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Something new!

Something new! | Misselainious blogHello friends!  So you might have noticed that the categories have changed a bit on my blog.  They aren’t new but I’ve decided to take out a bunch of them and focus in on a few.  Honestly it’s kind of a scary decision for me but one I’ve been leaning towards for a while now.  It’s not that I don’t LOVE making things or putting together outfit posts but what I’ve realized is that what I care about most is encouraging you.

You all have been so amazing these past five (?!) years of blogging.  Thank you for sticking with me through quite a few ups, downs, and changes! 🙂  I hope this change will be the best one yet (and that maybe I’ll finally figure out what in the world I’m doing haha).

I’ve been brainstorming how I can encourage you a bit more easily and I’ve decided to try something entirely new to me.  It may take a little working out but I think it’s going to be a breath of fresh air.  That’s my hope anyways.  One of my favorite movies is You’ve Got Mail.  I smile when Kathleen Kelly goes to her computer in the morning and waits for it to turn on as she narrates this scene, “I go online, and my breath catches in my chest until I hear three little words: You’ve got mail.”  While our mailboxes don’t talk to us anymore I want you to have that sweet feeling in the form of mail encouragement, from me to you.

Instead of doing a Wednesday post on here like I’ve been doing for the past six months I’m going to deliver it straight to you!  I want it to be a boost for your Wednesday, a little mid-week-pick-up email to brighten up your inbox.  So if you want to get those encouraging posts all you have to do is leave your email address in the comments below and I’ll make sure you get them!  Easy peasy.  I’m excited for you all to be a part of the original crew + I don’t want you to miss out, so make sure to leave your email below or sign up here!  Who doesn’t need a little more encouragement in their lives?!  I’m excited to send you mail on Wednesday!

xxx
Yours truly

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Posted on July 25, 2016 by | Comments { 12 }

East coast trip adventures

Visiting the east cost! | Misselainious blogHello friends! I recently got to go to Maryland to visit some of my family and I had the sweetest time! If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat (@misselaini)  you’ve seen some snippets but I thought it would be fun to make a list here of my adventures so you can get a peek into my trip.  🙂

*Flying in the second row with my parents.  (Thanks peanut allergy for the only good thing you give me: pre-boarding.)

*A hazy pink and purple sky with puffy clouds glowing with lightning (it looked like Tinkerbell was trying to talk and it was so pretty).

*Getting to meet my new handsome little nephew! (Hands down the best part of my trip.)

*Going to the Air and Space Museum and getting to see the Discovery space shuttle (I’ve always wanted to be an astronaut so I was in heaven).  Also astronaut suits cost $22 million…each.

*Seeing planes like the ones my grandpa worked on in WWII as well as seeing the Enola Gay which was sobering (the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan).

*Walking down brick sidewalks with people I love in a darling little town.

*A cute little soda pop shop and a candy shop that had candy “through the ages”!

*MY FAMILY! Just being with them and hanging out and laughing and having good conversations or watching TV or laughing at a documentary or running errands.  That is what made it all so sweet.

*A bunch of incredibly nice people throwing a shower for my new nephew that was  thoughtful and blessed our family so much.

*Fireflies! These are the most magical little bugs and they make me ridiculously happy.

*Finally getting to meet in person a lovely friend and her daughter who I’ve been friends with for 5 years because of this blog.

*Picking blueberries with sweet friends!

*Late breakfast times and late dinners where we all lingered around the table.

*Going to the Newseum (a news museum) and seeing the Pulitzer Prize winning photos.  They made me cry.

*The old architecture everywhere you go.

*Seeing a cardinal.  (I have this thing about birds.)

*Watching my dad and brother build a deck table while my mom, sis-in-law, the baby, and I all sat in the shade and ate snacks lol.

*Feeding my nephew his bottle and having him fall asleep on me…bliss. (Plus the way his tiny hand grabs onto your shirt. <3 )

*Celebrating Father’s Day with my dad and my brother (his first time!)

*My wonderful friends Rachel and Hannah driving *hours* to see me and spend some time having adventures (in the rain!) and eating at the yummiest taco place (Chaia for anyone that is wondering).

*Visiting the National Arboretum and seeing the bonsai exhibit (especially watching my dad enjoy this), the huge original columns from the Capitol, and taking pictures of my brother, sis-in-law, and nephew.

*Friends having us over for a tasty dinner and lots of laughs!

*The portrait museum and standing under a hotel awning while it poured buckets.

*Going to my first pro baseball game (in Baltimore) with my family on a perfect day.

*My suitcase making it home…not in one piece, the wheels were literally disintegrating and it’s duct taped but I’ve had that one for 18 years and it’s been to Greece, Dominican Republic, and alllll over the United States.  I’m kinda sad to see it go.)  :'(

There were sooooo many things that made this trip perfect (I could go on and on about it) but ultimately the best thing was being with some of my favorite people (my mom, dad, brother, sister-in-law, and nephew).  I’m so thankful for family!

