What's in my Bag (beauty edition)

What's In My Bag (beauty edition) | sarahesh.com

I love the sound of that. 
It's something that I strive for in most areas of my life, including my beauty routine. 
I used to have a pretty large collection of cosmetics, but I found that I was using a select few on a regular basis and the rest were, for the most part, neglected. This has been especially true since becoming a mom. 
I still want to look put together and put thought into my hair and makeup, but I want it to be basic, versatile, practical. I decided to start the process of elimination by paying attention to whatever I would pack when we were traveling. If the item didn't come along with me that was a good indication that I could let it go. 
I've gravitated toward natural/organic products, and will continue to do so.  My skin is sensitive and prone to outbreak, but since I've cut back on chemicals, I've noticed drastic improvement. 
Every night I wash my face with homemade bar soap, which I made using herbs from my garden, then I use this toner my friend Alicia shared. Finally I hydrate with Shea Moisture baby lotion or coconut oil, paying close attention to my eye area where remains of mascara might be lingering, as coconut also works as a makeup remover too.
In the morning I'll splash cold water on my face before applying the following:
Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel, by Bare Minerals  //  I use this instead of foundation. It is a light coverage moisturizer, that evens out skin tone without feeling heavy or looking cakey. 
Lash Domination, by Bare Minerals  //  Talk about WOW. This mascara is easy to apply with a light hand, but if you're wanting the look of falsies, try three coats. It's pretty fun.
Brow Powder  //  This I use to fill in my arches. My brows are already thick and full, so I don't need a lot. However, it adds definition which I like.
Burt's Bees lipstick  //  And finally, lipstick. I only wear this on special occasions, like date night or to church. I'm not going to lie, it took me a long time to work up the nerve to wear it, but I sort of like it now, and think it'll be staying in my makeup bag for a good long time. 

And that's it folk. This whole routine takes less than 5 minutes. Totally doable, even on the craziest of days. (And the plus side to not wearing a lot of makeup? I am now asked for ID whenever I'm purchasing beverages, no one believes me when I tell them I'm no longer in school, AND if I don't take time to put on makeup, I still look like the same person.)
FYI - I love Bare Minerals products, but they are kind of pricey. I got color matched at a boutique when I was purchasing a few items, but now that I know what shades to get, I've been ordering from Amazon. It's often cheaper, and if you're a prime member you will most likely get free shipping.

What about you: What are your favorite cosmetics?

WORN: On Wednesday

I’ve teamed up with Fair Trade Friday this summer. Throughout the month of July I will be sharing  about fair trade, and toward the end of the month I will be hosting a giveaway for a beautiful fair trade tote. Stick around, you don’t want to miss it.
In the mean time, every Wednesday I plan to share a fashion post that features at least one fair trade product. 
WORN: On Wednesday | sarahesh.com
Today is the final Wednesday in July and I couldn't be happier. These posts are done, I'm moving on. 
My sister-in-law and her seven children came to visit for a few days, and my mother-in-law surprised me and came along with them. For the past three years we've been talking about how fun it would be for them to come up when the blueberry crop is ready for harvest. But it never worked out... until this year. 
They arrived around lunchtime Monday. It was hot and humid, so it didn't take long for us to pack up and go down to the lake for a few hours. I love living so close to a beautiful beach area. This summer I've been frequenting the lake more than I ever have in my 22 years of living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. 
When we got back from the lake we enjoyed a dinner of burgers and corn on the cob out on our deck, and of course we had to take them to the best ice cream place ever, Seneca Farms
Yesterday morning after a breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast, and the best peaches ever, we headed to the blueberry patch. It was hot and humid, and after only 15 minutes of picking berries we were all eager to finish up and head for the lake. We kept at it though, until all of our buckets were full.
We had a lot of fun, and there is talk of making this an annual sisters day, where all of the sisters-in-law and their kids would come up for a blueberry day. I do hope it works out!
I was planning to get a few shots at the blueberry patch for this post, but I was hot and sweaty and the sun was harsh, and thank goodness odors don't waft through blog posts, if you know what I mean. The photos didn't happen until Herm was home from work and our dinner dishes were cleared off the table and put away.
I had been wanting a chambray dress for the longest time, but never found one that worked. They were always too long or short, poor quality, ill fitting, or expensive. I had almost given up hope, but one day when I had 10 minutes before my next appointment, I ran into Salvation Army. And that's when I spotted hanging there, brand new with tags, for only $3. It was perfect. No, it was almost perfect. The only problem? It was three sizes too large. I decided to do something rarely do... I would risk the$3 and hope that my minimal seamstress skills would be able to alter it into something that fits. And guess what? It worked! 
I love that this dress is heavy enough that it doesn't require a slip or cami underneath, but light enough to keep me cool and comfy on hot summer days. I wear it often, and I'm pretty sure it'll stay that way until one day it can't take it any more and simply falls apart. 
WORN: On Wednesday | sarahesh.com
WORN: On Wednesday | sarahesh.com
WORN: On Wednesday | sarahesh.com

