I have to confess...
My attitude has not been the greatest lately.  
I've been inpatient and short with my children...
I find myself having no tolerance for the smallest things, and no patient to deal with yelling, whining, crying, or plain defiance.
Sometimes parenting can feel like a chore, when I KNOW in my heart and mind that parenting is so much more than feeding, cleaning, disciplining, and wiping bottoms.  
But it's been tough to REMEMBER the good and the blessings that come with bearing children.
It's been also difficult to emphasize the joy when stress and anxiety blind me from truly seeing the divine moments, the miracles.
I don't want to forget.
But once again, I have to confess that it's been quite a challenge to create time and energy to rest.  
Isn't that ironic? 
It takes energy to rest...  huh?  

But today I got this card...

and my dear husband quoted Darius Rucker (see video below) 
and reminded me that "It won't be like this for long..."

Today is my 34th birthday, and I AM BLESSED!  I really am.  
Blue Orchids from the hubby
Thank you, babe!
Thank you, Joshua and Elsie!
I love you all! 

Darius Rucker's "It Won't Be Like This For Long"

God's Truth and Backyard Pretties

The pretty flowers from my backyard reminded me of God's love for me today...

One of God's biggest provisions

It has been a little over 6 months since we moved from Cleveland, OH to Goshen, IN.
The uncertainties of moving and changing environments, churches, "jobs", addresses, and circles of friends were many.  And that didn't include the uncertainties that were coming with the birth of a second child.

In my personal prayer life, one of my biggest requests was that God would provide a community of like-minded women with which I could grow personally and spiritually.  I also prayed that God would provide a group of little friends for Joshua to play with.  I briefly blogged about this a few months ago here.

And God heard my prayers...
And He was very quick to PROVIDE JUST WHAT I NEEDED (and asked for!!)

The answer to my request came in the form of a "program" called MOTTT's.

What is MOTTT's?
It stands for Mothers of Tots To Teens.
I first heard of MOTTTs from another pastor's wife who had recently moved to Ohio.  She attended MOTTTs for years before moving, and could not say enough good things about it.  She actually described it as one of the things she missed most... and spoke about it with shy tears in her eyes.
So I knew she was sending me to a special group of people.

My first day at MOTTTS, sometime in late March, I was welcomed by Pat, one of the leaders of the group.  She was SO SO SO nice and kind to show me around, direct me and my son Joshua to his class (YES, they offer child care!!!) and lead me to the main meeting area.  She introduced me to another young mom and said,  "here, you can sit with Krysten!"  What a divine moment, let me tell you... To make a long story short, Krysten became one of my good friends since the move.  We've been able to share life together and that's made a huge difference in my personal and spiritual life.

On to what MOTTTs offers...
We meet every Thursday morning, from 9-10:30am.  Breakfast is provided by different moms, whoever signed up to bring something.  It is SO yummy!  I'm not sure about everyone, but I was introduced to this thing called "baked oatmeal" and I love it.  It's almost guaranteed that we'll have some sort of baked oatmeal, an egg casserole, fruit, granola and yogurt!  Love it!!

The MOTTTs leaders also choose a book for the "study" part of our meetings.  According to them, the books focus on 2 different topics/ideas.  One year it's all about parenting and child rearing.  Another year the book focuses on OUR personal relationship with Christ and our faith journey.  And the latter is what we're focusing on this school year.

The book for this year is Lysa Terkeurst's Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl
.  If you follow my blog, you KNOW that is one of the books I read this past Spring/Summer and really enjoyed it.  I can't wait to read it again with an amazing group of women.

So, how did God answered my prayers?  He provided a community of like-minded women, friendships, and little playmates for Joshua... isn't that exactly what I asked Him for??  He knew what I needed and provided just that!

OH, check out Darcy's blog post about what MOTTTs has meant to her, as well as some pictures of last week's kick off meeting.  Thanks Darcy!

Late, but... we have a winner!

Thanks for everyone who entered the Performance Colors giveaway!  
I was supposed to announce the winner on Sunday... and here we are, Wednesday!  My apologies, everyone!
The winner is Stephanie, from All Things Beautiful!
Congratulations, Stephanie!  
An email has already been sent...

