Saturday, March 30, 2013

an apology to bullies

The other day I experienced some pretty intense bullying on my instagram page after I posted this picture of my new cell phone case to remind myself daily that "hope is real, help is real and your story is important". That everyone has a story, some are just not ready to share it yet including myself.

At first I was shocked at why this person would call me names and against my better judgement I
re-posted the comment on my feed with out blocking out their name and announced I was taking a break. Looking back that probably added fuel to the flame especially after over 100 people commented on that picture. Most were sweet comments, not even directed at this person but were people trying to encourage my heart in spite of what this person wrote to me. But those sweet comments were overshadowed by a handful of evil ones.

I was very upset. The words from a complete stranger telling me to kill myself and saying that he or she is going to send my husband and son a sympathy card because they already have my address made me sick. I had to take a break from twitter, instagram and completely shut down my blog.  My entire mind and body was horrified that this happened, the words that were written by these people are evil and unkind. I couldn't even fathom why someone would say this to another human being, it is unacceptable. Then after a day of really praying about the situation I started to feel this mixture of sickness and sympathy for this bully, for all bullies. I felt sick for what they are doing and how they are trying to literally injure others with words. But I also felt sympathy because I know that this bully and all bullies are hurting somewhere deep inside and that hurt is making them hurt others.

To the bullies that did this to me. My heart breaks for you, it is unacceptable what you wrote to me but I now see that your probably not used to unconditional love or encouragement. That when you see other people trying to encourage others it probably sets off a trigger in your heart that makes you feel unwanted and that feeling makes you want to lash out on other people. I am sorry that I did something that set off that trigger inside of you, it was unintentional and I truly wished you had emailed me if I offended you. My hope is that you are able to one day accept love and encouragement and see that not everyone is that person that hurt you so long ago that makes you act the way that sometimes do. I hope you can see that people really do want to be your friend, want to love on you and want to see you grow in healthy relationships.

One of the bullies mentioned that this attack happened because I am a Christian. My faith in Jesus Christ is part of who I am and that comes out in my encouragement. I am heavily reminded this Easter weekend that Christ gave his life for us out of unconditional love. When I think of everything that happened last Sunday I know that Christ would want me to forgive you and to love you in spite of what you did to me and my family. I do forgive you and I hope and pray that you will not do this to another person ever again.

I have covered up the names of the people who wrote the comments I did so because I want to end this cycle. I have forgiven and I want to move on. I hope and pray that we are all able to truly start encouraging the hearts of others unconditionally and not seek out something in return for it. We have no idea what people have gone through and how badly their heart may need words of hope, but looking for something in return always makes the encouragement feel like strings are attached. That's not unconditional.

I believe with every fiber inside of me that part of the reason why I am here on this earth is to encourage people. When I hear of people who feel discouraged my heart breaks and I feel the need to do something to encourage that person or find someone else to encourage them if I am unable to. I like to connect people to encourage one another, it brings me great joy to do so and that is why I am going to continue my encouragement journey on my blog, twitter and instagram. Also please do not mistake my encouragement or kindness for weakness because I am a pretty strong woman who has gone through a lot in her lifetime and I will not tolerate anyone who hurts or tries to injure my family.

I have taken off the comments on this post, if you have any questions feel free to email me directly
jessica.a.west (at)

Friday, March 22, 2013

no encouraging it forward friday

I'll be honest, I didn't want to write an encouragement post this week, I kinda just wanted to stop writing about anything that I did that might have been encouraging. To many things have been going on to the point were I just didn't want to write my weekly post any more. I've mentioned a few weeks ago that I stopped blogging as much because I felt that my off line personal space was violated by someone. Then it happened again this week. My mother who I haven't heard from in several months sent me some text messages reminding me of how worthless I am, although I try to not let her texts bother me its hard to shake them off. I think every daughter deep down inside has that desire to be loved by her mother.  My heart hurts over crocheting things for friends and not even hearing a response that they received my gift. Then yesterday while Judah was napping something tugged at my heart to check in on him. Thank goodness I did because he had his pillow that he ripped to shreds wrapped around his head and a piece of it was wrapped several times around his arm so he was unable to take it off his face. Scariest mommy moment ever. I quickly ran over to unwrap him, seeing that he was fine I let him sleep a little bit longer but then I just needed to hold him. So I woke him up early from his nap and brought him downstairs to lay down on the couch next to me so we could watch The Busy World of Richard Scarry  on Netflix together. Then I received a phone call from Color Me Mine. They accidentally ruined one of the anniversary mugs Scott and I made a few weeks ago. I put off going to the place because I didn't want to see the mug and cry with out Scott around. Scott has been working 12-14 hours a day this week and has been doing this for months. I feel like a single mom sometimes. I feel like I encourage people with out making an impact. I hate feeling violated with my personal space by people I barely know. I hate the feeling of not wanting to exist because my mom keeps telling me I am worthless. I don't want to blog about all my discouragements because I don't want to be a person or a blog where people feel discouraged, I want to encourage others and honestly I do love my life, its just hard sometimes. My heart felt heavy this week and I didn't feel like I had it in me to encourage someone.