Dress, Old Navy, thrifted and refashioned (similar) // Belt, unkown, thrifted // Necklace // Sandals, handcrafted in Jamaica, gifted (similar)



Currently | sarahesh.com
Reading:  Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee.
This book is the sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, though if I'm not mistaken I think it was actually written before To Kill a Mockingbird, but not published in until 2015, shortly after Lee died.
If you aren't familiar with either of these books, the story takes place in Maycomb, Alabama, around the time of the Civil Rights movement. In the first book, Jean Louise (Scout) is a young girl whose world view is shaped around her father's, that all men, black or white, are created equal. The book deals with the issues of rape, racial segregation, compassion, justices, and class in the Deep South.
In the second book, however, Jean Louise realizes that her world view does not line up with her father's, that he does not truly believe all men are equal. She is heart broken, and has to decide if she will stand up what she believes it right, even when surrounded by those who don't agree with her, or if she will abandon those she loves because she can't agree with their views and ideas.
I highly recommend this book, and also that you listen to it on audio. Reese Witherspoon did an excellent job of reading it in a way that brought it to life.
Both books mentioned are classics that I hope to add to my bookshelf.
Loving:  The fact that my sister-in-law and her seven kiddos are here in New York today and tomorrow. For the past two years we've talked about how fun it would be for them to come up for a few days in July or August to spend time together at the lake and the blueberry patch. It is finally happening and I'm so excited! It'll be a little 'stay-cation' for Carson and I. Carson absolutely adores his cousins and can't wait for them to arrive, and gosh, I feel the same way.
Dreaming: Up a few new ideas for d├ęcor in our room. We recently got rid of the headboard I had made out of old doors. I loved that headboard, but it was painted with lead paint, so it had to go. Now that it's gone, I'm kind of ready to change up a few other things as well. I am thinking of this or this for nightstands. Some throw pillows similar to this, and maybe a canopy like this as well. What do you think?
Wishing: For this book.
Thinking About: Goals in life, and how accomplishing those goals happens only when you take the first step. I would love to write a book, it's been something that I wanted to do ever since I was in middle school. But it does seem overwhelming, where do I begin? Would people (other than my husband, he said he would buy a copy) actually want to read it? This article made me realize that it is possible, but I have to start by taking the first step.
Listening: To Have You Seen the Rain, again and again and again.
Watching:  Fixer Upper with Chip and Joanne Gains. I know I'm a bit late to the party, Saturday night was the first I sat down and watched an episode. I've been hearing so much about it I decided I need to see what it's all about. I'm pretty sure I'll be watching a few more episodes in the days and weeks to come.
Trying: To potty train a little boy and a puppy. The little boy is doing well (other than the fact that he likes to aim at bugs on the wall and spots on the floor instead of the toilet bowl...) But the puppy, don't ask me how that's going; it's not. I despair. If you have any tips or suggestions, I'd certainly appreciate them in the comments below. :)
What about you: What have you currently been up to?


