake us up.

My first reaction was complete denial. I fought hard. I remember calling a friend on the ride home in tears. Thinking “who is this woman and what right does she have to say these things to me? She doesn’t know me! I AM accepting opportunities as they come to me! I AM walking in my purpose!” However, her prophecy lingered with me and ate away at the grief. I couldn’t get her words out of my heart. There was no shaking this. It took me months to let her words truly sink in. To fully accept His gift she spoke to me. As my grief diminished, her words grew louder. His nods became more frequent. I was not ready at all to step into my calling. Looking back, I NEEDED His truth to spill out over me more in that moment than I’ve ever needed it before. He sent Chastity because I NEEDED shaking. I NEEDED to be turned inside out. I NEEDED to be awakened.

I tell you this because I could have missed this moment if I would have let my nervousness of the unknown give me an excuse not to go that day. I could have missed the opportunity to receive His gift had I refused to let it reach my heart.

LADIES! Do it scared. Do it nervous. Do it unsure. Pay attention to the gifts given to you. Then RECEIVE THEM! Pull them close and take them in. It is a gift for you for the taking. Some people are brought into our lives to shake us up. Take time to listen.

 

 

 

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Find Your Tribe

As I sit here refining my goals for 2017 I can’t help but look back over last year. 2016 was a big year for me, not only in business, but even more so personally. It was a year of change. As some of you may know, I struggled with postpartum depression and anxiety after having Miss Scarlett in 2014. The first year was unbelievably rough and I knew I had to make some changes.

One of those changes was to remove myself from people and situations that brought negativity into my life. In this day and age it isn’t so easy. I had enough negativity swirling around in my head, that I didn’t need anyone adding more mental weight to drag me down. Some of this purging was as easy as hitting “unfriend” or “unfollow” on Facebook. It was amazing how much better I felt by cutting out the social media drama. I also stopped watching the news. Have you ever noticed that there are very few positive stories? The media feeds off drama and this momma was so over it. This also meant distancing myself from certain people, some that were close to me. We all know who these people are in our life. They are the ones that leave you feeling drained or negative yourself. They siphon from your cup rather than fill it.

With the external weight lifted I found a renewed sense of motivation. As the saying goes, “As one door closes another opens”.  And boy did it ever! Early spring I decided to focus my energy into seeing what I could do with this little cookie thing. As things started picking up I quickly realized I needed some guidence and joined an online business coaching group ran by Jennifer Allwood, who just so happens to be a Kansas City girl too. It was like someone just put the paddles on me and shocked me back to life. I was instantly surrounded with 100+ creative women business owners. Women who think the same way as I do, who are trying to juggle the business and family balance just like me, that even though their businesses are thriving, have the same insecurities as I do! The best thing, they are so welcoming. It doesn’t matter if you are starting from square one in business or you’ve had a brick and mortar for 15 years. Everyone helps each other. Everyone WANTS to see the other succeed! There is no drama, no sabotage, no mean girls, and no negativity, just women helping other women along the path to success. The ladies in this group are AMAZING! Jennifer is AMAZING! I have learned SO much in such a small amount in time. The Inner Circle group is seriously the best investment I have made in my business.

Last week was the icing on the cake, or should I say sprinkle on the cookie? Jennifer asked me to make cookies for her and The Chic Site by Rachel Hollis’ Meet Up and Book Signing. My reaction, uh heck YES! (Followed by a few air punches and the worst Carlton you have ever seen.) If that wasn’t awesome enough, I also got to meet Jennifer, Rachel, my Kansas City (and one Illinois) Inner Circle friends face to face for the first time. It was such an amazing feeling to walk into a room of 70 women, many who have never met before, and feel like you are amongst lifelong best friends. When I walked out those doors to head home that night my Tribe was extended even further, my heart fuller, and my dreams bigger!

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Inner Circle Ladies: Niki McDowell , Melissa Rieke, Jennifer Allowed, Nicole Moore, Angie BauerAnna Bannister

 

Moral of my story, choose your Tribe wisely and love them beyond measure. Happiness is contagious! Surround yourself with uplifting and encouraging people. Don’t have a Tribe? You do now! Welcome to my Sweet Squad, friend! If you need a little encouragement don’t hesitate to shoot me a message.

*Interested in joining the Inner Circle Group you can find it here. Tell Jen I sent you.

Photo credit: Melissa Rieke Photography

 

 

 

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3 Ways to Tame the Squirrel Brain

This post does contain affiliate links  for many of the items so that you can easily find them online.

Call me a hotmess. My brain is constantly going a mile a minute. Most creative people have. That’s what makes us creative! Where do you think all of those ideas come from anyway? The challenge is snagging those ideas when they come. Like most moms I rarely have a moment to myself where I can gather my thoughts. My squirrel brain is easily distracted by the laundry, kids, dishes, husband, kids, social media, kids, never ending to do list, did I say kids? I’ve had to get creative to snag those fleeting ideas.  Here are 3 of my favorite tricks that work for me that can be adapted for any busy mom.

