Category Archives: Beautiful Things

Love, Crashing Over Me.

I have heard You calling my name.
I have heard the song of love that You sing.
So I will let You draw me out beyond the shore.

No fear can hinder now the love that made a way.
No fear can hinder now the promises you made.

“You Make Me Brave” – Bethel Music

Over the past few months, I’ve received texts and emails asking for a blog post/life update. But honestly, I just didn’t feel it. I didn’t feel like posting yet ANOTHER post about waiting & trying to wait with joy and contentment. I didn’t feel like posting yet ANOTHER post about the fun things Jay & I were doing to try to distract ourselves from the “still-no-baby” elephant in the room.

We got the email in January from our social worker. Not the “you get a kid” email, but the “it’s been 18 months and it’s time to renew your home study”. Woof. Had we really been waiting for 18 months already?! So in the span of a few weeks, we re-upped our home study, considered buying our sweet little house in Southend, discovered our landlords actually sold our sweet little house to a higher bidder, MOVED within a month, found a new place, claimed this new place in beautiful Elizabeth as the BEST we’ve rented so far, and then drove at midnight one night to Wilmington to welcome my sister’s first son, Levi.

January and February flew by. We moved and settled in our new place in early March. April we started to come up for air and then on April 12, 2015, at 10:30pm, we got a call.

Our beloved social worker called us late on that Friday night to tell us a birthmother had chosen us. Cue ALL the feelings of loss and disappointment from our previous failed adoption. When she said we were chosen, we both responded with a quiet, cautious “yay”, just dripping with forced excitement. We tried to be truly excited, but our heads were NOT allowing our hearts to feel. We were so cautious, we even considered not telling ANYONE, not even our families.

Saturday morning we both woke up feeling renewed. God dealt with BOTH of our walled-up hearts overnight. We woke up feeling the flood of hope we had tried to be anchored in all these years. We decided to go ahead and share the news, but only with our parents & siblings, and our bosses because we would have to ask off for that next Friday so we could go meet the birthmother.

That next week, I slowly began to wrap up projects & plan for the “what if” scenario of getting a baby and leaving the school year early for maternity leave..all the while, NOT allowing myself to dive in to the real excitement & anticipation of it all. Friday came and we got in the car for the 2+ hour drive to meet the birthmother. We got there early and stopped in for a little lunch & a drink to ease our nerves.

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We met our social worker first at a Catholic parish, and then the birthmother got there. We had a wonderful meeting. She’s beautiful and so sweet. She was so excited for us. We talked life, we asked questions about her and her interests so that we could tell this sweet baby girl about her birthmother later.

We gave her a letter that we wrote for her, to encourage her and empower her and thank her for her amazing bravery and for giving us the greatest example of sacrificial love. By placing this baby’s needs and future above her own, she’s modeling what it really means to be a parent. We gave her a painting from our one of our favorite NC artists, Deona Fish, and we bought the same print for us to keep in the nursery so that we could use it to share her story. We left the meeting feeling VERY encouraged and reassured that this REALLY would work out. Still very cautious, but beginning to allow God to fill in the cracks of our broken hearts with His love and His strength.

She was due that next weekend, so that week, we tried to continue life as normal as we could. We allowed ourselves to buy a few more baby things…just in case. We allowed ourselves to think of names. We allowed ourselves to feel more excited and hopeful.

Luckily we had an insanely busy week filled with babysitting, Jay’s birthday (April 21), Jay’s DJ gig, a calligraphy workshop and the wedding festivities of our dear friends. The next Monday, I was coaching track practice and Jay was coaching his tennis team when we got the BEST call.

Our social worker called to tell us that baby girl was born on Jay’s Birthday, mom had signed the relinquishment forms and that we could come pick her up from the hospital the next day! We FREAKED, and then had to go back to practice & pretend like all was normal.