WORN: On Wednesday

I’ve teamed up with Fair Trade Friday this summer. Throughout the month of July I will be sharing  about fair trade, and toward the end of the month I will be hosting a giveaway for a beautiful fair trade tote. Stick around, you don’t want to miss it.
In the mean time, every Wednesday I plan to share a fashion post that features at least one fair trade product. 
WORN: On Wednesday | sarahesh.com
Inspiration photo source.
The photo shoot for this weeks post actually happened with out as much as a kink in the plan, and took place a week in advance. Can you believe it? Me either!
So since there is no story to tell you about the behind-the-scenes events, I'll just tell you about the skirt I'm wearing.
If you've been following along with the little fashion series, you probably noticed that there is almost always at least one item from my outfit that was thrifted. I don't exactly love shopping, but I do enjoy the thrill of the hunt when it comes to second-hand shops. 
All of clothes that are currently in Carson's closet, other than what was gifted by friends or family, were purchased at consignment stores and yard sales. My closet isn't far behind. I would guess that well over half of my wardrobe was previously used. And I don't mind in the least. I've found so many high quality items for a fraction of the original cost. 
Now on to that skirt. 
After Carson was born I realized how desperately so many items in my closet need to be replaced. I had worn most of my normal clothes through pregnancy, and didn't think much of it... until I lost the pregnancy weight and noticed how stretched out things had become. 
I picked up a few items here and there. One of them being a skirt just like the one I'm wearing. I loved that skirt, but eventually it wasn't fitting well anymore. I so desperately wanted it to work, and so I held on to it, hoping that I'd figure out a way to alter it to fit. But the skirt had a drawstring waist, and I wasn't sure how to nip and tuck it without messing that up. 
Then, one half-off-Wednesday I was at the same Salvation Army where the first skirt came from, and guess what I found? That's right, another J. Crew olive drawstring skirt, just like the one still hanging in my closet. Only this time it was in my size, and because it was half-off, it was only $2. 
I snatched that thing up faster that you would imagine possible, delighted.
When I arrived home, I took the tags off in order to wash it, and heard something jingling. It sounded like pocket change. 
So technically, since the skirt came with a fifty cent refund in the form of quarters, I guess I got it for $1.50. 
And tell me, who doesn't love a deal like that?
WORN: On Wednesday | sarahesh.com

Skirt: J. Crew, thrifted (similar) // Sweater: LOFT (similar) // Necklace: c/o Everyday Beauty Co. // Bracelet: From Uganda, gifted (similar) // Sandals: Birkenstock // Tote: JOYN, c/o Fair Trade Friday (win it!)
What about you? Where are your favorite places to shop?


About Fair Trade Friday + a Giveaway!

Fair Trade Friday | sarahesh.com
It would be an understatement to say that I like fair trade; I LOVE fair trade.
For me, it started back when I was a young teen. Ten Thousand Villages had a shop that would come to our local mall over the holiday season. Because it was seasonal, instead of hiring employees, they would look for volunteers. A dear lady from church gathered a small group of girls, my friends and I, together, to help out for a day.
We were taught a bit about the products, and how the ladies/families who handcrafted these products were able to make a sustainable living by selling the items, and, in turn, they could send their children to school, giving them the opportunity to have a better life through the help of education.
Something resonated with me, and ever since that holiday season many years ago, I have loved and supported many fair trade organizations.
So of course, when I found out about Fair Trade Friday, a ministry of Mercy House Kenya, I was intrigued, and knew that this was an organization I would gladly support. I am so excited for the opportunity to team up with them a share a bit about the mission.
Fair Trade Friday is a monthly membership club that delivers high quality fair traded items to club members. The stylish boxes provide employment for women all over the world. They have several options: You can choose to subscribe to the Fair Trade Friday gift box--this includes 3-4 surprise gift items (think jewelry, coffee, bags/totes, soaps, etc), that will be delivered to you monthly; or you could receive a trial/gift box, which is the same as the first option, but it would be a one-time deal; and finally, the Earring of the Month, which delivers a fun pair of earrings to members each month. 100% of the proceeds from each product go toward the empowerment of impoverished women as an avenue to introduce them to the Gospel!
Fair Trade Friday generously sent me several items to review. And with the hope that this will spread the word even farther, potentially increasing sales, which would increase job opportunities for these women, I am hosting a giveaway of one of those items: the JOYN tote.
This beautiful tote was handwoven, hand printed, and hand stitched. It is made from genuine leather and cotton in the foothills of the Himalayas. It has a red lining inside, with a small pocket, perfect for a cell phone or keys. It is very sturdy, and with care, will last for years!
Fair Trade Friday | sarahesh.com
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To enter leave a comment on the blog or on the facebook link, and finish by filling out the basic information in Rafflecopter to show you completed this step. You can get a lot more entries by completing all of the steps, but leaving a comment is the only step that is mandatory.
Thank you in advance for participating!


