Momma Bird’s Nest Jewelry (Guest Post by Renee)

What a blessing it is to be able to introduce Renee, the designer of the lovely Momma Bird’s Nest jewelry. She has a wonderful product with beautiful mission and message behind the making of these pieces, a line of jewelry of which I am honored to support. I own a necklace and earrings myself, and I can say that they are some of the most beautiful pieces of jewelry that I have. This may be the perfect gift for your mom for Valentine’s Day! (Make sure you check out the special PROMO at the end!) Enjoy the following guest post by the maker of Momma Bird’s Nest.
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I feel so honored that I have been asked to be a guest on Avocado Mommy. My name is Renee Abraham, and I am the founder and designer of Momma Bird’s Nest Jewelry. I am also, first and foremost, a follower of Christ, a wife, and a stay-at-home momma to 3 little munchkins!

Now that you know a little about me, you are probably asking, “What is Momma Bird’s Nest and why does it exist?” I’m glad you asked. Momma Bird’s Nest is a line of superior quality, nature-inspired jewelry, handcrafted to celebrate Motherhood.
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The background and two-fold vision of Momma Bird’s Nest:
This line of jewelry began after a multitude of compliments which I received as a result of the first nest of pearls I designed and wore as a symbol of my 3 children. To me, the nest is a parallel in many ways to my life as a Momma. It represents the natural instinct to create a safe home in which to nurture my children and the unexplainable “messes” that occur throughout the day but are part of what makes a “beautiful nest” (In fact, a few have occurred as I write this. Don’t worry; no risk to their safety was involved. :)). It also represents the idea that one day my little ones will spread their wings and fly while they will forever remain near to my heart.
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As other Mommas began requesting their nest, I was not prepared for the touching, joy-filled, heart-wrenching, and emotional stories each individual shared. Many were people I had known for years and had no idea the hardships they faced through infertility or miscarriage or even the loss of a child. I also was able to hear stories where individuals talked about their births and/or adoptions of each of their children and even grandchildren. My heart has become personally connected to each nest I design and the stories told through them. Seasons of elated joy to the deepest moments of sorrow, each Momma has a story to share, and yes, they’re significant and beautiful each in their own way. I have added many wings to nests to include a child or children whom they lost through miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion. It’s a beautiful way to symbolize how her child lives on in her heart and also a way to include babies who may not have been given a birth date. As I hear these stories, I’m more aware of the ministry that is found in women sharing their joys and heart-aches with each other. These stories inspire other mothers who have either faced or are facing those same seasons of life. If you’ve ever watched a Momma bird prepare her nest for her young, it starts out as, what seems to be a messy heap of collected debris, but when it is finished, it becomes an intricate and beautiful masterpiece. God is so gracious to use what seems like a chaotic mess to bring about a beautiful masterpiece, and that is true of each Momma’s story.
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The second part of the vision of Momma Bird’s Nest is to create a means in which to support the sanctity of life and to come alongside those who are on the “front-lines” of this battle every day. As a believer in the life of each unborn child, I feel even more compelled to do my part to preserve the value of life and encourage those around me. A portion of Momma Bird’s Nest proceeds is committed to a featured organization, foundation, or ministry that is fighting to preserve the sanctity of life.

Each nest is handcrafted by me in my home. I use only the finest materials so they can be worn and enjoyed for a lifetime! I love custom orders, creating new designs and even modifying my current designs for extra personalization. It is my goal to provide impeccable customer service!
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You can check out my full line of jewelry in my Etsy shop: http://www.mommabirdsnest.etsy.com
Also, you can follow me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/beautifulnest
Making a difference in the lives of many, one nest at a time!

Psalm 84:3 “Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young- a place near your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God.”

NEW CUSTOMER PROMO!

10% discount on all first-time orders! PLUS Momma Bird’s Nest and Avocado Mommy is teaming up to support New Life Family Services (http://www.nlfs.org) by committing 20% of all Momma Bird’s Nest purchases to their ministry!

To redeem this Promotion, use COUPON CODE: AVOCADOMOMMY in Etsy shop checkout. http://www.mommabirdsnest.etsy.com

FREE SHIPPING on all orders!

