a brother’s heart

family, matthias By February 17, 2016 63 Comments

When the boys were very little, maybe three and four years old, we tucked them into a side by side double stroller and set off with sippy cups and a diaper bag. As we walked along, Matthias saw someone staring at David, and he protectively put his arm around his brother. Steve and I exchanged a knowing glance. It was a small action with big meaning. Matthias was beginning to understand that his big brother needed looking after.

Months later, Matthias asked me, “Why do they stare?”, His green eyes full of innocence and righteous indignation. “They’ve never seen a child with only two fingers before. It’s unusual and they’re curious.” I tried to explain. My words sounded calm and rational, but inside their stares tore at my heart too. “He’s just David.” was Matthias’ perfect, childlike answer. “He’s my brother. He’s fine just the way he is.” In his unwavering acceptance of David, Matthias was beginning to grasp that his brother was different.
F3C41F14-26C7-4435-BA25-72AAC7B4E3A7Sometimes I wish Matthias didn’t know so much about how hard life can be. Having a brother with a disability means simple outings sometimes turn into complicated situations. He’s heard my voice shaking as we debate taking David to the emergency room. He’s had to be flexible too many times when plans get changed because his brother is sick or in the hospital.  And no one is as better at packing a bag with art supplies, books and snacks to wait out a long doctor visit.

And each time everything grinds to a halt to care for David, my heart hurts a little for Matthias. He assures me he’s fine. And I know Steve and I are intentional to make special time for him, too. But it’s hard. It’s imperfect. The stress that comes along with having a disabled brother affects Matthias, and it isn’t fair.a brother's heart lisa leonard1Thankfully he also sees the beautiful and amazing parts of this journey. Those long waits at the doctor’s office have given him time to nurture a passion for drawing and creativity. He has insights beyond his twelve years that will serve him well in life. He has compassion for others and cares for those who are hurting. Matthias adds stability to our family. We are better because of him. His life hasn’t been easy. Having a brother with a disability has shaped him and given him a bigger heart. As mothers, we want every good thing for our children.a brother's heart lisa leonardWhen I see my child struggle, it breaks my heart. But as I see those struggles produce a kinder heart that loves more deeply, I’m flooded with gratefulness. This journey has it’s twists and turns but I’m finding, step by step it’s taking our little family to beautiful places. We are stronger together.

Have you walked through a hard time with your child?

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hello valentine

hello monday By February 15, 2016 4 Comments

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and we spent the day relaxing and being together–all three of us. We walked around Santa Barbara all day and in the evening we got cozy at home with some BBQ and The Martian on DVD. David has been having some pretty uncomfortable tummy pain and he is back and forth between smiles and tears. It’s heartbreaking.

How about some hellos for a new week?

hello valentine -01 Hello being stupid together–love means doing all kinds of things together–the exciting, boring, silly and stupid.

hello valentine -02 Hello green eyes magnified. I love those eyes.

hello valentine -03 Hello feeling very thankful for these three sweethearts.

hello valentine -04 Hello silliness and dancing to some mountain music.

hello valentine -05 Hello surprise valentine from Steve! So much better than chocolate {although I love chocolate–don’t get me wrong!!}

Hello day of school and work. Woohoo!

Hello grocery shopping and gathering some low carb smoothie ingredients. If you have any great smoothie recipes, let me know!

Hello sniffles. They’re going through our home again. I am so over it!!

Hello date night this week. Yay!

Hello creating new earrings. I’ve been wanting to make some for a while.

Hello getting some photos printed. I want them to exist outside of my computer, you know?

Hello getting my phone fixed. I broke my screen, got a loaner phone–and dropped that one too and broke it. Ugh! The MacSuperstore rocks.

Hello big sale in the shop today! Take 20% off with code ‘hopeful’. 

Hello to you! This week holds beauty waiting to be found. What are you saying hello to this week?