WORN: On Wednesday

I’ve teamed up with Fair Trade Friday this summer. Throughout the month of July I will be sharing  about fair trade, and toward the end of the month I will be hosting a giveaway for a beautiful fair trade tote. Stick around, you don’t want to miss it.
In the mean time, every Wednesday I plan to share a fashion post that features at least one fair trade product. 
WORN: On Wednesday | sarahesh.com
Inspiration photo by Kristina J. Used with permission. 
There is always something to be thankful for.
And today I am thankful there are only five Wednesdays in July, and not 500. These fashion posts aren't as easy as I thought they be, and I'm so ready for this series to be over.
Back in June when I planned this, I was imagining spending an afternoon taking all of the photos I would need, then scheduling each post, so that every Wednesday morning, like clock work, there would be something new for the blog.
Instead my days fly by, and before I'm ready it's Tuesday and I still don't have photos for the Worn on Wednesday post for the next day. This week was no exception.
I needed to take Carson into town for some blood work, so I decided we'd leave the house a bit early and stop by the park. I'd use the self-timer on my camera to snap a few photos while Carson played without getting dirty. It wouldn't take long at all to get what I needed, and we'd be on with our day.
Do you think it actually happened like that?
We arrived at the park in good time, and after adjusting a few settings and situating the camera, I posed in front of it like a vain woman, while Carson splashed in the puddles near the channel.
A lady I know was out walking with her friend, so I quickly hid my camera and pretended to be out for a walk with Carson too. After chatting with her for a bit, I walked around the corner, then pulled the camera out again, hoping for better results. Five photos in, the camera batteries die, and it's about time for the appointment anyhow.
After the blood work was finished, I planned to stop for new batteries, then go back and finish the pictures...
Do you think it actually happened like that?
The test results were good. I was so thankful... but that little pin pricked finger would not stop bleeding, and even with a band-aid on his finger, Carson still managed to get blood everywhere, including my dress.
And it started to rain. So instead of trying to redo those photos, we finished our errands in town, then came home, and I crossed my fingers, hoping for the best. Maybe there would be a picture or two that I could use.
They'll have to do.
Thank goodness I'm not a perfectionist or a full time fashion blogger, eh? Only two more weeks to go!
Happy Wednesday, friends!

WORN: On Wednesday | sarahesh.com
Dress: handmade by Kate // Belt: Express, thrifted // Sandals: handcrafted in Jamaica, gifted (similar) // Bag: FashionABLE // Earrings: Water for Life (similar)