But we FREAKED. That night was like Christmas. We didn’t sleep at all, we installed the car seat, packed a baby bag and prayed to God that this wasn’t all in vain. We knew going into this that it would be a “legal risk placement” because in North Carolina the birthmother has 7 days to change her mind, so the baby could be with us and then not. Ugh.

We drove the next day to meet our social worker and then drove to the hospital to pick up our baby girl. We were led to this consultation room (i.e., closet) where the nurses prepped us a bit on caring for a newborn, and then the door opened. They wheeled her in and that’s when we saw our daughter for the first time. We both started weeping.IMG_4746_2

I got to hold her first and immediately fell in love…and totally drowned out the rest of the nurse’s instructions as I stared at her beautiful face. Jay tried to take notes in between holding our daughter’s sweet little hand. We needed to name her. The nurses left us in the room and we tried out the 3 or 4 names we had brainstormed and one in particular sounded like perfection. It sounded like the name God had been writing on our hearts for years…we just didn’t know it yet.

Amelia Rose.

This is our daughter. It’s been HER all along.

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We waited the 7 days at home. I think we held her, rocked her and loved her more and more for all 7 of those days. Then last Thursday, May 7, Amelia Rose officially became ours. I was finally able to breathe. I had been waiting to exhale for about 9 years now, and with the short phrase “She’s all ours”, I was able to release it all.

Once her court adoption papers are processed, we can post her sweet little face, but until then, we will post the sweetest ears, hands & feet photos.

All in the span of a month…Amelia Rose was born, we became parents and we officially began our greatest adventure yet. All in time for Mother’s Day too. Man, God is really good. He is and has been faithful every step of the way.

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Amelias-Announcement

It all started with a Google Doc.

It was 2007 and my best friend from college made the move.

She packed her bags, left South Carolina with all its southern graces behind, and moved to New York. Her life changed in the most drastic of ways, and it seems funny to say this, but when she moved, MY life changed forevermore too.

I technically had been to New York once before when my dad was in the Navy in New York, but I was like 2, and who remembers that?! The second time was when I was a senior in high school with the marching band. (NERD ALERT) All I really remember from that trip was waking up at an ungodly hour to march in the Thanksgiving parade and then falling asleep during the Rockettes performance later that evening. Sorry ladies.

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But when Marie moved to New York to live and work, it changed me. In 2007, Jay and I visited and fell absolutely in love with New York City. The streets, the smells (yes, I mean it), the food, the people, the life. Our love affair began in 2007 and every year since, Jay and I find our way back to the City to really LIVE…for a few days, at least. For now, that is. Wink wink.

I don’t really think Google Docs were even a thing in 2007 but I started a list of places we wanted to visit, food adventures we wanted to take, and journeys to be had in New York. Each year we visit, I add to and edit that same list before we leave and when we return. What started as a very touristy collection of experiences like “walk the Brooklyn Bridge” and “see Wall Street,” and eat at places like Grimaldi’s (stood in LINE for an hour to eat here) and Pastis (Sex & the City, duh!), has evolved into a list of places to just happen upon as we walk the streets with no real place to be.

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Something inside of me comes alive when we go to New York. I tell people all the time that it’s my heart city. Sure I love the mountains, the beach and the still quiet of nature, but for me, something magical happens when we step foot off the plane in JFK or LGA. I get this goofy smile that doesn’t seem to leave my face until we board for Charlotte.

I thought for the next few posts, I might share a bit of why I love this City so much and share some of those items on my Google Doc of NYC LOVE.

In the meantime, here’s a photo-montage of what I call the evolution of said love affair with my heart city with the friend who started it all (and is to blame for my obsession):

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IMG_6764 We love you, New York, and I love you, Marie.

 

the thrill of the creative effort

Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of the creative effort.
We should consider every day lost, on which we have not danced at least once.