Current turnaround time is 7-10 BUSINESS DAYS – If you need an order sooner please contact me.
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Testimonials:
“My husband recently purchased me a Momma Bird’s Nest necklace with a stone egg for each of my children. He also added the wing, but not because we lost a child. Recently, our daughter was diagnosed with a bad case of epilepsy. While we were in the hospital my cousins bought us a plague with the Psalms 91:4. It says, “He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust.” I had two other people call us and encourage us that we needed to run to the Lord and have Him be our covering. I was so blessed to get this necklace and love that the wing is a constant reminder that the Lord is our covering. Nothing it too big for our Heavenly Father! The wing has become a symbol of our trust in the Lord for our daughter.”
-Sarah from Bruce, WI

“When Lexi gave me a Momma Bird’s Nest necklace for Mother’s Day, she didn’t know how perfect it was and how much it meant to my heart.
Being a mother is one of my favorite things in life. In fact when I was a young girl and asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my reply was “a mother”! I am blessed with 4 beautiful, amazing children; one girl and three boys. Between my third and fourth, in 1999, I had a miscarriage. I wasn’t very far along but far enough that there was a precious little baby that we buried under an oak tree in a beautiful oak grove on our property.
Then on May 10, 2009, Mother’s Day, more devastation came. My youngest son, Jedrek, 8 years old, was killed suddenly and tragically. After Jedrek’s accident, we were trying to find the perfect place for his grave so we went to the oak grove first, because the baby was there, it seemed like the right place. While we were looking around we noticed in one of the oak trees there was a place that had been hollowed out and there was a little bird’s nest inside. Jedrek’s daddy’s first thought was that the oak grove was too far from me; that Jedrek would be too far from me. But when we saw the bird’s nest and because the baby we lost was buried there, we knew it was the right place for our Jedrek’s grave. The comment I made when we discovered the nest was, “Momma’s nest”, and we knew it was the right place for my babies to be together; in Momma’s nest.
So when I got the necklace with the four eggs in the nest it couldn’t have been more perfect.
God is so amazing how He ministers His love and healing to us in meaningful ways when we are hurting.”
-Misty from Raton, NM

“I am so pleased with my Momma Bird’s Nest jewelry! I love that it was tailored just for me and for the story of my journey as a mother. It is so beautifully made and it is evident that it was hand crafted with special care. I love it, and I think it would be a perfect gift for any mother.”
-Grafton, WI

“Love my necklace. I have received alot of compliments on it. It is beautiful! Thank you! Great to deal with.Fast shipping.Would order again!”
-Prairie Farm, WI

“Loved the gift for my mother. When she received it, she was in tears. Thanks for making Mother’s Day so special for us.”
-Grove Town , GA

“Oh Renee~ They ARE SO BEAUTIFUL!!!! They (my daughters) all love them and have brought many tears…many thanks…much love and excitement…the best Christmas! Thank you again and again for such love put into each one of them ….you are precious Renee…Everything arrived beautifully.”
-Lafayette, MN
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*This post contains affiliate links.

Precious Mama…You are Okay!

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As moms, we are pretty hard on ourselves, aren’t we? We beat ourselves up for not being better mom’s, not spending more time with our kids, not looking a certain way, and not measuring up to what the world around us tells us we need to be. We compare ourselves to others and base our worth by some standard set by Pinterest, parenting magazines, media, the list goes on… I will admit it: I have found myself in this place all too often. Before we know it, the lies become more real, and the truth about who we really are begins to fade. Yet we don’t have to believe those lies anymore, because let me tell you, Sweet Mama, you are okay. You are MORE than okay. In Christ, you are enough, and that is all that you need.