Gearing up for more posts and the last of this month's giveaway...  stay tuned, everyone!  
It's gonna be super exciting!

Unexpected changes...

Due to some  unexpected changes in schedule, I've been away from blogging these last few days.
We decided to go back to Cleveland for a few days to take care of some house stuff.  Our house has been "officially" for sale (by owner) for about a month.  However, there were some "fixing up" that needed to get done a long time ago... and we finally decided to get it off our to-do list.
I spent most of the day yesterday taking care of the flower beds, which looked absolutely horrific!!  I wish I had my camera with me... So, after hours and hours of weeding and trimming, my hands, arms, and back were a bit sore.  I came back to some pretty tired kids...

Today Joel is "back at it" but I stayed with the kids instead... they're still exhausted, and that makes for really grumpy and fussy kids...  Anyway, all that to say... 

Due to some unexpected changes in schedule, my "blogging everyday in September" has officially ended.  I still have some exciting things ahead!  So, don't give up on me, guys!!

Today is the last day to enter the Performance Colors Giveaway!  

See you soon...

Meet Tiffany from Performance Colors - A GIVEAWAY!!! - CLOSED

Remember yesterday's post on "my little secret"??
Meet Tiffany... she's the person behind one of my secrets.  She runs Performance Colors, an Etsy shop I stumbled upon while looking for the perfect taupe cream eyeshadow.  My goal was to find a pretty color that I could wear all over the lid, since it's effortless when getting ready in the morning.  I also wanted to support a fellow Etsy seller, so I searched for that right person "out there".  

Tiffany offers the most amazing colors in her collection.  She is also SO sweet!  I contacted her with a million questions (ok, maybe not a million, but quite a few...) and she was quick and prompt with her replies.  She is always so willing to answer any questions you might have about her shop or any of her products.  



Sweetdreams  - MY Favorite!

Recently I was able to preview her NEW LINE of cream concealers... 
and OH MY GOODNESS... amazing stuff!!!

So, here's a little more info on her...  

1. Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Tiffany. I live in a small rural town in New Jersey with my wonderful husband. I grew up where there was a family business where we all pitched in every day. So having a small business feels very natural to me and makes me feel very productive and happy as a person. My grandmother was an oil painter and a gardener and she introduced me to those hobbies when I was a very little girl so those are big loves in my lives. My grandmother and mother taught me so many old world crafts like canning, sewing, knitting...even tatting (lace-making!). 

2. How did PerformanceColors start?
I had been dabbling in skincare and makeup for several years. My husband who has allergies had also gotten a bad skin condition as a side effect of diabetes so I got really curious about the ingredients in skincare products.

3. What is your inspiration for your shop's products and colors?
I am inspired for colors every day by living! Gardens, flowers, picture books, old paintings, kimonos, fabrics, saris, magazines.

4. What is your favorite item in your shop?
My favorite item in my shop is the one I create tomorrow. Lol. I say that because I have an obsession with creating better things that are affordable. I like having a problem to solve. It keeps me positive and my mind busy. That way if I am frustrated at my day job or any of those little daily things that can get one upset I just start thinking about how I would solve the challenge I have set for myself.

5. Do you have any hobbies?
I like gardening, oil painting, and cooking.

6. What are your goals for PerformanceColors?
I am a new shop. It took me a long time to have the courage to put my product up on Etsy even though me and my girlfriends had been wearing it every day for the better part of a year. Now I am releasing the creamy concealer and I have been working on this since January, over 8 months. I'd like a line of compacts for sammples and cream to powder foundations. I'd like my website more complete. I am working on a smudge-proof pencil. I haven't worn pencil in 3 years. Every time I do it is halfway down my face by noon. When I started the concealer project back in January I bought over $300 of competitor's products to test against. It feels great to finish that project. I just started the pencil project the day I finished the concealer. What a mess and a total failure. But I am not giving up!

You can reach Tiffany directly at Tiffany.milan@hotmail.com or by sending her a private message (convo) on her Etsy shop, Performance Colors.


