How I Happy: Pre-Fall 2017 Edition

Once upon a time, I intended for this How I Happy type of post to occur monthly. And it did, for awhile. Then, I had a baby. My second to be specific. And ever since then, I’ve been- to put it mildly- transitioning.

I mean. Isn’t she CUTE?!

Still, it’s been one big transition, and it’s taken almost an entire year for me to find a new rhythm. I know. It’s totally normal to feel this way whenever you add a new member to your family. But certainly on my list of priorities, blogging fell so far down the list, it shared ranks with things like cleaning out our storage unit or going to the dentist. (So like, it wasn’t even on the list.)

So, how am I happying lately? Let me just shake the dust off my brain and I’ll tell you.

First of all, I’m happy- SO happy- that summer is almost over. OVER, I tell you! And now that we’re almost totally through September (how did that even happen?) pre-fall is thoroughly underway. Shortly to be followed by actual fall. (And there was much rejoicing. MUCH.) 

Okay, truth be told, the most summeriest parts of summer went extra quickly for me; well, not quickly so much as they basically didn’t even happen from my perspective. This is because I ended being sick with severe pneumonia for about a month…as in, it was so bad I was hospitalized. Yeah. It was horrible. The scariest thing was the shallow breathing that carried on for days before I finally realized I needed to go to the ER. Have you ever not been able to breathe normally? For days??? I mean, it was over a week before I finally felt able to breathe like a near human being again!

Look at this sweet baby. This was when she saw me for the first time after I’d been in the hospital a couple days; she just laid herself upon me. Oh my heart!!

However. We were so abundantly blessed by people from our church giving their time and- equally important- their food to help us get through all the mess. One of my good friends even brought me Starbucks and a bag of face wipes and dry shampoo and amazingness! (What do people do who don’t have church family? Who brings them casseroles when they can’t even inhale and exhale???) 

We were also super thankful to my mom who came over to kind of take turns with Ryan watching the girls and/or visiting me (and bringing me goodies and magazines), as well as my amazing mother-in-law who stayed with us the whole week after I was discharged from the hospital so I could, you know, actually recover and my kids would not, you know, go insane. So many good people.

Man. Thank you, good people.

Okay so that was all number one but I promise the others won’t be as long-winded. (Ha. That’s hilarious.) 

Secondly, I am happying because my 3-year-old daughter LOVES FALL AS MUCH AS ME. You guys. I can’t stress enough how adorable it is when my child recognizes fall decor, gasps audibly, and cries out with great jubilation that she sees fall stuff.


1.We went to Dollar Tree back in early August (you know how I feel about Dollar Treebecause of their fab faux-leaves and garlands and whatnot to replenish our fall faux-leaves and garlands supply, and as soon as we got home, she said excitedly, “After nap time I wan’ decorate wiv’ you for FALL!!!”

I was planning to wait awhile…but when she said that I was like, “OKAY YES LET’S DO THAT TOGETHER!!!!!!” So obviously, we had to decorate for fall even though it was still a billion degrees out. Who even cares?

Post Dollar-Tree Adventure Starbucks, naturally. Don’t even worry about that double chin. It’s all good.

2.The other day, I pointed out a tree with leaves already changing to yellow to her, and I said, “Do you know what that means?” And together, with equally crazy eyes and jubilant voices we simultaneously shrieked, “FALL!!!!!!!” after which she threw herself into my arms and cackled with alarming giddiness. It was awesome.

3.Following this revelation, she has proceeded to bring up said tree to every person with whom I have a conversation lasting longer than one minute. I JUST LOVE HER. (Except when she throws tantrums of apocalyptic proportion…but let’s not go there.)

Moving on to Happy #3… Sometimes, there are just people in your life whom you know are wonderful kindred spirits that totally get you and make your life better. So you impulsively get them a present. An awesome present, featuring a pink mug with a unicorn prancing upon it declaring, “Just Believe” which I think we can all agree is in equal parts hilarious and awesome and would make anyone feel like a boss in their life…

And then, when you tell this particular bestie you have a present for them, they’re like, “Whaaaaat????!!!! You don’t need to get me pres- oh. You know what? I actually have a present for you too.” And you get together and the present they give you IS SO EPIC AND AMAZING AND PERFECT YOU NEED BETTER WORDS TO DO IT JUSTICE.

Yeah. That totally happened to me. The bestie? Ella. The gift? As follows:

  • A veritable cornucopia of beautiful little faux-pumpkins from the Target Dollar Spot (that I had lamented my Target not having any because I’d wanted some!!!)
  • A BEAUTIFUL travel mug with gold leaves etched on it (also from the Target Dollar Spot because that place just don’t quit, y’all…well, except when they run out of faux-pumpkins.)
  • And- AND?! A PAWNEE GODDESSES T-SHIRT YOU GUYS. (Listen, I know I’m writing in all-caps a lot, but that is because I have big feelings so I’m using the big letters and I’m just owning it.)  The link right there is exactly the shirt I have!! Well, I think it is. It looks exactly like mine anyway, and it’s awesome!!!!