This morning when Judah and I got ready for the day I decided that I was going to encourage my son. He just means the world to me and I know the reason why he has been throwing extra tantrums this week is because also has been feeling the effects of Scott's long work hours. I took him to Color Me Mine to pick up the mugs and while we were there I let him pick out something to paint. This past week he has been obsessed with making the shrieking dolphin noise so he picked out a dolphin. I was grateful that we were the only people painting because I think they would have left after hearing Judah shriek like a dolphin for an hour. 

When we left Color Me Mine I was originally was going to take Judah to a dairy free cupcake place in Reston. Traffic was really bad so I ended up taking the back roads to Frying Pan Park. The temps have dropped and with the wind chill it felt like it was below 30 degrees. Since I only had my hoodie we briskly walked around to see the Cows, Goats and Chickens. Then we went inside the barn to check out some of the baby lambs and pigs. Judah didn't want to leave, but I told him that the wind was hurting mommy and asked him if he would like to sit in a warm Starbucks to have a delicious treat. He excitedly ran with me back to our warm car.  

We arrived at a cozy little Starbucks near the farm. It was good for my heart to just sit and drink a venti soy chai while listening to my sweet boy chatter away about the farm and painting the dolphin. Once we got in the car to head home Judah clasped his tiny hands together and said "thank you Jesus" and screamed AMEN then told me that today was a fun day. I had to hold back the tears because that was just about the cutest thing I've ever seen Judah do. I knew that I encouraged my sweet boy. To even further encourage his sweet little heart once we arrived home I read to him 8 of his library books before nap time. 

I know encouragement or discouragement changes like the wind and that we can't control who might say or do something to encourage or discourage our heart. But what we can control is how our heart and attitude reacts to each situation. I want to try harder to look for the good in each and every situation. To try to see encouragement in places that appear dark with discouragement. I hope eventually it will be my hearts natural reaction to see the good in all things. 

Who have you encouraged this week? Or what types of situations have you been discouraged by that you were able to turn around into encouragement.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

give the world a reason to dance

Happy Monday!!!
Hopefully this video will put a big smile on your face like it did for me.

Give the world a reason to dance, a reason to smile.

Sign up for my Little Remedies Cold Care basket giveaway. If you dont have a child sign up to give the basket away to someone else to encourage them!

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

cute toddler easter encouragement activity

Easter is right around the corner and I wanted to help Judah create something cute and encouraging to mail off to all his friends. I know most people will throw the card away, but I figured this is a good creative way to teach Judah how to encourage his friends with the tools he has at hand. I had some blank index cards and I started to draw out some bunnies and lambs on them when Judah asked if I could draw a skateboard as well. Then I let him use his paint markers to decorate. I let him put glue onto the paper and handed him a few cotton balls to glue onto the cards. 

 I stuck the cards and some easter stickers into long business envelopes to mail out. If you do want to try this out at home you will need to use 2 forever stamps to mail these out.

This is just a simple cute and fun activity to do with your toddler. You will of course have to assist them with it but I love how they will use their imagination and request things like "skateboard" to be drawn onto the cards. 

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

little remedies care basket giveaway

As a first time mom I can honestly said their is nothing worse then seeing your little one sick. It doesn't matter if its a tiny head cold to the dreaded flu virus. Your heart breaks and you want to ease any type of discomfort that your child is feeling. If you are anything like me you don't like to over medicate. That's why when Little Remedies contacted me about doing a giveaway I jumped on the offer. I have been using Little Remedies products since Judah was an infant, when you open my medicine cabinet I always keep some on hand. Its a brand that I trust. The philosophy of Little Remedies is "less is more" while providing parents with effective products to support the health and well-being of their child. Little Remedies products contain only what is needed to make your child feel better - no saccharin, alcohol, artificial flavors, artificial coloring, dyes or harmful preservatives. 