I came across this devotion by Renee Swoope today that was featured on InCourage, and I couldn’t help but share it with you. I know that there are other mama’s out there that struggle with feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. Let this moment be a fresh start for you where you begin to rest in the truth of all that Jesus says about you. He whispers, “Precious mama, find your rest in Me.” Click on this link to read the great devotion by Renee Swoope of the Proverbs 31 Ministries. Love to you all! 🙂

Just a Little While Longer~ Devotional Reflection #5~ Written on Sept. 25, 2012

I kiss my sweet boy on the forehead, utter the last word of the familiar bedtime song, and then start to make my way toward the door of my son’s bedroom. In my mind, I am already am putting together a “to do” list for what I can accomplish while he is sleeping. I am on a determined mission to accomplish much, to busy myself with all that needs to be done, and to fulfill the expectations which I have set for myself for the day. Yet, as I turn to walk out the door, my son catches my hand and grips it as if to say, “Just a little while longer, mommy.” I stop and turn toward him as he looks up at me, his eyes gleaming with a love that penetrates deep into the depths of my heart. I pull in close to him, and at the same time, he responds with delightful giggles and outstretched hands. He is not ready to drift off to sleep, but rather, he wants a few more moments with the one he loves. This, to him, is of greatest importance. All else fades in comparison.

My heart is touched, for once again, this precious son of mine, has spoken to my heart. He does not teach me by any spoken words, but rather through the simplicity of his life. My life so often is just the opposite of simple; rather it becomes filled. Yes, filled to the brim. Filled with the weight of expectations which I place upon myself–expectations to have the house cleaned, laundry done, bills paid, schedules set, people called, “the good mom” tasks completed, and devotions checked off the list. Yet, the continuous pursuit to somehow base my worth on performance leaves me exhausted, worn down, and feeling like I fall short over and over again.

As I now close the door to his room, I am left with these questions and thoughts that go deep into my soul: What truly is the definition of “simplicity” as it relates to my very being? Could it be that I have not fully grasped onto what it really means? Is my life moving farther from simplicity and becoming more complicated as I seek find satisfaction in all that I can accomplish as a wife, a mother, and a friend? Maybe my life was meant to reflect the same kind of simplicity that my son models for me in these very moments. His life is not defined by what he accomplishes, but rather by the fact that he is cherished, and that is enough for him. He does not try to impress, nor does he seek to accomplish much. He has chosen to simply exist as one who is loved.

Lord, I too, want to choose to live by this kind of simplicity. Instead of focusing on fulfilling expectations, I want to find myself seeking that which is of greatest importance: Your heart. I want to be the one that reaches out to You again and again, and at the end of the day, gaze into your lovely face, just a little while longer.

Baby Kisses~ Devotional Reflections #4~ Written on Sept. 5, 2012

My little one reaches up toward me with arms outstretched. In response, I swoop him into my arms at which he responds by pulling in close, his soft cheeks right next to mine. In the next moment, he turns toward me with a wide smile and proceeds to bring his lips, wet with spit, up to mine. In the only way he knows how, he kisses me once, and then again. Finally he places his arms around my neck and brings his head into my chest.

In recent days, I have found myself reflecting on this interaction between my son and me, and I can’t help but to ponder these moments filled with baby kisses. Oh how beautiful are these times; for when he brings his lips in next to mine, he does so without regret, without shame. There is nothing that causes him to hesitate or to second guess this gesture of love. Further, he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that I will not neglect his sweet embrace, but rather, I will respond by pulling him in even closer, and kissing him in return. I whisper into his ear sweet songs of adoration and speak truth into his little heart–truth which tells him that there is never any shame in whom God has created him to be. I whisper truth that he is one who reflects the love of His Creator; he is a child that is loved unconditionally, and his heavenly Father loves him with no regrets. In response to hearing my voice and the words that I speak, he rests once more, for he knows that these words are true. His little heart knows.

Could I, too, approach my Savior with my arms outstretched, knowing that He is there to swoop me up into His loving embrace? Could I also pull in close to Him with such confidence, knowing that I never need to feel any shame or regret? Can my trust in Him be so complete that I am able to hear Him whisper sweet songs into my ear and blessed truth into every crevice of my heart? Oh, Lord, may I be like a child again! Let me wrap my arms around your neck as I gaze into your beautiful face. Bring me back to a place of sweet rest upon your chest as you sing over me the words, “My Beloved, you are mine.”