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what fills my heart?

finding beauty, thoughts By February 11, 2016 7 Comments

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“Actually, my heart is empty”, I thought. I slipped this cuff on my wrist last week and thought, “I shouldn’t wear this. I’m too busy, too tired, too overwhelmed.” I felt sad and blah. Some days are like that. Some weeks are like that. It’s real life–but it’s not the way I want to live my life.

Since then, I’ve been reflecting on what fills my heart.

Going for a walk and noticing the bright blue sky gives me perspective.

Cuddling on the couch with my boys nurtures my soul.

Holding hands as we walk down the street makes me smile.

Cleaning out closets and donating old clothes helps me breathe deeply.

A heartfelt chat with a dear friend brings clarity to my mind.

Praying with a humble heart quiets my fears.

Counting my blessings reminds me how truly grateful I am.

Instead of filling my days with things that drag me down, I want to focus on the most important things.

In a crazy contradiction, emptying my life of extra stuff fills me up.

Touch, time, kind words, rest, space to breathe & think, letting go–these are the things that fill my heart.

Looking at that list, it’s clear –I have everything I need for a full heart.

Today I’ll slip this cuff on as a reminder of what matters most.

What fills your heart?

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my neighborhood, san luis obispo

san luis obispo, shops i love, what I'm wearing By February 10, 2016 3 Comments

We moved our shop onto Chorro Street in downtown San Luis Obispo. I’m standing our front in these pics. We are sandwiched between Eureka! Burger and Black Sheep Bar & Grill with an awesome Boba tea room called Sweetie Cup right across the street. It’s basically amazing. And there are so many adorable boutiques and delicious restaurants steps away. We are working on a plan to open the retail shop–it’s a big project in the midst of busy days. I’ll keep you updated as we progress!

on my street san luis obispo-02 I found this button up dress at Target and we both knew {the dress and I} that we would go home together. It’s a flowy versatile piece and I love it! Plus the price is unbelievable.

on my street san luis obispo-04 The slip dress is a thrift store find from years ago. I think I splurged and paid $10 for it. It’s definitely worth the investment.

on my street san luis obispo-05 And this sweet necklace holds so much meaning for me. I have a heart for each one of us in our little family of four. I am grateful.

on my street san luis obispo-06 These sandals are so comfortable. I got a second pair when they went on sale last year and tucked them away. They’re a warm weather favorite.

on my street san luis obispo-07 Have you seen these stackable ‘sweet love’ rings? Aren’t they sweet? Two for me and Steve and two for my boys.

on my street san luis obispo-09

Outfit Details: Slip dress, Thrifted. Denim dress {worn open}, Who What Wear, Target. Bag, Nena&Co. Sandals, Miz Mooz. Your Heart in Mine necklace, My shop. Sweet Love rings, My shop.

Please excuse the sandals in February. We’re having a heat wave here in California. Today was 86*–insane. We’re soaking it up while praying for more rain!

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hello little bits of home

an everyday moment, hello monday By February 8, 2016 3 Comments

Lately we’ve been sprucing room by room. First, I purged and gave away lots of stuff. Then I’ve been slowly adding to each space some plants, throws and vintage finds. Home is feeling fresh and welcoming right now–and that’s something to be thankful for!

It’s Monday–how about some hellos for a new week?little bits of home1little bits of home-01little bits of home2little bits of home-09 little bits of home3

Hello no school. We are staying home today and having a slow morning.

Hello cuddling with Louis and Beasley. Matthias and these dogs are a match made in heaven. Seriously.

Hello laundry to do and hoping I can muster up some motivation.

Hello energetic David. Lately he’s been spunky and trying new things–some good, some not so good. His rhythms are changing as they do every once in a while. He’s asserting his independence. He’s growing up–and I’m trying to let him.

Hello clean eating. We just finished a two week cleanse {phew! it was awesome and challenging!} and now we want to keep eating whole, fresh, delicious foods and stay away from refined sugar {my downfall!}

Hello sunshine and heatwave. It’s 80* here this week!