I'm personally not getting anything from this giveaway. I wanted to do this for my readers since I trust and believe in the Little Remedies product.

Little Remedies wanted to give away a basket of goodies to one lucky reader. 
Below, is the list of products included in the basket:

  • Little Remedies for Noses® Stuffy Nose Kit
  • Little Remedies for Noses® Decongestant Nose Drops
  • Little Remedies for Fevers® Infant Fever/Pain Reliever
  • Little Remedies for Colds® Soothing Syrup
  • Little Remedies for Colds® Honey Elixir
  • Little Remedies for Colds® Honey Pops
  • Little Remedies for Colds® Hydration Crystals
  • Little Remedies for Tummys® Gripe Water
  • Little Remedies for Tummys® Gas Drops

Additional information for all products can be found here:

To enter the giveaway leave a separate comment below for each entry.
1. MANDATORY ENTRY Follow My Little Mustache on bloglovin here.
2. "Like" Little Remedies on facebook here.
3. Tweet about the giveaway and cc (@jessjudkins)
4. Blog about the giveaway (post link below)

(You have a total of four entries)

The contest will close next Saturday March 23rd and I will announce the winner here on Sunday March 24th.
Good luck!

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Friday, March 15, 2013

encouraging it forward week 11

This week I really felt that two specific women were placed on my heart who needed encouragement. The first was Katie from Skunkboy Blog and the other was Diana from Hormonal Imbalances. I used to make these boxes full of mini scrolls of encouragement for friends who I felt really needed some encouragement. I figured back in the day Paul and Barnabas probably encouraged each other with mini notes to just cheer and strengthen one another's heart. I pulled out my old mole skin journals and started writing out little bits of encouragement that I have written in them over the years. I originally had planned to put the notes in these cute little wooden treasure chests since each note of encouragement is supposed to be a treasure. But wouldn't you know my sneaky son ran off with the treasure chests and they are now buried somewhere in a toy pile. Instead I picked up two colorful cardboard boxes, put a cute sticker on top and am placing the little notes inside.

The great thing about doing this little project is that I believe the Lord wanted me to read back on my journals. I felt encouraged by writing each note because I was able to recall upon memories of how faithful the Lord has been with walking with me through each season of my life. Hopefully these notes will encourage my sweet friends in the specific seasons they are in right now.

Who have you encouraged this week? I would love to read your story.

Also google reader is going away, if you would like to keep up with our blog you can follow us on Bloglovin

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

I love you! review and free book

One of the authors of the book "I love you!" contacted me a few weeks ago and asked if I would be interested in doing a review for her book. Since we love books so much I was excited to oblige. 

Source: via Jessica on Pinterest

I was pleasantly surprised at how much Judah loves this book. The book is filled with silly little sayings about how much you love your child. Judah laughs out loud at most of them and he loves the illustrations. This book is very sweet and would make a lovely addition to any toddlers nighttime reading routine. I personally like to keep books that affirm Judah that I love him. He now hugs my arm and tells me "I love you mama" when I read these types of books to him. 

Calee is offering a free ebook to anyone who signs up for their newsletter. Just go to and sign up. 

Here is a list of Great Toddler Books. 

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Kelli's Breast Cancer battle

I met my friend Amber on Instagram two years ago. We haven't *met* in real life yet but I still consider her one of my dear friends and I feel like I've known her and her family for a lifetime. Amber recently found out that her mother Kelli was diagnosed with stage 2 grade 3 breast cancer. Stage 2 means the cancer has spread to her lymph nodes and grade 3 means the cancer is aggressively spreading. When Amber first received the news I wanted to help encourage her mother so I crochet her a pink cowl and mailed it down to her. 

Yesterday Amber and her sister set up a fund online to help off set the cost of treatment that insurance is not covering. I wanted to help Amber and her mom Kelli by selling the items listed in my shop at a higher price and then giving them the money I make from each sale. Each item that is purchase between now and next Wednesday March 20th will go towards Kelli's breast cancer battle fund

Lets all come along Kelli and her family and help her kick cancers but! 