 

Use that little bit of time wisely!

For me that time is when I’m in the shower and getting ready. Let’s face it, I can only take a shower when little Miss Scarlett is sleeping so I have to use this time wisely. This little Bluetooth Shower Speaker was a game changer. I use this baby to listen to my business trainings but you could also listen to pod casts, ebooks, music, and even take a phone call.

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Take Notes

I take notes of everything! If it’s not written down I will forget it. I have a horrible memory. So I take notes. LOTS OF NOTES! You know how I said I listen to my business trainings in the shower? Yep, I take notes in the shower too. Yeah, that’s right! I’ve written grocery lists, ideas for blog posts, To Do lists, you name it, it’s been written on my shower wall with bathtub crayons. I also use dry erase markers on my bathroom mirror and on an old window in our kitchen.  Do you find that your mind races when you lay in bed at night and can’t sleep? Keep a notebook on your night stand and jot your notes there instead of reaching for your phone. I find that if I reach for my phone I end up on social media or Pinterest and down the rabbit hole only to emerge an hour later with no memory of what I was going to write down to begin with. Sound familiar?

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Organize your Day!

I’m a list and a goal maker. This helps keeps my crazy ideas moving in the right direction. It’s easy to get off track if you don’t have a clear path to your goals. I love to take those big scary dreams and goals and break those babies down into manageable monthly, weekly, and daily goals. I searched high and low and finally found the perfect planner for goal makers like me. I love that each day has it’s own page and plenty of room that makes my list making heart flutter.

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These are all small things that you can do that can make a big difference in your day to day. What are your go to time and sanity saving tips and tricks?  I’d love to hear what you do to tame your squirrel brain.

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A Time to Reflect

It is so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of day to day life. Add the craziness of the holidays and top it off the prospect and excitement of the new year. It’s enough to make my already spinning head go into overdrive. In all of the excitement of rushing into those new goals or resolutions and focusing on bigger and better things we can lose perspective of what we have accomplished this year. We need to stop and really reflect.

Phew, what a year it was! Our 2016 was a roller coaster filled with both personal and professional triumph and heartbreak. The hard moments are usually the easiest to recall. Pain and disappointment carve deep impressions on our slate. The big exciting moments are close behind and add to the highlight reel of the year. Then there are those everyday moments that if we aren’t careful can get lost in the day to day shuffle. Hold on to them all. Hold them tight and keep them close. There is something to learn from them all. Even in the depths of the pain there is a lesson. It may take time to see it, but it is there.

Today as I’m forcing myself to sit and reflect on 2016 I’m choosing to focus on the triumphs, both big and small. My business coach challenged us to make a list of 10 things we accomplished this year. The first 6 came fairly easy. The last 4 really made me think. What surprised me was that those last few accomplishments were the ones that were the most personal, had a deeper meaning, and were the accomplishments that I am most proud of.  They were also the accomplishments that no one saw. The intangible ones that only hold significance to me.

My coach is one smart cookie I tell ya. She knows what we need to push deep and pull out the best of us even when we don’t see it ourselves. I challenge you to do the same. I bet you accomplished more this year than you thought. I know I did.

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Fight off Fear by saying “YES!”

Have you ever had an idea and then immediately thought, “Oh, I can’t do that” or “Maybe someday when…(followed by any number of excuses)?  You know the big ones; I don’t have time, I’m busy with the kids, I don’t have the money. Yeah, me too. I’m pretty sure I’ve used every excuse in the book at one time or another. But let’s be honest with each other here, we can do that, right? We’re all friends here afterall and friends tell each other the truth, even when it’s hard.

Here’s the truth. All of those excuses are just a cover for FEAR.

Yep, that big 4 letter “F” word. FEAR.

Fear of failure, Fear of not being good enough, Fear of putting yourself out there, Fear of being judged, Fear of “what if”. Let me just tell you right now. If you tried, you did NOT fail! I don’t care who you are – YOU ARE good enough! By putting yourself out there you have already succeed because you have made the first step to grow! If you are being judged just remember, the only reason people talk behind your back is because you’re already ahead of them. Break through that FEAR and just act.

I know what you’re thinking, yeah, yeah, easier said than done. Well, let me tell you, you’re right. It can be hard, but like anything else you have to start somewhere and as you work at it, it will get easier. Just try this and see what happens. Take on a life of YES! Commit yourself to saying YES to healthy opportunities that come your way. A funny thing happens when we just say YES instead of overthinking. Instead of giving fear time to creep in your mind shifts into “get it done “mode.

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I committed to this mindset earlier this year and I have gone onto do things I never thought I would. One being writing my first ebook, The Not So Basic Sugar Cookie. My excuses were: I’m not a writer. I don’t know how to make a professional looking ebook. I’m not the best cookier. What if I go through all of the work and no one buys it? As I began feeling the doubt creep in you know what I did? I made the commitment by telling someone. Actually, I knew I needed a bigger accountability group so I, gulp, announced it on my Facebook page to solidify my commitment. I knew that by putting it out there my followers would hold me accountable. And they did! Funny thing happened. Just as the doubt and procrastination would creep back in someone would ask me when the ebook would be done. It was just the kick in the butt I needed. THANK YOU!