Other awesome things that happened over the last few months? Well, I quit nursing on August 30th. WOOHOO!!!! I know lots of mommas love nursing with their whole being and that is great for them, but y’all, I barely made it to eleven months. I was already over it when Evie hit 4 months, so basically someone should throw me a parade for doing it as long as I did.

Also, in August, I had the honor of being commissioned to paint a Scripture mural on a wall at the church where I grew up. That was SUCH a fun project!!!

Fyi, I based this pretty closely on a design I found on Pinterest by Cory Say. There were some things I changed, but overall it’s very similar.

(I also got to see Andrew Peterson in concert that same weekend, but was too exhausted to think of taking any pictures while I was there.)

I also acquired some Apple Cider hand soap by Mrs. Meyers and it is The Best Cider-scented Anything in Creation (except maybe actual cider). Go get you some.

Last but not least, I got to go to Experience Conference in Orlando a couple weeks ago; it was SO good and so life-giving for both my husband and me. We’re both really passionate about creative arts and worship ministry (and ministry in general, but that was the focus of this conference) and this marked the first opportunity since our girls were born to get away together! Admittedly, though it wasn’t a relax by the beach vacation or something, it was 100% the most relaxing thing we’ve done this year.

I even got to go to a songwriting pre-con workshop!!! YOU GUYS. Along with somewhere between 25-30 others who participated, I got to meet and connect with actual industry songwriters including Jon Egan, Michael Farren, Krissy Nordhoff, Paul Baloche, and Andy Rozier. IT. WAS. AMAZING.

Not only did we get to listen to them review and give helpful (and gracious) feedback to a handful of songs submitted by attendees, we got to break up into groups and do a co-write with them. I had never gotten to co-write with anyone, which is actually highly unusual in the real songwriting world. Naturally, I felt a degree of apprehension. But even though I’m so green to cowriting, I absolutely loved every second of it. Do you ever do something and you are just the most fully alive version of yourself when you do that thing? That’s how I feel about singing/songwriting.

Four other attendees and myself got to write with Andy Rozier and a fellow songwriter and friend of his from their church, Harvest Bible Church. I really could just write about this experience for a whole day, but I’ll just say that the Holy Spirit moved in many ways. For me, I felt a distinct shift in my posture regarding songwriting, and really life as a whole.

My favorite thing Andy said was that God didn’t give us the gift of songwriting to bless the church. He gave us the gift of songwriting to spend time with us. Wow. I would argue that that statement carries truth for many parts of our lives and isn’t limited to songwriting alone. He also said that when you write a song, it’s like building a boat: sometimes it’s a big boat that will carry a lot of people like “Revelation Song” for example, and other times it’s a boat that’s only for you and Jesus.

These two statements alone would’ve been worth traveling all the way to Orlando. Because they’ve clarified my vision and my approach to the creative faculties God has put inside me.

Someday, I’d love to share the song we wrote, but I don’t have a recording of that ready yet.

Clearly, much has transpired in the last several months! And today, just so happens to be my precious baby girl’s first birthday!! But I’ll be doing a separate post about that because there may or may not be a thousand pictures involved…

This is a small space, this blog where I write. And I have had to let go of writing regularly here for the past year. I’m here to tell you, it’s ok to let go of creative pursuits for a season. I find myself in a beautiful season, but one that requires a lot of fluidity; I work a handful of jobs as well as working on a handful of hobbies. But most importantly, I’m hanging out with an awesome guy and taking care of some sweet little girls that won’t be little for long.

If you read my posts regularly here, I hope you’ll forgive my absence this year. Here’s hoping this year I’ll be able to write a little more often! (I miss it; for one thing, it helps me remember my life a whole lot better!)

This was a long and semi-scattered How I Happy, but I do hope you enjoyed it! Here’s to new seasons- literal and figurative. And let’s hope fall gets here, already!




How the Target Dollar Spot Saved my Sanity

I don’t remember if I was this scatter-brained or not the first time I was pregnant, but lately? I can’t remember squat. And it’s bad. Like, I’m an adult. An adult. I can’t be this flakey. I’m not even in my early twenties any more.

I’m in my late twenties. {Ooooh such a big difference…} But seriously, it feels like I’m walking around in a fog of knowing I’m constantly forgetting about 12 or more things. Or- now that another baby is using up all my brain cells- it’s like the tenth of the cells left in my brain couldn’t keep up with the maintenance of a suburban, 2500-square-foot brain, so they moved into a 250-square-foot tiny house. {But not for the reasons of “redefining what successful is” or because it, “sets us apart from everybody else” like the hipster couples on that new HGTV show. Maybe pregnancy has made me extra snarky, but does anyone else roll their eyes when they say stuff like that? I mean, they are moving into a tiny house, but it’s still nicer than what the other 99% of the world lives in…and often still bigger. I’ll stop there before I digress further into opinions only I care about.}

Anyway. As a result of my tiny-house brain and the lone two or three brain cells left to man it, I found myself in desperate need of a solution to keeping track of my responsibilities, dreams, passions, and generally remembering what’s happening today.

I needed categories of everything. And I needed to see them. On a wall. Probably the wall by my desk- yes, that would do nicely. Maybe on little dry erase boards? Cute ones, if possible?