My Shop

If you want to give directly to Kelli  

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

I hated my wedding day

I hated my wedding day. I can't even bring myself to look back and watch the video of our wedding. The whole day just makes me upset and normally looking at pictures or watching any type of videos from that day is just a reminder of events that took place before and after our wedding.  It's a bad trigger and it makes my heart hurt. In a few years Scott and I will one day renew our vows in a small ceremony to make up for all the pain from our wedding. But until that day we have decided that on each wedding anniversary we are going to do something that will make us laugh out loud. Today we had four full hours to ourselves. We went to our favorite little hole in the wall Chinese food place out in Burke. If you love Chinese food then I would suggest you check Szechuan East. The place is really clean, very romantic, inexpensive, the staff is wonderful and the food is better than any Chinese food place I've tried.  

After our lunch date of eating yummy food and sipping on the best tea ever we walked over to our favorite Starbucks next door. I felt like we were dating again. Then we drove our to Color Me Mine over in Fairfax Corners. A few weeks ago I purchased this adorable print "Nice to meet you" at an Etsy store. When I showed it to Scott we both started laughing until our stomachs hurt. The guy on the unicorn kinda looked like him and the girl on the narwhal kinda looked like me and we both decided that if we were ever to ride any type of animals off into the sunset I would ride a narwhal and he the unicorn. Please tell me everyone has these conversations with their husbands. Since the print made us laugh so hard we decided to make a narwhal and unicorn coffee mug. 

Scott's drawing of his unicorn is hysterical. He drew this stick figure unicorn and stenciled in the words "I love U nicorn" then I drew a Narwhal and said "Lets tusk". Its an inside joke. We also drew a heart so when we "cheers" our coffee cups the heart will form one heart. Oh yes we are that cheesy. 

We decided each anniversary we want to paint a funny mug with an inside joke so when we reach our 50th anniversary we will have a huge china cabinet full of quirky weird mugs that don't make sense to anyone but ourselves. 

I may have hated my wedding day. But I love my husband Scott. I am grateful for every single day that I get to grow closer to my husbands heart. No one can make me laugh as much as he does, he is an amazing provider, great father and the most handsome talented nerdy engineer musician with the sweetest heart. A bad wedding day will not ruin our marriage. We are meant to be like Narwhals and Unicorn coffee cups. 

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Friday, March 8, 2013

encouraging it forward week 10

(Judah is really excited to encourage it forward)

This week while painting our bedroom I found a $25 gift card that could be used at Chillies, Macaroni Grill, Maggianos or On the Border. I decided to encourage someone on instagram this week. Posted up the picture of the gift card and asked each person to comment to let me know how they could really be encouraged by receiving this gift card. Then I asked everyone to go back and encourage the people who commented on the gift card. I was overwhelmed by the sweet encouraging words, how people were uplifting each other and was touched by seeing people really trying to connect to let each other know that someone out there is really wishing encouragement for the person needing it. I also received an email from another IG'er who wanted to give a gift card to someones whose comment really tugged at her heart. picked out an IG'er by the name "daizie1" who actually wanted to use the card to really encourage her husband who not only works full time but has also been the "dr" at home taking care of her and their three girls who have had bronchitis. Daizie I really hope you all feel better soon so you can take your husband out to enjoy that juicy burger and onion rings from Chillis.

Who have you encouraged this week? Please share, I would love to hear your stories. Also if you have instagram feel free to go back to my original picture and encourage the people who wrote out how they could really use some encouragement. Sometimes all people need is someone telling them brighter days are ahead. 

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

library book love - toddler version

Each week after we leave the library we head over to our favorite Starbucks for a mini date. We bring in a book we just checked out so I can read to it to Judah as he enjoys a cake-pop and cup of water. Its something that Judah looks forward to and I hope one day when he is a bit older he will have great memories of going to Starbucks with mommy and reading books. 

If you want your toddler to get really excited about taking a bath I would suggest you go to your local library and check out "Mrs Wishy-Washy's Farm".  This book is about animals at a farm who do not like getting baths and they get upset at Mrs Wishy-Washy for giving them their baths. In protest of the baths they decide to adventure on out into the big city. Find themselves in some precarious situations until they are picked up by Animal Control. Mrs Wishy-Washy rescues them and brings them back to the farm. Once home the animals all jump into the tub excited to take a bath. In the past month my bath loving son has recently started to not want baths and on some instances will have a complete meltdown in the bathroom in complete protest. Since I've read him this book not only has he requested baths but he will sit and play in the bath for a good bit after I clean him. 

I do have one complaint with this book. The author did use the words "mean" and "hate" I substituted the words when I read the book to Judah. 

Source: via Jessica on Pinterest

For a list of my great toddler books suggestions click here. 