A Few Thoughts on Mom Guilt

Thoughs on Mom Guilt | sarahesh.com
You're eating that, I'm so impressed, my sister-in-law said, as we were gathered around the dining room table, nibbling on fresh cinnamon rolls from The Flour Shop, a local cafe.
The rolls are a special treat, only made and sold on Saturdays, and only served at our house on Saturday mornings when we have company.
And your point is? I asked. You just never eat stuff like that. I'm impressed, that's all.
This wasn't the first time I've been accused of being a health nut. Sure, I make granola weekly, and if that makes me a crunchy-granola-mom in your eyes, so be it. But I know the truth; I know my habit of eating peanut butter by the spoonful with a bit of chocolate chips sprinkled over it has gotten out of control, and I know about my love for iced coffee, and I know how my toddler refuses to eat veggies, and how I gave up on cloth diapering before I even began.  
Her comment doesn't hold a lot of weight, because while I can be very determined and dedicated to something I set my mind to, I certainly have a lot of room for improvement. I don't consider myself a role model for healthy living. 
However, that conversation sparked a new thought process for me, and it all has to do with mom guilt.
If you are a mom you most likely know exactly what I am talking about. Gather any group of mothers (or parents for that matter) together, and the conversation almost always ventures into parenting methods and sleep training and what-are-your-thoughts-on-vaccinations, and so forth... and while there is nothing wrong with conversations like this, it can often lead to comparison, leaving some of us feeling sub par, as though there is a cookie-cutter method, and if followed exactly all children will turn out the same way. 
My Little Man is not sleeping through the night. He is 19 months old, and in those 19 months, I can count on one finger how many times a solid night of sleep has happened. And even though he is served veggies at almost every meal, he will not eat them. I have tried again and again, preparing them different ways, serving them with dip or hummus, and still, no, they always are spit back out. 
I get frustrated with him at times, but none of these things really bugged me that much. Carson is otherwise a very easy child. He's full of life and energy, friendly, and always sharing smiles with whomever he meets. None of it bugged me that is, until I overheard a few moms talking about their methods, about how their children were sleeping through the night from eight weeks on, and how veggies were all they fed their babies for the first year, and how cloth diapering worked, and suddenly I feel as though I failed. 
Maybe I should have read more books parenting, or tried harder to force feed those brussel sprouts. Am I a capable mother? A tinge of guilt washes over me.
What a failure.
But then I began to think about the big picture, and I actually had to laugh. Years from now, once my kids are grown and on their own, will it really matter if they were sleeping nine hours straight from eight weeks on? Will the few brussel sprouts they did not consume at a year old have adverse effects on their overall health and wellness?
While I would be thrilled for a solid night of sleep and a child who would eat anything I prepared for him, this is not what is most important in life, and certainly not what makes or breaks my success as a mother. 
In light of eternity what matters most is that my child(ren) seeks God with his whole heart, and lives to glorify Him. The end. 
So while I am not going to give up on a solid night of sleep or brussel sprouts, I won't be judging my abilities as a mom by those things. 
And friends, I know a lot of you struggle with the same thoughts. Doubting your ability as a mom, wondering how you'll ever make it. I am going to tell you something, and I want you to take it to heart. 
You are a good mom.
Whether you cloth diaper or use disposables, whether you breastfeed or are using formula, whether you've chosen vaccinations or decided against them, whether you buy baby food or make your own, whether you work or stay home full-time - however you are raising your family - you are a good mom.
Don't let the guilt of what you think you should be doing weigh you down from truly living and enjoying life and your family. 
Love your husband and children fearlessly. Sow into their lives through prayer and dedication. Take time for yourself and your hobbies. Seek the Lord when you have doubts or questions, and know that He will equip you. 
You, my friend, are enough.


WORN: On Wednesday

I've teamed up with Fair Trade Friday this summer. Throughout the month of July I will be sharing  about fair trade, and toward the end of the month I will be hosting a giveaway for a beautiful fair trade tote. Stick around, you don’t want to miss it.
In the mean time, every Wednesday I plan to share a fashion post that features at least one fair trade product. 
WORN: Fashion Inspiration | sarahesh.com
Inspiration photo source
We spent a long holiday weekend out of town with friends. Our first stop was Chicago. We arrived on the evening of the forth, and after checking into our hostel (Um yes, shared showers and all.) we took the subway down to the Navy Pier to watch fireworks. Instead of fighting crowds on the way back, we left the show a bit early and walked a few blocks for deep dish pizza, because as the saying goes: when in Chicago, do as the Chicagoans.  It was well past my bedtime when we finally got back to our rooms, but I was satisfied. Deep dish pizza really is all it's cracked up to be.
The next morning we explored downtown for a bit, stopping by Intelligentsia for coffee and scones,then moving on Millennium Park, where we shot a few touristy photos at the 'Bean', after we had soaked our diapers at the Crown Fountain. The rest of the morning we walked through the park and to the Magnificent Mile shopping district. That's when I realized I lost my phone. I prayed about it, and it was returned. Thank you Jesus! (You can read more about that here.) I know it's just a phone, but I have so many precious memories stored on that thing; it was what I was using for photos and videos of our trip. Jesus cares about the little things, even things as small as an iPhone.
The Orioles were playing the White Sox that afternoon, and with the group I was traveling with there was no way we were going to miss that game. The Orioles won; our group was happy. (Since we're friends, I'm going to be real with you: I just had to Google that. Even though I was there for the game, I couldn't have told you who won. I'm probably not the kind of fan most teams like.)
And finally, the whole purpose of our trip: fishing on Lake Michigan. In spite of some nasty weather that cut our two day trip short, we had a lot of fun out on the water, reeling 'em in. Seafood isn't really my thing, but I'd go fishing any day. We brought 15 fish back, 1 salmon, 1 steelhead trout, and 13 rainbow trout.

