Tuesday, April 30, 2013

winner of the destination modesty giveaway

i was so happy to have been able to introduce you to my friend Chadlee and her new shop
destination modesty to bring you this giveaway
having 314 entries made me feel so proud to be apart of this community here
thank you all for your continued support
and a big shout out to all of you who decided you liked what you saw here 
at Sweet Dreams are Made of These and decided to follow me here on my blog or on Instagram
i hope to hear lots from my new readers
please come back and visit soon and often

without further ado
drumroll please....

paula i have emailed you, so look for the message of congratulations coming your way
your summer time wardrobe is about to begin

thank you again for everyone who participated
and left such fabulous compliments on the selection, style, and affordability of 
i hope you will take advantage of their 20% off sale on all striped items going on through the rest of today

Monday, April 29, 2013

the morning we feared

using a walker for MS

this morning in our before school prayer Tate said
‘please bless dad that he will be able to run like he used to
and be able to have fun with us’
this tugged at my heart so much

this past weekend our family has faced things no one ever thinks that they will ever have to handle in this life, especially at such a young age
friday morning i awoke to a loud crash
and i immediately knew what it was
mike falling
i sat straight up to see Mike flat on the tile
i bolted over to him calling his name
he turned his head toward me with staggering motion wincing, blinking, and shaking
with eyes full of fear i have never seen
he had not tripped
his legs had given out and had lost feeling

every morning when he wakes up and swings his legs over the bed
he pauses then stands
thanking Heavenly Father that for another day they work
then he gets to work
every. day.
whether its his job, housework, or serving the Lord

this morning as i looked down up him laying there on the floor with soft tears running down his face
i saw this optimistic man facing a fear he had been preparing himself for every morning
i laid down on the floor, put my arm under his head, and wrapped my arms around him
together we cried
he couldn’t remember how it all had happened
he had blacked out upon hitting the tile

i told him of the inspiration he was to me
his faith
his optimism
his get to work attitude
he carries with him every day
i thrive on it

my brother and our dear friend raced over to administer a special priesthood blessing to Mike
this priesthood is the authority and power to act in God’s name here on Earth
as i listened to the words my brother spoke through the power of the Holy Ghost
of the worthiness of Mike to receive daily strength and health
a powerful sense of calmness overwhelmed my soul and remained with me the entire day despite momentary intrusions by fear and tears

these two men helped Mike to our bed
Mike refused to be carried
with all the energy he could muster up somehow one leg got in front of the other despite hanging limp, feet dragging with each attempted step
tears rolled down his face
he was very emotional and confessed that he was afraid
this was new
this had never happened before
his legs felt different
the disease was progressing much quicker than we had ever anticipated
Mike was confident that this numbness was only temporary
but that is the fear with MS
will this symptom i am experiencing disappear with the next rising sun or will it permanently remain
Mike felt like this would remedy itself
our children gathered around him, embracing him, and giving words of encouragement
oh the things my young children have seen and experienced
Owen more than any of them
he has so much more on his shoulders and heart than most ten year olds

Mike soon became his optimistic, humorous self
smiles and hope shining forth from his face
he worked on his laptop and made phone calls
i remained with him for awhile then went downstairs for something
upstairs i could hear movement, so i raced back up
to see Mike army crawling on the carpet
he needed something and wanted to be able to do it himself
never giving up
he wants to be able to do all he can now, while he can
he often responds to my offers of help that he knows that later down the road i will be doing so much more for him, so for now he wants to be able to do it while he still can

and just as Mike expected so
by the end of the day he could move his right foot and his left pinky toe
on Saturday he reassured me he would be fine alone so that we could go to the MS Walk
details which i will soon share
when we got back home, he soon army crawled to the loft to watch hockey with the boys
and later that day had received enough feeling in his right leg to be able to hobble around with help
yesterday the feeling had returned in both legs, despite extreme weakness
he conceded for the first time to use a walker and i couldn’t stop him from using it to stand as he did the dishes
this morning he deemed himself fit to go to work
miracles continue to happen before our eyes

these images of my husband laying on the floor
the fear in his tearful eyes
being helped to his bed by two strong men
crying with a quivering lip as the fear crept in
army crawling to be with my children
scooting down the stairs
crawling up the stairs
pushing a walker to clean the house
these images will be engrained in my mind and are ones i will not soon forget
yet the power of his optimism, his faith, his love, and his never-give-up and never-complain philosophy 
those things are written on my heart
and i thank my Heavenly Father that i can be tied to this courageous and valiant man forever and ever
i am humbled and inspired by him on a moment to moment basis

my deepest gratitude to all of you for your messages of encouragement, your thoughts and prayers, and offers of help as we take life one day at a time

