Monday, April 6, 2015

Just-US Creations ETSY Account Is Here!!!

Hi Everyone!! This is going to be a short blog post updating all of you that I now I have my Etsy account up and running! It's been an exhausting yet fun process and I am just so excited for all of you to be able to access Just-US Creations whenever you want! 

To visit my shop click the link below or type in justUScreationsTessa in your Etsy search bar!

If you have any questions please feel free to send me an Etsy conversation
or feel free to email me at

**All custom orders can be made through my new Etsy account! 


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

My Letter From Joanna Gaines...

Tuesday, March 31 2015

I I am incredibly excited to share this story with all of you. If you have kept up with my most recent blog posts you may have noticed that the Lord has been working in my heart in some huge ways lately. One of which being, letting go of the control I THINK I have on my life and completely trusting in Him 100% of the time.

If you know me well you may know that I am incredibly in love with the show Fixer Upper on HGTV. This show features a husband and a wife (Chip and Joanna Gaines) who basically take old, run down homes and turn them into their clients dream home. And if you know me REALLY know that I aspire for Guy and I to one day unite our creative spirits and be just like “Chip and Jo!”

So the story goes a little something like this...

While I was in Nashville visiting my sisters back in February, I had a friend tell me that she thought I needed to turn my blog into my own website...a place where I could not only have my blog but sell the things I’ve made for Just-US Creations as well. I told her I would LOVE to do that but knew that creating a website would take a small investment. An investment I knew wasn’t exactly in our budget at the moment. So I disappointingly declined, and believed in my heart that there would be a time when I would be able to do so.

A couple days after I returned back home from Nashville, I received a text from that same friend encouraging me to ask four different people for donations to help me start my website. She said, “Just as the Father to give you four different people that you should ask for donations from.” I was little hesitant at first at the thought of asking people for money to help ME start up my own website but I prayed about it and continued to seek counsel from the Lord. In the mean time, she texted me again asking if I would send her a couple different links to different blogs I like to read, seeing as though she was going to help me build my website, she wanted to get a good feel for what my website would look like if I did get the chance to create one.

So I began pondering the different blogs I like to read and this was the thought process going on in my head...

“You know what? I don’t read that many blogs. Oooooo I really like Joanna Gaines blog...I’ll read hers any day!”

And with little to NO warning the Lord interjected...

“So why don’t you ask her to help you start up your website Tessa?”

“WAIT! What Lord??? You want ME to ask Joanna Gaines for $100 to help me start up my website?? Is this even YOU Lord? Or is this my crazy subconscious breaking through?”

“Do you really not trust me Tessa?” Said the Lord.

“Well Father...I mean...She is JOANNA GAINES! I mean she’s kinda famous and runs a pretty hectic life. How would I even get her a letter??”

“ you really think that what you deem to be impossible to be impossible for ME? I hold the world in my hands, yet you think I can’t deliver a letter into the hands of another?” my Father questioned.

Stunned and incredibly overwhelmed, I spent the majority of that day praying...I prayed for confirmation that I was supposed to write this letter, I prayed for words to write, and I prayed that my letter could somehow find its way into the hands of the Gaines Family.

The next day...with complete peace in my heart I wrote my letter to Chip and Joanna Gaines. It was the strangest and the most freeing thing I had ever done.  And the funny part... even though I knew I was supposed to write this letter, the enemy continued to attack my spirit and tell me this was the most foolish thing I had ever done. But I held the truth in my heart and continued to write.

I posted this picture of my letter on Instagram and Facebook that day, telling you all that I was dreaming about my future...and I was. 

In my letter...I told them about my dreams and about all that the Lord had begun to do in my heart. I told them about how inspired I am by not only the ministry that they are creating for that industry but by their marriage and the life that they choose to live. I told them about my family and the things that we have gone through in order to get to the place that we are today. And I told them about my blog and about how it is my desire to one day speak to women all across the world. Then with all the humility that I could muster up, I asked if they would help me start up my own website. When I finished I printed off a couple of pictures of my family and with the help of my handy-dandy realtor of a husband, found their HOME address!! (Don’t ask me how, he just did and yes that may be a little creepy but don’t judge me...or him ok?! He’s an amazing realtor btw) I prayed over the letter, asking the Lord to guide and direct it to the correct correspondent and I asked that my heart would clearly show up in the words I had written.