Tiffany has generously offered to give away an exclusive kit to one of my blog followers.
This kit includes a set of 3 cream eyeshadows (Smog, Cornflower, and Sweetdreams), 1 lipcolor (bubblegum), 1 lid primer, and 1 cream eyeshadow sample (champagne), along with 2 small brushes (dual eyeshadow brush and lip brush).

I wish I could win this myself.  The colors are so pretty!

How to Enter:
1.  You must be a follower of this blog (1 entry).
2.  Check out Performance Colors and let me know what is your favorite item/color (1 entry).
3.  Share about this giveaway (Facebook, Twitter, Blog) - (1 entry each).

You will have until 11:59pm of Saturday, September 17th 2011 to enter.  Winner will be announced on Sunday, September 18th.


Tiffany is offering all of my blog readers a 10% OFF DISCOUNT on Performance Colors!!

(Enter code HAPPYDAY at checkout).

My Secret to Looking Bright and Awake after 3 Hours of Sleep!!

For the last 8+ weeks, 
I've been averaging about 3-4 hours of sleep every night, due to my darling newborn.

It's crazy how one's body can adjust and "survive" on so little sleep... 
Believe me, I could go on and on about how tired I am and feel, and how exhausted I look.  
But I won't.  
Everyone knows that this stage will soon pass, 
so I'm hanging in there without much complaining.  

I don't claim to have a magic formula for functioning on very little sleep... 
but I have to confess...
I have a secret that totally works for me.

When I was in college, I had a wonderful professor who always looked amazing, despite the fact that she slept very little.  It was a known fact that she was way over committed, but managed to show up for class with the most amazing smile and glowing face.  
One day I said to her, "Wow, Dr. 'N', you look so refreshed! Have you gotten some well deserved rest??", and you know what she said??  "Thank goodness for makeup!!"  
I smiled and never forgot her statement.

So, I am here today to pass on her secret... THANK GOODNESS FOR MAKEUP!

I have a new found secret obsession for makeup.  I'm not a shallow person... believe me.  I am one of the most low maintenance persons out there.  But I gotta tell you... makeup is IT.  I'm able to look decent despite very little rest.  I do rely on a VERY FAST routine, since my time in front of the mirror is LIMITED to 3-5 minutes, if that!
If you're still skeptical about putting some color on your face, 
Makeup is not about looking FAKE...
It's about enhancing your features.

So, here is what I do:
1.  Cleanse and moisturize.
2.  Conceal and Cover - Concealer and either Tinted Moisturizer or Foundation.
3.  Add Color - Blush or Bronzer.  Eyeshadow (cream color all over the lid), eyeliner, and mascara. Lipgloss or tinted lipbalm.

It literally takes me less than 5 minutes to put on a "rested" and glowing face.  
I don't wear this everyday, but on days I need to go somewhere and appear a bit together, 
I know I can count on this "little secret".  

So, now that you know my secret, STAY TUNED!  
I contacted one of my "secret" providers and I'll be doing an entire blog post featuring HER.

There'll also be a giveaway!! 
I'm so jealous... I wish I could win the kid that's up for grabs!  
It should be coming up very soon... so, STAY TUNED!!

God is in Control

Psalm 46 (NIV)

 1 God is our refuge and strength,
   an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
   and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
   and the mountains quake with their surging.

 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
   the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
   God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
   he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

 7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
   the God of Jacob is our fortress.

 8 Come and see what the LORD has done,
   the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
   to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
   he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
   I will be exalted among the nations,
   I will be exalted in the earth.”

 11 The LORD Almighty is with us;
   the God of Jacob is our fortress.

04/04/43 - 09/09/02

Dad - 
It's been 9 years.
Life is so different now.
You would've loved your son-in-law...
You would've loved your grandchildren... they're pretty great, Dad :)
Would you still be preaching, teaching, guiding, and comforting others?
Would you still be going for daily walks?
Would you still be loving that nice warm donut and hot tea?
There are many who still remember you as their pastor, others as their mentor, others as their professor.
Many still remember you as their friend, neighbor, brother or uncle.
But I...
I remember you as as my Dad.
The one who called, the one who spoke, the one who disciplined in love.
... miss you.
And the way you guided and directed, taught and lived.
May my life continue to reflect your legacy.
Thank you!
I rejoice, for another year, that YOU GET TO ENJOY HEAVEN.
Being in the presence of our Almighty God and Creator!
And that makes me smile :)

Winner announced...

