Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Faith Retake: The Soccer Game

Amy had the great idea to write about our real life experiences where we wish we had a do-over. So, we are calling this Faith Retake.  As Design Retake, we reimagine what something could look like in our homes. We wanted to see if we could relate that to our life experiences.

We will share about an experience where we “could’ve, should’ve,” but we didn’t. We ask you the reader to share what you might do or have done in a similar situation. The purpose of this exercise would be to encourage people that we all make mistakes, but that doesn’t have to be the end of the story.

soccer3So I pulled this experience from the archives of my Facebook page, circa 2014.

True Confessions of a Soccer Mom:

So last weekend my son’s team (Green Team) played against Yellow Team and it was a really close game. A Yellow Team mom yells: “That’s ok, we beat Green last year 3 to 0!”  Another soccer mom tells her quietly: ”’that is not good sportsmanship.” Yellow Team mom defiantly yells even louder “Like I said: We beat Green last year 3 to 0!!!!!” Then she turns to me and says “Your son is a bad person – he tripped someone on my team.”  

I don’t know if you’ve seen boys under 10 playing soccer – but it can be messy. (My son Andrew and a Yellow Team player both went for the ball at full speed – and the other player fell down). But I digress…

So she talks smack about my team and then my son?!? I say nothing to her, but instead imagine a nice pile drive to her angry face! (I said this was a “confession”). Andrew scores to tie the game. I say an inner-voiced “in yo face!” and went home justified in my anger. Is this as silly as it sounds? I now understand the negative connotation of “soccer mom.” My husband AJ says I shouldn’t attend any more games if I am going to get so worked up😳.

Fast forward to Tuesday night bible study when I hear from a woman in my group who was short with a nasty store clerk. As she leaves the store, she does a figurative and literal 180, apologizes to the store clerk for being short with her, says she is a Christian, says to the clerk she understands she may be having a bad day and asks if she could pray for her. Clerk accepts her on-the-spot prayers and begins to weep…  

So what does that have to do with soccer? I would like a do- over if I ever see Yellow Team mom and offer her a kindness of some sort because Jesus loves to turn situations on their heads.

What would you have done differently to turn this situation around?


Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

An Exciting New Adventure in Enough-ism

Back up. I need to stop for a minute because I need to tell you about this new adventure I’m on. It started with the idea of minimalism but, it is a journey toward what I’m going to call “enoughism.” By the end of this post, I hope you will know what I mean.

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So if you are following what I am doing in my office and the rest of my home, you might have a better understanding of why I am doing it. I’ll do my best to document this and provide the best steps and share any missteps I may make along the way.

I know what started this. I was looking for organizing and decluttering books. Let’s be clear: I do not like to read. So I was looking for visual guides within these books to show me how to organize all my crap. So I checked out a ton of them…

  • Declutter Anything : a room-by-room guide to cleaning your home and simplifying your life / Ed Morro
  • Decluttering Your Home : tips, techniques and trade secrets / Geralin Thomas.
  • New Order : a decluttering handbook for creative folks (and everyone else) / Fay Wolf ; illustrated
  • Clutterfree with Kids : change your thinking, discover new habits, free your home / Joshua Becker.
  • The Joy of Less : a minimalist guide to declutter, organize, and simplify / Francine Jay
  • Never too busy to Cure Clutter : simplify your life one minute at a time / Erin Rooney Doland.
  • The Nesting Place : it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful / Myquillyn Smith.
  • Unstuffed : decluttering your home, mind, & soul / Ruth Soukup

OH THE IRONY : having a stack of decluttering books cluttering up my floor!

Sadly, none of those books had what I was looking for. Mind you, I was hunting for a book to show me visually how to organize things. Most books were nothing but words… I KNOW I KNOW it’s a book! Duh. The others felted very cluttered… Crazy since it was supposed to help me do the opposite… In the midst of searching for on my public library site though I stumbled across Hoopla, which solved my not liking to read problem. Through my local library I am able to access and listen to a multitude of books for free! They even have an iphone app! Disclaimer – So if ever say I read a book, I’m technically lying because I probably listened to it. Except for a couple Harry Potter books that I tore through in a week. =) (Go to your local library and see what types of online audiobook options they have. If you still insist on a hard copy, at least you can check a book out at the library before you purchase it for yourself.)

So, did I tell you that I don’t like reading yet? I began looking up videos on Youtube on minimalism when I came across Joshua Becker’s video.

Because I am a Christian, I wanted to hear what he had to say and to see if living minimally was even biblical. It is… I’ll want to explore this some more later.

