Let’s be honest, I’m not exactly thrilled about the wrinkles under my eyes or the not-so-perfect-alignment of my once perfectly straight teeth.Ashworth-81

Alas, we are all in the process of getting older, and lately I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve learned in those colorful years that are now sweet memories in scrapbooks and iPhoto albums.  My ponderings produced this list of things I would tell my younger self if someone gave me the ability to go back in time and give her a few good nuggets of advice.

The list is not meant to be preachy.  It is directed to myself, after all.  :)  And trust me, it’s based on the things I wish I’d done differently….plus a few things I can say, by the grace of God, I’ve managed to not be terrible at.


What I would tell my younger self….

This post is dedicated to GW with love.


 Be a fan.  

There will be people in your life who really go out on a limb and pour their heart into a dream–writing a book, pursuing a music career, having lots of kids, or starting a business.  Be the friend who “likes” their Facebook page, leaves customer reviews on their business website, and pre-orders their book or album.  Give to their kickstarter campaigns and babysit their kids.  Be a fan.  We all need encouragement and small gestures change people’s lives.

Just say no.

To drugs, sure, but also sometimes to people.  ;)  You don’t have to nurture relationships with every human who wants one with you–some relationships are unhealthy, unsustainable, just for a season, or simply not meant to be.  You don’t have to stay in touch with old boyfriends.  You don’t have to say yes to everyone who asks of you.

Assume the best in people.

If you don’t know someone’s intentions, assume the best of them until you have concrete evidence otherwise.  We all have different ways of communicating and people often don’t realize how they’re being perceived.  Assume the best.

On conflicts…

When a conflict arises with someone, seriously consider confronting her.  If you are not willing to confront, then do not gripe about the unresolved issue (even if that griping is just to yourself) since YOU decided not to try to resolve it.  If you decide not to confront her, don’t expect her to change;  you’ve got to own up to your decision and work on yourself–what are YOU going to do to handle this situation in a healthy way?  Or maybe you decide it IS worth addressing with the other person in hopes of better understanding each other–that is awfully hard to do but also gives the other person a fair chance to explain.  Yes, it can be awkward, but it can also bring healing and not only save the relationship but even strengthen it.

On boys and sex…

For some reason the world makes it look like everybody is sleeping with lots of people and it’s normal and awesome.  I can’t say from experience that that lifestyle is not awesome, but nothing could be more awesome than no STDs, no giving your body away to someone who wasn’t really committed and oops-changed his mind, and marrying someone who practiced self-control while waiting for you and brings that same integrity and devotion to your marriage.  God can redeem anything, but you will never regret doing things God’s way.

Buy a cheap pocket calendar…

and jot down a note every few days of something you wouldn’t normally record.  Just little every day things that brought a laugh or made you think.  In a few years, the calendar will bring back details you otherwise never would have thought about again.  You can also write notes to your hubby (or anyone!) about silly things that happen and give the calendar to him a few years later.

“Today you ran over my foot with your car.”

(Yes, my husband ran over my foot with his car).    :)

Give freely.

That little tug on your heart to give something away means you should probably just do it.  It’s amazing how God honors the cheerful giver.  Letting go of stuff, including money, is also a great practice in reminding yourself that it’s not really yours anyways, and things don’t have any eternal value.

Keep it or pitch it.

It’s insane how much CRAP you can accumulate in life.  Where does it all come from?!  When you move to a new place, you will be glad you didn’t hold onto every little thing.  But some things really are worth holding onto, so establish a super easy place to put things you want to keep forever, and be in the constant practice of asking, “What are the chances I’m ever going to need or want this again?”  Slim?  Dump it.


- A book about breastfeeding before you have a baby.

- The Bible, every day that you can.  You can even set little rules for yourself that are just between you and God as a way of showing him he comes before anything else.  No Instagram unless you’ve read your Bible, for example.

- “Ruthless Trust” by Brennan Manning.


- someone who is going to be a really, really good dad.

- someone who handles conflict well.  Misunderstandings, tensions, and some fighting are all going to be a part of your married life no matter who you marry.  Watch carefully how your boyfriend handles problems when they come.  Does he avoid?  Downplay?  Blame?  Scream?  Or does he want to work through it lovingly, deepening your relationship and building your trust?  Now you work on being a person who handles conflict like that, too.

- someone who has a track record of self-control.  We live in a “if you feel it then do it” world.  You want to be married to someone who isn’t going to do everything they might feel like doing in a given moment (flirting with someone who isn’t their wife, for example), and someone who does some things they don’t feel like doing.  (Laundry, anyone?)

Take spending breaks…

 on home decorations (or whatever you tend to spend your dough on.)  Look at what you already own and haven’t put up in your home yet.  Either put it all into use or get rid of it before you buy more.  There will always be more things to buy.  A buying break is also a great reminder that it’s all just stuff and you could go without it.

Establish a day that is your Sabbath.  

This doesn’t have to mean you kick up your feet and veg all day, but keep the day holy by refraining from engaging in certain kinds of work that you know you need rest from.  Make it the day in the week you intentionally try to do something you enjoy and remind yourself that God is good while you do it.

Don’t think life *really* starts later…

….after high school, once you’re in college, once you’re in a serious relationship,  once you’re in a great career, once you’re married, etc.

If you’re alive, life has begun.  God has good things for you wherever you are, and some of those good things won’t be there, or they’ll change, once you get to that next step.

Wear your retainer.

Just wear it.

Be honest.

 It’s such a peaceful way to exist.

Ask for career help.  

If you’re going to pursue a hard-to-get-into career, you need help.  You need to seek people to mentor you, bounce ideas off you, critique you, and pray for you.  Be brave and just ask.

Listen to older people.

Their history is a gift to you, and you listening is a gift to them.  And one day, you will be all reflective and want to share some of your wisdom with younger people, too.   You might even write a blog post about it.  ;)

Leaving a comment is easy (and rewarding!)  Which of these ideas was most interesting to you?  What would you tell your younger self?

One lucky commenter will receive a hand-picked goodie bag from me!  Winner randomly selected July 10th, 2015.