Friday, April 26, 2013

seek learning

seek learning

its fascinating to me how the meaning of words you have read over and over
can take on new meaning in different stages of your life
two words
two words i have read in scripture a myriad of times seemed to be a direct message from Heavenly Father to me this week

seek learning   
{Doctrine and Covenants 88:118}
seek learning
do we seek out opportunities to learn
do we pursue, search to find, look hard
do we want to become more

i have been feeling propelled into learning right now
because of the needs I was asking the Lord to help fulfill,
he answered them in the form of opportunities
many opportunities
i didn't know what form they would come in
they weren't just handed to me
they have come through a series of testing and moving forward
and they have come
in forms i never would have imagined
and with this help comes an extraordinary amount of learning
learning to balance
learning to preservere
learning to have faith
learning to have confidence in what i know
learning to trust

so whether i think so or not, i did seek after learning, i just didn't realize it then
but now that i have been propelled into learning and have these tremendous opportunities to grow
am i going to seek learning within them
am i going to just endure through them putting one step in front of the other
or am i going to raise my head and look around at all the things i can gather along my trail
an apple from the tree
a pinecone off the ground
a dandelion to scatter its seeds in the wind

seeking to learn from these new opportunities, these answers to my prayer
requires work, effort, stretching, opening my eyes a little bit wider, reaching out a little bit further

from the conference i attended last weekend and mentioned here in this post
i was able to listen to an extremely gifted man, David Byrd
listening to this man for just a few hours
i was able to discover things about myself that i have been trying to put a finger on for years
he helped me to examine my reasoning behind patterns in lack of motivation

i will attempt to explain it in the way he did
he asked, why do you think we have a problem with consistency and sustainability?
because we all have natural human instincts created to keep us safe, for self-preservation
we feel heat we pull our hand back
this serves a very good purpose however
we have become so instinctive that if we don't know anything different or haven't learned another way, we can live simply instinctively
misinterpreting change as a threat
and sameness as security
we instinctively develop a reactive response to life
holding onto old habits, comfort zones, unproductive behaviors, harmful addictions, false assumptions, and 'life as it has always been'
regardless of whether all those things are moving us forward or not

he believes that we were not created to live instinctively
but to live above natural instincts
above the natural man
we were designed to grow from the next level to the next level through two gifts we were given
imagination and
the power of choice

he drew this chart with 3 parallel horizontal lines
at the bottom, failure
middle, survival
top, success
then he drew bell curves that started from the bottom, peaked just above the survival line, and then head back on down
this represented the curves of living in our lives
some of us manage events in our lives until we get just a little bit about the survival line, endure and resolve the situation, then settle right back down into what was comfortable before
oh my word that completely opened my eyes
i do this
i interpret change as a threat instead of an opportunity
i press forward to pass through something difficult
i endure and the situation always is resolved
and then sadly i can see myself sinking back down into what was comfortable before the growth took place
now i cannot say that i do not learn and grow
to say that i am not forever affected by my experiences would be discounting the effects of my Savior on me, and that is not what i am sharing
what i am sharing is that my first reaction to change continues to be threat and fear
with instinctual habits of resistance to permanent change
simply knowing why i do this has given me such freedom and so much hope
its not that i know the complete answer to conquer this dilemma yet
its that there is understanding behind my actions
and that gives me hope

there is hope
proactive thinking and action, based on dreams and goals
most effectively propelled by faith
{proactive thinking like the insight i shared in this post}
managing the quality of your choices
learning how to be more effective in your life
planning to grow
seeking to learn

oh there is so much more i could share
but i want you to know that there are people and tools out there to help each of us to grow
we must seek learning
look for the key lessons you are intended to discover as you pass through difficulties
keep your eyes open for them, looking up and around
instead of the ground passing beneath you and the rocks you stumble over
change is possible
i can feel it
i can see it