You know those stupid books that people say “changed their life?” I wouldn’t… and you know why… Well thanks to audio books I found one of those. The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker. I am actually going to go back to relisten to it again and again. What he says about organizing just blows my mind…

“If organizing your stuff worked, wouldn’t you be done by now?” —Courtney Carver

Organizing is not the answer! I needed something different altogether. It is all about moving past my mental roadblocks, immediate selfish, defensive arguments/thoughts and the guilt over so much money wasted…

I was basically hooked by his message. It just made so much sense. The truth was sitting right in front of me. But, I couldn’t see it because I had all this crap! People are definitely hungry for something different. I think that’s why his book and the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up are best sellers.

Our soul is crying out and screaming “enough! You can’t quite put your finger on it because we’re constantly bombarded with messages telling us “you need this to be happy.” All around us are the messages that you need the newer, the better, the faster. These are lies. And the longer we listen to them, we’ll lose our ability to recognize them as lies. We’ll just absorb them.

But, one of the first objections that I personally had to minimalism was the idea that minimalism = getting rid of everything. But minimal is not none people. I don’t even like the word minimalism. I don’t want the very minimum of what life offers. I want to live in the enough – just enough. Without excess.

So my journey is toward “enoughism.”

ENOUGHISM: Having just the things in your life that are useful, add value and bring you joy.

What does that look like for me? I’m figuring it out still. You will have to ask what this looks like for you.



In the coming weeks, I will be posting about finishing up my office, how I tackled my closet and my bathroom, and trying to figure out how this new adventure will look for our family of five.

This is my invitation to you. Join me on this journey/adventure – whatever you want to call it. The process of decluttering our lives is a P-R-O-C-E-S-S. Start small and see the benefits. Don’t start with the hard stuff – sentimental items or other people’s stuff.

Let’s start living in the enough – rather than being stuck in the rut of too much. In order to do this, we need to define what “enough” is for ourselves, our families and our lives. Let’s make enough our goal. If we don’t define what enough is, we continue to buy more, not knowing when to stop… Man! I have to say that was kinda deep. Right?! LOL I have to crack up because, if you knew me, I’m so not deep y’all…

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

When Less IS Really More

It’s funny when you begin to sense a theme in your life.

Mine has been:  GET RID OF THE CLUTTER.

I am tackling the physical clutter and hoping it’ll have positive impact upon the rest of my life as well. Saving precious time. Saving money. Saving energy. For things that really matter.

How did I come to this epiphany?

Part 1:  unnamed family member cannot find their keys or wallet (again) because they are wading through a sea of non-key and non-wallet items. Plus the wallet is black. I am offering to purchase in a bright neon color or to bedazzle existing wallet.

Part 2:  sweet friend Amy happens to share her story about how she is being intentional about simplifying her life and shares this video on minimalism.

Part 3:  we are getting rid of some older pieces of furniture that we have had since pre-marriage / early marriage, circa 12 years. We are hoping to consolidate pieces by purchasing a console table with storage, for example. Now that the kids are not spilling stuff 24/7 we are getting some grown up pieces and pieces in lighter fabrics – gasp!

Part 4:  you begin to clean out your parents’ home for them – and they’ve accumulated 51 years worth of stuff during their marriage. I want to be honorable when I speak about this, though. My parents were born in the early 30s and don’t believe in waste. Also they are elderly and have both recently suffered from illnesses (including multiple neck surgeries for my dad and two battles with cancer for mom). They are my heroes. So I don’t want to call them out for anything other than being awesome. If you are reading this mom and dad, I love you so, so much. We have smiled on numerous occasions on unexpected cleaning discoveries. My sister, Stella found some LPs[1] including Taste of Honey’s Sukiyaki A taste of honey – Sukiyaki (classic) 1981 – YouTube

Where was I? Brain clutter at critical mass. So anyway, yeah, I was getting this recurrent theme in my life. I hope that by getting rid of extra things in my life, I can be free to pursue the things I really love.

It seems just too simple: get rid of extra stuff – you know the stuff I am talking about -and you will

  • be less stressed,
  • spend less time shopping and cleaning and (looking for lost things) and
  • have more time, money and energy for the things that really matter.

What ‘really matters” may be different for everyone. Maybe you’d like to travel more. Maybe you’d like to spend more time with friends and family. Maybe you’d like to be able to give more to charity? Maybe you’d like to binge watch “Stranger Things” on Netflix.

One piece of advice from a newbie at this: strike while the iron is red hot. Don’t get inspired by the idea of it and then push it off to another time. Start by getting rid of one bag at a time, one room at a time.

In general, I haven’t heard a good reason for the opposing viewpoint which is “accumulate, accumulate and accumulate because it really will improve your life.” So this makes practical, mathematical and logical sense.

If you will indulge me for a moment, it makes great spiritual sense, too.Do not hoard

Can someone tell me if there is a mind-being-blown emoji? Because I need it real bad.

