In spite of everything…Peace

“Whenever we feel lost, or insane, or afraid, all we have to do is ask for His help.
The help might not come in the form we expected, or even thought we desired,
but it will come, and we will recognize it by how we feel.
In spite of everything, we will feel at peace.”

~ Marianne Williamson ~

© Joy Cannis and Even A Girl Like Me, 2012

I am walking into a time of uncertainty.
It’s exciting and terrifying all at the same time.
It’s both beautiful and wretched.
And the thought of it makes me feel free.
Possibilities are once again within reach.
Those things that I thought had withered and gone
are springing to life
and waking the potential that the future holds.
Fear can be paralyzing
fear can be liberating.
If it’s going to come regardless of circumstances,
why not use it for certain change?
Why not seize the change that awaits?
Why not relish the opportunities that are waiting just beyond
this one act of faith?
Uncertainty is capable of breeding dissension
providing the way to enlightenment.
I choose the latter.

Pardon me while I compare my insides to your outsides

© Joy Cannis and Even A Girl Like Me, 2012

While shooting pictures yesterday for something unrelated to birds on a wire, I turned around and saw this site that had to be captured. It goes right along with how I have been thinking and feeling. It was as if it was placed there just for me and all I had to do was look up.

I laughed while thinking, “I wonder if this bird ever looks around and thinks, ‘Why don’t I look like they do?'” You have to admit, he kind of stands out. Do you think he sees his uniqueness as a blessing?

My temperament is one that craves relationships and interaction with many different people. I invest heavily in the lives of those I love and enjoy doing so. However, when I am experiencing inward turmoil I want to retreat and be quite. Lately, while going through certain stress I have been unable to withdraw which forces me to interact with others when I am out of sorts. This can be disconcerting.

In the past couple of weeks I have found myself looking around and thinking, “How does she do that?!

“How does she work full-time, grocery shop during the week, run her children back and forth from soccer practice, gymnastics and piano, keep her house clean, volunteer at her church, serve on the PTA and have dinner waiting when her significant other returns from work? And what about doctors appointments in between and the unexpected illness?”

So tell me ladies, are you one of these women? If so, are you really doing everything that it appears you’re doing? Do you have hidden super powers? Are you saying affirmations in the mirror multiple times throughout the day to keep up the pace?

Most days, I feel more like this chick…
I can relate to the white bird on the wire. Sometimes I feel that my uniqueness is a gift and adds to my awesomeness. Other times I see it as a hindrance and something to be overcome. Here is what I know about feelings, they are constantly changing. Feelings in and of themselves are not to be trusted. So I must rely on truth, grace and the love that I know to be unchanging.

What are your thoughts? Am I way off base or do you know exactly where I am coming from on this?

Prayer of St. Francis


Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon:
where there is doubt, faith ;
where there is despair, hope
where there is darkness, light
where there is sadness, joy
O devine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

This meditation is also used in conjunction with the Eleventh step in Alcoholics Anonymous


1-Minute Meditation: Choice

It’s early. My coffee is hot. The sky is still black. The world is still asleep.
The day is coming.
In a few moments the day will arrive.
It will roar down the track with the rising of the sun.
The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day.
The calm of solitude will be replaced by the pounding pace of the human race.
The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions
to be made and deadlines to be met.
For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day’s demands.
It is now that I must make a choice.
Because of Calvary, I’m free to choose. And so I choose.

I choose love . . .
No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness.
I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.

I choose joy . . .
I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance.
I will refuse the temptation to be cynical . . . the tool of the lazy thinker.
I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God.
I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than
an opportunity to see God.

I choose peace . . .
I will live forgiven.
I will forgive so that I may live.

I choose patience . . .
I will overlook the inconveniences of the world.
Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I’ll invite him to do so.
Rather than complain that the wait is too long,
I will thank God for a moment to pray.
Instead of clinching my fist at new assignments,
I will face them with joy and courage.

I choose kindness . . .
I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone.
Kind to the rich, for they are afraid.
And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.

I choose goodness . . .
I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one.
I will be overlooked before I will boast.
I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness.