has there been a time in your life when you resisted change?
were you able to recognize growth in the difficulty?
have you been able to continue to grow?
would love to hear your life insights

photo source: HUEphotography

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

destination modesty giveaway

i am pleased to offer a chance for one Sweet Dreams are Made of These reader 
to win
a fun and versatile top

 destination modesty clothing store
along the path of life you meet certain people that you truly admire for their talents
and you just know that they are going places
that is how i have felt about my amazingly fashionable friend Chadlee
i watched her with her sketchbook in college
wishing i could have a vision and skill like hers in designing clothes
she has now used her eye for fashion to create a shop for those who are looking for more modest clothing that is still trendy and contemporary
meet her new shop destination modesty

you have a chance to win this darling black and white striped top
with removable necklace and flower pin perfect for dressing up or down
the fabric is light weight and very comfortable
perfect for those summer days ahead

here are two of my other favorite items from their shop:

today you can catch destination modesty's
great stripe sale and get 20% off everything striped
with free shipping every day

one lucky Sweet Dreams are Made of These readers will win

this giveaway will close at midnight on Monday April 29th PST
the winner will be chosen using Rafflecopter 
they will have 48 hours to respond to the winner notification email. after 48 hours another winner will be chosen
sizes available in S, M, L


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

seeing is believing: what nerium has done for me in five days

why on earth would someone purposely display a bad-angled, horrible-dingy-laundry-room-lit, not-a-stitch-of-makeup, wasn’t-planning-on-anyone-seeing-ever self-portrait for all the world to see??
{be kind, please be kind}
well, its simple really
after merely five days of using this bottle of Nerium AD anti-aging night cream a very skeptically me could see dramatic improvements in the feel and appearance of my skin
so great that i would post this completely unflattering, really-do-i-look-like-that photo for all to see
i am so excited to share this with you in the hopes you may have a similar experience
we all have things that we zero in on when we look in the mirror or see photos of ourselves
things that others wouldn’t even notice until we point them out 
and then maybe not even then
that wrinkle on the side of our mouth
that red splotch on our forehead
or the seemingly ominous scars from acne in our teenage years
for me it is my squinty eyes
one squintier than the other
and particularly their baggy, tired look

obviously a night cream isn’t going to eliminate my asymmetrical squinty eyes 
but i was truthfully shocked and elated to see the diminishing of their tired and baggy look after only five nights of using Nerium AD
after only two nights i noticed that somehow i wasn’t looking as tired
which for a mother of four who gets ridiculously low amounts of sleep was a wonderful thing to detect
i didn’t know why my overall look was looking less zombiesque and more vibrant
i just could tell that it was
it wasn’t until i went to put on my Nerium AD for the sixth night that i remembered i needed to take photos beforehand to compare
after washing my face in my pajamas in my hotel room i took one photo
i pulled up my 'before' photo and looked
and looked again
in disbelief
i put them side by side
i zeroed in on my eyes
at 11:30 at night i texted my husband with all the giddiness of a school girl
it had worked
on me

now you might look at these photos and think
hmmm.. i don’t see much of a difference
let me tell you that to the one who looks at this face day after day, noticing its flaws, and can now see the changes in my face
the increase in the softness and luminescence of my skin
it is a tremendous confidence boost with an immediate spring in my step

enough to want to share this with every single one of you
it works
i have experienced it for myself
and that is what i would want for each of you
your own experience
your own chance to see if it can work for you
it is not meant to have overnight results but for me it worked much faster than i would have expected
a chance to see what it can do for you
a chance to decide for yourself
that is what i want for you

to entice you to jump on board
i am creating some fun around it
making it into a game of sorts of course
you know i love games...
and prizes
i am creating a Club Forever Young for those who would like to try the Nerium AD for 30 days and join me
with a 30 day money back guarantee and other ways to earn it for free, how could you resist joining in on the fun
look for more details to come!
i would be happy to answer any questions you might have about the product or the incredible company and its opportunity for financial freedom for your own family
read all about their $100 million growth last year and the award they won here
i don’t know if it will be right for you and your family
but i’d be happy to help in any way i can if you’d like to find out
if you are interested in more photos or in learning more about the cream or the business opportunity
feel free to reach out to me at mikeandbriana6@gmail.com
or head on over to our website to watch videos and order away
for those of you who live local, ask me about getting a sample to you