And I sent it.

I remember thinking during that time that no matter what happened I had been obedient to the Father and for that I would be greatly blessed. So I kept this amazing peace within me...never doubting that the letter would show up on the front of their door. It’s truly an amazing feeling when you can finally be in the place of complete faith in the Father. I mean...I always “believed in God” and I always had “faith” in the Lord, but I don’t think I ever adequately grasped how far and deep, belief and faith could go. It was as if I got a glimpse of the truth behind the verse “faith can move mountains.” It’s more than just speaking it with your’s deeply and honestly believing that what the Father asks you to do WILL be done.

And so I waited...and waited.

Two weeks to the day that I sent the letter I began getting ready for the day. During that time I said to the Lord...

“’s been two weeks. I haven’t groveled or complained or even doubted but Father, am I in over my head here?”

“Tessa, do you really have NO faith in me? It’s only been TWO weeks!” He replied.

“You’re right’s ONLY been two weeks.”

And so I carried out the rest of my day with the belief and faith that I had held with me all this time. I knew the Father would provide.

That evening my husband returned home, and as usual he brought with him that day’s stack of mail. “Hey Tessa, you have a letter here.” Guy said.

 “Is it some ad or junk mail?” I said unenthusiastically.

“ I think it’s a legit letter.” He said.

Hmm that’s strange I thought. So I nonchalantly went to check out what he was talking about. When I picked up the letter I could barely read the handwriting but what I did make out was the return address...WACO, TX!!! (If you’re a fan of Fixer Upper you know that is where they are based out of).

I screamed and dropped to my knees...I hadn’t even opened the letter yet! When I finally calmed down a bit (and calmed Rozalyn the midst of my “freak out” I had FREAKED her out), I cautiously opened the letter. On the front read... “A Note From Joanna Gaines.” 

As I opened the card I couldn’t help but flinch when a $100 bill dropped to the ground. I was incredibly overwhelmed when I read her handwritten note to me...

Tessa- thank you so much for taking the time to share your story. It's beautiful how the Lord is using your life to encourage and inspire other women. I hope this money will be multiplied by ten fold - I look forward to hearing what new ventures God has for you! Bless you and your beautiful family! 

I remained in a state of shock for a good 24 hours. I felt like I was on cloud 9 and it was as though I had seen so clearly the heart of the Father and how He longs to lavish us with our hearts desires.

I can honestly say that I am a blessed woman and I am blessed because I have been given an amazing opportunity. But what’s even more amazing than the fact that I can now have my own website, is that I can have my website BECAUSE of what Joanna Gaines blessed me with. Not only has the Lord blessed ME but He is going to abundantly bless Joanna and her family for being obedient to where the Lord asked them to give! That’s how good our Father is. He loves to bless those that are willing to humble themselves and He’s willing to bless those that are obedient. But even MORE than that...He LOVES to bless ALL of His children.

The way He blesses you doesn’t have to be some extravagant, fairy-tell like story, it can be just as normal as...somebody paid for my meal today. Big or small, the Father loves to love and we were made to be loved. So I encourage each one you that had the patience to read this today to ask the Lord right now, how He can pull you out of your comfort zone today so that He can move in some mighty ways in your life. I would love to hear the aftermath of how God showed up in your life so make sure to comment below or contact me at

As for my website it will be up and running VERY soon! Stay tuned!


Monday, March 16, 2015

Just US Creations EXPOSED

Monday, March 16th 2015

It was about 2 years ago that I truly discovered my passion for recreating pieces of junk and turning them into pieces worth treasuring. It gave me a sort of adrenaline rush...turning something ugly into something beautiful and knowing that I was the reason for it.

That is why it brings me so much joy to be able to make that passion become a reigning reality in my life today. These last couple weeks have been somewhat crazy and often times strenuous but because I'm finally doing something that I truly LOVE...I don't even care! I'm loving every second of it!

So it is with great honor that I bring you Just-US Creations...

It was such an honor and privilege to be able to shoot at my good friend Cheryl Melchi's home (pictured above). 

This is where is all begins....

"Be Brave Little One"
(Frame: 9x11)
Great for girls and boys alike!

I truly believe that words have a way of lighting up a room.