I choose faithfulness . . .
Today I will keep my promises.
My debtors will not regret their trust.
My associates will not question my word.
My wife [husband] will not question my love.
And my children will never fear that
their father [mother] will not come home.

I choose gentleness . . .
Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle.
If I raise my voice may it be only in praise.
If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer.
If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.

I choose self-control . . .
I am a spiritual being. After this body is dead, my spirit will soar.
I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal. I choose self-control.
I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith.
I will be influenced only by God.
I will be taught only by Christ.
I choose self-control.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
To these I commit my day.
If I succeed, I will give thanks.
If I fail, I will seek his grace.
And then, when this day is done,
I will place my head on my pillow and rest.

From When God Whispers Your Name
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 1994) Max Lucado

 For the pdf version click here

More Meditations:
1-Minute Meditation: Jesus
1-Minute Meditation: Affirmation
1-Minute Meditation: Fear
1-Minute Meditation: Awareness
1-Minute Meditation: Merton Prayer
1-Minute Meditation: Focus
1-Minute Meditation: Peace

Look around…there’s beauty everywhere

I am more than elated to be hosting my sister, the incredibly gifted, Jennifer Riley. To say that she is talented would be the understatement of the year. To call her designs genius would be like calling Michael Angelo, average.

If you’ve already met her you know that she is the kind of person who you want to refer to as “best friend” shortly after being introduced.

By every sense of the word, Jennifer is one of the most talented and creative people I have ever known. Her arrangements give people goosebumps. Onlookers will stand, mouth gaping while those next to them whisper, “Have you ever seen anything like that?!

The answer would be “No.” No one has seen anything like it because there is no one like her. Jennifer takes beautiful flowers and other various materials and puts them together, sprinkling some kind of magic dust on them before setting them out for the enjoyment of others.

Her work has appeared in magazines, newspapers and venues all over the country and it always leaves people asking, “Who did these arrangements and where can I find her?

I totally get that you may be thinking, “Well, she’s biased. It’s her sister.” While it gives me an incredible sense of pride to call her sister, her work speaks for itself.

Jennifer’s exquisite handwriting is considered a necessity to those wanting to make a lasting impression with their invitations. So I thought it would be fun to have her answer the questions I had for her and take pictures of the paper to post for you to read.

Are you ready for this? It’s an interview/spotlight post like no other!

Let’s do this!

1.~ What inspires you?

2.~ How do you put up with all of the demands? I couldn’t do it.

3.~ Have you always loved creating beauty/or should I say, arranging beauty to make it more beautiful?

4.~ Your work has been described as “Exquisite.” “Like nothing else around.” Unique.” Beauty with a twist.” “Fun.” “Better than anyone else out there.” What do you think about these statements describing the work of your hands?

5.~ You were recently chosen to create more than 700 arrangements for the 2012 Kentucky Derby. That must have been a daunting task. In cases like that, do you find it difficult to remain motivated? Are you able to ignite the passion in those working with and for you?

6.~ Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

7.~ If you could give solid advice to one aspiring designer, what would it be?

From baby showers to weddings, corporate events and home decorating, the options are limitless. Here are some pictures of Jennifer’s craftsmanship for your viewing pleasure.

When seeing one of Jennifer’s designs, there will be no question who the artist is. She has a style all her own. One that, though many have tried, cannot be replicated.

I am so grateful that she would take time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for us and share from her album of work. She currently takes her own photos, but I’m thinking of putting in a bid. (Just kidding, sis)

If there is anything that you would like to ask her, please comment in the section below. She’s no different than any of us creative types when it comes to hearing praise about our work. So don’t hold back!

Find her on facebook by clicking here.
Be on the lookout for her website, coming soon.
You may also contact her through the information on her business card.

Sometimes all ya need is a lil light

Admittedly, I’ve been somewhat of a downer today. The first day of Bella not being here I am sulky and tend to pout. SO, I think you all deserve a burst of sunshine! I mean, it’s the least I can do for my faithful and trusted readers.