Monday, April 22, 2013

shifting to a proactive perspective: the nerium experience

growing and changing
that is what i have been doing
i am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for just pouring so much into me lately
flooding me with opportunities for myself and my family to grow and grow
i am a changed woman after these past two weeks
a woman with tools
a woman with a plan of action
a woman who has been given insights into herself that can help produce real change
if nothing else comes from my two weekends of learning but the recognition that I can change, then i have been awarded the city of gold

this past week i have come to know for myself that i have an opportunity in my hands that will help to fulfill the dream that i have shared with you this past week
to be able to help provide for my family using my blog as an avenue
and it will begin with a product and a company called

 Nerium Anti-Aging Skincare

i am exploding with excitement to be able to convey to you what i have learned over the past four days by being at the conference and then reflecting, praying, and talking with my husband after

the product is an anti-aging night cream and it is unparalleled
i have seen results in five days which continue to cause me to look in the mirror over and over to believe they are real
be sure to check back tomorrow for my incredible before and after photos
this company is about people and helping to change people’s lives 
it will change the quality of my skin, it already has, and the life of my family
and it is my goal to be able to give every single one of you a chance to discover if it is right for you and if it could lead to an opportunity to change your family’s life as well

but today i want to focus on one specific ‘ah-ha’ moment i experienced this past weekend
i was privileged to listen to author and personal development leader David Byrd 
in his address on achievement as a lifestyle
he described the difference between a proactive and reactive person
and how to shift to a proactive perspective
i am quite aware that i am rather reactionary, the crying over spilt milk kind
there is sooo much i could tell you that opened my eyes as to the real reasons why i respond the way i do to things and what i can do to manage my perspective, but i want to focus on one aspect he taught about 
proactive vs reactive behavior and thinking

proactive: this is my reality and this is what i can do about it
reactive: this is my reality and this is what i can’t do about it
this moves into having feelings about your reality and feeling bad about it
overwhelmed is simply a feeling you have about a circumstance you think you can’t do anything about 
you can switch to a proactive perspective by changing the way you think when something arises in your life
here is the key that opened up a new world for me
‘it is what it is, what can I do about it?’
simple as that
‘it is what it is, what can i do about it?’
someone made a callous remark to me about my children in the store
‘it is what it is, what can i do about it?’
{of course challenging someone to a duel at Target is not what we are talking about here, we are talking about healthy steps toward productive, proactive behavior}
i get a flat tire on the way to a doctor’s appointment for my two sick children
‘it is what it is, what can i do about it?’
someone just dumped milk out all over my newly mopped floor
‘it is what it is, what can i do about it?’

as simple as that
i have already made changes in the way i am thinking
i love that this phrase runs through my head the second i begin to feel my blood boil
the wonderful thing is that it seems to be my daddy’s voice
my daddy hated the word ‘stressed’
he would ask, why are you stressed?
this is just how life goes sometimes
one morning when we were living with my parents after mike’s company could no longer support us
i found that my daddy had printed out one of his favorite quotes and had left it for me on the table
since my daddy had left for work at 4:30 am that morning as usual
‘the happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything;
they just make the best of everything they have.’
my daddy loved me and knew what i struggled with and took the time to help me to try and overcome it
i can just hear him chiming along
‘it is what it is, what can you do about it?’

this morning in our devotional
i reported back to my kids about my weekend we discussed this very concept
of being able to choose how you will respond to things that come along that just weren’t in the plan
that they have the power to choose how they will react
one particular son was not thrilled to have to join us for devotional without finishing his breakfast
we recited together
‘it is what it is, what am i going to do about it?’
some of us a little more enthusiastically than others
after we were done this same son was extremely upset that his cereal had become soggy
i told him, ‘say it, say it’
he screamed in a very reluctant cadence, ‘it is what it is, what am i going to do about it?’
i asked, ‘what are you going to do about it?”
he yelled, ‘dump it out and get some new cereal’
a huge smile crept across my face as i realized that this was going to work
another tool to put in my life and motherhood tool belt
something small that will make a large impact on my thinking and behavior
as well as set a pattern of thinking for my children
i am so grateful to have come away from my Nerium experience feeling enriched not only physically, but emotionally

more to come soon on Nerium and my Nerium experience
to find out more right now 
you are welcome to click on the Nerium AD Skincare button in the sidebar that will take you directly to Mike and I’s personal page
or if you are local, ask me for a sample and i'll be there sooner than you can say