Write and tell us if you’ve experienced a simplifying and minimizing process. We’d love to hear about it!

[1] For any younger readers: Wikipedia -The long playing (nicknamed the LP; in full a 331⁄3 rpm microgroove) record is a vinyl record format, an analog sound storage medium. Introduced by Columbia in 1948, it was soon adopted as a new standard by the entire record industry. Apart from relatively minor refinements and the important later addition of stereophonic sound, it has remained the standard format for vinyl albums.

So this was the state of my office before I finally decided enough! Piles and piles of paper everywhere you look. I just can never stay on top of the paper clutter. So I’m going to go paperless with the help of The Paperless Home ebook by Donny and Abby Lawson.

Before I could do that though I wanted to start with a blank slate. So I pulled everything out of my office and wiped everything down. Goodbye dust bunnies!

It’s so nice to get rid of the clutter and have breathing room. But it was feeling a little too blank. There’s a delicate balance between minimal and sterile. The next step was to add my personality back into the space. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies getting to this point. Just to prove it. This is what happens when your office vomits into your family room…

Now comes the fun part! Only bring back into the room what you need and love.

I’m in the process to going minimal in my home and part of that process involves only having things you love and/or are useful in your home. This actually helped me get rid of a lot of junk that I’ve collected over many years. For the shelves – I started with my favorite art piece – So Much by ClareElsaesser. This gave me a jumping off point for the colors I wanted to use. The tones in the wood add warmth and the glass vases play off the blues from the print. This part is also tricky because it’s a lot of trial and error. I put stuff up, stepped back and asked myself if I loved it. If not, then it came back down. I scoured the house for things I love that didn’t have a home yet…


Up next is my office junk wardrobe which I’m planning on making into a hub for all office gizmos and gadgets…

This was our first year at the Haven Conference. Haven is an annual conference geared towards Home DIY/Home decor bloggers. We came ready to take on the blogging world head on!

What we loved about Haven:

  • The camaraderie of being surrounded by ladies of all ages and walks of life that loved to DIY as much as we do!
  • There was an abundance of wonderful session topics that made it hard to choose.
  • The Maven mentor groups were a great add and allowed a more intimate setting to connect with others and ask questions and share information.
  • Hearing people’s stories – how they started, their successes and struggles.
Double breasted jacket

Will never forget this number from the Glamor Farms Fashion show!

Abby Lawson - Just a Girl and Her Blog

Love all Abby’s openness and passion to help others!

Our Takeaway –

We came with certain goals in mind… At the top was – connecting with brands and learning how to grow and monetize our blog. But, by the time we got to the airport to go home, we realized something pretty huge – Blogging for a living is too crazy hard y’all!

Don’t misunderstand us… We still want to blog and make some $$$, but we want to do it without ALL the pressures of making it our “business.”

How did we get  to this conclusion? Honestly, we were feeling completely OVERWHELMED in all the sessions about what it takes to run a blog – from social media platforms, working with brands, to networking, and don’t get us started with SEO… But we LOVED the sessions that helped expand our creative skills like – Sketchup, Lightroom and photography, And the sessions that talked about real community and connecting with others was very encouraging.

So we’re taking the pressure off… We’re gonna blog just for fun! Whoa, right?! We’re still going to try to do things the right way and use the things we learned. But we’re taking our time, having fun and seeing where God leads us. Amen?!

So if you came away feeling overwhelmed, we feel ya! You’re not alone… We look back at most of our favorite blogs and I realized most of them just started out sharing for fun… We don’t want to skip that part. Our advice for new bloggers like ourselves is take a deep breath and just to blog slowly. You don’t have to do everything right out of the gate. You don’t even have to do it the ‘right’ way. Give yourself permission to screw up. Because you will… We’ll screw up together! Don’t worry about ALL the business side of things in the beginning. I think it’s so important to find out if blogging is even for you personally. BEFORE you invest your time, money and energy. If you don’t have a passion for it, it’ll end up being just another JOB that you’ll hate.

I’ll leave you with one of our favorite life verses – Matthew 16:26

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

So as we see it, you can bust your butt, have a bajillion followers and make millions, but would it have been all worth it – if you forfeit JOY for STRESS and FAMILY for MONEY?

So what’s next for us? We’re taking the scenic route to blogging. Even if we never “arrive” and become super A List bloggers, our hope is at the very least we would have enjoyed the journey and helped others along the way.

We are definitely not knocking those who’ve had immense success in the blogosphere. There are the rare few who may be able to balance all the priorities of life and run a successful blog simultaneously. Hats off to you ladies.

Our best to all those out there who are certain of their blogging destiny.  For those who are about to blog, we salute you! Thanks for taking the time to read our Haven 2016 Recap.


We hope to see you all again next year at Haven 2017!!!