Dress: H+M, thrifted (similar) // Vest: LOFT (similar) // Necklack: Village Artisan, c/o Fair Trade Friday // Bag: FashionABLE // Sandals: Birkenstocks
Anyhow, all of this to say that I was planning to take a few photos in the city for today's post. However, most of my time I spent chasing after my little runner-boy who insisted on splashing in every fountain, climbing on all the high walls, and playing hide-and-seek among the bushes and shrubs. Then I thought that maybe I could share a few pictures from our fishing adventures, but after an incident where I dove into the icy waters fully clothed after my runner-boy, I was left with yoga pants instead of jeans for the next morning. Minimalist packing might not be so great after all. And yoga pants are not allowed on fashion posts!
So, this morning, as I catch up on laundry and figure out what groceries I need for the rest of the week and take a few moments to read and rejuvenate while my coffee is still hot, I decided to keep it real and share a few photos of what fair trade fashion looks like... from my dining room.
WORN: On Wednesday | sarahesh.com
I'm enjoying Equal Exchange coffee from my Blue Waters Mug, along with a few squares of Equal Exchange Caramel Crunch chocolate. I just finished reading 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, by Jen Hatmaker, which I highly recommend, especially if fair trade is something that interests you too.
Have a lovely day, friends!


Guest Post: KLH Designs

I've been so eager to share this post with you all. Kerra was a dear friend of my cousin, Cheryl, who passed away this past Spring. Even though I've never met her in person, I feel like I know her in a way because of how highly Cheryl talked of her. 
I feel so inspired by Kerra, a stay at home mom and a small business owner. I love seeing moms tenderly caring for their children, and in the midst of that still making time to pursue their dreams and passions. She does this well.
When I heard about Kerra's latest project in memory of Cheryl's life, and how it was going to impact so many young moms, I knew I not only wanted to support it, but I also wanted to share it with you all. So without further ado, here's Kerra:
Guest Post: KLH Designs | sarahesh.com
On one of those hot summer days in Central WI, my mom and sister sliced peaches and dropped them into jars. I sat at the table, too young to help. I remember drawing and I remember Mom complimenting me, giving me tips.
I loved drawing.
I knew I wanted to be able to draw and paint like Mom. I loved Mom’s paintings and her blue ribbons from high school. I can still see rows of smiling, curly haired people that mom drew while she talked on the phone. Mom was my coach. She told me how many heads tall to draw an adult person. Once she took my pencil and instantly rescued the lifeless eyes of a portrait I worked on as a young teenager.
Sometime after high school graduation, I contemplated how I could incorporate art in to a job. My interests had turned to digital art, graphic design.
In the back of my mind there always hung a bothersome question : Can I really make art a worthwhile life work?
Did God really want me to just be an artist? Did He have a purpose in my interests?
The year I turned 18, my oldest brother helped me set up a small graphic design business: KLH Design. I designed brochures, business cards and flyers for a few local businesses. It wasn’t much, but I enjoyed myself and learned so much from those jobs. Shortly after I turned to graphic design as a side venture, I was offered a job as secretary for a family practice clinic. I took the position and loved it. I thrived in the social environment, especially on the days I had good heart to heart conversations and laughs with my coworkers.
I still took the occasional design job and spent hours designing as a hobby. Mom continued to provide me with the advice, tips and practical suggestions that I needed.
Then, Mom died. We had known she didn’t have long to live after the breast cancer diagnosis, but nothing prepares you for the death of your mom. I often cried when I left work at the end of the day. I drove a lot of extra miles that summer. I had some special routes I would take when I needed to cry and pray and think and be alone for a long time. There were long dark days, and a very real loss of vision in the things I used to really care about. One afternoon before Mom died she told me that she wants me to have the beautiful fall painting that always hung in our home.