I have a confession to make.  As much as I really do love Christmas, I find it difficult, every year, to really and truly make the holiday about Jesus.  There is just so much going on–some of  it Jesus-related, most of it not–and in reflection, I’ve realized I rarely feel closest to Jesus in December.  I give you a lame birthday party, Jesus, and I am sorry for that.

Now my thoughts turn to Easter.

Easter editedThe Easter bunny, God bless him, just doesn’t feel as distracting as Santa, does he?  I enjoy that Easter candy comes in small eggs rather than the large, wrapped presents of Christmas.  I enjoy that the Easter bunny keeps a peaceful distance and normally deposits his goodies in my back yard versus Santa’s secret intrusion into my house.  I enjoy that in the midwest, we are anticipating and waiting for a break from the cold as we contemplate the darkness of sin while we wait for our Savior to abolish it.  And to be honest, who doesn’t love a bunny?  I love that the Easter bunny is a bunny.  


Palm leaves folded into crosses make for a snazzy seasonal touch in my living room.

Easter feels like a quieter time.  No big office Easter party.  No Easter cards being made on Shutterfly with expedited shipping to hopefully get them out on time.  Maybe we should fault our culture for not celebrating Easter with more pazazz, but I’m actually seeing a major plus here.  Without the distractions of lights and trees and getting our houses ready for the big Christmas Eve dinner, maybe there will actually be time to sit with Jesus and hear the story God so wholly invites us to interact with and understand.


Pretty much in love with my Palm Sunday palm branch tacked to the wall.

I have another confession.

 As I read from the book of Matthew today about the events leading up to his death, there were details that I had forgotten about.  Judas’ suicide hit me with a new sting.  An earthquake, rocks splitting, tombs opening–wow–such drama.  I heard the crowds saying “crucify” and Jesus surrendering to a fate he would never have chosen for himself.  I found myself saying “It’s almost too much” out loud.  Reading how the most loving man was treated in the most horrific way is almost too much for me.

While my eyes well as I type this even now, I am grateful for the ability to feel something when I read the Easter story, because it is perhaps the most beautiful, dark, hope-inducing and mind blowing story I can think of.  And, frankly, it’s a lot more interesting than the Christmas story.

It’s not too late to have a heart that’s ready to celebrate Easter this Sunday.  I invite you to prepare by refreshing yourself with what really happened in the days leading up to the great Christian holiday.  I think you’ll be glad to interact with the story before Sunday, and I think you’ll be glad to interact with it straight from the Bible itself.

This is where you could start:

Matthew 26:14-75
Matthew 27:1-66

This is not a post about how I secretly write songs all the time.  Or about how I’m not a confident singer and don’t have the musical ability to really do anything with them.  Both are true.

Also, the song at the end isn’t really about plumbing.  Sorry, that part’s only half true.

When my husband was my boyfriend, he wanted me to sing for him.  It was not an outrageous request, but I refused for a long, long time to even sing along to the radio with him in the car.  I was very guarded with my voice, and for a long time I didn’t know why.  I’m not sure I’ve landed on the full answer, but I know part of the reason is because it would hurt so terribly much to be told “you’re not that good.”  So singing and songwriting became something I did only for myself.  Because my self was safe and I really liked that.

Loving someone is never a safe thing to do.  Because I love my husband so much, he is the one human with the potential to hurt me more than anyone else.  Yet, real love, and I don’t just mean romantic love, but real, honest-to-goodness selfless, serving, grace and mercy filled love, brings out the best in people.

Ben Ashworth, your love has certainly brought out the best in me.  Every time I hum in the kitchen, sing to our daughter, or leave my song lyrics laying out openly in the house, you have the proof.  True love casts out fear, and I have never been so fearless about being myself than when I’m with you.

This is not a full song, or poem, or really anything that great to be honest.  It’s just my scribblings from the past few days that I’m sharing because I’m not afraid to.  And I would like to.  And it’s Valentine’s Day for crying out loud.  ;)


trash bag liners

that never seem to fit,

we’ve called up the plumber

and the leak won’t quit.

little mundane things, drive me insane things.


Would i trade you in for another one?


Would i cry every day if God forbid you would go?


i know

it can sound cliche.

These are the good old days.


wherever you are, wherever i am

you’ve got my heart and i’ll hold your hand.

thank you

thank you

thank God for you.


we dream of changing some

and throwing some away,

but these are the good old days.

we’re living in the good old days.


smile at my wrinkles

laugh at bad jokes.

tell me ‘bout Cali

growing up with your folks.

two plumbers and our sink still drips

two wedding bands mean we’re not calling it quits


mugs on the counter

toys on the floor,

God knows I love clean

but I love you more.

Let’s talk

Let’s walk around our house

and say

thank you

thank you

house, we thank God for you.

spouse, I thank God for you.


tear drops on pillows,

prayers while we’re breaking.

confession and frowning,

deeper love in the making.

Water still dripping from the damned kitchen sink

But Water can wash us more than we think.


so we dance on the egg shells

while walking on stilts.

accusing is killing,

laughter rebuilds.

Our years tell our stories,

the stories amaze,

And these are the good old days.


Thank God for you

in these good, good days.

The other day when my husband came back from a run (yes, an outdoor run in January in Illinois!)  I said, “Weren’t you cold?”  His answer:  ”No, I was dressed for 3 degrees and it was 10!”  Sadly, the following days just got colder and colder.

How do I survive the cold?  Not through exercise, I’ll tell ya that.  For me, it’s hot beverages all the way.  (Although to be honest, I drink hot cocoa year round.)  Try not to judge me too much for being passionate about hot drinks.  :)

Baby, it’s cold outside!  Grab a cup’a something warm that makes you smile and enjoy!

{hot cocoa}

Well, let me start by saying Starbucks sells the best hot cocoa mix in the galaxy.  It’s not cheap, but it is just the best.  I’ve bought it in packet form at Target and Costco, or at most Starbucks you can buy a large container.