– Friedrich Nietzsche

It is so crazy to think that March is already past us. This year has flown by already. It’s been a rather interesting year for the Masanotti household. A few wonderful celebrations so far, some beautiful reconnections and a hopeful season of waiting are just a few of the things filling our lives in 2012. March was National Craft Month and well, like many things in my life the past few weeks, I never got around to finishing/publishing this post until now…April 1.

We can still celebrate crafting in April, right?! I think so. I have the wonderful gift of being surrounded by some truly spectacular artists in Charlotte, NC, and surrounding cities. Seriously, there are pockets of friends and people in this small(ish) city that so reek with amazing creativity and talent, it almost seems unfair to the rest of the world to hoard all the goodies here in Charlotte, North Carolina. I must admit, more times than not, I shamefully allow my self-consciousness to leave me feeling inadequate and not quite talented or cool enough to interact with most of these folks like I want.

Right now I am in the middle of coaching my fourth Girls on the Run season. This week, I found myself teaching the girls about being unique…celebrating each others’ unique qualities. I caught myself pleading with these third-, fourth- and fifth-grade girls to not compare themselves because we were all “fearfully and wonderfully made” to be the people we are/supposed to be. As I was saying these things, the words felt bitter to my lips…not because they were wrong, but because it is and has always been a struggle for me not to compare myself to other women…to not let that comparison-game render me helpless, unable to move or be creative like I know I can and should, due to the weight of my inadequacy and self-consciousness.

I’ve been following Molly Barker’s Naked Face Project over the last 60 days and the revelations she had were so, so meaningful to me. If you’re not familiar with the project, Molly and a girl named Caitlyn, embarked on this journey to not wear makeup, etc., for 60 days. Visit The Naked Face Project to see their journey. In conclusion to the project, Molly realized that her negative self-talk, combined with our culture of “keeping up with appearances” from a young age, had made her feel less than, had robbed her of true joy. For me, the physical comparisons creep in from time to time, but more than that, the comparison of creativity has really robbed me from being to creative soul I was designed to be. There’s no denying God gave me a talent and sense of creativity…well, I say there’s no denying it…but I find myself denying it and in doing so, I am my biggest obstacle…my own source of un-motivation.

I’m working through it…just as I asked my girls to work through it last week. That may read pretty deep, but it’s what is on my heart.

In honor of National Craft Month, I wanted to highlight some of these amazingly talented folks around me and hope that you will visit each of their spaces and delight in their creativity as I do. I’m also posting a link to my Etsy shop, because well…I’m insanely self-conscious about promoting my craft, but I think my little invitations are not that bad and I’m not going to let me “inside voices” keep me from “celebrating the joyful, beautiful and enduring” in my own self.

Happy April. Enjoy!

via The Lightnest Etsy Shop

The Lightnest on Etsy
by the stunningly beautiful Paige {Beasley} Maitland
{of who I had a blessed RE-encounter with a few weeks ago }

via Naptime Diaries on Etsy

Naptime Diaries
by one of the most faithful women I know
Jessi Connolly

via Plumcake Goodsie Shop

Plumcake {a collection of vintage, fashion & more}
from one of the most fashionable, hip, SOULFUL:) women I’ve ever met
Anna Hollingsworth
(side note: she also is a FABULOUSLY talented photographer)

Sarah Helser is THE best PAINTER I’ve ever known {in person}.
Her work always calls out to feelings inside me, hidden in the depths of my soul…and it is a beautiful experience…every time.
Here is her blog where she also showcases her ridiculous talent for writing.
If you are in or around Charlotte, be sure to stop by the Renee George Gallery to see some of Sarah’s latest pieces
and prepared to be blown away.

via Swoon Bijoux

Swoon Bijoux by Kim Vinton Dean
{some of the most gorgeous, handmade jewelry from one of the most gorgeous people I know}

and mine…
I design invitations and sell them on Etsy
I have a few designs in the shop but also do custom work, just ask.

There.
I did it.

…and after erasing that last picture/post 5 times, I decided I better keep it up.