3.11.11 Has it really been 5 years?

3.11.11… I’ll never forget that day.

I know this is a day early, but in Japan it was already 3/11, so I decided to go ahead and share this today. It’s humbling to think that so much could have changed in my life on 3.11.11, but God protected my family through it all. ❤️

3.11.11 never forget pray for Japan

I will be getting back to ‘The Ice Cream Maker’ book tomorrow!

My 2016 February Birchbox Review

Remember that system I put in place to reward myself? My February Birchbox came in on Saturday and I did a little review. ❤️

My 2016 February Birchbox Review tokyo blossom boutique makeup skincare

By the way, I am not a Birchbox affiliate. The link is just a referral link to where I get a few points to put towards things in their shop. I’m endorsing the box because I was genuinely impressed with them!!


I have to say that out of everything I got, I think my favorite items were the Pop Beauty matte lipstick and the Mally Girl stick eyeshadow that they threw in the box as a bonus!!

Stick with your goals for good!

goal setting tokyo blossom boutique mompreneur

I don’t know about you, but I always start the year out strong with all kinds of good intentions only to struggle mid February and the beginning of March. There are so many reasons why we can get sidetracked, but with these five tips, it will make it so much easier to stay on track!

Figure out what threw you off.

Instead of saying ‘oh well’ and ignoring the fact that you haven’t worked out in a couple of weeks, or whatever your goals for this year are, stop and think about where you got of track. Did you have some unexpected circumstances? Are you letting distractions get in the way? Whatever the reason, recognizing where you hit a bump in the road will help you to evaluate what changes you need to make to stay on course.

Are your goals still relevant?

Our lives can change so quickly! Sometimes unexpected things can happen that cause us to have to change our goals. Facing an unexpected job loss, a transfer or a great number of other things can affect wether or not our original goals are still realistic, or a good idea to pursue. As with everything, do some praying and soul searching before making any changes.

Is your family on board?

Have you talked to your family about your goals? As with any family, everyone has to work together to make the day to day go smoothly. We can make big plans, but if we don’t make sure our family is on board before we do them, it could cause tension and resentment. Talk to your family. Be open and honest about why you want to pursue these goals, but also be willing to hear them out on why or why not they think they are a good idea. Sometimes they have insight that we might have not thought about.

Find accountability.

Anybody can say that they are going to do ‘X,Y,Z’ but sticking with it, is a different story. Even the most determined person is going to struggle at some point. Having a friend, spouse, or loved one who will be 100% honest with you and wants to see you succeed, will make it so much easier to stay on track.

Reward yourself.

Out of all of these steps, I am the worst about this one! I consider myself a pretty self motivated person, but then I never reward myself for accomplishing the tasks that I did. I would think about rewarding myself and then say things like ‘That’s a waste of money’, ‘I could be doing something for someone else’, ‘Or I could be using that money towards groceries’ and the list of excuses goes on and on. Those reasons sound good in theory, but eventually they cause total burn out. So for me, I found that getting a subscription box was a great way for me to automatically reward myself each month without giving myself an opportunity to make excuses. Obviously if you are not a self motivated person, this approach might be a little counter productive, but find something that works for your personality type!

You can watch the replay right here!

Catch the show live on Periscope weekdays at 3pm EST!

 

By the way, I am not a Birchbox affiliate. The link is just a referral link to where I get a few points to put towards things in their shop. I’m endorsing the box because I was genuinely impressed with them!!

So many blessings…

so many blessings tokyo blossom boutique

Have you counted your blessings today?

Have you ever met someone whose whole world seems to be falling apart, yet they always seem to have a smile on their face and their heart is full of gratitude? Or maybe you know someone who is just the opposite and always seems to have a problem with every little thing that is happening to them?

I’ve met plenty of both, and most of the time, the thankful people I have met have a little secret. You know what it is? They are consciously looking for God’s goodness and things to be thankful for.

I have a dear friend who is currently going through things that I honestly don’t know if I could handle, but every time I see her, she is concerned about me, and wants to know how I am. When her situation comes up, she continues to praise God for the good times and the bad.

What would our lives look like if we practiced ‘in everything give thanks’? We have a heavenly Father who loves us through the good and bad, and while we won’t always understand why certain things happen, think about Job. Through all of his trials, God was still there, Job remained faithful, and when it was all done, God blessed him more than ever. Or look at Joshua and Caleb. Out of all the spies who went to Canaan, they were the only two who were able to see all of the amazing things that God wanted them to claim in the promised land.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Some days it may take more effort than others, but look around you… God is good and His blessings are everywhere. He’s so good to us!

 

Did you miss today’s Periscope show episode of Stand Up and Sparkle? You can watch the replay here!
Catch the show live on Periscope weekdays at 3pm EST!

The gift that changed my kid’s life.