I’ve also been really happy with Caffe D’Vita’s organic hot cocoa mix from Costco.  Don’t you feel warm and cozy just looking at it?  The hand-knit scarf helps, too:

blog drinks cocoa

I am now a little afraid to look at the ingredients in many standard hot cocoa packets.  I was personally not too stoked to see artificial flavoring in Swiss Miss.  It just seems so unneccessary–and there can be a lot of other head-scratching ingredients in there, too.  

A very yummy and ingredient-safe option is to buy dutch cocoa (look in the baking section or in the international food aisle) and mix it with your own sugar.  Add to a cup of steamy milk and you’re good to go.  Like, really good.  I like this route because you control how sweet the drink is, and you also know the only ingredients are cocoa, water or milk, and sugar.  In the words of my brother-in-law after taking a sip, “That is REALLY good!  How did you make it?”  It’s really easy!

{let’s talk Starbucks}

I am caught in the tension of loving and missing the local coffee shop and loving and embracing the world-consuming Starbucks.  I make it a point to shop local when I can, but I do whole-heartedly love Starbucks, and I am not ashamed.  ;)

My favorite Starbucks drink is their soy green tea latte–extra hot.

blog drinks starbucks

(A word to the wise–If you drop your cup on your kitchen floor, your Starbucks mermaid might even become a pirate!) If you like green tea, you should try it.  It’s very green and some say it tastes like grass.  To me, it tastes like heaven, and I’m allergic to grass, so…..yeah.  And there’s just something about soy in this drink.  Mmmm.

If you like Starbucks and haven’t registered a Starbucks gift card yet, you really should.  You can buy yourself a gift card, go online and register it, and Starbucks will load a free drink onto your card every year for your birthday.  You’ll occasionally get special coupons via email, codes for discounts, and opportunities to earn free drinks by taking customer satisfaction surveys.

Oh, you want to send me a Starbucks gift card?  I wouldn’t stop you!

{trader joe’s}

Trader Joe’s makes a simply divine chai tea latte mix.  I have yet to meet a person who didn’t think it was the cat’s pajamas.

blog drinks chai

And, while not as good as Starbucks, Trader Joe’s matcha green tea latte mix is pretty good, too.  While you’re at Trader Joe’s, pick up some coffee.  Most of it is excellent and reasonably priced, plus you have the option of organic and fair trade (at reasonable prices, even!) if that’s your thing.

{home is whenever I’m with you…..or with a cup of something hot in my hand}

I might make that phrase into some wall art.  Is it just me or am I getting funnier and funnier?!

Ok, looking to make something low-budget and at-home?  Try using an electric frother (available for super cheap at Ikea and pictured below, or there are tons of options on Amazon) to froth up some warm half and half or creamer.

blog drinks frother

I pour my creamer into a cup, put it in the microwave for 20 seconds or so, froth it for 20 seconds or so, and then pour in hot, freshly brewed coffee and sugar if desired.  Foam = fancy and delish!  Add a dash of coffee syrup (mine is from Target) and you are golden.  blog drinks syrup

Another fun idea is to make half a mug of hot cocoa, then cap your drink off with hot coffee.  Poor man’s mocha, but it works!

Feeling extra fancy?  Pour some heavy cream into your electric mixer and beat until it looks like whipped cream.  Experiment with adding a little sugar and vanilla extract, and for best results, chill your bowl and whisk before starting.  It is 100% yummier than whipped cream from an aerosol can.  Promise.

Hot water with honey and lemon is very soothing when you’re feeling under the weather, or if you’re just feeling cold and want something natural to cozy up to.

When it goes on sale at Target, I seldom pass up a Tazo tea concentrate.  Half a glass of milk (dairy, soy, almond…) and half tea concentrate, it doesn’t get much easier than that.  It’s extremely cost effective, too, since the whole box of concentrate costs about as much as a medium sized drink at Starbucks.

blog chai concentrate

Ladies and gents, thank you for strolling the Hot Drinks Hall of Fame.

What keeps you warm these days? 


This story hasn’t stopped percolating in my heart since I heard it.  Enjoy and be blessed by the experience a friend of mine had recently…..


I was honored to meet a woman from our church today who I wish could preach a sermon to us all. She told me she was supposed to die of cancer years ago, but here she still is today…

She used to be such an active woman and would use her hobbies to connect with people and share her faith, but for the past few years she’s been confined to her home as the disease has taken its toll. “What good am I, Lord? I can’t do anything.” She moped, she felt sorry for herself….but then God told her “Are you done complaining, yet? You can still write to people and call them on the phone, encourage them.” So she told me she repented of her complaining – she with terminal cancer – and started finding purpose in her limitations.

Then, a while later, she really thought she was going to die with just months left to live.  Her eyes lit up as she told me, “I decided to have a big party and give away EVERYTHING so I could enjoy watching people have so much fun with it all!” She cut her wardrobe down to just a few pieces of clothing. She gave away decorations and home furnishings. She gave away all her jewelry and favorite things to ladies she knew would love them. “I had so much FUN – it was just a delight to give away all my stuff and see people enjoy it.”

But now, she’s lived much longer than expected and she laughed at the fact she is still wearing the same few clothes, in a pretty bare house, and Christmas is coming but she already gave all her Christmas decorations away.

In tears, she told me how her view of God has changed so much.  I asked her what she meant and she said “Now, I know He just holds me close. And I just want heaven more and more desperately every day.”


Thank you to this woman for sharing her story with my friend, and thank you so much to the friend who shared it with me.  May we be encouraged to know God is writing beautiful things with our weaknesses, and that in our times of trial, we have the incredible opportunity to more intimately feel Him hold us close.  May we strive for the things of God as desperately and passionately as He strives after us.

1.  Give it a good finger poke.SONY DSC

2.  Decide it’s pretty good.

3.  Face plant.SONY DSC

4.  Live the dream.SONY DSC

5.  Do not share with Mom or Dad.SONY DSC

6.  Do not share with even your cutest friends.


7.  You are a cupcake princess warrior who shares with no one.


There is no doubt about it–I love to decorate.

