Monday, December 20, 2010

Guest Blogger ~ Molly Alexander of Miss Molly's Designs

I happened upon Molly's blog, Beautifully Broken Me, a couple of years ago when following links on a jewelry artist's blog. I realized right away that not only was Molly's jewelry beautiful, her words were, as well. Molly writes from the heart, and what a kind, caring, generous, God-loving heart she has!

Please welcome Molly as Guest Blogger in the comments once you finish reading her story:

{Molly's family: Zach, Molly, Josh, Sawn}

What would you do if you were asked to take in a troubled teenager and were given one day to make your decision? This is the question we were asked nearly two years ago. To understand the situation better, let me back up a bit…

My husband Shawn, our son Zach and I moved into our relatively secluded suburban neighborhood nearly seven years ago, when Zach was in 4th grade. We love this community that has two K - 8 schools and a high school, all within a couple of miles from our home. We are big youth sports people, and immediately had Zach in Pop Warner football. By the time Zach was in 6th grade, we had also started a Middle School Youth Lacrosse League and began recruiting players.


One of the first kids to come out for Lacrosse was Josh. He was one of those kids who immediately starts tugging on your heartstrings from the moment you meet him, and we got to know him better throughout the season. He came from a rough background – we didn’t know how rough at the time – and obviously needed people in his life that cared about him. So we kept an eye on him and made sure he continued to play Lacrosse for us as he moved from house to house, friend to friend – most of these homes without rules or parents who had a clue about where he was. When we would hear skateboards going by the house at 1:00 AM, we knew it was Josh and his friends. He would show up on our front porch all the time asking for water or food or just to come in and hang out, and it soon became obvious that the home he was staying in probably wasn’t the best place for him.

What an understatement…

On January 3rd, 2009, we got a phone call at 8:00 AM asking us to come to the CPS office that day at 1:00 PM to testify on Josh’s behalf in a guardianship hearing to remove him from the home he was then staying in. As Josh had never been in “the system”, this was all a strange process for him, and we were happy to come to support him. By the end of that meeting, the CPS director asked if we would take Josh as his Foster Parents. We weren’t nor had we ever been Foster Parents, and we didn’t really know Josh all that well, except through Lacrosse, so the question definitely shook us up a bit. We had always said to each other that, if the opportunity arose, we would take him in a heartbeat, and it was time to step up. We knew we had to talk with Zach before we gave them an answer, and when we did talk to him, he was amazing and agreed that we definitely needed to open our home up to Josh.

So on January 6th - Josh’s 16th birthday – we took him out to dinner and asked him to come live with us and be part of our family.

And he said yes.

And so began our journey as Foster Parents. It has been so much harder and so much more rewarding than we could have ever known. We started learning more and more about Josh’s background, and boy, were we naïve. We still don’t know everything he has gone through in his lifetime, but we are learning it, bit by bit. We were Josh’s 5th home in 6 years, and that alone kept him from having any trust in us at all. I think he was just waiting for us to discard him, just like all of those people who came before us. Not an easy thing to overcome, for sure.

So, from the classes we took and the experiences we’ve had, here are some things we have learned over the past two years that have helped our family tremendously:

  • God’s plan isn’t always our plan.
  • Don’t expect a child to be grateful for being taken in. In fact, they will most likely be suspicious of you and your motives – not grateful. If you are doing it just for the gratitude, you are doing it for the wrong reason.
  • Be flexible.
  • Throw your expectations out of the window. You have to get to understand a child’s behavior and personality before you can know what your expectations should be.
  • Don’t forget to spend time with your own kids and make sure they feel valued.
  • It is OK to take charge of what you need to: school, testing, meetings, doctors, etc - don’t wait for the system to do it for you, or it probably won’t get done.
  • Don’t expect them to trust you. Too many adults have given them reasons not to trust, and you will have to earn it from them.
  • Don’t give up, even when it seems impossible. Nothing is impossible for God. And it isn’t about you – it is about your child.
  • Even though you say “I love you”, don’t expect it in return.
  • Don’t ever stop saying “I love you”, no matter what the reaction is. Our job is to love a child, not to change them. Changing them is up to God.
  • And finally, have faith that, even if you don’t see it, God IS changing them.

