Thursday, February 18, 2016


What makes your soul happy?

We had a stressful morning today. It isn't usually that way, but today it was combination of sleeping in a little too late, a complaining kiddo & changed plans. With a busy day ahead where I knew I wouldn't have a moment to stop, my mind started reeling with all the things I'd rather be doing.

In my everyday life, I rarely have more than a half hour to stop before the next thing is on the docket. And the fact is, when I do have time, so often I choose productivity over leisure & happiness that it's easy to go far too long without truly filling up my soul again.

 The thing is, though, I usually don't mind being busy. I'm happy to bounce from once thing to the next. The problem arises most in my down time. I waste time on menial tasks, TV shows, Facebook or other "blah" things (scroll, scroll, scrollllll) instead of doing the creative, artsy things that I truly love.

A youth pastor once said to me (and I'm sure you've heard it said before, as well) that people are like tea kettles - it pours the tea and can make several cups from one pot, but if it wants to keep making tea it needs to be filled up again.

That's where my head was at this morning --craving a creative fill-up.

BUSYness can so easily take over our time and it's so important to stay re-filled while we consistently pour out of ourselves. I've heard that creative personalities are a little more like this, but I'd suspect that others can relate, that when life gets busy I just plain old miss doing things I love.

 So it's got me thinking about the picture, above, that captured my heart's attention when I first saw it months ago - "take time to do what makes your soul happy". That is really so important to me. I am convinced that life is so much more than work and productivity. Are those things important? Yes! Even I often find I can't mentally relax until the "work" is done. But, equivalent to my happiness is finding time to do what makes my soul happy - (not just to do what needs to be done).

 So...what makes my soul smile? What fills my kettle back up? Let's see, my soul really loves...

Spending time with girlfriends
Watching a good movie
Painting my nails
Walking outside
Organizing my closet
Running on a treadmill
Starbucks-ing with the Fam
Reading a good book
Playing piano
Writing songs

Ah, just even typing them out brings a smile to my face.

So, I'm off to sing with some friends this afternoon which will be lovely - and as I do that, I encourage you to take time to do some of the things that makes your soul happy. Text an old friend, get out the paintbrushes, cook a yummy dessert - I promise, your heart will thank you!


Friday, January 22, 2016

in the waiting.

Are you in the waiting?

I read an inspirational page of my devotion this morning & wanted to share it.

I read about Abraham & Sarah waiting for a baby, waiting for the beginning of this giant nation that the Lord had so often spoke about. I read about Sarah not feeling sure of God's plan and trying to make her own way. I read about how that rushing, on her part, caused a rift between her & her servant, Hagar (that is still carried out today in the descendants of those two sons). I read about how these people were all acting in their season of waiting.

I feel like I've read so many articles on seasons of wait, of mothers waiting, of father's waiting, teenagers waiting, elders waiting, missionaries waiting. I've read of those with a heart for something just waiting for the open door. So much waiting. Today's read, though, finally (finally!) got me to start thinking not just about what we are waiting for, but the waiting, itself. I thought, if God has us waiting, there has got to be a reason WHY. He does not have us do something just to do it, He is so much more than that. So, I concluded that the wait itself, must mean something; and then I read the following:

One of the authors wrote about how for 20 years she trudged along in the seemingly unimportant tasks of preparing meals, cleaning house & doing laundry. She had a husband who had a big job that she often envied because of all the opportunities & adventure he got to explore, and she just felt stuck - waiting. Then she thought the same thing, God must be using this for something. She writes that in that time"God was constantly training me, helping me to be aware of my negative attitudes & showing me where He wanted me to change". She also writes that her attitude at the present moment is what God was most interested in, and if we don't deal with that, how can we be of use to Him going forward?

I'm so sure God wanted to me to hear this today (this topic was even the exact one that was scheduled for today's date in a little e-devotional I read to Jake in the mornings). I know there is a sense of waiting in my life, especially with my music. I have a job as a mother that I take on with such joy & excitement, and all the while, part of me is in the waiting for the next step in my career, especially with a studio & producer in Nashville just waiting for my word to move. These two things lay, parallel to each other, and yet I can often only be on one plain.

