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Monday, July 28, 2014

Centerpiece and Twenty-Five Shmacks!

I have a rose bush in my front yard.  It is big and beautiful, with an abundance of hot-pink colored blossoms.  I love it!  All summer I have been snipping roses and making small bouquets for my kitchen table.  Recently, I've been thinking about how I need something to give my centerpiece extra pizazz!  And that my friends, is when I decided to make this easy project:

Be sure to stop by The Wood Connection's blog to see the full, bang-a-rang tutorial!

A ginormous THANK YOU to The Wood Connection for giving me the opportunity to guest post over on their blog.  I love when they invite me to share my ideas with their readers, and I love their store.  A LOT!


The Wood Connection has generously donated a $25 gift certificate to be donated to one lucky "Mama Leisha" reader!  Entering is quick and simple!  Fill out the rafflecopter below.  Winner will be notified via email on Tuesday, August 5th.

Happy Summer and Happy Crafting!


Monday, July 21, 2014

Kindness Is Beautiful; A Letter

To The Girls Who Started The Instagram Account, "Ugly People," As A Way To Bully And Hurt Others:

No, no, no, girls, you've got it all wrong!  You think you are witty and clever, attacking innocent victims who you believe to be less than you.  You think you have an idea of what it means to be beautiful (with society and media being powerful influencers), despite your life experience (or lack thereof) and immaturity.  Goodness!  Those underdeveloped brains of yours cause you to think you know so much more than you actually do! 

Here is what I know; what I have learned over the course of my perfectly imperfect life:

Cruelty is not beautiful.  Anger is not beautiful.  Jealousy is not beautiful.  Spite is not beautiful.  Bullying is not beautiful.  Rallying your peers to hurt another is not beautiful.  Using social media to break hearts is not beautiful.  These vices--dark and soul-staining--will never be beautiful.

This is a photocopy of a very old picture of my grandma.  She's wearing a fabulous telephone sweater, pencil skirt, a hat, and pearl earrings.  She looks classy and stylish.  But do you know what made her the most beautiful and the most stunning?  The fact that she was kind.  Compassionate.  Smart.  Happy.  She was always happy, always smiling, always laughing.  Being anxiously concerned about the welfare of others was a part of her daily, regular routine.  She sought to serve and uplift others.  She was a registered nurse and dedicated a grand portion of her life to the nurturing of others--the poor, the sick, the lonely, the weak.

Through her example my grandma taught me many things; precious "pearls" passed down to generations of good and strong women.  (Like my own mother.)  She taught me that joy is beautiful.  Intelligence is beautiful.  Love is beautiful.  Kindness is beautiful.

I believe kindness is the most beautiful of all.

Girls, you are a part of a great force for good on the earth.  You are destined for womanhood--something more glorious than the sun, more significant than you are able to comprehend right now.  And as you learn and grow and develop into the women you were born to become, you'll quickly realize the women at your side, the women at the bus stop, the women in your corners, the women in restaurants, the women guiding you and encouraging you are, in reality, your sisters.  You'll see you've been a part of the ranks of a powerful sisterhood all along--by divine inheritance--and you'll come to see yourself as you truly are:  Eternal.  Beautiful.

You will come to see your sisters as they truly are, too.
And you'll find great beauty there.

Be wise in your words, careful in your actions.  Be the kind of women your mothers and your grandmothers would be proud of.  Choose love.  Choose kindness.  For we need each other, desperately.  You can be the women to light lives and soothe souls.  Use that ability to better a scary and morally ugly world.  I know you can do it.

You've got this, sisters.

With concern and love,
Mama Leisha


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Lift The Flap

Confession:  My children and I frequently have weird conversations in our pew at church.

Lilly:  "Mom, my Barbies are naked!  Their boobs are showing!"

Me:  "No, you can't throw your Matchbox cars at people in front of us, Cam!"

Cam:  "I smell poop.  Who tooted?"

And on and on and on...

Several weeks ago, Lilly and I had an interesting conversation about the romantic dynamics of a marital relationship.  Or something like that.  And yep, it took place in a church pew.  Thanks to Sue Fliess and Betsy Snyder's book, "Tons of Trucks."

This lift-the-flap book is charming and fun; a church bag must-have!  It's a favorite of ours, and a real reverence inducer.  (Usually.)

The book introduces children to all kinds of trucks:  dump trucks, tow trucks, moving trucks, etc.  All the trucks are busy and active throughout the day, teaching children about their various tasks and functions.  By the end of the book, the trucks start to slow down and get sleepy.  The last page of the book shows them settling down for the night beneath the light of a full moon.  The red arrow is pointing to the specific truck that caught my daughter's attention:

Lift the flap and viola...

Two sweet little horses, "caught in a moment."  (Yes, those are hearts above their heads.)

"Mom," Lilly whispered, after a hymn had been sung, "what are those horses doing?"

"Hmm," I said, when in reality the first word that came to mind was...ahem... foreplay!  "It looks like they're sleeping."

"Well, I think they are hugging and kissing and snuggling because they are trying to KEEP THEIR LOVE ALIVE," said Lilly.

I half-choked and half-snorted as I attempted to stifle my giggle!  Before I had the chance to shush her she asked, "Do you do that?  Do you and dad try to keep your love alive?"

I looked to the opposite end of our pew.  I watched as Camren drove his Matchbox cars up and down James' long leg.  I watched as James wrestled a very wiggly Bridget, who was attempting to eat his tie.  He hadn't had time to shave that morning and he looked a little tired and only slightly frazzled.  He was utterly adorable.

And he was there.

There in my pew, there in my home, there in my bed, there in my life, there in my heart.  He was the one who was present for doctor's appointments and IEP meetings.  The one who showed up for school programs and speaking engagements.  The one who read stories to Camren before bedtime.  The one who called Bridget, "Sweetheart."  The one who helped Lilly with Math.  The one who reached for me when the sky was dark and the house was still.  The one who was committed to being there.  For a lifetime.  For always.

I looked down at Lilly and saw some of the very best parts of James mirrored in her--chocolate-brown eyes, inquisitive mind, patient nature, dark-as-coal eyelashes.  I smiled brightly and whispered my answer into her ear:


It was time for the closing prayer.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Lawn Art Activity; A Craft Tip


Are you looking for a fun, summer time activity to do with your kiddos?  I went to My Craft Channel studios recently and filmed a "craft tip."  I shared a tried and true and most beloved activity I've done several times with my children.  ART ON THE LAWN!


What You'll Need:

*An old sheet (Visit the thrift store and purchase one for less than a couple of bucks!)
*Sponge brushes
*Tempura paint
*Styrofoam bowls
*Nails, or something you can use to stake the sheet down

Simply spread the sheet over your lawn and stake it down at the corners.  Pour some tempura paint into the styrofoam bowls.  (Toss them when finished for easy cleanup!)  Hand your kids some paint brushes and let them go nuts!

Mix some paint, make some memories!  Have a Happy Summer!

*Original post here.