Delight~ Devotional Reflections #3~ Written on August 21, 2012

It is two o’clock in the afternoon, and her feet make their way slowly up the stairway while her five and a half month old snuggles in a little closer. He lays his head upon her chest and listens. He listens to the heartbeat of the mother who loves him. And once again, he is at peace, for he knows that she delights in him.

Together they enter his tiny room where his crib sits firmly tucked against the wall. She holds him a little closer as she whispers into his ear, “It is time to rest my son; it is time to close those eyes and dream ever so sweetly.” He knows that his mommy will not forget him while he sleeps, but that she will indeed watch over him so that he can rest securely. Again he lays his head down on her chest, and he listens. He listens to the voice of the mother whom he trusts. And once again, he is at peace, for he knows that she delights in him.

She places him in his crib, and shortly after he settles, he is looking up into her eyes as she returns his gaze. For a moment, his arms stretch upward as he reaches to touch her hair that has fallen out of the ponytail, once fresh in the early hours of the morning. She chuckles as his little fingers gently swipe her cheek, and then she asks him, ” Shall we sing?”

He doesn’t have to consider her question a moment longer, but instead, in excitement, his arms move rapidly up and down as he waits for the music to start and for her voice to utter its familiar melody. While she sings, he watches intently, sometimes trying to mimic the movement of her lips with his. And while he watches, he listens. He listens to the voice of the mother who sings over him. And once again, he is at peace, for he knows that she delights in him.

In this moment too, his mother is listening to her Savior. He again reminds her of how these cherished times with her son are ones on which she can reflect. He says to her, “Oh my precious child. See how you cherish your son? You love him deeply, passionately, and tenderly. Your heart is filled emotions and feelings that you never knew existed. Yet as deep as your love goes, can you imagine how my love for you is that much greater? And not only do I love you, but I love to spend time with you as you gaze into my eyes and reach out to me. So, my precious child, take time to rest upon my chest and listen to the sweet songs that I sing over you. Be at peace once more, my beloved, for in you, I delight.”

Dear Lord,
Thank you for your promise in Zephaniah 3:17, which says, “…He [the LORD] will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” (NIV). Thank you that you rejoice over me and that you truly do delight in me. Let my love for my son be an outpouring of the love that you have given me. And let me always be listening to the sweet songs that you sing.

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen

What a Trip to the Grocery Store and a Child’s Love for Balloons Taught Me…

It is a regular occurrence: the trip to the grocery store. Most often, the trip is made with my two little ones, and I have to admit that I really do enjoy having them with me (Although, I will never argue a trip by myself for some quiet time as well!). Provided we don’t go during a time when naps are approaching or when we are all a bit overtired, the grocery shopping typically is smooth. 🙂

Recently, I have found myself chuckling a bit as my oldest son has started to associate different stores with the specific items we will usually see or purchase at each. He will shout out the name of the store and then immediately after, he will list the associated item. (I have also begun to learn what a creature of habit I truly am! Children teach us a lot, don’t they?) At one particular grocery store (we have one main store in which we shop and then two others where we get the extra odds and ends), he knows that one of the special treats we sometimes take home is a balloon. Oh, how his face lights up when that balloon string is placed gently in his hand with the instruction from the clerk: “Now, hold on tightly. Don’t let it go.”

What the clerk does not realize is that my child’s mind is thinking just the opposite: “I love this balloon because I get to watch it float to the sky when I get home.”

Yes, it is true. 🙂 My son has learned (after losing one of his balloons to the sky accidentally a couple months ago) that he actually loves to watch the helium filled object drift away into an unknown place in the sky. So, now every time we get one of these balloons, it is gone as soon as we get home, and my son is one happy boy.

I have found this quite comical but also very indicative of my boy’s methodical mindset. He is always trying to figure out how things work and why things do what they do. I love it. 🙂 What I didn’t realize is that the regular occurrence of releasing the balloon would teach me something about faith this last week.

We arrived home and, as usual, he couldn’t wait to get out of the car and have me help him let the balloon go into the sky. We quickly positioned ourselves on the garage platform where he asked me, “Mama help?”

