A growing family

Two short weeks ago, we received a phone call that Amy, Daniel’s sister, wasn’t going to make it through the night.

This wasn’t the first time that we received a phone call like this one. In fact, it had been fourteen months since the first call where we dropped everything and drove through the night to South Carolina. Amy lived. Time passed. Liver transplant. Recovery. Dialysis. Now, she needs to get a kidney transplant.

This roller coaster season left the entire family depleted.

But this time, this phone call, this trip through the night to get to the hospital, this diagnosis, was different.

Amy passed away on Easter Sunday, leaving behind a ten-year old, bright-eyed {brighter personality} son.

As Amy’s passing wasn’t even absorbed yet, so also the reality that Daniel and I were about to become parents. The following weekend, after the funeral, the three of us drove home. With each passing mile, the reality of what had happened, and what was happening, sunk in deeper. Sadness and joy. Excitement and grief.

I think it’s cool how the Lord is giving us this time as we wait for the adoption process. Time for Bright-Eyes to start the grieving process and learn about what his new life looks like. Time for us to catch our breath, grieve, and figure out what being parents looks like. {I mean, what time does a 10 year old even go to bed?} And time for all of our hearts to be knit together, no longer as aunt, uncle and nephew, but as a mom, dad and son.

There are so many fascinating details, so many emotions, so much brokenness, so many points of intersection that fill the last few years… And yet a strong, shining strand of redemption unites each piece. I hope to share more details in the future, but for now I’ll just share this one…

For the past four years Daniel and I have been trying to start a family of our own. Nothing is wrong, we just can’t get pregnant. [For those of you who have walked a similar path, you know what a toll it can take. A journey like this can barely be summed up in one sentence.]

Though God, in His tender sovereignty, knew that Bright-Eyes needed us to not have kids for him to acclimate to his new life. No competition. All attention directed toward him. God also knew that we too needed this bright-eyed boy first. Not sure why, but we’re very grateful.

We are tired from the journey that lead us to this point. Though the joy and hope that we have in knowing that God’s timing and ways are flawless puts wind in our sails and lovingly pushes us on. We are truly thankful for this gift in our growing family.

So, here he is… our first son. And soon, it will be official.


A favorite part of my job…

..mixing color {gouache}. These three colors left me speechless. ((love them – and combined… so beautiful: periwinkle, aqua and white)) Colors never cease to take my breath away. God makes amazing things.




Happy New Year!!!

{…35 days late.} Though it know I am on time when I say Happy Chinese New Year!!! …so I’ll stick with that.

I was at Lowe’s – naturally – (the ongoing house remodel) and came across this site for sore eyes:

pantone copy

The Pantone (I’m obsessed with Pantone!) color of the year – – Radiant Orchid!! {and the crowd cheers} Last year, the color was Emerald.


Currently, wedding colors that are trending are charcoal, salmon and coral. Radiant Orchid, on the other hand, has not made a trendy appearance in the wedding world for a long time. I like Radiant Orchid. This color is lively, bold and feminine. If you are a trendsetting bride, and wondering about what accent color to use (I know – so many beautiful colors to choose from), Radiant Orchid might just be your color… And if you’re a DIY bride, and like the Pantone color of the year, you now know where to get your paint. 

One of my favorite things: Love & War & The Sea In Between

If you have a little extra Christmas cash burning a hole through your pocket, and are looking for a good place to spend it, look no further ladies and gentlemen! Josh Garrels album, Love & War & The Sea In Between, is phenomenal!


Garrels album is packed with authentic and thought-provoking lyrics along with fresh and creative sounds.

I know many of you might not take my word for it, but I will say this much… My husband (who has a much more discriminating ear) loves the album too. Love & War & The Sea In Between is the only album we have found that we both 100% enjoy. Now, if that’s not saying something… I don’t know what is.

Check it out.

And if you’re wondering what song to listen to first, I’d recommend Farther Along, it’s my favorite. 🙂

One of my favorite things: Seche Vite

83005For all of you last minute gift buyers – or someone who needs a little shine in their day – this little top coat is a MUST!!!

I think that if I kept this little bottle of goodness to myself I would be committing some sort of mortal sin. Seche Vite is the best topcoat I have ever used. That is a big claim, I know, but it’s true.

Seche Vite quickly seals my nail polish on my nails with an intense wet shine that I absolutely love! Trust me, as an artist who works with my hands, I fight to keep nail polish from chipping. (Ask my husband… he hates it!)

If you’re up for trying something new, or need a fantastic stocking stuffer, look no further!

Check it out.

I love you Dr.Martins

I haven’t found a white ink that just works perfectly… until now. I have fallen in love with Dr. P.H.Martins Bleed Proof white.
I have tried other white inks: acrylic, water colors and even mixing my own gouache. However nothing has given me super thin strokes (hairlines) like this little bottle of goodness.

If you want to try it out, mix a little distilled water at the very top with a brush, paint some ink on your nib and be amazed!


A few of my favorite things… Crane & Company, Tampa

Happy New Year!

I can barely believe that 2011 has already begun and the hustle and bustle of calligraphy season is in full swing for summer weddings! The holidays seem to come and go so quickly, though I must say that I would not have enjoyed it as much if it were not for the fabulous women at the Crane & Company store in Tampa. I had the privilege of spending some time with these ladies as I worked on my Santa Letters one day in December.

When you visit Crane & Company, you will find wonderful stationary for every occasion, lovely cards and gifts galore! If you are in the Tampa area, please stop by the International Plaza and tell these super fabulous women I say ‘hello.’

Thank you, to each of you, who sent a Santa Letter to family members and friends this holiday season. Also, thank you to those of you who passed along my name and the news about the Santa Letters to people that you know! I had an overwhelmingly positive response! One lady actually teared up when I gave her the Santa Letter and told me that I “made her Christmas.” I was pleasantly surprised when she told me this and felt as if my time at the Cranes store was a success!

Santa will be writing letters again this year, so keep your eyes open and make sure not to miss the deadline! If you are interested in finding out when the Santa Letters will be available, please email me (info@samiragast.com) and I notify me that you would like to be put on my mailing list.

Thanks again for a great holiday season!