InstaFriday: summer WILL come!

two posts in one day {crazytown}
i take so many pictures on my phone with the lovely instagram that when i saw instafriday at life rearranged i knew i needed to link up! enjoy my week in pictures!

last saturday night i sent out a tweet asking for help with a children's church craft. we were hoping to play outside but in case of rain i needed a craft for
3-5 year olds. my sweet friend nicole came to my rescue with this adorable rainbow. it didn't rain so almost all the kids went outside but one little lady & i stayed in to make rainbows & talk about God keeping His promises. thank you nicole :)  

signs that summer might soon, possibly, maybe be coming to the woods! 
{starting top left & moving clockwise}
1. pesto made with fresh basil from the pots on the deck! i am so, so happy to have fresh basil again. granted i've had to bring the pots inside three times this week, but we're headed in the right direction. 
2. we grilled this week & had our first s'mores. aren't those marshmallows beautiful?
3. less beautiful, but much yummier is my first cherry pie of the season! i love pie & it is synonymous with summer to me. cherry pie is at the top of the pie ranking system. this one was made with cherries we picked and froze last summer!
4. also synonymous with summer in my mind: root beer floats! this one was made with ibc rootbeer & vanilla bean ice cream in a mason jar. perfection.

this week in the #setupshop chat we talked about packaging. this is what earrings look like when you order them from the shop! white box, green & white twine and inside the earrings are on a business card. love the simplicity! the reCharm necklace comes wrapped just like this too {shameless plug!}

i've been trying to keep track of all my summer plans and craft shows so i made these pretty green calendars one day and glued them right into my inspiration notebook. perfect size for the pages!

my name is jacqui and i'm addicted to spray paint. it's true. i can't help it. i'll spray paint anything that isn't nailed down {and it's starting to drive poor brandon crazy!} i like to paint things and i just can't stand brushstrokes so spray paint it is. currently i'm in love with rustoleum, but that's a post for another day! 

brandon saved this desk from the burn pile at HoneyRock and it is exactly like the one we had in our first apartment the year we did the graduate program. i love it. but i will love it even more when it's grey! 

here are some finished products! everything in this pile will be incorporated into my craft show booth for this summer. i am so excited about doing outdoor shows!  

this little beauty is next up on my list. my first instinct is to paint it, then use a glaze to highlight those pretty carved areas, but the grain of the wood is so pretty i might just break down and strip it & restain it. thoughts?  

i am loved. brandon brought me these last saturday when only a few had bloomed. they are opening slowly and lasting forever. aren't they beautiful? they put a serious smile on my face!

i love these two. they make my days happier. and yes she's giving him a high five! her reward was a carrot. 

oh you wanted another picture of my super cute dog? no problem! 

life rearranged

Great is Thy Faithfulness

I shared this story over at thirty one: 10 on Tuesday but I wanted to make sure I shared it here too. It has been on my heart lately that I need to share this part of story more. 

Also I know that this is a long, emotional pictureless post so later today I'm linking up to InstaFriday!

I have always said that I have a boring testimony. I used to wish that I had a more interesting story to share, but in reality my ‘boring’ testimony is a blessing and a tribute to God’s faithfulness. I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home, I went to a Christian school for 9 years and was active in my youth group throughout high school. I was a straight-A student who cared more about school than partying and didn’t really think I needed much help from anyone. God had gifted me with leadership abilities & a good brain and I was pretty certain I could handle everything on my plate all by myself 
{I know…I was that girl. But I was fun too I promise}.

I got to college and continued to handle things all by myself. I went to a Christian college and was surrounded by other Christians for the first time in my life. For the first year of school, that was wonderful; I was spurred on in my faith and I grew in new and exciting ways. By sophomore year things took a different turn. I was surrounded by ministry opportunities, Christian peers, Christian professors; I was going to chapel, leading a small group and taking theology classes, but my heart started to harden. I was so focused on having it all together and doing the right things that I stopped focusing on what really mattered, my relationship with God. I had big plans for my future; I was planning to graduate early and go to grad school. By 23 I would have my masters in counseling and be set on my path to success.

But that’s not quite how it went.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Junior year was difficult. For the first time in my life school got hard, and I didn’t really know what to do. Two friends from my high school youth group, strong Christians, passed away within one week of each other. One of them committed suicide. My best friend and I stopped speaking because I wanted to try dating and he didn’t. But I kept going. I kept being the girl who could handle everything on her plate and didn’t need help from anyone.  I was wrong.