Up until now, I would have had him slip it into my hand, and at that point I would have released it for him. Yet, something in my heart told me that on this particular day, I needed to encourage him to try himself to let it go. The next moment, I will remember vividly. Rather than releasing it right away, it was as if his hands couldn’t let it go. So, I proceeded to encourage him and then showed him with my hands how to “release” the balloon. Yet, his precious hand couldn’t release it’s grip. I continued to cheer him on and started to help him by slowly and gently prying his two-year old fingers from their tight grip around the string. Our first attempt just led him to switch hands and continue to hold on all the tighter. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to let go; rather, it was if he wasn’t sure he could do it. (Believe me, he still was insistent that this balloon float to the sky. 🙂 ) Finally, I showed him one more time how to open his fingers, and then I slowly helped his hands make the same motion. At last the balloon began its ascent. The picture next was beautiful: My sweet boy stood there, his face showing sheer delight as he waved and said, “Bye-bye. Bye-bye balloon.” He was so proud.

This moment with my son taught me something about faith that day. Isn’t this just like life? We all have those “balloons” in which we grip onto so tightly. Those balloons can be anything–maybe it’s a fear, or a root of unforgiveness we are holding onto from being wounded so badly by someone close to us. We all have them. We all have a balloon that, when encouraged to let it go, we just can’t do it. Even though we know the release will be freeing, we struggle. We want someone else to do it for us because we are afraid. Yet, what I am learning more and more (and yes, I still struggle with those balloons in my life), is that it is worth it to step out in faith. Even though the release is hard, the rewards of having faith far outweigh the pain of letting go.

This last week taught me a lot. I learned that I want to release those things that I grip onto in my life more easily. I want God to catch those balloons the minute I release them. He is waiting. He is waiting for all of us to let those things go and then to feel the sweetness of waving as we say, “Bye-bye balloon.”

Unafraid and Unashamed- Devotional Reflections #1~ Written August 15, 2012

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When my first son was born, I soon realized how the hours in the day seemed to slip out of my fingers more quickly than before I had a little one. 🙂 Along with the many things that I was unable to accomplish during the day, I also realized how hard it was for me to sit for an extended period of time and do my Bible study. And so the “mommy guilt” set in…Was I failing God because there were days in a row where I didn’t open my Bible? Was I a “bad Christian”? Yet, God gently and graciously spoke to my heart: “My Child, I know you are tired, exhausted, and feel badly for not being able to spend uninterrupted time with me each day. I understand! I love you with an everlasting love, and I will meet you where you are at today.” And so He did…While I wasn’t able to open my Bible each day, He gave me priceless moments with my child in which He which He whispered His truth into my heart. I felt prompted to write them down for the purpose of hopefully being able to also encourage other moms as well. I pray they uplift your heart and that they remind you of how much you, precious mama, are loved. This post begins the first of a mini-series called, Devotional Reflections. May you be blessed and feel embraced. :)\
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Small hands with tender fingers stroking her face. Piercing blue eyes staring into those of the one who loves him. Arms outstretched and unashamed. It as if he says, “I am your beloved one.”  Oh, how beautiful and free.

It was a morning like any other, and maybe some would still consider it a normal day when all said and done, but for me, it was one that is forever etched in my heart and mind. Little did I know that one interaction would give me a new perspective on what it means to walk freely, forgiven.

Just as a stroked the last of the mascara on my eyelashes, the sounds of my sweet son could be heard from upstairs. As I made my way to him, my heart was again reminded of the tremendous gift that God had given to me by sending him into our lives.  He truly was a miracle. Having found true healing from a past eating disorder that had plagued my mind, body, and soul, I had spent years desperately praying that I would be able to conceive. Pregnancy test after test, I became discouraged by the negative results again and again. Would I ever hold a child that had grown in my womb? Would I ever have the privilege of wiping little tears from rosebud cheeks? Would I ever feel the tender hands in mine as I listened to my little one utter simple, child-like prayers before bed? Yet God knew the deepest desire of my heart; He had not forgotten the cries that poured from my soul. And, in His perfect timing, he sent us our first son, His beautifully created child.