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I also had to change my mindset. You know what? Maybe I’m not the best writer, but at least I tried and that’s more than most. Maybe my ebook isn’t Martha Stewart caliber, but I am proud of how it turned out. Honestly, it exceeded my expectations! Am I the best cookier? No, and I’m ok with that. We all have to start somewhere. And that last, scary FEAR? What if no one buys it? Well, they have! I may not have made a ton of money on it yet, but it holds so much value to me. It’s value is in the reminder that I broke through the Fear and and self doubt. It’s a reminder that I can accomplish more than even I can imagine and so can you! Keep breaking through the fear and the best is yet to come!

If you are interested in purchasing my ebook you can find it here. Thank you for your support in helping me fight through my own fears.

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes!

Change comes in all forms. It can be good, bad, and uncomfortable at times. But it can also be exactly what we need to grow. The best part of change is that we have the power over how it will affect us. It’s all about perspective. Will you fight it or will you welcome it with open arms?

I’m sure you are wondering, what changes? Well, for one, I have officially crossed over from event planning to custom cookies. I had my last event in September and I do not plan to book any more. You may see the occasional family event, here and there because I do love a good party. This girl can’t just go cold turkey!

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So, what does this mean? It means Sweet n Saucy Events is evolving and you will be seeing a lot more cookies and a lot more of our Sweet n Saucy Life! I plan to blog 2-4 times a month about cookie tips, tricks, and products I think you will love. If you want to see more, and I know you do HA!, follow me on Facebook and Instagram. I’m excited to see where this Sweet and Saucy Life takes me and would love it if you came along for the ride!

-April

Be Inspired!

I LOVE window shopping! Doesn’t everyone? When I have time, and my toddler isn’t going into defcon 10, I love to take my time in Hob Lob (Hobby Lobby) or any craft or home store and just peruse the isles. Armed with the camera on my cell phone, the search is on for anything that may inspire me. When I find that hidden, or not so hidden, treasure I snap a photo of it and the price. Budget is important people!

I was insanely inspired while walking through the Easter aisle at Hob Lob a few weeks ago. Ideas started flying immediately and I had to restrain myself from throwing everything I could see in my cart. My husband should thank me with flowers and chocolate for having such restraint. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. It doesn’t take a genius to put together premade decor for Easter. But think outside the box with me. You see Easter, I see a Peter Cottontail Baby Shower or First Birthday theme! Walk with me and let me explain.

The first item I came across were these adorable carrot garlands and bunny bottom garlands. I mean come on! Can it get any more adorable than that? How cute would it be to hang one of them on the front of your food display table or as a garland behind your table.

 

Or how about these little fabric or twine carrots? They would make adorable place markers for your table settings! Just unbunch the carrots, tie a name tag to each carrot and place the carrot on the plate or napkin at each setting.

This faux grass is a fun way to decorate your food display table just sit your food trays right on top or even use it as part of a table runner or centerpiece for your table.

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Want to welcome your guests at the door? Keep it simple with one of these beauties! You could even use these on your food display table for a bigger impact. Perhaps sitting on top of that cute faux grass? Love it!

If you haven’t had enough bunny, look at this precious guy. I love everything about him. And he was a good size! Perfect for a focal point on your food display table.

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I just love a Peter Cottontail theme for a baby shower. To the point that I’m pretty sure I heard my ovaries crying right there in the middle of Hob Lob. No more babies for us, but that just means I need, and I mean need, for my ovaries sake, to be commissioned to design this shower for someone else’s precious blessing.

I hope this inspired you to think outside the box and look at those seasonal items at a different angle. Everyone loves a dual purpose item right? Party decor today, home decor for the years to come. Everyone wins!

If you want more party inspiration please take a moment to subscribe. What would you do with these items? Let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!

It’s time.

I have been thinking about starting a blog for quite some time. I actually started one about a year ago but truth is, I got discouraged. I let that little voice of self doubt step in and stop me cold in my tracks.  What if no one read? What if no one even looks? What if I fail? Let’s just say there were a LOT of what ifs.

Well, I’m DONE! Done with the what ifs, and done with the self doubts. Sure, it will creep back from time to time but I won’t let it stop me. As a creative person everything I put out there carries a piece of my heart and putting that out there for the world to see (and let’s be honest, to be judged) can be scary. But you know what? It’s way scarier for me to stop sharing my passion for all things design. What would our world be if all of the creative people of the word just stopped creating? It definitely wouldn’t be pretty.

So here I am. Ready to create. But mostly just ready! It’s TIME! I would love for you to go along this path of life with me. I promise there will be lots of pretty things ahead. If you want to join this crazy train please click on the Follow button on my side bar.

Thank you so much for stopping by. It means more than you will ever know!

April