Quality time The gift that changed my kid's life

We live in a world that makes people think that the person with the most toys wins. Even our kid’s are taught to think that. Have you seen all the commercials at Christmas time, targeted at kids? There’s definitely nothing wrong with having things and appreciating what God blesses us with, but sometimes we tend to think, “If I get my kid _____, they will be happy.”

Before I started running my business from home, I taught as a private music tutor for 5 1/2 years. I saw a LOT of families and kids come through the studio doors. I can’t tell you how many times the kids would tell me that their parents didn’t have time to help them with their music homework. I’m talking about little kids who really needed parental help to go over the music assignments that were give to them. Yet week after week, both the parent and student would tell me that “mommy or daddy didn’t have time this week.”

I saw this week after week, and while it made me really sad to see, I realized that I was just as guilty of doing the same thing. Sean was still pretty little at the time, but I would come home from work exhausted, do everything I could to do as little as possible, and put him to bed as early as I could. I no longer have to work quite as much, and it’s definitely helped, but it took more than a schedule change for me. It took a change in my attitude.

Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is His reward.

Psalm 127:3

We live in a busy world, and many of us have to work. But while we make time to buy our kids ‘things’ and to involve them in every extracurricular activity that we can think of, we forget that we have the power to give them a gift that could change their lives… reading a book together, building a blanket fort… 100% focused, quality time. It doesn’t cost money, and it doesn’t have to be extravagant. They just want you.

So we’ve started reading together, going through a devotional that’s on his level, and going to get a little treat after school without rushing off to the next things to do, because it’s the little moments of quality time that communicate that we’re there for him. I’m not a perfect mom. I’m no where near what I want to be. I don’t clean my bathrooms enough, and I’ve been guilty of not making my bed more times than I care to admit. But I’m telling you about this because it’s part of our story, and while every part of my life is a work in progress, I want you to know that you have a precious gift that can change your child’s life… YOU!

Did you miss today’s Periscope show episode of Stand Up and Sparkle? You can watch the replay here!
Catch the show live on Periscope weekdays at 3pm EST!

5 random acts of kindness

5 random acts of kindness-01

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of photos floating around of people performing random acts of kindness or ‘paying it forward’. Isn’t it amazing how just a small gift or someone taking time out of their day to be thoughtful makes a world of difference? Today I’m going to be sharing some that I have seen and done recently, so I hope this inspires you to come up with some of your own! If you do decide to try some of these, be sure to post a photo and tag me on Twitter or Instagram so I can check it out!

As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Galatians 6:10

1. Buy someone a cupcake.

No seriously, buy someone a cupcake. I dare you! They won’t be able to help but smile. This happened to me just yesterday. One of my friends at church had found a buy 1 get 1 deal at a local cupcakery, so she picked me up a gluten free one for me to enjoy. Brownie points (pun totally intended) for thinking about food allergies and intolerances.

2. Write a letter.

For those of you who have been following me from the beginning, you’ve probably remember the post I did on how I keep my letter writing organized. In a world of text messages and emails, a simple letter really does stand out. If you have kids, let them scribble a picture in the corner of the card. It gives it an extra touch of sparkle.

3. Pay for the person behind you.

I went to grab a cup of coffee the other day after school, and after all the blessings I’ve been given over the last few months, I wanted to do something nice for the person behind me. I went through the drive through, paid for mine as well as the person behind me, got my coffee, and quickly left so I wouldn’t get any awkward stares. LOL

One time, a lady handed me a five dollar bill with a gospel tract paper clipped to it, and she said, “I’m from ____ church, and I just wanted you to know that Jesus loves you. Please buy yourself a cup of coffee.” This was several years ago, and I was going through a hard time. I don’t remember the lady’s name or the church she went to, but I have never forgotten that act of kindness and the plan of salvation clearly presented on the tract.

4. Tape a dollar to a water bottle.

My sister saw this in a snack shop recently. Someone taped a dollar and a little note that said ‘pay it forward’ to a bottled water in the refrigerated section. She didn’t buy the water, but just seeing it made her day!

5. Help someone who forgot their wallet.

Not everyone can afford to do this one, and you have to be really careful as to not get taken advantage of, but this happened to me about a month ago. I was in target getting ready to buy a new laundry hamper and a few odds and ends. They rang up all of my items when to my dismay, I realized that I had completely forgotten my debit card at home. I had no other cash with me so I  apologized and was getting ready to walk away when a couple behind me said, “We’re going to take care of it”.

I was totally shocked and didn’t know what to say at first. I told them that I couldn’t let them do that, but they insisted and told me that I had better come and get it because they didn’t have room in their car for it. They looked like they had just gotten off of work, and yet after a long day, they still made the time to think of someone else.

How about you? What are you doing for others today? Tell me about it in the comments below!

Did you miss today’s Periscope show episode of Stand Up and Sparkle? You can watch the replay here! Catch the show live on Periscope weekdays at 3pm EST!