Now my little boy lay awake with anticipation in his eyes. The soft creaking of the floor was a familiar sound for him as I approached, ready to swoop him into my arms. Reaching his bedside, I stopped, and in that moment, our eyes locked. It seemed as if our hearts beat to the same rhythm. And then, in the next instant, my precious boy did something that I will never forget. Without reserve, shame, or fear, he reached with both of his hands and tenderly placed his hands on my cheeks, all the while, never losing eye contact with me. We were one. No one and nothing else mattered in that moment but our relationship. Our souls danced to the same song, never losing step with each other. In words spoken loudly from his heart, he said to me,  “Mama, I am yours. Hold me, and let me rest my head upon your chest as I trust your love for me.”

As I picked him up, I found myself reflecting upon that brief but powerful interaction with my precious child. His heart knew that he could reach for me and that I would respond with unconditional love. He did not have to do anything to prove his worth or his value; rather, he trusted my sweet embrace. The Lord spoke to my heart saying, “Beloved child, I love you. You are mine. Come to me without reserve, without shame, without fear and let me feel your tender hands upon my cheeks. Let me wipe your tears. Let me hold you as you rest upon my chest. I am your loving Savior who will not reject you in your messes, your hurts, your failures, or your pain. Rather, I stand here with open arms ready to swoop you up and carry you through it all. I am full of grace. I am the Lover of your soul, the One who has paid for every one of your sins through my shed blood on the cross. You are forgiven, child.  Oh, how beautiful and free.

“Lord, thank you for what you are teaching me through my children.  You indeed, are the lover of my soul. You are the one that has forgiven me. Help me to come to you as a child today, unashamed. I want to trust your grace.”

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

Just a Moment~ Devotional Reflections #2~Written on Sept. 24, 2013

As a mother, I often find myself reflecting upon those moments with my child that seem to freeze time. Recently I had a moment with my son where nothing else captured my attention more than his tender heart and actions that communicated so much without any word spoken.

The night was like any other. I tucked my son in for the evening and joined my husband on the porch to gather some long-awaited conversation from the day. As husband and wife, as well as young  parents, we know how easy it is to let those moments of togetherness slip away beneath the craziness of dirty diapers, countless errands, work, and just sheer exhaustion. After sharing our thoughts on all that the day had held, we went into the house only to find that the baby monitor from our son’s room was lit up–he was crying. We realized that his leg had somehow woven its leg between the crib bars and was clearly stuck. Dad quickly made his way to the bedroom and  fixed the problem, as dads thankfully will often do. He then beautifully reassured our boy with gentle embraces and whispers that promised security and safety as he rested. He was placed back in the crib and turned out the light once more. As he made his way downstairs, all seemed to be okay. My husband’s protective hugs and gentle words had soothed our babe. Yet, moments later, the cries began again. This was not typical of him, as he normally would go right back to sleep, and my heart knew that I had to listen to my mother’s gut: for some reason, there was still doubt in his mind that he was safe to rest his sweet head,  and he needed just one more reminder that all was well.

When I entered his room, he sat there with tears streaming down his baby soft cheeks. I scooped him into my arms and brought him to the rocking chair where he immediately buried his face into my shoulder and snuggled tightly on my chest. I rocked in a steady back and forth rhythm and spoke to him that he was held and that he was safe. It was the next moment that is still vividly etched in my mind. Suddenly, between the rocking motion, he propped himself up off of my chest and looked directly into my eyes. He then brought his lips toward me and gently kissed mine as if to say, “Thank you, Mom, for your snuggles that told me I was secure. I can now rest my head and let the night bring me sweet dreams.”

I will not forget this moment. It was just a moment, but it taught me so much about how the Savior does the same for me. When I find myself crying in the night, I know that He will gently rock me and whisper, “All is well.” He will never reject me in my fear, nor will He withhold his love from me when I feel so alone and weak. He is always there, ready to scoop me up in His arms and to hold me tight when the night is just too dark to close my eyes. When I need just one more reminder, He is there and will never leave my side.