Thank you everyone who entered the Lauren Wisburn Fat Quarter Set giveaway.  
We had about 24 entries (so you ALL had a pretty good chance of winning...).  
Random(dot)org picked entry #12, 
which was LIZ!

Liz, I'm sending you an email to notify you!  

Stay tuned, EVERYONE!  I have 2 or 3 other giveaways this month!!  
And they're REALLY REALLY exciting!!

Just as a quick reminder, don't forget to check out Miss Sarah's Blog for a 
Discount Code for Helen's Corner!

A simple post...

My little 8 week-old girl isn't feeling well today... Woke up with a stuffy nose, and because she is SO young, she probably doesn't quite know how to adjust and breathe or eat right...
So, I've been trying to soothe her ALL DAY!

With that, I want to ask you for your prayers... Hopefully she'll get some rest...

Until tomorrow...

The Fun of Sewing and "Collecting" Fabric - A GIVEAWAY! (CLOSED)

I miss sewing...
I confess I haven't done much of it since Elsie was born... almost 8 weeks ago!
My love for pretty fabrics began when I started researching different fabric designers, and finding the wealth of resources and inventories on Etsy!  What a rich community, don't you think?
Anyway, I also started playing around with my sewing machine over 2 years ago, and since then, my love for pretty fabrics just grew and grew. :)  I get giddy when I see all the fun patterns!
What are some of my favorites?  I could come up with an exhaustive list, but I would have to undoubtedly list Anna Maria Horner, Amy Butler, Heather Bailey, Riley Blake, and most recently... Laurie Wisburn.  

This morning as I was going through my stash, I found a set of 4 fat quarters from Laurie Wisburn's Tufted Tweets collection in Orchid.  
Laurie Wisburn's Tufted Tweet in Orchid

What do you think?  Isn't it the perfect set and colors for this upcoming Fall?  It was released last year, but I think it's still VERY fun!
Laurie Wisburn Tufted Tweets in Orchid

Do you want to WIN IT?
I decided to share this set 4 Fat Quarters with ONE OF YOU! 
1. Follow my Blog (1 entry)
2. Spread the word about this giveaway (Blog, Facebook, Tweeter... 1 entry each)

Simple enough?  I'll randomly pick a winner on Thursday, September 8th!  
Hurry, enter and spread the word!

Until tomorrow...

Lazy day of rest, AKA "Labor" Day & a BLOG feature!

How ironic... most of us celebrate LABOR Day by RESTING or enjoying the day with family and friends.  Why is Labor Day even a holiday?  I could do a little bit of research, but I'm feeling a bit lazy (sorry...just being honest here, guys!), so I'll just continue to wonder...

So, what did YOU do today?  I got to enjoy some time with Joel's family at the lake cottage.  It was fun.  I'll try to get some pictures posted tomorrow.

In the meantime, I AM SUPER EXCITED  to let you know I'm being featured at Joyful Service, Miss Sarah's blog.  So, go check her out by clicking HERE.  Follow her blog and let her know I sent you.  She contacted me a few weeks ago, asking me if she could share a little bit about me and Helen's Corner to her blog readers.  She was so sweet, so I agreed to answer some questions about me and my business there.  Also, there is a special DISCOUNT CODE being offered there as well.  Thank you, Sarah!!

Until tomorrow...

Fill in the blank Sunday :)

Yesterday I came across this post from the cute Michaela's blog.  She might not know me, but I feel like I know her... she goes to my Alma Mater (SPU) and is studying to be an Interior Designer.  I can totally see her doing that and being GREAT at it!  She has the prettiest sense of style!  I'm so 'envious'!  Anyway, Thanks, Michaela, for sharing this sweet little post.