Try, try again…

try try again tokyo blossom boutique

 

You’ve probably heard the famous poem that goes,

“Tis a lesson you should heed:
Try, try, try again.
If at first you don’t succeed,
Try, try, try again.”

-Thomas H. Palmer

Up until recently, I always related the poem to when things didn’t work out or some sort of failure. But you know what I’ve realized? Sometimes it’s harder to ‘try, try again’ on the everyday choices and steps through life than it is to deal with not succeeding on the first attempt or having something not work out.

You’re building a business, and while you are super excited about it, the little mundane steps that help it to grow are tiring and overwhelming. You started with passion, but now you wonder if you can really do it. Keep going my friend… Try, try again.

A parent who has a child who has to have speech or physical therapy might not see the significance in the daily drills and the exercises done at the weekly appointments. But give it a couple of months, a year… little words start to form, phrases, then one day I turn around and my son is having a conversation with me… Try, try again.

“It’s tempting to think ‘a little’ isn’t significant and that only ‘a lot’ matters. But most things that are important in life start very small and change very slowly, and they don’t come with fanfare and bright lights.”

-Fred Rogers

I found this quote by the beloved ‘Mr. Rogers’ while reading his book Many Ways to Say I Love You: Wisdom for Parents and Children from Mister Rogers, and while it pertains to parenting, how true is this of every area in life?

 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

-Philippians 3:14

Sometimes it can feel this way with my walk with the Lord. Simple things like taking the time to spend quiet moments with God and lifting up others in prayer can easily get swallowed up by a busy schedule if I am not careful, but those ‘little’ steps really aren’t little at all. Keep going, press toward the mark… try, try again.

Did you miss today’s Periscope show episode of Stand Up and Sparkle? You can watch the replay here!

Office Tour

office tour tokyo blossom boutique

I love a good office tour!

Every chance I get to take and office tour, I take mental note of the decor, the space, and what they did to make it uniquely their’s. It’s always fun to see how the office inspires the person that works in it. You can generally look at the person, then look at their office and see that it’s a reflection of the person that works in it.

Today over on Periscope, I’m giving a mini office tour. I say ‘mini’ because my office consists of a very small area, but I thought it might be fun to get a behind the scenes look at my work space, some of the tools that inspire me, and various fun things I like to have around me. I hope you’ll join me at 3pm EST!

tokyo blossom boutique office decor

Did you miss today’s Periscope show episode of Stand Up and Sparkle? You can watch the replay here!

When your best doesn’t seem enough…

When your best doesn't seem enoughPreview

You’ve been there… When your best doesn’t seem enough.

My husband and I got married right when the economy took a nose dive. We were both poor college graduates and had very little to call our own. He struggled to find employment in his field while I managed to find a part time position teaching music. He took up a job as a machinist until that company had to down size and had to start letting people go, starting with the newest hires.

Fast forward several years. We went from working multiple part time jobs, to a full time job, to an unexpected pregnancy, to losing another job to yet another company downsizing. One day when my son was less than a year old, I had just come home from working one of my three jobs to find a pre-eviction notice taped to our apartment door. You would have thought that I would have spent the next several hours bawling my eyes out, but I didn’t cry a single tear. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to cry, but because I had no tears left to cry.

Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.                                         Jeremiah 31:3b

The months leading up to that point, our pantry had a grand total of ramen noodles, a bag of beans, rice, and a handful of random seasoning packets. We would go to our local pregnancy center and take their classes just so we could earn ‘baby bucks’ to buy the diapers that we couldn’t afford otherwise. My husband was working as a freelancer, and he was very much in the beginning stages, but since he couldn’t find employment elsewhere he did that while taking care of our toddler since we couldn’t afford childcare.

We tithed to our local church, we lived on next to nothing, and we did our best to continue to be a blessing to others when we got the opportunity, but it still didn’t seem to be enough. We had reached out for help, but the lack of consistent employment really hurt us. So here we found ourselves staring at this piece of paper with no tears left to shed. I wish I could say that something amazing happened at that moment, but it didn’t. The next week, I numbly watched as we moved the tiny white crib out of our studio apartment, and did the last of the cleaning.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

If I stopped there, that would just be a depressing story that probably wouldn’t help you in any way, but fast forward 4 years. My husband and I are still happily married, we found out that our son has autism, but he’s such a happy boy that’s learning so much every day, and my husband’s freelance business has become our full time income. I’m not telling you that to make you think that every rough story has a fairy tale ending, but I’m telling you this because God has a plan for your life. Sometimes it means that we’re going to face difficult times. Sometimes it’s going to feel like your best really isn’t enough, but that’s because that isn’t enough to get through life.

In the darkest hours of life, it’s not your best that will get you through… It’s God’s infinite grace and love that He puts all around us through every step we take. He shows us great love through other people, through His grace to get through things day by day, and while it’s heartbreaking, He’s right there beside you, seeing and knowing.

Did you miss today’s Periscope show episode of Stand Up and Sparkle? You can watch the replay here!