Waking up everyday & choosing to school my sweet boy, choosing to make breakfast with joy, to go to swimming lessons, to play Lego, to teach my son about God's beautiful grace & wonderful faithfulness - those are my tasks today. Not to say that motherhood is simply something to be finished with before I move onto the next step in my career - not at all - but to highlight that what I do & how I act in the waiting, what I do in the midst of the dishes, the drop-offs & the laundry loads, is just as important as what I do when I get to what I'm waiting for. To God, they're no different.

One thing I know, is that, without a fire, we can't be refined, and I don't think the fire always looks like a painful, awful, obvious circumstance. I think sometimes, our refining fire is a slow burn, a wait for the next thing, for the thing that we want, sometimes more than we even want God. What can we do IN that wait?

What I took away from what I read this morning is to let God use the waiting period, the time that we often discard as just the "in-between", to shape & grow me. I want to thank Him for time to mature, for knowing me well enough to know that I NEED to wait for this next thing, I need to change before it comes, for knowing me well enough to know that I may not even be ready for the next thing, yet. I pray that I can be wise with this precious time, this precious wait.

"Search me, O God, try me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there be any hurtful ways in me & lead me in the everlasting way" Psalm 139:23

Friday, January 15, 2016

the top 5 things I like to have in my home.

This summer I "KonMari-d" our home. If you aren't familiar with the concept, it's based on Marie Kondo's trending book "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up". The concept (although a little more complex than just this) is to only keep in your home what sparks joy for you - so that's what we did. I did it just as she said to, all in one day, no breaks, no distractions and, I'll tell you - it worked! Other than a little tornado of mess from the Christmas season, our house hasn't felt untidy, since, and, even better (!) I always know where everything is, which, well, let's be honest, has never happened before! Throughout the process we got rid of (dare I tell you?) over 60 garbage bags of stuff!! (ALL non-garbage!).

Going through a cleansing process like that taught us two things;
One: we have a LOT of free time without so much time spent cleaning!
Two: we really appreciate & value the things we chose to keep in our home.

The funny conundrum that I was left with, however, is that I'm very eclectic & bohemian when it comes to our home decorating and yet I am always striving to blend that with my love of minimalism in the home. The KonMari method can leave you feeling very more minimalistic than anything else - so, I have really had to get to know myself & figure out what was in my home because I really loved & valued it and what was in my home as just sort of a spot-filler.

With that said, here 5 things that I chose to keep, that definitely spark joy and that make my this house & these walls feel like a home!

If you know me well, or have been to my house, you likely just said "no kidding!" in your mind (or maybe even out loud), because I have a LOT of words up in our house. there is something about an encouraging, uplifting or inspiring word that speaks to one's heart, and to have it spread throughout my home is something that I love very much. some favourites that we have are our little wooden sign that says "love lives here", a plaque from my grandma's kitchen that says "bless this mess" & a canvas I painted ages ago with a quote that my grandpa used to always say: "life is like a stained glass window; it shines & sparkles when the sun shines on it, but when the evening comes & the sun goes down, it only shines if there is light within". (This "NEST" wall art is next on my list to make!)

As long as you're careful with them, I think there's nothing nicer than a house full of burning candles, come evening time. I have so many favourites -- classics like "leaves" & "twisted peppermint" from Bath & Body Works & "spun sugar" from Target & anything cookie-scented, but my favourites are often the random, handmade candles I find in local shops. I've recently discovered a local mason jar soy candle company that makes one called "peppermint citrus". Mmm, I literally dream about that scent and just love the warmth & coziness that one little, scented flame brings to a dim room.

quilts, quilts & more quilts! I love them & have accumulated quite a few over my life, I just don't have the heart to let them go. (the farthest they end up is at my mom's house, to change up her look!) but, don't think me wasteful, they don't just sit in a linen closet, we have them all over. there are a few on our bed, Jake has one on his bed, we have them folded in baskets, draped over couches & there is a small one that I sit on our piano bench with. When I go to vintage sales or home shops, they tend to be the thing that my eye is most often looking for, although I only ever buy them when they are really special. there's something about a quilt, it's weight, it's story (even if you have to create the story yourself :) ) - i just love 'em!

source: house by hoff
wire baskets.
I have toooo many of these (and yet there are more on my wish-list!) I think it adds to the rustic charm of a place to have a little wire basket full of this, and another one over there, full of that. I have a few vintage ones, like the inbox that I keep J's school work in, and then I have some that I've bought, new, in pretty colors that I just couldn't resist, like the big turquoise one we keep our borrowed library books in through the week. wire baskets look cute filled with so many other things too: blankets, magazines, shoes, towels, dolls, pet-toys -- the list goes on!