Anyone remember when I hosted the favorite spaces contest?  I loved peeking in on some of your most inspiring nooks and crannies.

I have recently moved from a one bedroom apartment to a 4 bedroom home!  (Well, 3 bedrooms and an office).  And guess what that means for my babykins?  Her own bedroom!  And guess what that means for me?  Decorating!


Planning and dreaming and Pinteresting little Daphne’s new room has been a journey–a mini spiritual journey.

 If she is anything like her mother, beauty will matter to her.  

If she is anything like her mother, the way colors and textures complement each other to create atmosphere might be a way she sees God in the world.  

If she is anything like her mother, a vibe will hold the potential for creation, and creation will feel important because it is.

Of course she may grow to be just like her father.  In that case, we’ll scrap all this and tape multiplication tables all over the walls. (Love you, Benny!  Aren’t I super funny?)

It’s kind of odd designing a room for a child whose taste you haven’t yet discovered.  So in my mind, decorating her room became a call to share with her some inspiration of things I hope for her.  The journey launched when I really started thinking about what it is I want to say to my daughter.  What do I want her to know?  In five years she might want a Cinderella theme or a puppy dog theme or a Winnie the Pooh theme but right now I get to pick the style of room she falls asleep in every night and drags toys around in during the day…..

I Pinterested as I thought about it.

Check out this charming, beautifully organized space….

blog nursery1

{via thebooandtheboy.com}

I became infatuated with the idea of a teepee or tent and the play that could happen there….

blog nursery3

{via mycakies.com}

My love for vintage was confirmed…..

blog nursery2

{via modernkiddo.com}

I realized simple is wonderful….

blog nursery4{via Sharp Tooth Studio}

And I just plain smiled when I saw this….

blog nursery5{via Billy & Scarlet}

My time of reflecting and pondering Daphne’s room kept coming back to one word.


Not necessarily with periods between each letter but I felt like that added pizazz to the reveal.

Since Daphne was first born, I’ve found myself mentioning adventure to her quite a bit.  Often when we leave the house I’ll ask, “Do you want to go on an adventure?”  And let me tell you what–she always wants to!  That girl loves to get out and about.

I hope for my daughter the ability to see life as a playground.  I hope she comes to know Christ died for freedom.  That she embraces the attitude of an adventurous spirit.  It takes an active sort of bravery to see the good and assume the best in people, but I hope Daphne finds it to be a most rewarding way to live.

Being pregnant with D and bringing her into the world–adventure.

Life with a baby, a new house, and balancing work, rest, and play–adventure.

Walking with God….all the places he’s led me…..Hope College, Africa, the world of Chicago theatre, becoming a wife–ultra adventure.

I’m not adventurous in the ways of extreme camping or risky stunts, but I think adventure is an attitude.  To me, adventure means there is good to be done out there if you dare to go for it.  It means that yes, there will be trying times of uncertainty but those challenges are not without purpose or hope.  Sometimes adventure is dreaming big and working hard, other times it’s showing grace and playing hard.  And….other times….it’s accepting that life isn’t what you thought it’d be….and saying well…that’s ok…..it’s an adventure!

So, I’m looking around for adventure-y ideas….

blog nursery6

{via jenniferrizzo.com}

blog nursery7

{via aldariart.etsy.com}

blog nursery8

{via ChildrenInspire}

And I can’t wait to reveal the before and afters of her room very soon!  

Thank you, as always for reading.

Keep it foolish!

Does this ever happen to you?

A somewhat minor event in my life will, for whatever reason, be repeatedly brought to my mind.  I have two of these little stories floating around  in my head, and lucky you, you get to hear them!

#1.  This story makes me look rather dumb, but I still think it’s a good one.  After church I was chatting with a friend and the topic of our conversation moved to his wife.  I knew the two of them had three kids and the man’s wife was a registered nurse, but I was curious if she was currently working as an RN or was a stay at home mom.  I asked, “Does your wife work?” to which he responded, without pause or hesitation, “Yes, she works at home.  She works hard every day.”

In print that may read like he was shaming me for posing the question so poorly.  Yeah, I felt pretty unintelligent, but his delivery was nothing but kind and sincere.  Even more so than a shout out to the labor-intensive work of being a stay at home parent (whoop whoop!), what has really stuck with me is the opportunity he took to build up his wife.  He jumped at the chance to praise the work she does, no matter that she wasn’t within earshot.  How powerful and important–I love it.

#2.  Recently a girlfriend of mine preached at our church.  I had the privilege of sitting at just the right angle to see her husband’s profile as she spoke.  The few times I glanced in his direction throughout the sermon, he was simply beaming at her.  You could almost see rays of pride radiating from him.  I had to smile–I found it so encouraging that his support was silent, yet so visible.

As a married person, I frequently pray for my single friends, wanting them to experience this nifty institution called marriage if it’s God’s plan for them.  But single people, will you please pray for the married folk, too?  There are attacks on marriages right and left, and we need help remembering to jump at opportunities to support each other with words (….she works hard every day….) and deed (….supportive smiles from the sidelines).

It’s hard to be married.

And please believe me, I know it’s hard to be single.  I remember.

I guess it’s just hard to be alive.

So everybody just pray for everybody, ya hear?  ;)

There’s the pattering of little feet after we ring our friends’ doorbell;  we’re saying “hi” loudly so the family’s two elementary-aged boys can hear us through the door, and, I’m sure like all good brothers would, there is a short-lived fight over who gets to open the door for us.

The boys are happy to see me and my husband, but the big delight for them comes from saying hi to our little five month old baby who is tucked under an owl hat.


The boys kind of think she’s the cat’s pajamas and I kind of love it.

At one point during our lovely dinner visit, I had to remove some bird beanie babies from Daphne’s lap so I could pick her up.  The boys’ mom said, “Oh, those are the boys’ favorite toys!”  And because I’m a first time and forever emotional mom, my heart swelled.  Aww….they wanted to share their best toys with my pumpkin.