"Follow Your Dreams. They Know The Way."

"Small But Mighty"
*No longer available. Can be made upon request. 
This is one of my favorite frames. Great for any little boys room!!

I love sprucing up pieces of furniture by giving them a little bit of character and a pop of color!

This "fun size" bench is great in any kids room. Use it as a bookshelf or a fun place for your little ones to sit and play. It's such a great piece to liven up any room! Roz sure did love bringing this precious piece to life!

Someone really liked working with mommy a little bit too much this week. She insisted on having a hammer of her own. 

"Live. Laugh. Love."

I got the chance to have some fun staging a photo shoot this week! Sometimes you just gotta try and go with it! 

"You Are Worth It All"

"Find Your Bliss"

(Frame: 9x11)

(Frame 9x11)
Our little friend Rowen was having a tea party when it came time to shoot some pictures so we had to get her in on the action. It's only fitting that we "cherished" this moment. This sign would be perfect in any little girls room. 

We had just a little bit of fun during this shoot. 

"Love" "Believe" "Cherish"
(Frames: 9x11)
Choose just one or all THREE! This delicate trio is the perfect combination for any growing girl" 

(L-R) "Follow Your Dreams..."
"I'm Adventure Bound"
"Find Your Bliss" 

"Faith Can Move Mountains"
(Frame: 9x11)

I love being able to use the words that I so often sing as decor in my home! 

"May We Never Lose Our Wonder"
(Frame: 9x11)

"Humility is not thinking less of yourself it's thinking of yourself less." CS Lewis

Not only do I love using words to make art but I love making simple yet shic decor pieces. Shown above is one of my favorite things to make: white bottle wrapped in twine. It can tie together any space with its unique simplicity.

This is another favorite in my house, the window frame chalkboard. Use this statement resourcefully...not only can you write your daily "to do" list but you can do it and make it look classy too! 

"Let the Beauty of What you Love be What You Do." Rumi
It's so important to love doing what you're doing in life. I feel so extremely blessed to be able to live life beautifully because I'm doing something that I so passionately love.

 It's been an honor sharing Just US Creations with you all and I know this is just the beginning. I can't wait to share the rest of my journey and all that God is doing in my life. STAY TUNED!

*Website and Etsy Shop COMING SOON!
In the mean time...if you are interested in purchasing any of the things listed above please email me at 
Most art pieces are 8x10 unless otherwise specified. 
I am also available to make custom pieces. Email with the desired quote and size.
**Frames included. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Hope Deferred < Hope Revealed

Monday, March 9th 2015

I am so excited to share with you all what I've been up to this past week! Since I have returned home from Nashville I have a completely new outlook on life and my purpose (sounds a little bit dramatic I know). The Lord has awakened something so fresh and real in me for the first time...ever. I finally feel like I am right where I'm supposed to be, doing EXACTLY what I'm supposed to be doing. 

It's incredibly important as a mother, and as a father, sister, brother, truly live life doing what YOU love to do. That is something the Father has so gently been speaking over me this week. It's so easy to get caught up in life and all the things you "should/need/HAVE" to accomplish, when in all reality if you're not doing what YOU were created to do then you're never going to love what you're doing in your life. Simple as that. 

My life as a mother has been incredibly fulfilling don't get me wrong but in all honesty I stopped doing the things that I truly loved doing for the sake of my family. Not only did I do that, but I began to believe this notion in my head that in order to be an "all-in mother" (whatever that is), I had to give up the things that I was most passionate about to focus solely on my kids and my husband. 

I met up with a great friend of mine this week and began sharing with her my heart and the revelations I've been having and what she said to me is something I will NEVER forget. She said, "Tessa, it's ok if you don't want to just be a mom. If your heart desires an outlet of some sort that is perfectly fine. Your kids are going to love you no matter what, and you will be a better mother for it." 

For some reason that spoke to the very depths of my soul and unearthed an ungodly belief that I had no idea was even there before. You see...there is so much more to motherhood than just "being a mom." Your kids want to grow up with a mom that is happy, fun, full of life, and passion. But when you stop being unwillingly stunt the very existence of that person and that is exactly what happened to me. I stopped being ME and started being the mother that I thought was expected of me. In return I was unhappy with myself, and everyone else around me; I lashed out and caused hurt in places it never should have been. 