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Posted on July 6, 2016 by | Comments { 0 }

Freedom isn’t free

Memorial Day 2016 | Misselainious blogNot even two weeks ago I rose with a crowd of people in a stadium, put my hand over my heart, and listened as the Star-Spangled Banner was sung loud and clear.  In that moment the most delicious chills ran up and down my body.  The baseball stadium was located in Baltimore where the song was originally written.  It was a surreal moment.

I believe the reason though it impacted me so greatly was because I’d been walking around DC, my nation’s capitol, all week.  I’d seen the monuments rising tall.  It’s all quite thrilling.  More than that though as the song was sung I thought about all the people who have died to keep our country free.  Those brave men and women that fought for independence gave everything they had for the freedoms we enjoy today.  It’s a humbling reality.  Freedom isn’t free.

One of the things that I saw in a museum in DC was a map of the world showing the levels of freedom of speech in each country.  Honestly it was shocking.  Very few countries have the level of freedom the United States has.  Freedom isn’t free my friends.  People have fought for it and still do and hopefully will till the end of time.

There was an interactive wall at this same museum where anyone could write what they would give up to feel safe.  Some of the answers scared me.  Several people had said “everything.”  People gave their lives so that we could could have the freedoms we enjoy so please think about that today my fellow citizens as you party and watch fireworks.  Let’s not take our freedoms lightly.  Freedom isn’t free.

“Oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.”

May we stay brave and free.   Happy 4th of July my friends!

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Posted on July 4, 2016 by | Comments { 2 }

Given

Given - birthday post 2016 | Misselainious blogThe best things in life can’t be bought, many in fact are given.  Haven’t you been given something before that made your day?  Maybe someone gave you something as simple but as needed as a smile.

The best moments come in the form of an “I love you” that’s been whispered to you by anther person not just with words but with every time they faithfully helped you even if it wasn’t fun.  It comes in the moment you hear a street musician playing their heart out and a child dancing along beside them.  The best moments come when you’re crying your eyes out and someone gives you a tissue and the warmest hug.  The best moments come when you hear a baby share their laughter with you.  I could go on and on but I do know that some of the best moments in my life have been because someone gave me something (time, energy, resources, love, care…) and when I was able to do the same for someone else.

When we give freely it’s an act of recognizing that we’ve been given much.  It shows that things are meant to be shared to be fully enjoyed.

In just a few days I’ll be turning 28 (June 5th) and for the past few years I’ve wanted to share my birthday with people I love.  That’s only natural right?  Well some of the people I love are my kiddos in India.  I don’t get to be there with them this year but I’m hoping you’ll help me “share” my birthday by giving a small gift of love in the form of a donation.  Can you help my birthday wish come true?  I’d love to raise $250 for my kiddos in India.  That means if just 10 of you give $25 then my wish will come true! 🙂  (But any amount is a good amount!)  Thanks in advance sweet friends. <3  You all are some of the most generous people I’ve had the gift of knowing.

You can donate here! 🙂

EDIT:  If the link doesn’t work please email me at misselaini [@] gmail.com (remove spaces and brackets).

Posted on June 1, 2016 by | Comments { 0 }

Memorial Day

Memorial Day 2016 | Misselainious blogThis is for those who gave their very lives for the sake of freedom.  This is to those who made the greatest sacrifice.  Memorial day isn’t about BBQ’s.  Memorial day is for remembering those who died for our country.

“We cherish too, the Poppy red

That grows on fields where valor led,

It seems to signal to the skies

That blood of heroes never dies.”

~ Moina Michael  

So today I just want to honor those who have died in service to the United States of America.  There really aren’t words enough to express my gratitude.

Posted on May 30, 2016 by | Comments { 0 }

Dinner party conversations

Dinner Party Conversations blog postThirteen people including myself sat around the dinner table. Thirteen lives but really so many more than that. You see one life is the product of so many others before. Slips of paper with questions written on them were passed around and the stories began. This is dinner party conversations.

Drinks had to be refilled and the cheese board came back out again long after our bellies were full of yummy food. It was one of those dinner parties where you linger a long time. I was one of the youngest people there and that’s when I knew things would be fun.

If you’re not hanging out with people who are at least 30 years older than you then you are doing it all wrong. You’re missing out on some of the most incredible stories you’ll ever hear. It’s like a backstage pass to history.

One woman in particular had the most incredible stories to share about her father. She told how he had had to flee the country and literally left without anything. This was shortly after WWII and communism was on the rise. If you resisted you were in trouble in certain countries and would be thrown in jail. It was one of those moments where someone came to the door, a friend betrayed him.

Recognizing what was happening he calmly asked for a moment to go change out of his swimsuit and he bolted out the back door. Hoping the fence he went into his mother’s house and briefly explained the situation and fled to the woods. From what I can recall he never got to see them again. For nine months he hid until family and friends were able to secure a boat for him to sneak out of the country.

These are real stories my friends. If her dad hadn’t of escaped she might not have been sitting there telling us her amazing history. During that conversation where I sat mesmerized she mentioned that her uncle had decided to stay in the country and was arrested. She told about the letters he had written to his family. They sounded incredible.