Then there was the real highlight of the evening when the six year old boy reveals a handwritten list he wants to show us.  ”These are the babies I pray for” he says.  There are 12 babies on the list and the dad goes on to explain that his boys just love babies–the idea for the prayer list was completely their own.


I glanced at the paper–my little honey bunch is right at the top.  :)

And that’s it.  I mean, that’s pretty much all there is to the story.  These two energetic, adorable little boys who love all things Star Wars, video games, and karate, want to pray for and share their favorite beanie babies with my helpless, not-able-to-play-back, little girl.

And it just makes me think….

if there is perhaps no better, more direct way for someone to speak love to me than to be good and loving towards my daughter….

then how must God feel when we are good to each other?  After all, we share this planet with His children.  Light bulb on, I tell ya!


When considering the “love your neighbor as yourself” Biblical passage, I’ve always taken away that I should love others extravagantly.  Now I’m kinda like…. huh….let’s think about the person receiving the kindness I choose to extend.  It must bring God deep joy when He sees one of His sons or daughters receive good things because he is this person’s father!  Of course His heart is moved to see His child well cared for; he is crazy about this person and did everything on Calvary to win the heart of this person!  He is a Dad!

My neighbor, to me, is my neighbor;  to God, “my neighbor” is His baby.  His child.  Offspring thoughtfully knit in a womb and masterfully designed and loved.

Whether the child is 6 months new, 12 years old, or the stinky old gent at the grocery store, I wanna love every child I see today.  And–I think I’m going to pray for some babies.

To my dear blog followers and friends, hello!  How in the world ARE you?!

First, I want to thank you for reading and following Foolish for Light.

So here’s the deal:

After 9 months of playing music for my tummy….


…..washing itsy baby socks and taking pictures of it because what else can you do when you are more excited than you’ve ever been??…..


…..dreaming with this guy about all the fun baby items in the world….


…..and kicking my feet back while letting everyone take care of the big pregnant lady…..


…..after 9 months of all that, by the grace of God, my husband and I somehow ended up with THIS:

SONY DSCIf you aren’t smiling you clearly have no soul.  ;)

I Foolishly hope and Foolishly anticipate you will continue to journey beside me as the blog goes off maternity leave.  

(In Backstreet Boys style….the Blog. Is. Back.  ALRIGHT!)

I am SO EXCITED to begin breathing life into Foolish for Light again.  And, even though I paused from the blog, kinda without telling you, I am going to be rather bold and ask for the prodigal son experience here.  Will you please take me back into your life?  Your inbox?  Your Facebook feed?

We have good things in store, my friends!  Giveaways?  10 Minute Snippets?  Silly posts, thoughtful posts, encouragement, and random goodness?  Yes, yes. Yes! {yes} Yeeeeep.

The blog is back, true!  But– not quite the same.  Hmmm?  Because I am not quite the same.

I am a mother now so think gray hair, lots of wisdom, no makeup or sleep or sense of fashion.  ;)  Ouch…that sense of fashion one was too far.  But seriously, I am different than when I penned my last post.  God has refreshed my heart with a desire to be more real.  Less polished.  Less perfect.

Over Christmas I found myself articulating to my sister-in-law that in order to keep blogging with my part-time job and a new baby, I’m going to have to give up some of my perfectionistic tendencies.

Then, in a church meeting last week, my friend Greg mentioned how a person could start a blog with the intent of sharing the gospel and then, after some time, find that while her motives were good in the beginning, now she’s more focused on presentation.  (He didn’t say she, he was speaking hypothetically but God was definitely speaking to me through him!)  Now “she” wants to be careful with every little thing she shares on social media because she wants people to like her.  The blog must look a certain way.  She wants to gain followers.  She wants to be admired.

Has the goal of my blogging become looking cool and clever?   I have to admit in the past I’ve almost felt guilty for not getting the pictures or text of a post just right–I get a little paralyzed wanting to be perfect.  So it makes a girl wonder, why am I doing the things that I do?  So I can sit quietly at home and think, “Yeah, everyone thinks I’m great?” 

It is a small but meaningful victory every time we affirm that our labor and efforts are for His pleasure, not a “great job!” ringing in our ears.  Whether it’s a blog, volunteer work, paid work, or the activity we carry out as fathers, mothers, coworkers, and friends–what’s the why behind what we do?  

A people-pleaser to the core, I learn time and time again that there is great FREEDOM when we give our best for God’s benefit, seeking only His approval (not people’s) and a right relationship with him.  With our eyes fixed on benefitting Jesus, any consequences that end up benefitting ourselves are just gravy.  Yummy, yummy, gluten-free gravy.

So, moving forward, my pictures might not be edited.  Because this blog isn’t really about pictures.

Moving forward, the blog might have lapses of bad spelling because I’m busy, or operating on no sleep.  This blog isn’t really about me looking suave and all educated and stuff.

You might not won’t get perfect from me, but if you choose to hang in there with me on Foolish for Light, you will definitely get me.  I don’t know if that’s good enough for you, but I smile remembering that somehow I am enough for God.

Here’s to keeping the main thing the main thing.  And Lord, I love you.  You know I do.  This is and always has been for You.

Your support means a lot to me.  Consider subscribing?


A huge thanks to Autumn, a professional organizer who blogs at Space for Living, for passing along this great trick.  It’s so simple yet effective–it astounds me frequently.

It’ll be one of those tips you read about and go “oh that’s nice” as you click away and are tempted not to ever try it, but think twice, my friend!  It has changed my life!

Almost everyone struggles with keeping a clean and/or organized home.  I find that I often set out with great intentions to make some headway, and 30 minutes later I’m not feeling any further along.  I got lost in a magazine as I was attempting to sort through the ones I wanted to keep or toss, or I found an old craft supply I tell myself I’ll just play with for a minute.  The worst distraction is a pile of old pictures.  Oh no.  Oh oh oh oh no.

Now let me introduce you to my new best friend, the 10 minute pickup.

10 minute timer

  A 10 minute pickup involves setting a timer for 10 minutes and performing 10 and ONLY 10 minutes of focused picking up.