Senior year came and I decided not to graduate early. I was on track to be done with everything important first semester and was going to spend my last semester taking fun classes and hanging out with friends. I start the semester like I always did, organizing my color-coded class binders and writing all the important dates in my calendar, but something was off. I pressed on. A few weeks into my classes I started realizing that for the first time in my life I couldn’t do school. For no explicable reason I was unable to keep up; I couldn’t focus on my reading and I was having trouble getting up in the morning to go to class. {Side note: I was a psych major. I knew what was going on. In the back of my head a little voice said, Jacqui you’re depressed, but I ignored it thinking that surely I didn’t struggle like that.}

By the end of September I was falling behind faster than I could catch up and had been informed that I was failing multiple classes. The idea of failure completely overwhelmed me and drove me further into my pit. When I would wake up realizing I had missed my first class, I would be so upset with myself that I didn’t see a point in going to my next class. This led to sleeping in my dark basement bedroom until 3:00 or 4:00pm. I was a wreck. I had lost myself, my identity. My closest friends were all out of the country for the semester and my roommates couldn’t be bothered to help. I was completely alone and could not face the fact that I needed help.

Then God did something funny. He gave me Brandon. When we told our story a few weeks ago to the junior high ministry we stressed that God does not solve your problems by bring you a boyfriend/girlfriend. I will stress that again today :) Brandon and I met at a time when I was far from a fun and attractive possible mate, but he saw something in me that was worth fighting for. I asked him today why he stuck around and he said that I deserved someone to fight for me and to help me and he knew that I was better than the person I was in that moment. I’m so glad he did. Brandon gave me a reason to get help and to get better. I started going to counseling with a wonderful counselor, I spoke with our fantastic dean of women who helped arrange incompletes with my professors so that I would not fail every class, and I finally, finally admitted that I couldn’t do it on my own.

Through counseling, much prayer, the support of my family and the presence of Brandon, who showed up at my house and woke me up for class almost every day of second semester, I finished college on time. I did not graduate early. I did not get an easy last semester full of fun classes and time with friends. My grade point average, which I had prided myself on for so long, plummeted. I did not go straight to grad school. I am 26 and do not have my masters. None of this is the path I would have chosen. None of this is the plan I had for myself, but God had a better plan. In the midst of the darkness of depression it didn’t seem like that plan was full of hope or prosperity, but it was. God is faithful and He used that dark time to teach me that I couldn’t do it on my own, I needed a support system. We are designed to live in community. He also gave me my very best friend and sweet husband at what seems like the most illogical time. {I learned a little bit later that Brandon was also going through a huge struggle & loss of identity in those months. God gave us to each other. Two are better than one.} More importantly, my life is so much better when I draw close to my Savior. When I am reliant on Christ for my strength, I am able to do more than I could have ever done on my own. God is faithful and gives us exactly what we need, always. 

Life is not perfect. I am not 100% past this. There are times when this struggle rears its ugly head; when the smallest of failures threatens to send me back to my pit. But I am now able to see it coming and defend against it. I turn to Christ, I turn to the Word, I turn to Brandon, I turn to trusted friends and yes I turn to chocolate! I no longer allow the depression to rule my life. God is faithful. 

feel free to right click & download this in its full size!
Footnote: I spent a long time believing that because I was a Christian I shouldn’t have been struggling with depression and it took me a long time to get past the shame I felt. I thought that I should have been able to pray it away or with enough faith it would go away. There is no shame in being depressed. There is no shame in going to counseling. There is no shame in medication to help adjust the chemical imbalance in your brain. God has given us these means, along with prayer and His Word, to be healed. If you are facing this struggle, do not face it alone. Do not stay in your dark basement like I did! Seek help in your community, with those you trust. Or, please, email me: jacqui@crafteemcgee.com

linking up with...



treasury tuesday

ohhh i've been a bad blogger. so sorry! spring has finally sprung around here and after i sit in my office all day, i just want to be outside. we've been walking outside, eating outside, reading outside and even boating on the chain of lakes! love spring in the northwoods! 

first things first, i'm sharing my story over at ThirtyOne:10 today. this is a part of my story that i don't tell often but it has made me who i am in so many ways and is a true testimony to God's faithfulness. head on over and leave me a little love? this was not an easy story to write!

on a happier note, i haven't done a treasury tuesday in weeks. it seems the pictures still won't show up in google reader so click on over to see these three beautiful collections that i was lucky enough to be featured in! 

featuring the punch buggy earrings. thanks for the feature looploft!

this gorgeous water for elephants treasury features the reCharm necklace. thank you so much ringlebee!

and featuring the birds nest earrings. perfect treasury for spring! thanks kokadoodle3!

have you been featured in a great treasury recently? created one? or have you seen a gorgeous collection on etsy? leave the link in the comments!