(a little more vague:)
vintage accessories. 
I have so many little "things" that I just love and want to bring into my home. I love the thought of someone using it years ago, in their home, and that little rusted & dusted look is always so charming, to me. This is where the clash could have happened, between KonMari & I, but the real task for me has just become getting to know myself & my style really clearly so that I can differentiate between what I'm attracted to & the things that really do spark joy, that i want to look at everyday. Some of my favourite vintage things that are in our house right now are a globe that I ended painting over in turquoise & black, our kitchen scale from the 40's & a small wooden crate that has held everything from succulents in the summer to hot chocolate & marshmallows this past Christmas.

So there are some of the things that 'spark joy' in my home! And now, i leave you with a fitting quote that I have often thought of putting up in our living room (see? words!).

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful"
- William Morris

Sunday, January 10, 2016

5 DIY's for the New Year.

I have DIY fever these days. Those that know me well will know that I am a crafty girl to the core & that I love a good DIY. A few of my girlfriends & I have started getting together regularly to craft and it is just so good for the soul to get that creativity out of you!

Here are 5 projects that I think would be so fun to take on this January:

Pallet Coffee Mug Holder from One Little Bird Blog.
This would be so cute on a little empty kitchen wall, and what a great way to use the pallets that are so trendy right now. The only reason I haven't done this one yet is that I don't have an empty wall! 

DIY Apple Crate Shelf
This is more of a "P.I.T.Y" (put-it-together-yourself) than a DIY, because you are literally just standing crates on top of each other. This project is in the works for me as I gather crates that are close enough in size to each other that they can stack nicely, and I'll also attach them so they are sturdy. This one can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be, a feature that I love in a DIY project. 

Song Lyric Sign by House By Hoff
This one I made last night with my crafty girlfriends over coffee & many, many laughs. I used a different approach than the blog above (she used a Sharpie marker to write hers -- 15 Sharpies, actually!! -- while I painted my lyrics), but we were both inspired by the beeeeautiful, swoon worthy pieces from my favourite House of Belonging art studio in Nashville. Also, I haven't attached my trim yet because I just finally found where to buy the perfect kind, today and will need to sneak the use of a nail gun from somebody to get it attached! However, this has been my favourite piece that I've made in a long time. I think it's extra inspiring to make it alongside good friends, as well - always attaches great memories to the piece you are making.  (PS. The song lyrics I chose were from "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing")

Chalkboard Wall by Inspire, Design & Create.
I'm a little chalkboard crazy, I've even committed to not buying anymore chalkboard-anything in 2016 (we'll see how long that lasts!), but one of my favourite pieces in our house is the giant canvas that I painted in chalkboard paint a few years ago. (Truth be told, I painted it as an act of desperation to cover another painting that I wasn't liking, but I love what it has become!) Now I have this ever-changeable piece of art in my home that is a little rustic looking & can change looks along with the seasons - the best of both worlds!

Pallet Headboard by Radical Possibility
This is my next project (once I get the trim nailed onto my lyric sign!). I've had this on my list for a lonnnng time but this one is a little more "build-y" than I usually go for. Right now we use a long pillow for behind the bed & I am sooo ready for a change. This look will be great for us in our bohemian style bedroom and I actually think this dark stain look would go great in any room - the joy is, you could even paint it in your favourite color, too! 

So, I hope you've got some inspiration! Happy DIY-ing! I'm off to sand some trim!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

ten songs for the weekend.

who you are - jj heller
who i am - jessica andrews
complicated melody - india.arie
stars in the sky - kari jobe
what i wouldn't do - a fine frenzy
sovereign over us - michael w smith
be still - kari jobe
far away - ingrid michaelson
for always - bebe & cece whininess
broken open - gordon mote

there's no big rhyme or reason to the songs that i've been clicking this week (there's never a reason to my music choices...), but as my 6-year-old & I lay in the heat, in front of a fan getting ready for bedtime stories, these songs have been keeping our minds off the the heat!

check these out on iTunes, or give them a listen on youtube, I'm sure you'll love them!

happy weekend!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

weekend love: succulents!