I am grateful for the opportunity God has given us to be a part of Josh’s life. He is doing so well and has overcome so much, and we have made sure that he knows he always has a home with us. He actually has plans for his future – something new for him - and talks about having self-respect and self-worth, and that is a miracle in itself.

{Shawn and Josh}

What I will leave you with is this: most teens in the Foster Care system end up in group homes, as most Foster Parents don’t want older kids. I had a placement agent tell me that once a child reaches 12 years old that they rarely even try to place them and instead send them directly to the group home as they are automatically considered “unplaceable”. Once these kids reach 18 years of and age out of the system, over 90% of them will be homeless, drug addicts or gang members, with a very short life expectancy.

So if you are thinking of becoming Foster Parents, consider taking a teen. There is a lot of work involved, but the work is nothing compared with the rewards. To give a child a second shot at life is such a gift, and there are so many who are just looking for someone to love them and value them. I promise you – it WILL change your life.


Molly, thank you so much for sharing that wonderful story with my readers. How can it not touch someone's heart? Hopefully it will help someone consider being a foster parent to a child who needs love and stability.

Ok, everyone ~ I'm sure you'll enjoy visiting Molly's websites so here they are:

Molly's blog, Beautifully Broken Me:

Molly's website, Miss Molly's Designs:

Molly's Etsy shop:

Take care and God bless,


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Blogging Marathon

Hi there!

Get ready for a blogging marathon....

It begins later tonight with a blog post and I'll be posting every day for the next few days to catch up on Guest Artists and Guest Bloggers and to share a few other things that have been in folders on my laptop and I just haven't had time to post them.

I'll leave you with a few new Vintage Book Spine Cuffs that I have in my Simple Joys Paperie Etsy shop:

Come back later tonight to meet Guest Artist Katie Ebner. :)

Take Care and God Bless,

Friday, December 10, 2010

In Memory of Mama

Today is my Mama's birthday. She would have been 83. I could say so much about her, but today I'll share this previous post:

Little Reminders ~ Simple Joys

This is a little bookmark my Mama had made quite some time ago from the looks of it. She was an avid reader of the Bible, Guidepost, Grace Livingston Hill books, and many, many other inspirational books. Once in a while she'd need a bookmark and make her own, just a simple piece of paper or ribbon, but always with a Bible verse or a wonderful quote. This is one that I found yesterday while looking through some of her things. I love little reminders like this, reminders of my Mama, and reminders of God's love.

Thanks for visiting today.

Take Care & God Bless,



p.s. Please check back later this evening for a wonderful Guest Blogger post. :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Guest Artist ~ Cindy Forrester of Reclaimed Soul Jewelry

Hi everyone!

I hope you are enjoying the Guest Artist and Guest Blogger features. For some time I have wanted to share other people's art and stories with you and I hope that next year will be full of many, many more posts that will inspire and encourage you.

Today I'd like for you to meet Cindy Forrester of Reclaimed Soul Jewelry. I ran across her blog a couple of years ago (I think) and fell in love with her work! You can tell right away when you see her work that she puts her heart into each piece she creates. Here's her description of her work: "Handcrafted meaningful jewelry to fit every unique need for special occasions or everyday. I refer to them as “Reclaimed Soul”. Inspiration comes from inspiring words, nature and my love of vintage."

I gave Cindy a list of questions and let her choose 5 to share her answers with us:

1. Why do you do the art that you do?
Well I have this overwhelming desire in my heart that I must create, create, create!!!