Life has been constant change since that year, and often I struggle to keep up. I met my husband Stan the year after Mom died. We got married the next year. We became parents, and how our lives have changed again! Our daughter, Mya Elsie, is such a blessing to us. She just started walking. She holds entire conversations without using words, only childish babbling. She laughs at her own jokes sometimes, jokes without words of course. I can’t wait to hold real conversations with her.
After Mya’s birth, I traded my job behind the desk for a job on the rocking chair. My hours were never, ever the same. I never left the job at the end of the day and locked the door. I ached all over. I felt dependent.
Guest Post: KLH Designs | sarahesh.com
The first time I ventured out to Marshfield to get my groceries, I asked my sister to go with me. I was terrified. What if Mya just cries and cries? I felt like I needed on call back up all the time. I missed Mom more than ever. Am I doing this right? Mom, can you come help me today?
Eventually motherhood began to feel a tad more familiar. I started to notice other moms. I remember seeing a mom with a brand new baby in Walmart. The baby was crying just a bit, and I noticed its mother. Maybe she hurts all over. Maybe she didn’t sleep last night. Maybe she still has errands to run, but will have to go home before she is finished. Maybe she is scared. Maybe she wonders if there are any other moms like her, who feel so blessed and yet so overwhelmed.
I remembered how I often heard mom praying for the young mothers in church, and it made so much more sense to me now.
During this transition to motherhood, Stan and I talked more seriously than ever about a home business idea for me that we had been discussing for quite a while: designing a little line of inspiring plaques to sell. Stan encouraged me so much. I would never have done this without his love for me and for my work, and his help and support all the way. Finally, it felt like the only way we would find out if it was right or not was to give it a try. I was attracted to the design of the small, self-standing signs. I wanted them all to carry words of truth and meaning.
I still had my business name, KLH Design, although I hardly did any graphic design for work. The original idea of doing graphic design for local businesses didn’t feel compatible with my life as a mom. We never even considered picking it back up. There would be too many deadlines and too much communication that would need to happen. I would need something I could do at my own pace, on my own schedule.
I worried about my love of art and this small business taking precedence over my work as a mom, and I still constantly need to keep priorities in focus. I have chosen not to do a lot of custom work. If someone asks me to do a big project, I ask Stan about it first. I am blessed by the memory of my mom, who was always writing, some as a hobby, some as a small source of income, and still loved and cared for her children. She published a book, and my dad carried on her second book project, her cancer story, which was published after she died.

I officially opened my Etsy shop last November. It has been a tremendous blessing and challenge to me, and my hope for each sign is that it is a blessing and inspiration to all who see it. I hope that somehow others can see God through the words and the art. He deserves the honor.
Then God opened up another door. During these months of adjustments and sometimes loneliness in motherhood, I’ve been thinking more and more about the moms I see around me. I decided to design a few special signs for my shop. The proceeds from these signs go toward a fund that will be used to purchase gift cards from local coffee shops. Attached with the gift cards will be some words of encouragement and explanation. I will distribute these cards to young mothers I see while I do my weekly grocery shopping. I have been excited and overwhelmed by the support I have felt, and am looking forward to this! It is something I can do for other moms with my business that will take no extra time from my family. I am shy by nature and am glad for a way to perhaps start conversations with other moms that I otherwise wouldn’t.
It’s amazing to look back and see how God has taken bits and pieces of my life which have brought me to this point of being a wife, a mother, and being able to enjoy and use my love of art. I can’t wait for heaven when ALL of life will make sense. Be faithful!
Guest Post: KLH Designs | sarahesh.com
You can find Kerra's beautiful work on Etsy and follow KLH Design Shop on Facebook.