I have this friend, Courtney. She is the kind of mom that other kids see and wish they had.  (No offense to all of the boring, less awesome moms out there.) This girl is stellar. Not only is she a rock-star mama (see picture below of the shaving cream art on the mirror), she is also one of the most creative people I know, turning the ordinary everyday into extra-ordinary masterpieces. I don’t know how she does it, but she does! It’s something we can all strive for.

So today I am cruising her website looking for her site button to add to my blog, only I keep seeing posts that draw me in and before long I forget what I am looking for. I’m downloading free printables and commenting on the priceless knowledge that she and several other incredible women are pouring out on the page FOR FREE! Did I mention that this wealth of information is all in one place for FREE. (Just didn’t want you to miss that.)
You will find links to each pdf at the end of this post, but you MUST visit her website to find these…
                   ABC Scripture Cards
             My Lil Money Jars TM

Look at this oh~so~fun way of displaying the cards…

There are also great ideas on praying for our children. This one is my favorite from Ashley…

Click on the links to read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5

Here she is! The beautiful…the talented…the incredible…Courtney. Though I rarely tell her, she inspires me to be more. Not to settle for mediocre motherhood. I admit, there are times that I am envious of her creativity, her remarkable skills, her beauty inside and out. And then she will post something about how “normal” she is. It gives me hope and also challenges me to look outside of myself and walk alongside not only other mamas, but women from all walks of life who just need to know that they are not alone. She is the epitome of the woman described in Proverbs 31:10~31  

Get to know her. You will be better for it!

Click here for Courtney’s contact info. If you just can’t wait the time it takes to click a link, have a page load, click another link, wait for another page to load…visit her on our favorite social media site by clicking the icons…

Here are those super spectacular pdf. docs I was telling you about.
My Lil Money Jars Tracking Sheet ~ Blank
My Lil Money Jars Tracking Sheet ~ Sample
Conversations For Lil Ones
Fun With Scripture Memory
Ron Blue On Money Management
Light ‘Em Up ~ List Of Ideas
Light ‘Em Up ~ Family Planning Tool
Light ‘Em Up ~ Gift Tags
Mom, Will You Just Play With Me!
Clean Slate Club Plan

Live like Austin

There’s this brave little boy.
His name is Austin.
He has an undiagnosed seizure disorder.
Though he is small, his faith is big.

This is his story…
Austin is a 12 year old boy who’s parents serve at Central Christian Church in Las Vegas, NV.  For the past 5 years Austin has suffered from life threatening seizures, and has as many as 80 – 100 a day.

On May 4, 2012 he faced his third brain surgery to try and stop these fatal seizures. He is recovering well.

This foundation is created for him and other children like him who suffer from a seizure disorder.

He never complains, always smiles, and laughs all the time. Despite having SO many seizures a day his spirit stays sweet. That is why people started saying “live like Austin”, as a challenge for us to live life with the same attitude even when faced with adversity.

Watch him and his dad talk about their journey.

You can follow Austin’s progress on the facebook page dedicated to his journey. Make sure to “like” his page and visit often.

How You Can Help

Show your support by purchasing a ”Live Like Austin” T-shirt like the one my Bella is wearing in this picture.

She suffered from undiagnosed seizures for years. We were fortunate to finally receive clear scans and wean her off the medication several years ago. When asked why she wanted a t-shirt, her response was, “I wear it to remember… I remember how scary seizures were. Thankfully I didn’t have any surgeries on my brain, but I could have. I like telling people what the shirt means. It reminds me to pray for Austin. PLUS it’s the coolest fundraiser t-shirt I’ve seen!”

This t-shirt will not only remind you
to live life to the fullest, but it will give you the opportunity to talk about this amazing boy and his incredible passion for life.

Thank you to Jud and Lori Wilhite for raising awareness by posting their picture on Twitter wearing this shirt. I have to admit, when I saw it I thought, “That’s a cool shirt. Where can I get one?!” It wasn’t until I visited the website that I learned of Austin’s story. Everyone in my house has a “Live like Austin” t-shirt now and every time we wear it people ask what it means and where they can get one. We have yet to wear them all at the same time, but I wouldn’t put it past us.

Learn more about Austin by visiting his website Austin Ervin Foundation and make sure to share his journey with others.