Friday, April 19, 2013

my bags are packed... again

through the course of some surprising events this week
i am headed back to Vegas this weekend
crazy, i know
Vegas isn't really my scene
but for some reason right now it seems to be the mecca of learning for me
the good kind of learning
not the Vegas kind

i will be investigating a new product and company that has been on the rise 
one that may cause ponce de leon to roll in his grave
it is a new anti-aging product 
and if it proves worthy
i will dub it the topical ambrosia of the forever 29 club

upon entering the decade of their 30s, i have welcomed many of friends into my forever 29 club
its numbers are growing
of course 30 is the new 20 so i hear
but tell that to my skin
what could be better than youthful skin to ignite our little club name into a self fulling prophecy
friends if its worthy 
i will share

if not, i will have spent a fun filled weekend with my mother and sister in law
most expenses paid
either way
i'm a winner
and not in the Vegas way

would love to know your plans for the weekend
or your favorite topical ambrosia

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

sharing my dream with you: how you can be apart of it

i feel privileged to have been taught at the feet of powerful women this past weekend
not the kind which hold prestigious titles or awards
or make national diplomatic decisions
but the ones who hold the most important title 
a role which definitely deals with daily diplomacy
i was invited to attend a retreat in Las Vegas hosted by the organization Power of Moms
as explained in my post ‘retreat bound
this organization
rightly described as a gathering place for deliberate mothers
encourages and empowers a community of women with tools to help them in the noblest and most difficult of jobs, motherhood

during my stay the friction of my pen on my paper did just about ignite it into flames
sparks were flying
sparks were flying
countless pieces of relevant and enabling information to put into action in my own family
real systems to implement
not just vague ideas
detailed substance

in the wake of this vast wave of newly introduced mothering tools
i am just trying to soak it all in
deciding with which piece to begin
which idea will be the ripple that tidals me to higher mothering
family systems: routines, rewards and discipline
family economy: seeing work as privilege, money management
family culture: creating a place of belonging and identity, unity

the concept emphasized repeatedly during the retreat reiterated the inspiration that i received the week prior as related in my post ‘to simply begin, one branch at a time’ 
i simply need to begin
working on the next immediate thing
breaking tasks down into simple, completable actions, a single branch so to speak
oh how i’m grateful for this approach
transformation seems attainable
i am excited to share mine with you as i begin to implement these fabulous tools within my home

but the overall idea that continues to stay with me
relates to the first night of the retreat
in which i sat with this group of 50 women who came with open hearts to become better women, better mothers
and in turn opened their hearts to all surrounding them
on that first night 
we discussed together that as mothers we can dream and how we can pursue them
i had an opportunity to share one of my dreams with these women
and oh how they listened intently and responded with tremendous support
these women who i had just met

as i have reflected on that experience, i have thought how
because i opened my heart to them
they rallied around me to buoy me up
these, a group of nearly strangers
so, if i was received with such support and encouragement by those i had just met
how much more i would receive from you, my friends and family
i think its time to share my dream with you

my dream is to be able to transform my blog into something sustainable for our family
something that will allow me to continue to remain home with my children and tend to my husband
the likelihood that i will need to have heavy involvement in providing for my family continues to increase as Mike’s health continues to decrease
over the past few weeks new symptoms have manifested themselves in Mike
impairments to his vision
the loss of use of his left leg
increased pain in his body
a fog of guilt and gloom
thankfully some have left but others have stayed
that is the fear with MS, will these symptoms only stay for a period of time and then return to normal, or will they strike you down and remain