Distractions are brilliantly minimized when you remind yourself “I only have 10 minutes, then I’m done.  I can do that other thing later.”  Time is truly a powerful boundary, energizer, and motivator when used in a smart way.  When I look at the clock to see I only have a few minutes of cleaning left, it’s like a personal challenge to see how much more I can get done in those precious, opportunity-brimming minutes.  Knowing a timer is ticking keeps a picker-upper on task for a brief but highly focused period, and hearing the timer buzz after 10 minutes provides the often-lacking closure we need to feel good about the time we spent cleaning.

This works because it’s so….doable.

Certainly there are going to be large-scale projects that are going to require more of your time and should be handled with different expectations.  But as far as the day-to-day case of the “man I just wish this place was a little more picked up”s….get your kitchen timers out folks, you’ll thank me later.  :)

10 minute timer messy

{variations to try}

- If you have the time, sure, eventually you can shoot for 20 minutes or longer.  However, part of the beauty is knowing you’re not cleaning for very long,  so I find small increments to be most effective.

- Get young kids involved.  My sister-in-law makes cleaning fun for her kids by pre-selecting some mystery items that are scattered about and in need of putting away.  At the end of the 10 minutes, she tells her kids what the mystery items were, and whoever was the one to put the mystery items away gets a treat or prize.

- Tag team with your significant other.  Twice the work gets done!

I’m long past the days of crossing my arms like a punk and declaring I’m nothing like my parents.  I’m just gonna say it–I am a lot like my parents!

During my last visit home, I recognized myself in my father’s tenderheartedness as his eyes brimmed with emotion while talking about his joy for Ben and my happiness.

mom laughing(Of course, looking at this picture, I’m also reminded of how cool we both are.)

I saw myself in my mother’s gift of hospitality as she had the house perfect for Ben and my arrival and, like always, had the fridge stocked with our favorite foods and drinks.


Like my dad, I’m a crier.

Like my mom, I’m a gift-giver.

There’s no way I could be a product of my particular parents and also not end up a people-person.

People.  To God, they’re just a smidge lower than the heavenly beings.

People.  Of all His great handiwork, people are what He chose to save.

People. The unique creation formed in God’s very image.  And as I’ve grappled with, “K….what does it mean to be made in God’s image?” something weird has started happening.

I see God in people.

Now, it’s not very often I converse with myself in the mirror and say, “Man you’re lookin’ like God today.”  (Although I do seem to converse with myself a lot in mirrors….and then take pictures of it.  Anyways…..)  More commonly, I notice and dwell on the parts of me that still need so much work–and I scoff.scoffing

(Clearly this is how we all look scoffing, right?  Or perhaps this is just an already-taken picture I  thought might sort of work right here even though what I’m actually doing is lovin’ on my new dress and baby bump.  Can’t say for sure.)

So there’s two extremes, right?  On one end, we’ve got people acting like they are God incarnate and demanding they be treated like royalty.  On the other end, we’ve got Christians who are so focused on their shortcomings and constant sinfulness that they are completely blinded to the good attributes God has borrowed from His own image and gifted to them.

The beautiful, sobering truth applies to both parties.  It’s beautiful that God calls us loved, hand-crafted, and his very own children.  Sobering because we are not capable of obtaining any of those characteristics on our own.

Any good thing in us, and there are many in each of us, exists because the Lord shared part of His image with us.  Intelligence.  Compassion.  Perseverance.  Loyalty.  Any good attribute a person can have, does God not also fully encompass in his character?  A person’s gift or bend may not be perfectly honed, but the goodness exists because God shared part of himself in the human design.

Let me be clear:  my encouragement is not that I think humankind is mostly good, but that God helps individuals like you and I learn to radiate His good qualities.  He made us in His image.  We are capable of great acts of love.

In my friend Stephanie, I see how God has shared a heaping portion of his wisdom.  She is so good at listening to people’s stories and offering insightful, spot-on advice.  She reminds me God is a listener, a coach, and a counselor.


My friend Gloria recently shared that she is passionate about being an awesome mom.  She said, “I think about it all the time.”  Hearing her verbalize this and seeing it played out in her life makes my heart glow:  I see a trace of God in her passion for parenting.  That is an attribute that she shares with God, the ultimate Father and caregiver.


My sister is such a friend to me, through and through.  She reminds me that God is family, yet also extends friendship.  She reveals in my life how much I need and crave relationship–with God and with others.


Kenny is a laid-back, mostly quiet man who is a serious worker for the Lord.  I recently learned that he is the volunteer maintenance man for our church who performs most of the thankless, unseen tasks that keep our church functioning.  Kenny reminds me that Jesus was not flashy and the servant life of a Christian should stem from a desire to give back to the one who has given us so much.


My husband is intelligent, calculated, planned, and organized.  (Confirmation that opposites attract!)  While I experience as much emotion in a day as some do in a lifetime, Ben reminds me that the Lord is also decisive, He creates and follows plans, and He is a sturdy rock, unmoved by circumstances and wavering feelings.

And so I turn back to the mirror.

thinking with cameraI even see a little bit of God in….(gulp)….myself.  It honestly kind of freaks me out.

He is after all a creator.  He’s kind.  He loves children.  He’s a storyteller.  And, I personally think that God is even a little emotional–has there ever been a parent more enraged by his children’s waywardness or who has gone to greater, more dramatic heights to bring them home?

I encourage you to close your eyes or turn off your monitor for a minute and just praise God that you are what you are.  Go ahead.  :)  Think about it….where are His fingerprints in you?

Are you creative?


Do you have a heart for justice?


Are you naturally nurturing?


Are you slow to give up?


Are you physically strong?


Do you have compassion for those around you?


Can you easily see the big picture?


Are you detail oriented?


Jesus was the only person capable of encompassing all of God’s attributes in human form, but we each bear the DNA, the likeness, some traceable similarity to our creative, justice-loving, lamb-tending, persevering, mighty, compassionate, working to tell a big-picture story while intricately involved in every detail God.

We are a divine mishmash of both of our parents’ natures, the nurture we’ve received, and the brush strokes of God.