2. What is your favorite décor style?
Kind of ecclectic, I love mixing old with more contemporary.

3. List your 3 favorite colors.
Blue, green and yellow.

4. What is your earliest memory of crafting / creating?
Hmmm...well I think I was probably around 7 or 8, for Christmas I always got the paint by number sets, the first one was of a puppy and I fell in love with those brushes and paint.

5. Who influenced you most in your art?
My 7th grade teacher Betty Mattox, she always encouraged me to keep drawing and painting. She would tell me that I could do anything I wanted to if I would just make up my mind to do it. At the end of that school year I wanted to take my work home but she wouldn't allow it, I found out years later she had kept them and they were now hanging in her home. Sadly, she passed away from cancer when I was around 19 years old. She was a great lady and teacher and I carry her memory in my heart always.

Thank you for sharing with us Cindy! It's hard to choose a favorite but I just adore that little deer necklace!

Please feel free to leave a comment here for Cindy, and then head on over to her blog and shop to see more of her work and read about her inspirations and things that she's working on.

Reclaimed Soul Jewelry Etsy Shop ~

Reclaimed Soul Jewelry Blog ~

You may read more Guest Artist posts here
read more Guest Blogger posts here.

Thanks for stopping by.
Take care and God bless,

Friday, December 3, 2010

40% off sale in Honeysuckle Lane's Etsy shop!

Hi everyone ~ I'll be posting random things here and there over the next few weeks: a sale here, renovation pics there, a guest artist or blogger on Sunday or Wednesday, a few junk sale items, sharing pics of my little tree, sharing pics I took a few weeks ago and never got around to showing you. There is a lot going on here and of course it would be during one of the busiest times of the year!

We are getting ready to do some renovating and I need to move some inventory. So this particular post is to let you know about a sale in my Honeysuckle Lane Etsy shop. You may purchase as many items as you want at 40% off! All you have to do is put this code in the coupon code box during checkout: Christmas2010. That's it. So simple. Your total will automatically be adjusted right before your eyes! :)

This includes a snow angel, pincushion block prints, a couple of bird in the hand pieces, a hand painted folk art rabbit, soldered jewelry and more!

This sale goes through the 15th so don't wait to long....

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Take Care and God Bless

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Guest Blogger ~ Jennifer Gash of Sweet Sleep

I met Jen several months ago during one of my online Junk Sales. It was a quick transaction, she wanted something on my site, I invoiced her, she paid, I mailed it, and that was that. For some reason I kept her email. Later, I was curious about her email address and googled it. My, what a story I read! I knew then that I would want to feature her as a guest blogger, even though I hadn't begun the series yet. Fast forward to this week... I had nearly a full month of guest artists and bloggers scheduled for Sundays and Wednesdays, except for December 1st. How in the world could I get someone on such short notice? Jen immediately came to mind. I'll ask her, knowing she probably was too busy and that she would choose a date near the end of December if she wanted to participate. Well, I asked and I received ~ I think God had it planned. Even though Jen was out of the country, she wrote me back and said she'd take December 1st!
Hers is a story that you won't soon forget and it will touch your heart forever...


We likely don't know each other. Yet.

Let me introduce myself: My name is Jen Gash. I'm a regular girl who grew up in the Midwest and moved to Nashville 14 years ago to finish college. No, I didn't want to be a singer; I wanted to write for a magazine--specifically for a travel magazine. Let me tell you something else about myself: I'm terrified to fly. So, I suppose the perfect travel story involved a destination with a nice drive.

Seven years ago God decided that nice drive should take me to the airport and then to a small country in Eastern Europe called Moldova. There, He changed my life forever by exposing my eyes and breaking my heart for the way the orphans have to sleep each night. In Moldova, the children's beds were narrow metal frames with gaping holes in the metal mesh springs. The children used rope or shoelaces to tie the holes together to keep their inch-thin cotton mattresses from falling through. Their mattresses....oh, their mattresses. They were filthy from nearly 50 years of bed-wetting, dirt and bugs.