Hello craving goat cheese. I know some people hate it, but I love it. Lately I can’t get enough.

Hello reading this autobiography. What are you reading right now?

Hello listening to this podcast. What are your favorite podcasts?

Hello to YOU! It’s a brand new week with beauty to be found. What are you saying hello to this week?

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DIY leather wall hanging

DIY By February 5, 2016 2 Comments

Ready for a fun DIY that’s a little boho and a super cute? I love the texture this adds to a room.
Check it out.
wallhanging_DIYJust a few stitches, a little fringe and presto–you’re done. This leather was sold in a pack at our local craft shop–but I’ve seen beautiful and affordable leather pieces at Michael’s, too. The parachute cord melts together with a little heat–making closing your loop.

Have fun!

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the best jeans in the whole world

jewelry, Louis and Beasley, what I'm wearing By February 4, 2016 10 Comments

We stopped at Banana Republic the other day to get some jeans for Steve, and these super soft, broken-in jeans called to me. They remind me of hunting for vintage Levis in high school. We used to scour thrift shops for hours looking for the perfect pair of boyfriend jeans. A good pair of jeans are like a good friend. Or maybe like a security blanket. They’re comforting.

bursting heart lisa leonard-01I’ve also been counting my steps and they add up quickly when I take the dogs to work and we have stretch breaks during the day. My daily goal is 10,000, but when I’m in meetings all day, it’s so hard to get steps! Some days I can’t get more than 5,000 steps no matter how hard I try.

bursting heart lisa leonard-07 The bursting heart ring is making me all kinds of happy lately. And the large gemstone cuff goes with anything. I have the words ‘honesty + bravery’ stamped inside.

bursting heart lisa leonard-08I layer up every day because the mornings are super chilly. And sometimes the shop is chilly–it’s a brick building, so it stays cool.

bursting heart2-01 Sniff sniff sniff. What’s the rush?bursting heart lisa leonard-09 We’re slowly getting better at not getting all tangled up in the leash.

bursting heart lisa leonard-10

Outfit details: Boyfriend jeans, Banana Republic. Striped long-sleeve tee, Banana Republic. Green faux leather jacket, Thrifted. Boots, Frye. Backpack, Frye. Bursting heart ring, My Shop. Gemstone cuff, My shop.

Are you counting your steps every day? I’d love to hear what your goals are and how you get all your steps in!

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what is the meaning of LOVE and maybe it doesn’t last…

finding love By February 2, 2016 163 Comments

maybe love doesn't last-01

When Steve and I got married almost 17 years ago, I had love figured out. Or at least, I thought I did. We vowed to love each other ‘for better or for worse’. I had the ‘better’ part all planned out. We would work hard, save our money, buy a cute little house, have a couple kids and keep on loving each other and having fun—just like we did while we were dating and engaged. I was confident we could avoid the ‘worse’ part. I mean, nobody loved each other like we did! We were going to beat the odds. Sure, we’d have the occasional argument—but that’s normal. We knew how to communicate and listen to each other. We had found true love and we were going to make it last.

Then life, in all it’s crazy, imperfectness began to get real.  Sometimes it was big stuff—like having a baby with a disability or getting fired from a job. Sometimes it was just the normal, every day stuff—the stress of grocery shopping on a tight budget or car trouble. I began to have hours, days, sometimes weeks were I didn’t feel that love I felt when we got married. But then we would reconnect. The love was still there {what a relief!}. Although it looked different. It didn’t feel new and shiny. It felt normal and comfortable. Love grows, love changes, that’s what love does, I told myself.

Then ten years into our marriage we started to see marriages around us crumble.  Close friends separated. A couple that mentored us split up. Sometimes it was an affair, sometimes it was just unhappiness. We couldn’t believe it. These were the people who showed us what made love last–and their love wasn’t lasting. It was unsettling and scary. In my own heart, I began to feel discontent.  A scary little thought crept in—maybe love doesn’t last.