I think we bring glory to God when we recognize that we are a good part of creation because God says we are, and it’s not US that makes us good, it’s God’s saying so that makes it true.



Rejoice, my friend.  You are a child of God.  Adopted because of His great love and loved just like you are.

Awkward announcement #1:  

Email all your friends a ridiculously silly picture of you discovering one of the unintended perks of your new hard-core vitamins.

magic nails
Awkward announcement #2:  

Use Facebook to lead everyone to believe you’re MUCH further along than you really are.

huge fake tummy

Awkward announcement #3:  

Ask a sincere question and then get sassy out of nowhere.

pregnant lady fat

Awkward announcement #4:  

Simply link to this hilarious YouTube video entitled “Pregnant and I Know It.”  The best parady of “Sexy and I Know It” ever?  Yes.

Awkward announcement #5:  

Send your friends and family practice family photo collages with captions like “Our dream is about to come true” and “Counting down the days until our baby will be playing with this stuffed penguin and we won’t be.”

Penguin Preggars collage

Awkward announcement #6:

Use your blog to explore awkward online birth announcements in which you close by saying…..

I’m pregnant!  :)

Ben and I are expecting a cherub, stuffed penguin, or whatever pops out around September 1st.  There probably couldn’t be two more excited people ever.

Sometimes I’m in a get fancy, spend an hour getting puuurdy kind of mood.

But, today I’ve got the pajama, no make up, just talking about what’s on my mind vibe going on.  Wrapped up in a blanket, this is me right now:

feeling lazy

And in my pajama state of mind, I kind of want to talk about good deals as we get ready for Good Friday.  Welcome to my ramble session about some of my favorite places for free and discounted stuff!


With my heart gearing up for Easter, I simply must direct you crafty, artsy folk to this lovely free Easter printable from Jones Design Company.

Each year I struggle with the way Easter seems under-celebrated compared to all the hoorahs we give to Christmas.  These fun printables just might be a step in the right direction for remembering Jesus’ resurrection with beauty and excitement.


 Alright, have you heard of Noisetrade?  

If you enjoy music and have a special place in your heart for new, not-mainstream musicians, you really have to check out this site.  You can download an amazing amount of free tunes, and tip the artists based on your budget and enjoyment factor.  You’ll find lesser-known tracks from bands you may already know, too, like fun and NeedToBreathe.  Full-length demos of each track?  Yes, please.


Are you following me on Pinterest?

 { follow Stacy; click here! }

If so, you may have already seen my recent pin:  this amazing compilation of businesses that will give you free or seriously discounted goodies near your birthday.  Signing up for birthday deals is my new favorite rainy day activity.  (This deal comes from The Frugal Girls.  Thanks, girls!)


If you’re not already checking RetailMeNot or dealcatcher.com before you head out shopping or do some online ordering, you’re probably missing deals.

RetailMeNot  can also send you emails when deals are posted for specific stores if you specify which stores are of interest to you.  Thanks to my thrifty friend Carol for giving me the low down on Deal Catcher!

I’m also pretty fascinated with Gift Card Granny.

This is a website where you can buy other people’s unwanted gift cards for less than the gift card is worth.  For example:  today I spotted an iTunes giftcard worth $15 on sale for $13.  You can really save cash when you know you’re going to make a big purchase:  for example, today you can snag a gift card worth $300 for only $285 to be used at Best Buy.


I recently won two small giveaways from blogs I follow.  Crazy, right?  Winning kind of made me step back and go, “Oh, that’s why I like to  give things away on my blog.  Free is really rather fun.”  Congrats again to Kadee who recently won the Foolish for Light book giveaway and stay tuned around these parts for another exciting giveaway I have in the works.  :)

Happy Easter!



P.S.  What’s your favorite place or way to find deals?


My grandmother is the reining queen of all things baked and delicious.  This tip comes from her wealth of knowledge–thanks, Grandma!

To preserve the softness and freshness of either homemade or store-bought cookies, simply toss a piece of bread into the cookie jar, baggie, or storage container where you’re keeping the yummies.  Even cookies (or other baked goods) that have already started to get a little stale will benefit from the moisture of the bread.

I realize this concept is very difficult to understand, so I invited my sister to demonstrate how this exactly works:

First you acquire your bread slice.

hold the bread

Then you drop it into your container of cookies.

drop the bread

Then you just double check that the bread made it.

where's the bread?

I know it seems tough, but you can do it!  ;)

how to keep cookies soft

The trick really does work like a charm.  Your cookies will thank you for giving them a long, soft life.


I was lying in bed the other morning as my husband Ben was beginning to get ready for work.

owl in bed

From the hallway he said something really nice.  It was as simple as, “How are you doing?  You know I just love you so much.”

Saying something warm is not unlike my husband, but my response was a little unlike me.

The next thought in my head as I lay there smiling was–I wonder if there are any errands I can run for him today.

This is not a huge shocker of a story, ladies and gentleman, but let me finish.  When I had this thought enter my head about offering to do errands, I was extremely aware that the thought happened because he had acted lovingly to me first.

We tend to fall into cycles in relationships, and this is especially so in marriages.  We are reactive in nature, and one person’s kindness naturally fuels something positive from the other.  One person’s respect tends to fuel something positive from the other.

Trouble comes when we show love or respect hoping to get a nice gesture in return.  That isn’t really love…that’s something selfish.  We also run into problems when the cycle we’re on isn’t one of treating each other well, but instead we feel we were treated poorly so we respond by treating the other poorly.

In our reactive nature, it’s counterintuitive to respond to what we perceive as unkindness….with kindness.  Yet, it is this choice to love and respect someone when we feel wronged than can change…well…everything.

Ugly cycles of mean behavior fueling mean behavior can suddenly morph into beautiful cycles of redemption and forgiveness when one person recognizes what’s happening and chooses kindness although kindness may not be deserved.  Of course we tend to hope our partner will be the first to break the nasty cycle, when Christ actually asks kindness of us, no matter what our circumstance, for one short, sweet, simple reason:

We Love Because

What a lovely verse!