Enter the Target Dollar Spot.

I’ve spoken many times of the virtues of Target, the Dollar Spot being on it’s own separate level of awesome. So, with my supportive husband {who is a fan of any grip on sanity I can maintain} and toddler waiting generously in the car, I entered the home of the glorious red bullseye.

And here, I present the fruits of my 15-minute perusal {really, I need a more aggressive term. It was like an archeological dig but really fast. Speed-dig? Someone out there with more brain cells than me could come up with something better.}

clean slate 2

There it was… all fresh and clean and ready for me to dump contents of my life upon it.

Clean Slate

The calendar was, admittedly, not from the Dollar Spot. But people, it was $10! {I know, it’s April and I’m just now getting a 2016 calendar. Don’t judge me.}

And here it is after it’s first glorious week of my brain-dumping upon it:

brain dump corner

Let’s back it up so you can see the whole picture.

partial view corner

And now, for a close-up.

brain dump

I finally found a cute place for that cute sign my awesome husband surprised me with months ago! And I added flowers for obvious reasons.


chair side view

I can hear Julie Andrews now… “In my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be!”

Okay, let’s back it up one more time, so you can appreciate the full splendor of this brain-dump area. {I wish I had a more aesthetically pleasing term for it… It’s not really a Command Center like you see on Pinterest. It’s kind of like my planner. Except it’s a wall. Wall-Planner? I’ll take suggestions.}

the whole corner

I’m sure I’m not the first person to do something like this. But it was so immensely gratifying to come up with it, find perfect mini-dry erase boards, that super cute calendar, and see it actually work for my poor, under-staffed brain.

It’s not perfectly coordinated or magazine-worthy. But it’s pretty and it works. 

I’m so thankful for you, Target Dollar Spot. Don’t ever change. {Except do, because I love when you have new stuff.} And I’m thankful for my husband, who loves me enough to let me put girly stuff like this on the wall in my office/our bedroom.

Doily Wall {OR: Office & Bedroom Part 1}

In the spirit of risk-taking, I took- well- a risk. Not a huge one, but a risk nonetheless.

You know how The Nester made her bedroom look so cute and chic and lovely by putting white duct tape all over the wall behind their bed? Well, I just love the unexpected brilliance of that idea.

It’s one of those giving-yourself-permission-to-try-something things. And again, shouldn’t our homes be safe enough places to risk and be vulnerable and put duct tape on things just because we can in order to see what the effect is???

Currently, I’m reading this book called Creating Space: The Case for Every Day Creativity by Ed Cyzewski, and he talks about this same theme of permission and safety within creativity, how it’s crucial for most if not all creatives.

It’s hard to give yourself permission when you are so used to striving for perfection. But for one thing, imperfection, taking a risk, “failing”… aren’t those all part of the creative process? Cyzewski declares that they are. And I agree. Plus, isn’t imperfection far more achievable?

“…failure is not the same as a waste. Every attempt to let your creativity out is vitally important practice.” – Cyzewski (Page I-don’t-know-because-I’m-reading-it-on-my-iPad. But it’s in the section on safety.)

So, I risked taking a risk this week by doing something imperfect: I made a doily wall. Which is pretty much what it sounds like, insomuch as there are doilies on my wall.

I’d stop ever-so-briefly at the Target $1 spot (which is one of my favorite places) the other day, and managed to not spend a million dollars. In fact, I only spent $1 (plus tax, obviously) and bought a bag of these mint green doilies. I thought to myself, “Self. Those are some adorable mint green doilies. And they’re a dollar. Treat yo’ self.”


And thus began my brilliant scheme to do something awesome with them. It’s simple. I literally just took several pieces of scotch tape and applied to the back of each one like this:

doily tape

(Am I a DIY pro or what?!?!) And then I just stuck them all over our bedroom wall behind the bed. Sort of with the idea of grouping them closer together in the lower left corner and then scattering up and outward.

Doily Wall 2

We don’t have a headboard or cool, rustic window frames or anything like that at the moment, so I thought this might be a fun way to do something interesting behind our bed.

It’s kind of fun, right? And it only took me, like, 20 minutes total. I probably could’ve spent more time figuring out spacing and whatnot, but I’m ok with it being imperfect.

office andmy side

Here’s sort of a different view.


Remember, folks, we live in an apartment, so we’ve had to be creative fitting lots of furniture in this space. The bedroom also doubles as my office, as you can see here.

Later this week, I’ll be sharing Part 2 of these Doily Wall shenanigans! Namely:

a) we’ll find out if I still like it in two days, and

b) how do I cram an office/art space into this room and somehow remain organized so that my supplies are accessible?

So, stay tuned!

I’m still deciding if I even like these doilies on the wall, but man it’s gratifying to do something fun that is possibly THE CHEAPEST update of any kind that I could do. What do y’all think? Is the doily wall heinous? Sort of pretty? Janky and redkneck looking? The most brilliant breakthrough of design history thus far?

And do you have any brilliant design breakthroughs you’ve employed in your space? (Also, if you live in an apartment or small space and have awesome organizing skills- specifically as it pertains to art supplies- let me know, k? K.)