But the Lord redeems and restores and I am so incredibly overjoyed at the endless possibilities that lay at my feet...possibilities that have been there for some time now, just waiting to be chosen. 

So by now you might be wondering what it is that I'm up to...

Well after many late nights this past week and a tremendous amount of help from friends and family (especially my husband) I am incredibly pumped to reveal my latest business venture: 

Just-US Creations

Just-US Creations came out of a very vulnerable place in my heart. In a time where I held little, to no vision for my life, came a blast of visionary fulness and life. During this journey the Lord blessed us with our sweet Justus but He has also given me a new vision...a vision in which we are all doing exactly what the Lord created us to do; a world where we are being "Just-Us." 

For so long I have loved creating and recreating "must haves" for the home. Bringing life and fullness to a space and giving it character again is something that I have always had a passion for but never took seriously. I am beyond thrilled to introduce this fun yet functional work that I have tucked away...if you are wanting to spice up a space in your home or just create a statement, you are going to want to tune into what Just-US Creations has in store for you. 

 Next week I will show you all exactly what I've been working on and what this new venture actually looks like. So excited to share my passions with you all!! Much more to come!! xoxo

Monday, March 2, 2015

Sometimes Life Sucks A Little.

March 2nd 2015

I'm just gonna put it out there...sometimes life really sucks. For starters it's winter and ain't nobody got time for this cold weather but more importantly being a wife and a mother isn't always what it's cracked up to be.

To be completely, 100% life isn't as "put together" as what it may appear to be on Instagram or Facebook. I still face hardships and bad days just like the rest of you. The only difference is...I've become REALLY good at hiding it! (Not something I would necessarily pat myself on the back for). Since having Justus my life has become somewhat...chaotic and well...messy. Just when I though I had life figured out with one kid, I get a swift kick from reality telling me that I'm not as good at my job as I might have thought.

But really...that's what it feels like right moms? Change, although good, is sometimes a harsh reality. I could never understand why my oldest sister loved change so much...I mean still to this day, I think that girl would change the color of her hair everyday if she could just to do something different and out of the ordinary. Me, I haven't changed the style of my hair since junior year of high school and the thought of scissors coming anywhere near it makes me cringe.

Having a second baby has changed my perspective of life in so many ways, yet at the same time, it has brought me some of my greatest challenges. Now don't think that I am not extremely grateful for the family that I have been given...I mean come on just look at them

Rozalyn and Justus having a sweet conversation

But if I'm allowed to be transparent here for a moment...parenthood has kicked my butt. It has run me down, exposed my wounds, and tested my marriage. Thank the Lord, He gave me a husband who is able to deal with my crazy because I'm pretty sure I would be a single mom right now if He had not.

To be perfectly honest, after having Justus I began feeling discouraged; discouraged about my future, discouraged about my purpose, and discouraged about myself as a mother. Sure...the hormones probably had a little something to do with this sudden mood change but in all reality I began to feel these things long before Justus came around. I think I finally just became honest with myself and with my husband.

For a while there I began lashing out at my husband, for some reason I justified it by saying, "if only he can feel a fraction of the pain and hurt I'm feeling, it will make me feel better." So you throw out a nasty insult or a snide comment and for a second you do feel a slight bit of gratification but that quickly fades away and your left standing there with a nasty taste in your mouth and a severely hurt spouse. For a while it seems to roll off their back but there is always that ONE comment that ends up getting to them and soon after World War 3 takes place and your forced to go to bed with your worst enemy (talk about torture right?).

This vicious cycle seemed to circle round and round for Guy and I after Justus was born. I would get upset because he wasn't home on time for dinner and I was left waiting (starving) with a two year old that could care less about how hard mommy had worked to make dinner. Then that nagging feeling of not feeling appreciated would set in and I would begin nit picking all the things that I did that day... FOR him...that constantly went without mention. As soon as that boiled over I would begin the overdramatic text messages..."where are you. Thought you were gonna me home by now. I guess I'll just eat without you." (btw the period at the end always makes it 100 times more dramatic and they instantly know you're pissed). As soon as I heard the door unlock I put my mitts up and got ready to duke it out.