Yep, it's true! I love me some succulents. I think they look like magical, underwater roses. They are so beautiful and yes, they even rival my love of wildflowers (rival, but...maybe not beat!).

Some friends & I had a "favourite things party" tonight, and my "thing" was succulents. I love how many cute little ways they can be planted & displayed. I thought I'd share with you, some of the most inspirational, fun & cute! ways to plant these sweet little things! I hope you enjoy & find them as darling as I do.

try your succulents....
  • monogrammed! I can't wait to try this. my brother is building Jake a playhouse in our backyard and I think a big ol' "J" full of succulents outside would look too cute!
  • In driftwood! this photo makes me want to go drag a log off the beach and carve it out right now! how gorgeous is this?? 
  • amongst candles. my sister in law & I did this with our moms at Christmas time and they turned out just gorgeous. I was inspired, at first, by this video from Ingrid Nilsen (watch @ 4:48 to see the piece we did).
  • on a living wall. This is something that I might just be a little lazy and go buy, instead of make. We went to a greenhouse this weekend where they had several of these made up. Wow, were they ever stunning! A huge project to take on, for sure!
  • in tea tins! ♥ Be still, my heart; sweet little old tea tins full of blooming, bright succulents! Ahh, such simple, artistic beauty -- and, a pretty way to recycle, too! I'm using a teeny tiny tea tin from David's Tea right now to grow a cutting from one of my mom's hens & chicks!
  • oh my... succulents in a ladle! too cute and how simple? pop a nail up on your fence, stick a few minis, or one large succulent into the round ladle bowl and hang away! let the ooo's and ahh's and "aren't-you-clever's" begin! (try them in teacups, too!)
  • inside corks, on magnets! the description does it no justice, but check them out! I saw these cutest things first in another one of Ingrid Nilsen's youtube videos (see here, at 3:57). I love them & I think these will definitely be the next ones I try!
  • and, while succulents look absolutely gorgeous in all these unique & funky different places, you literally cannot go wrong by just choosing your favourite one and placing it, alone, in a simple little pot at on your windowsill!

See? Succulents! So many options; definitely fave-worthy! Stop by your local nursery & pick up one today! Happy weekending! 

Monday, May 18, 2015

closing a book

I just put down my pen after writing in the last line of the last page of my prayer journal. This journal went from February 2013 to today. In it are thoughts, concerns, words of thanks, fears, songs....prayers. All conversations with the Lord.

It's always special finishing a prayer journal. It's a beautiful time of review.

I started writing prayer journals right after I had my son and came out of a time of fear and anxiousness. In my heart, I was never still. (which is why I clung so much to my song, "Still", you can listen here). My heart, my mind, was always jumping from one possibility to the next, one "what-if" to the other, which left me feeling like I was just blowing around in a windstorm every day. Writing my prayers down really helped ground me when my mind couldn't be still enough to just talk, or even listen, to the Lord.

When I review my prayer journal, I picture the cartoon I once saw of a person blowing in the wind while holding onto a lamp post. The person is blowing left, right and centre, like a flag; holding onto their hat, their jacket whipping around them - unsure at best. But that lamp post? It's not going anywhere. That lamp post isn't afraid of the wind.

That's what I realize every time I write in a journal for the final time. Every time I go back and read what has been on my heart over the past years. God was there through the whole thing; steady, faithful & absolutely unwavering.

When I felt like things were crashing down, or was afraid they might; God was there, still & steady, for me. When I was rejoicing, He was still there. Every please I said, every thank you, every what-if...I could go on. He was there. He never changes.

Finishing a prayer journal is encouragement for me to live more sure of Christ. More sure of His love for me, more sure of His sovereignty, His faithfulness. Reminded that while I wake up every day and see a bright new section of canvas, He sees the whole picture. He is not afraid of what each day may bring, because He sees the story from beginning to end. Even when I come running to Him at every juncture, checking, asking, thanking, praying, hoping that everything will be okay... He never wonders. He never changes, wonders or worries, and yet He lets us. He lets us come to Him every day, every moment, any time. He is always there and even longs for us to come.

He knows me, He knows my thoughts, and, when reviewing my daily conversations with Him, I am just so assured that He's got me - right smack in the middle of His hands.

Exodus 14:13 "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today."