 Making the choice to love is powerful because it is Christ-like.  It can turn cycles of bitterness upside down.  It can be the light in someone’s dark patch.  It can change someone’s day or world–maybe your own.

These ideas are much better explained in the book Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs; I am thrilled to be giving away a copy. 

win love and respect

This blog post only scratches the surface at the type of insight you’ll gain from Love and Respect which does a pretty brilliant job of outlining what men and women want and need in marriage.  Win it for yourself or gift it to your engaged or married friends.


The winner will be notified March 23rd.  Good luck!

It has been quite some time since I featured a

{1) Minute Snippet

and I’m excited to bring it back!

Caution:  you might judge me for this post.

You’ll either think me terribly savvy or terribly lacking in hygiene.  I’ll leave that judgement call up to you–

What is it?

all I’m going to say is I have the thrifty cure for slightly greasy hair that needs a little love when time or circumstances don’t allow for a wash.

Isn’t the suspense killer?

It's baby powder
It’s baby powder!

How to de-grease yo-self

Pat a little baby powder into your hands and remove any excess if you poured too much.  You want to start with just  a little bit until you begin to get the feel for how much is needed.

Pat your hand on your head near your hair’s roots.  On dark hair, you will see the powder at first, but don’t worry.  As long as you didn’t go hog wild, it’ll be invisible in no time as you continue to work it in with your fingers.

Add as much as you need wherever greasy hair is visible.  You can’t go wrong as long as you don’t use too much powder.

Say goodbye

I promise, I really do take showers!  

Just think:  baby powder will last longer and cost less than dry shampoo while achieving the same affect in the same way.  Both utilize a starch to soak up or dry moisture and grease.

Ideas to try:

-  I most often use this trick before I go to the gym.  I’m a little bit vein and don’t like to look like I had a sweaty work-out before I even had a sweaty work out.  {But let’s be honest….it’s been awhile since my workouts have been all that sweaty}
-  Yes, your head will smell a little like baby powder.  If this bothers you, try Johnson’s Lavender and Chamomile for an alternative {and lovely} scent.
-  Throw a travel size bottle in your car or cosmetic bag.
-  You can find baby powder, especially off-brand varieties, at almost any dollar store.
-  Never buy dry shampoo again!

Have you done it?  Would you be willing to try it?

mittens from sweater

It’s a good thing I don’t have a say in nominating Nobel prize winners because I would make sure whoever thought of making cute mittens from an old sweater was in the running.

I saw this craft several different places on Pinterest and couldn’t help but think, “Can someone who isn’t really that good at sewing make these or will I cut up a completely donate-able sweater just to find out this craft requires skill?”

I am happy to report, these really don’t require much skill!

AND they turn out really cute!  Not perfect mind you, but rather charming and dare I say, they even seem quite durable.  Keep in mind the mittens will only be as thick as the sweater is thick; after making these from a J.Crew sweater, my husband and I agreed they are a better Midwest fall mitten than a winter one.


The trickiest part:  getting a good mitten pattern.  Martha Stewart says to hold your thumb at a 30 degree angle and trace your hand on a piece of paper, adding a half inch.  I was nervous about how that pattern looked, so since I was making these for my husband, I grabbed a pair of mittens he owns and pinned them to the old sweater.  Then I cut around the mittens leaving a little less than a half inch border.

2.pin mitten

Once you’ve cut your mitten shape, line up each side of the mitten so the “right sides” or the nice sides are facing inward and touching each other.  Pin as shown.

Note:  I wanted to make the wrist part of my glove kind of long so it could be folded to display the cute ribbing of the sweater(seen in the final picture in this post.)  You can play around with and decide how high up your arm you want your mitten to go.


Sew around the perimeter of your mitten using a sewing machine or by hand if neccessary.  I chose a stitch that seemed like it would be more durable than just your standard stitch.  Lift up the presser foot (with your needle in the fabric) and pivot your fabric to help with turns.

sew mitten

If you’re worried about the gloves coming apart, you can sew around the perimeter a second time.


Flip your mitten inside out.  Now the nice sides are facing out and you have made yourself an adorable mitten in about 30 minutes!  Repeat for hand number 2 and enjoy.  :)

mitten thumbs up


It is undeniable–we were made by someone creative who allows us, even encourages us, to create.

I want to share with you a simple, lovely gift idea I came up with awhile back.  It allows you, the gift-maker, to create, and the young lass you gift it to will surely enjoy hours of creating, too.

how to make pencil bouquetsWhat young artist wouldn’t love colored pencils with coordinating paper flowers?

{Supply List}

1 box colored pencils (I got mine from the dollar store)

3-5 inch scraps of paper that coordinate with the colored pencils

a pencil cup (again, I got mine from the dollar store)

hot glue and hot glue gun


about 5 inches of twine or ribbon for each colored pencil

First you want to choose paper for each of your flowers.  Blue pencil needs blue paper, yellow needs yellow, ect.  The paper only needs to be a few inches inches wide, so this is a nice project for using scraps.

Let Emily teach you how to make the super easy paper flowers.  You can do this!


Cut pieces of twine to be about five inches long and grab your first pencil.


Add a dab of hot glue and stick one end of twine in it.


Wrap the twine around and round, then secure the other end down with another dab of glue.  You may need to use the end of a pencil to smoosh the end into the glue.  It is, after all, hot glue.


Dab a good amount of hot glue on the very end of the pencil and secure your paper flower.

pencil craft add flower

Toss each pencil in a pencil cup to make a bouquet.SONY DSC

Gift to someone who loves to draw or color–I would recommend age 4 and older since the pencil flowers are not super-duper durable.


Start working on Christmas gifts for next year??


Perhaps pin it for that time you need a simple, thoughtful gift. :)



It doesn't always make sense-the way we live. We decide that's ok. People don't have to get it. Welcome to Foolish for Light, a place for exploring the counter-intuitive life of a light-chaser.


Foolish for Light is a place for anyone willing to challenge the way things have to be done. I'm kind of perfectly fine being called foolish as I chase the Light of the world. You?