Fill in the Blank Sunday

I am happy that... September is here and Fall is just around the corner!
I am excited because... I see God at work in the people around me.
I'm craving... dark chocolate covered strawberries in vanilla ice cream, with the best cup of coffee from Vivace's (oh, how I miss you!)
If I had 3 wishes they would be... 1. Have an Ono-Family reunion, 2. My dad would meet Joel and the kids, 3. Joshua would be potty-trained!!
I miss... Seattle.
I love... God.  Family.  Coffee.  Chocolate.  Sunsets.  Fresh flowers.  
I'm thankful for... salvation, family, health, church family, friends, a/c...

And now it's your turn!  You fill in the blanks!

New shirt idea

Happy Saturday!
This will be a quick one...
Just wanting to get some feedback...
I put this together for a friend's possible fundraiser, and it ended up just sitting on my desk.  
But, what do you think?
Should this be a new shirt design for Helen's Corner?
I really liked it and thought, "why not use it?"

Let me know what you think...

1 Corinthians 13:13
Don't forget!
20% off your total order at Helen's Corner ends tonight at 11:59pm!
(enter SEPT20 at checkout)

Day 2 - Blogging Everyday in September!!

I got a lot of well-wishes yesterday, after I announced that I would be blogging everyday in September.  I have to admit that part of me is a bit scared to disappoint myself and fail such challenge... but here it is.  
Day 2.

I have quite a few posts planned out already, but today, I clicked on "new post" and started typing away.  I figured this would be the best way for you to see how my mind sometimes work.  Wow, am I really  free flowing right now?  YUP!  Ok, so... what to write... what to write...  The kids are napping, which means, this is the perfect time for me to get my chores done, right?  I've been struggling with this lately.  On one hand I want to "get things done", but on the other hand, I REALLY NEED some ME time... time to relax, read, have dessert, or blog.  OR sometimes, I just need a good NAP.  But here I am, I chose to spend a few minutes in front of this computer, sharing with all of YOU what's on my mind today.

This morning, while Joel took Joshua out to run some errands, I found myself holding Elsie and realizing that this very moment will pass me by and never return again.  The speed to which she is growing and developing is unbelievable!  I don't want to have any regrets.  And if I "miss out" on some individual freedom, so what?  I am truly trying to enjoy these special moments with her.  

But, LET'S BE HONEST, Helen!!!  (*ok, yeah, I'm talking to myself...*) Don't I wish I could have some time by myself, to go shopping, get myself some Starbucks, get my nails done, do some reading at Barnes&Noble... sure, I "wish" I could!  These days if I go to the grocery store by myself, I consider myself a happy mamma.  Taking a shower at night is considered my time-out from the kiddos... and ahhh, that feels so good at the end of a busy day!  So, YES, I do hunger and thirst for some Me-time.  


I remind myself, once again, that God has blessed me with the wonderful responsibility of being a parent.  I cannot and will not trade this role for anything!  How else do I exercise the amazing gift of LOVE, unconditional LOVE, in the flesh?  How else do I experience God's eternal love for me?  It's only through expanding His gift to me, through me.  Does that make any sense?  It does to me.  

So, there... I'm giving you a glimpse of what's on my mind... And that only took me about 8 minutes.  If you're thinking this blogging thing takes too much time of your day or mine, think again... it can be quite fun!

Enjoy your Friday!  

I'll see you tomorrow!

Welcome September!

It is officially the beginning of a very special month for me.

So, I'm INVITING YOU to celebrate this month with ME!!

If you've been following my blog for a while, you KNOW that September marks the BIRTH of Helen's Corner. This year, Helen's Corner is turning 2!  For all of you who's supported me during these last 2 years, THANK YOU!

For the ENTIRE MONTH, I'll be sharing special discount codes for you to use 

It is also my birthday month, which means... I'm getting a year older and a  year wiser, and I celebrate God's mercies and grace in my life.

I'll also be BLOGGING every day this month (or at least attempting)!  There will be random posts, photo posts, attempted tutorials, stories, recipes, giveaways (OH... I'm SO excited for this one!), and special interviews.

So, ARE YOU READY???  Celebrate with me!  It's September and I'm SO excited!

And to kick off...

For this first week in September, I'll be offering 20% OFF your entire order 
(enter code SEPT20 at checkout)

So, HURRY, and place your order before 11:59pm on Saturday, 9/3/11.