How I felt at the end of the night, never got better than how I had originally felt at the beginning. I never felt better about myself or felt justified in my actions. In fact, I ALWAYS felt worse. I would go to bed with a knot in my stomach the size of a soccer ball and I would chew on every word I'd said that evening, playing and replaying every insult in my head. But no matter what, I was always too prideful to turn over and wave my white flag in surrender. How much easier would that have been though? Probably like a million times easier but who likes easier when you can do things the hard way?

It got to the point that I no longer valued my husband (it sounds so terrible to say it out loud but it's the truth). I stopped believing in him, I stopped receiving his love, and in return, I stopped loving him. I was so caught up in my hurt and my baggage that I did everything in my power to bring him down with me. I knew what I was doing and I knew that I needed to somehow escape myself in order to become myself again (if that makes any sense at all).

It was then that I decided to take a trip to visit my two sisters in Nashville, TN. I didn't know how long I was going to be there or even how I was going to get there, but I knew that in order to save my marriage from crumbling even further, I needed to go. So with little, to no warning I told Guy my plan and he graciously accepted my proposition and although he didn't understand it himself, he loved me enough to let me go and do my thing for a week.

So there I was in Nashville, with two little children in a home with my two sisters and their roommate. Sounds entertaining already doesn't it? But it was exactly what I needed!

(L-R, Lexi, Me, Erica, and Rozalyn).

My sister Lexi was my own personal photographer for a week. She made sure to capture EVERY moment!

It was there that I began to feel like myself again. I honestly don't think I realized how much hurt I was harvesting until I began to open my heart up to the encouragement that was being lavished upon me. I began to see my future more clearly, to see my purpose more vividly, and most importantly I began to see my husband for the humble, patient, and incredibly loving man that he was...that he had always been.

I opened my heart up to the Lord for the first time in months and expressed to Him my pain and the fear that I had been storing up within the thin walls of my heart. I surrendered my pride and let the Father infiltrate the areas of my heart that had been shut off for so long. I let God encourage me. And most importantly, I let Him speak truth into every fiber of my being and it was through that mere act that I began to feel alive again. I saw my purpose and my passions for the first time and I wasn't ashamed of them nor afraid of them.

When I returned home I was actually excited to see my husband. I was in need of his love and in need of his touch. For the first time in a long time I was excited to share with him all the things the Lord had done in my heart the past week. I was overjoyed at the thought of doing life with him and had a renewed sense of what our ministry would be together. It was as though for the first time I saw vividly the true beauty the covenant of marriage brings, and what it's made for!

I can honestly say, that trip saved me and my marriage. It gave me hope for the future and it gave me peace knowing that the desires that are stored up in my heart were put there by the Creator and I have nothing to be ashamed of.

Here is a text message between my husband and I after I returned from Nashville. This is such a beautiful picture of redemption. Guy could have easily become bitter towards me and held a slew of things against me, but instead he chose to forgive me and encourage me to follow my dreams. God is the same way...He so desires to meet us right where we are at. No matter the place, He wants to lavish us in His perfect grace and love! 

Please know, that I share this in total confidence. I know my marriage STILL isn't perfect anti never will be but our Father longs to renew ever facet of our lives even when it feels like it's past the point of hope. I desire to see each and every one of you flourish in the way our Lord intended your life to flourish. I am always open to talking or praying with you if you are in need of a listening ear! God Bless everyone!! xoxoxo

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Life With Justus

Sunday, December 11th 2015

I cannot believe that today marks 4 weeks with our sweet Justus. It doesn't seem possible really. Although I'm sure every parent says that about the second, and probably the third, fourth, and so on. But seems impossible that 4 weeks ago our innocent bundle surprised us and arrived nearly 4 weeks early. I could not feel more blessed by his presence...especially now that he's home.

His first full day home

Although it seems only yesterday that I labored all day and night, so much has happened in the last four weeks. It has been a whirlwind. First the NICU and all the uncertainty that came with that, to bringing Justus home to his big sister! Life with Justus has say the least.