transforming my blog into a replacement for our income
is lofty but i am not afraid of the work
what i do fear is being able to do so and keep the integrity of the feel of my blog in tact
to be able to see ‘me’ in it all
to have you continue to feel connected directly to my heart and the lives of my family members
i invite you along on my journey in this new venture
as i always have
come be apart of something that can be beautiful and purposeful
a way to bring peace to my fearful heart
the reality is
tomorrow morning Mike could wake up without the permanent use of his leg or his hand or his eyes
and you know that the loss of the use of his limb would not hold Mike back completely from trying to provide for our family
that he will do all the days of his life
because he loves us
because he has faith that the Lord will aid him in this most sacred duty of fatherhood which encompasses providing for the basic needs of your family
and although the symptoms he is experiencing isn’t as dramatic as all of that
they are significant and continue to chip away at his stamina leaving exhaustion in its place
and with that sort of disability comes the need for me to be able to step in and take the reigns from him whenever needed

this is where you take a part in the fulfillment of my dream
in supporting me here on my blog
you help me to preserve the leftover normalcy of our family that we are holding so tightly to
that i can be home for my children as much as possible
that i can be the one who tends to their backyard wounds
i can be the one who reads them bedtime stories
that together Mike and I can raise our children in the framework they are accustomed to
holding tight to the foundational structure of our family through preserving divinely appointed roles of mother and father as best as we can in our current situation

as i move forward in this venture
i would love for each of you to be an active participant
that is how this dream of mine will become a reality
if you are right alongside me
there will be so many opportunities for you to demonstrate your support along the way

you can begin by following my blog on social media sites
they are represented by icons in the top righthand corner of my blog
or listed at the end of this introductory ‘new reader’ post here
following me not only lets me know that you like what you see here
it lets prospective sponsors and collaborators know the same
i will be giving more detailed instructions on ‘following’ through social media in future posts 

please comment and let me know you were here and what you connected with
this is how i can know what to give you more of
there will be lots of new things going on here in the months ahead
new contributors
online sales of my handmade creations
new club and products for the forever young at heart
a new look and a new name

commenting and feedback will be essential for me to know how these additions are received by you my loyal friends
one of the main reasons i believe that i can accomplish this lofty dream is because of the feedback i have been receiving from so many of you over these past years
connections you have made with me and my writing
conclusions you have drawn in your own life based on my family’s dealings
enjoyment you have found in my creations and ideas

i promise to you that i will work hard to preserve the joy and experience you currently have here with me
and i will work to improve upon it each and every day
i continue to rely on the Lord for direction and strength
and i know that through him all things are possible
my dream can be possible
with His help
and with yours

tell me dear friends, what can i do more of here on my site?  what would you like to see talked about, explored, created?  what dreams and interests of yours can i help you accomplish through exploring here?

i look forward to walking beside you in this journey ahead.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

winner of the le petit society double giveaway: your support makes my spirit soar

i was so happy to have been able to partner with le petit society to bring you this double giveaway
having 329 entries made my spirit soar 
thank you all for your continued support
and a leaping heel click for all of you who decided you liked what you saw here 
at Sweet Dreams are Made of These and decided to follow me here on my blog or on Instagram
i hope to hear lots from my new readers
please come back and visit soon and often

without further ado
drumroll please....

edel and ning i have emailed you, so look for the messages of congratulations coming your way
your little ones will be donning their le petit society fashion soon

for the rest of you fabulous readers
you missed it by *this* much
so close

you are in luck though
i will be having another giveaway for le petit society soon
this time for the boy in your life

check back soon

a chance for your photos of your darling children to shine for the world to see
as well as have another opportunity to win more le petit society clothing
check out the contest here
i look forward to seeing entries of your littles
you may see some of mine

Monday, April 15, 2013

prayers for boston

my heart is breaking for those affected by this tragedy today
moments once raised high in triumph
now wracked with terror and fear
lives changed instantaneously

just as i expressed in my post 'watching them closely' in the aftermath of Sandy Hook
my 'mother heart' aches and i just want to hold my loved ones tight
to hear of parents searching for their children amidst the chaos and thinking of the parents of the young boy who has killed brings tears to my eyes
images of those injured and those fleeing in panic places a heaviness in my soul
reminders that there are those who would do us harm

but today let the good of the nation envelop us all in kindness and love and hope 
as we offer aid to those affected by this event
and lift up our voices, kneeling as individuals and families
to pray for those people from Boston and around the world whose hearts and lives have been forever imprinted by this senseless act


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