As I learned the names of the children and got to know them, I continued to be deeply burdened by the knowledge that they would go to bed that night and put their sweet little faces against something so dirty. I couldn't help but think of how vulnerable these children were at night. My thoughts would drift to what the children would think about each night as they tried to sleep and I knew these children needed a healthy, warm and loving place to lay their heads each night. I deeply believed these beds could serve as reminders that they were never alone: that God had created them, loved them, and had a plan and a purpose for them.

And so, Sweet Sleep was born that week as a nonprofit ministry which provides beds, bedding and Bibles to orphaned and abandoned children around the world (

It's probably a good thing that God doesn't let us know in advance all of the plans He has for each of our lives. At the time I really just thought I'd be working to provide beds to the country's largest orphanage and nothing more. Remember, I'm terrified to fly. As it would turn out, God intended for Sweet Sleep to provide beds to orphans all over the world. Lots of planes. Good thing God kept that part of His plan hidden from me and just watched me take baby steps to this country or that.

After beginning Sweet Sleep in 2003, God grew the ministry into Haiti in 2008 and then to Africa in 2009.

Africa. I never wanted to go to Africa. Do you know how long you have to sit on an airplane to get to Africa?

Silly girl. Amazing God.

Sweet Sleep works through ministry partnerships that include local churches and other nonprofits like Samaritan's Purse, World Vision and the American Refugee Committee (ARC). We hire nationals in each country in which we work. These individuals are responsible for making the beds and securing the materials for the beds that we provide, and oversee each project from start to finish.

Sweet Sleep is able to provide for these children because of the way God works through the hearts of all who hear about our work. Right now we need you to know about us and pass our work along to those you know. You can be involved in our ministry in very real ways, right from where you are, by visiting our website at There you can read more about our work and special projects, sign up to receive our monthly newsletters or prayer newsletters, download resources about how to get your church or the children and youth in your church involved in caring for the world's orphans, learn about opportunities for you to serve on one of our future mission journeys or give financially to provide a bed, Bible or mosquito net.

Our biggest need right now is for 938 orphans in northern Uganda to receive beds before the end of the year----578 of these children are being moved out of IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) Camps and into new homes in their family's tribal village. As you go about your Christmas shopping, I'd urge you to think of "Giving the Gift of Sweet Sleep" to those on your list. You can find our Christmas gift catalog on our website. When you make a gift donation of $8 in honor of your sister, Sweet Sleep will send her a card letting her know that her Christmas present this year saves the life of a child in Uganda by providing them with a mosquito net. When you make a gift of $10 in memory of a lost loved one, we'll send notification to a recipient of your choice, letting them know this individual has been remembered with the gift of a Bible to an orphan. A complete bed is only $50 and includes the mat, mattress, bedding, mosquito net and Bible.

One more thing..I'd like to share a letter we received from a child Sweet Sleep resettled in June 2010.

Dear Sweet Sleep, My name is David. I am 14 years old and am in primary four. I would like to thank you, Sweet Sleep for giving me the mattresses and mostly the Bible. Now days I know more about God than I did before because I read my Bible and after I go for a sleep on my soft mattress. Am very happy this days because I start sleep right when I got on to my bed till morning without feeling any pain. So I again thank God for that special gift which I was not even expecting in my life and not forgetting to pray for you and also the organization called Sweet Sleep.

Thank you so much from David. God Bless You.

Bless you, indeed. Thanks for inviting me into your lives today. It's been a joy to be here. And maybe I'll see you again...perhaps even on an airplane.


Sweet Sleep ~

The link to our newest video is here:

The link to Give the Gift is here:


Didn't I tell you that Jen's story would touch your heart?!!
Feel free to leave comments for Jen and be sure to visit the links to see and read more about Sweet Sleep.
Also, if you'd like, click on the buttons just below this post to share by email, on your blog, on Facebook, or on Twitter.
Perhaps we can help Sweet Sleep reach their goal of providing beds for the children of northern Uganda.

Take Care and God Bless,