Do you have a toddler and like to take him or her to the library? Let me know if you would be interested in writing up a guest post one week for my blog. I would love to get more people to write a post on their children's favorite book. Email me for more information on how you can participate. 
jessica.a.west (@)

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Monday, March 4, 2013

not sucking it up

When my therapist and I would talk about difficult things in my past she would always ask me "Jess, how did you manage to get through that" and I would always reply "well I just have to suck it up and do it". When ever I am faced with any type of difficult situation in my life I always tend to go back to that behavior of "well I have to just suck it up".  I think this past weekend I've learned why she didn't like me to just "suck it up" when it comes to things that I don't want to do. She wanted me to learn that I have a choice and a voice and that its okay to say no and its okay to rest. I learned this lesson the hard way. Two weekends ago I decided it was time to de-bacherlorize our bedroom and paint over the ugly ogre green color Scott had on the walls for so many years. It was difficult to sleep in the room and it just didn't feel like it was "home". It felt like I was stuck in Lord of The Rings and not the pretty fairy forest part . Scott typically tapes and does the edging since he is tall and leaves the painting to me. I love to paint, but I also feel that I need to just pound it out and get it all done at once, regardless of the cost to my body. While I was painting some of the paint from the roller brush landed in my eye. Scott wanted me to wash out my eye but I insisted that "I am fine, I'm almost done I'll just suck it up". Not to smart of me. I took a shower after I was finished and my eye still felt like I had something in it. Over the past week I've tried to flush out my eye or put in eye drops, but through out the day it felt I had something scratching the back part of my eye. Last week was a busy week for us and I felt like I didn't have the time to get my eye checked out.  I felt that it was ridiculous for me to spend money on a doctor and that I could just suck it up because the pain will eventually go away. Finally last Saturday while running errands with Scott and Judah I had to get something from another part of the store. While I was looking around my eye started to get really blurry and when I tried to look for Scott and Judah I couldn't make out which person they were. This scared me and I realized that I needed to stop "sucking it up" and see an eye doctor asap. So that's what Scott and I did for our Saturday afternoon. We spent it at the eye doctors office getting my eye checked out. Everything is fine, the inside back part of my eye is really swollen and irritated (probably from the paint) so they gave me a prescription for $150 drops that I am supposed to take over the next week. 

That being said, because of my eye its been harder to crochet. My eye will start to hurt after staring at my yarn for a bit. But besides the eye problem I have also noticed that for the past few weeks I've been feeling pretty anxious with my crochet orders. I haven't taken a break in a year, instead of re-charging my batteries I've been "sucking it up" and trying to push out orders. I've been "sucking it up" in allot of areas of my life and its left me feeling anxious. I decided it was time for me to close the shop for a few weeks, to finish out my custom orders and allow myself to take a break. To crochet some fun new things for the shop that my heart has been dreaming of for years (yes I dream about yarn creations). 

Hopefully I've learned my very expensive lesson in not "sucking it up" anymore and in a few short weeks I can share with you all some of my "dream crochet creations". 

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Friday, March 1, 2013

encouraging it forward week 9

I keep writing these weekly encouraging it forward posts because I would love to see peoples lives changed by encouragement. Changed by being encouraged or that someone would be inspired and that their heart would be tugged by that desire to encourage others. This week on my Instagram feed I posted a picture of an extra ear-warmer I found in my stash. On the picture I asked everyone to tell me about someone in their life who they would love to see receive this ear-warmer and why they think this would encourage that person. My hope in writing this is that people would reach each others who commented, that their hearts would be tugged with a desire to reach out and encourage some of these people. If you have Instagram and if you are looking for a way to encourage someone this week, go back on this post and reach out to encourage some of these people who were transparent enough to write out their hopes of encouraging someone in their life. 

Earlier this week when the "tree guys" were trimming the trees in our neighborhood we ran outside and gave them some homemade banana nut muffins. We figured they were hungry from climbing up the tree's to prune them. Judah handed them each a muffin and said "thank you tree man" in his little boy voice.

Yesterday I finally met Joanna one of my online IG/Blogger mama friends from Brockpaperscissors if you haven't heard of Joanna or her blog I would suggest you go check her out! I didn't feel any hesitation about meeting Joanna, didn't see any red flags and I knew our kids would get along! We met at a local mall that had a Starbucks inside. While in the line I brought her one of my cowls that I just made to encourage her, at the same time she was purchasing my order to encourage me! It was really neat to see "encouraging it forward" in action. 

If you have encouraged someone this week please share! I've had a handful of people share with me their stories and I always love to hear them!

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