We have walked through our own hard times–fighting, feeling disconnected, not understanding each other. There have been times where the anger and hurt feels much stronger than the love. I’ve wondered if our love was ever true. Maybe we weren’t well matched. Maybe we made a mistake. I suspect every marriage goes through these dark times. I think it’s the rule, not the exception.

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It seems true love gives all it has, breaks down, then reconnects to heal. A new love begins where the old love left off. Perhaps love is a journey of holding on to each other, even when you want to let go? True love is more about forgiveness than feelings. It’s more about giving than getting. It finds it’s hope in humility. Love begins, it breaks down, it begins again. Where love began is not where it will end. We will be broken and changed and hopefully over the years, with a lot of grace, we will find ourselves in a marriage that has lasted, defined by a love that has been renewed again and again.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient.

Love is kind.

It does not envy, it does not boast.

It is not proud.

It does not dishonor others.

It is not self-seeking.

It is not easily angered.

It keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 


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hanging out with Louis & Bealsey

Louis and Beasley, what I'm wearing By January 29, 2016 11 Comments

I have good news! It’s Friday. Woohoo! For some reason, this week seemed to go on and on. We’ve had lots of holidays sprinkled in the last few weeks–but this was a full week at home. We need to get back in our rhythm, but it’s hard sometimes!

I’ve been taking Louis and Beasley, our new pugs to the workshop everyday. They are comfortable there and they love to be near us. And of course, I love having them with us all day. For the most part, they are very well behaved. I usually take them for a mid-day walk. I won’t tell you that Beasley pooped in the shop 2 seconds after we returned for our walk last week. It’s a learning process, right?!

the meaning behind the cross bar necklace-04We’ve had chilly mornings that warm to sunny afternoons and then get chilly again. Layering is the best thing when temps change so much!

the meaning behind the cross bar necklace-06Aw, those boys are so sweet!

the meaning behind the cross bar necklace-07We’ve been walking so much! The dogs are trimming down a bit and getting stronger. And it’s great for me too.

the meaning behind the cross bar necklace-01They want to walk and sniff and walk and sniff and walk and sniff. I say, “Less sniffing, more walking!”

the meaning behind the cross bar necklace-02I’m getting great use out of this backpack. It’s awesome when I have the dogs AND David. I love having my hands free.

the meaning behind the cross bar necklace-03These boys are such love bugs.

the meaning behind the cross bar necklace-05The cross bar necklace is a fave. It means so much to me.

the meaning behind the cross bar necklace-08And often on our walks we make friends. How sweet are these scotty dogs? Beasley was very shy, but Louis was ready to play!

Outfit details: Jeans, Target. Tank, Old Navy. Hoodie, Gap. Coat, Cupshe. Booties, Target. Backpack, Amazon. Cross bar necklace, My shop. Gemstone cuff, My shop.

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what forty knows…

finding beauty, thoughts By January 27, 2016 18 Comments

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I’ve heard people say they feel more beautiful 40 years old than they did at 20 years old.
And I agree.
But I wonder why?
Objectively, I’m not more beautiful at 40 than I was at 20.
Maybe 40 is more willing to wear bright red lipstick and high heels without worrying what someone else thinks.
Maybe 40 has seen that physical beauty won’t bring the happiness she once thought it would.
Maybe 40 has a friend who’s not a traditional beauty, but whose captivating smile radiates warmth and kindness.
Maybe 40 knows that each of us wants to be loved as we are.
Maybe 40 has discovered a new kind of beauty.
Maybe 40 can sigh at the wrinkles but admit they reflect years of working toward wholeness.
Maybe 40 has seen the sunlight through the window as she sips a cup of coffee, or felt her child’s tiny hand in hers as they walk along–and she craves those things more than a flat tummy or long legs.
Maybe 40 is more able to look at outside herself and love others deeply.
Maybe 40 is beginning to understand life will bring unavoidable pain but also undeniable hope.
And with it hope brings the truest, deepest beauty to be found.
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