Later on as everyone got up to leave I spoke with her about reading the letters and she said that they hadn’t been translated but she’d see what she could do. A few days later she graciously sent me a link with one of the translated letters and my eyes got misty reading it. I asked her if I could share it here and she kindly said I could. So here is one of the letters her uncle sent from the prison where he was eventually strangled at the age of 33.

My Dear Mother,

I¢ m writing a joyous letter for Christmas to you. Don’t cry because I am not there to decorate the Christmas tree and set up the Nativity scene with Davor. Here, in my heart I have made a big, golden Christmas tree and the crib for Little Jesus.

The Just One will come into the heart of the just because he said so.

All the bells in my tissues ring, my soul is a singing nightingale in the bushes. Thank you my dearest mother for this feeling which surpasses all the feelings. Thank You and the Grace. Because there is no more noble idea than the idea of love.

Here, Love is being born into the world, here Love is being born into me.

What harm can my enemy do to me when I love him?

For my yoke is easy and my burden light, so light that I don’t even feel it in any other way but as happiness. So how can you be sad because of your son? Rejoice with me because it was written: I will turn your mourning into joy, your sighs into joyous shouts, your tears into laughter.

I’m here in the dining room, next to the Christmas tree and I’m singing. The tree lights are burning and their reflection shines in your eyes. The light of Christ is burning in us. The dark was dispersed by the torch of love, because God loved the world so much that He sent His Son to Earth to suffer and die. Is there a greater example of love, can a human imagination create a similar example? The example of Christ shines like a lighthouse before us. Let us love so that tonight we can be happy in the presence of our Lord in full obedience to God’s command. And let His mercy rest upon us. Having the two of those – Love and Mercy – we are rich enough and we ask for nothing else.

Rejoice dearest mother for this Christmas and don’t cry because I’m not there to decorate the Christmas tree and the Nativity scene with Davor. Here, in my heart, I have made a big, golden Christmas tree and the crib, waiting for Little Jesus.

The Just One will come into the heart of the just because he said so.

Your Ivo

How do I even have words after reading that?  My soul is in awe of Ivo’s story.  He had something, Someone, who made words like that possible.  He clearly loved Jesus and that made all the difference.  Next time you’re at a diner party I hope the conversation turns to things like this. I hope you ask good questions.  Until then I hope this snippet from my dinner party conversation blesses and encourages you.  “Here, Love is being born into the world, here Love is being born into me.”

{Credit: Photo and letter link here}

Posted on May 16, 2016 by | Comments { 0 }

Night to Shine

Night to Shine | Misselainious blogLast Friday I attended prom for the first time.  Waiting till my 20’s was well worth it and I had the most amazing time at Night to Shine.  While I don’t have any prior personal prom experience to compare it too I still think it was the best prom night ever.  This was no ordinary prom.  This was a prom to celebrate people of all ages that often get overlooked.  We celebrated people who often don’t get a night to shine even if they should.

There were blue, silver, and white balloons and crepe paper streamers.  Silver stars were spun up above our heads and twinkle lights lent their magic.  A red carpet was rolled out and the guests were decked out in their finest.  Fluffy pink tulle spilled out over wheel chairs and glitter was abundant.  Some men wore jaunty hats.  There were spiffy suits and curled hair.

Have you ever been some place and known so fully that you were meant to be there?  That was Night to Shine for me.  There’s a part of me that wants to hold these memories close and sit with them in awe but there’s also a part of me that wants to share the complete and utter joy that was pulsing in that room.

There’s something magical about a room filled with people who are mostly all strangers but are there for one common cause.  When was the last time you celebrated someone (and I don’t mean birthdays!)?  When was the last time you clapped to cheer someone on?  These are the questions I’ve been asking myself and the conclusion is that I want to do it a whole lot more.

I’ll never forget the moment I had on the dance floor with one of the Queens for the evening.  Her buddy for the night was pushing her back and forth on the dance floor in her wheel chair and I asked if I could dance with her.  She grabbed my hand and we swayed back and forth.  The music was loud and the dance floor was packed with people who were having the best time of their life.  My lovely dance partner and I couldn’t really communicate but when I bent down to tell her that I loved to twirl I could see the laugh forming on her face.  When I asked her if I could twirl with her then her face said it all.  So there I was in my pink chiffon skirt twirling with a woman in her wheel chair (thanks to her buddy helping me) and it was indescribably perfect.  We didn’t need to communicate with words because the joy spilling out all over was enough.

Two of the queens gave me the biggest and best hugs at the end of the night.  Even though my feet were sore from dancing in heels all night it was beyond worth it.  When all of the buddies for the night crowned their guests queens and kings of the prom I knew a little bit better what heaven was going to be like.  I walked away from my first prom knowing this a little more, that Jesus loves people and that when we show others that it makes any day or night a time to shine.  I’m already looking forward to the one next year!

{If you would like more information on Night to Shine check it out here at the Tim Tebow Foundation.  And if you just need some joy look through the #NightToShine on Instagram. (Here’s the coverage of our event (there were 200 on the same night!) on the local news.)

Posted on February 24, 2016 by | Comments { 0 }