Upon bringing Justus home, Rozalyn (his big and fearless sister) welcomed him with open arms. After Justus was born, he was brought straight to the NICU and because of their strict policies with flu season, Rozalyn didn't get to see her baby brother until 9 days after his arrival. That being said, her grasp upon what had happened was very loose. She struggled to comprehend why mom was home with no baby in her tummy nor in her presence. Not to mention the fact that I was back and forth from the NICU everyday that she barely had but 30 minutes with me daily. It was a hard 9 days, that's all I can say. Everything seemed to throw her off and on top of it all she wasn't or night. This, I was not expecting. I NEEDED her to sleep! I needed to sleep...but up pumping every 3 hours wasn't really allowing that to happen either.

When we finally did bring Justus home, Rozalyn was thrilled by his "cuteness." Constantly exclaiming, "baby Justus SOOOO cute" while kissing his forehead with her innocent lips.  I couldn't help but look at her in awe. How could she be this big already? I heard it so many times when I was pregnant but didn't quite grasp the truth behind the statement..."Rozalyn is going to seem so grown up to you once this baby arrives." I nodded and agreed every time but the truth of the matter eluded me. As I watch her now: jumping, running, TALKING (all the time...she never stops talking), I am fascinated at the young girl she is growing into.

Roz copying me by crossing her legs at the table. 

Our last day out and about before baby Justus arrived

I remember my oldest sister telling me that she wept for her oldest daughter the day her second baby arrived. I never understood that till now. I look at Rozalyn now, no longer my "baby," no longer my one and only and I weep. I sit here now writing this and I weep. It's not that I don't love this new precious life with every fiber of my being...because I do. It's that I now look at my daughter with the title "big sister" attached to her, with expectations attached to her and I can't help but feel sorry for the little girl that will forever have to be the "big girl." It's a weird feeling really, one that I can't adequately describe. I know that she is going be an amazing big sister and I know that she was born to be a leader and a protector but she will always be my first. She has taught me so much about motherhood, about love and what that actually looks like. She has given me life and laughter beyond my wildest dreams. She has breathed joy into the cracks and crevices that I didn't even know existed. She will forever hold a special place in my heart and the bond that we share can never be broken because she has given me a title that I am honored to wear...MOTHER.
The day Rozalyn came into this world...she showed me what REAL love looked like.
A distant memory now...I'm pretty sure this is the last time she snuggled with me :) 

Following the days of Justus' arrival to our home, Rozalyn went from loving her baby brother to...not exactly liking him. I was facetiming a family member when they asked, "Roz, do you love your new baby brother?" and she looked at them and sternly replied, "No." I couldn't help but burst into laughter!

Since then, it's been a mixture of emotions for her. Sometimes she loves him and wants to kiss him and hold him and other days she acts like he doesn't even exist. Her world has been turned upside down and for that I never try to force anything on her. It was probably two weeks after he arrived home that she held him for the first time and somebody remarked on how they couldn't believe we had waited that long to let her hold him. But to me...I wanted her to hold him when she felt ready, not when we wanted her to be ready. So I waited for her to ask me and I knew the day would come soon enough, but I wanted it to be on her terms. She deserves that after all the change that she has just endured. It's not easy becoming a big sister and I want to honor that in every way that I can.

She loves giving her baby Justus kisses on his nose
Very first time holding him...she was in awe!
Bath time with mommy and who wouldn't want a smooch from this little girl!

This is a picture of a not so "joyful" moment in Rozalyn's struggle to understand what it means to be a "big sister." She was apparently having a melt down and to combat the crying we told her we were going to take a picture of her. This is what we captured.

Somehow she still manages to look breathtaking.
As for Justus, he is such a champ. I cannot believe how laid back he is. I mean compared to Rozalyn, he is a walk in the park! He sleeps, eats, and poops like clock work and all the times in between he is incredibly pleasant to be around (Not to say that Rozalyn wasn't incredibly pleasant to be just required a lot more bouncing, rocking, swaying, and patting.) His pathetic grunting is the only noise he seems to make since the day he came home and his appetite seems to increase with each day. I feel like he looks like a totally different baby then the one we met in the hospital.

Left: 3 days old, Right: 3 weeks old
How fast they change!
My mom came down to help out and took the most amazing newborn pics! 

I feel so incredibly blessed by my growing family. It goes without saying that, we could not have made this transition possible without the help and support from so many of you. Our family and friends have surrounded us in prayer and for that we are eternally grateful. Thank you for your never-ending encouragement, we wish we could give it all back ten fold. Love you all! XOXOXO