Big News: We’re Taking a Brave New Step!!!


That’s right, folks! My little blog has moved to an official website!!!! I’m SO UTTERLY EXCITED about this!

It’s a huge step for me, and really for us (aka for me and my husband, without whose magical techno-powers none of this would be happening)…

To read more, come on over to!!!

Abide Vs. Strive

I picked this verse. During this series called “Brave,” we were challenged at one point to first choose a verse that stuck out to us from among a handful, then memorize it. Additionally, we were challenged to take a “brave new step” towards something called our heading (i.e. where we feel God is calling us to be brave/grow/etc). 

God of Hope

So, I picked this verse. My method of memorizing it was to swirlify the letters and words and doodle all around them, forcing me to face each word with whole-hearted attention.

And it actually worked! This isn’t the first time I’ve done that. It’s actually one big reason I started my shop. Because if I need the Word to have pockets all over my house and my life, then maybe someone else does, too. “Out of sight, out of mind” is a very real thing for me, friends. (You can see it on Etsy, here if you need this print for yourself.)

Over the past few months, the Lord has persistently laid this word “abide” before me, along with Jesus’ words in John 15. I realized it’s because I was running on the fumes of other things, rather than the fuel of the Spirit’s love and abundance.

What does it actually look and feel like when God fills you with all joy and peace? Or when you overflow with hope by the power of the Spirit?

I desire to know and experience those things for myself. And sometimes, I’ve wrestled with feeling like I couldn’t fill up with God’s joy and peace on my own. Which I then realized is absolutely right.

We can’t do that on our own.

And I gained hope again, because there’s a key phrase in the middle of all those swirls: as you trust in him.

The only way I can fill with joy and peace instead of my own striving is to trust in the Lord. I guess it’s part of the whole relationship thing. But I forget that Jesus desires a relationship, not a checklist.

I’ve been reading 1 Samuel, quite frankly because my mentor was reading it and kept telling me how she was wowed by seeing the difference between David’s heart and Saul’s heart, and how David’s exemplifies a heart that is seeking (emphasis on the “ing”- it’s a continuous process) God.

The crazy thing? It goes completely with this whole abiding vs. striving thing. (Also, the reason I named the shop “Ebenezer Designs” is because of 1 Samuel 7:12)

I’m desperate to learn what a truly abiding heart- like David’s- looks like, and though I’ve read it before, it’s almost as if I hadn’t really. Remember this verse?

 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” -1 Samuel 16:7

It hit me hard this time around. Because it turns out that a war of Appearance rages in me. More often than not, I overflow with appearance-driven striving instead of hope.

It is- quite literally- a look-alike hope. A counterfeit abundance that leaves me with mountains of not-enough. A joy-stealing wreck.

Saul knew this struggle well, I think. He was a striver. Constantly, exhaustingly, indomitably striving, his white-knuckled reign fostered a nation filled with fear; his leadership- though often performing the outward actions of worship- in reality sacrificed all on the altar of Saul.

David was a shepherd, a true leader filled with bold humility (most of the time), a psalm-singer, a friend, who- instead of chasing after his throne (he was anointed king after all)- chased after God. He was still human, of course, and made some pretty big boo-boos (that whole Bath-Sheba debacle for one), but his heart was always the most important part of him. Even after he sins, he repents, he returns, he remembers who is truly King, and finds God can redeem and sustain him still.

Reading through 1 Samuel has revealed multiple instances where it talks about David finding his strength in (trusting in, putting hope in) God. He didn’t just strive for joy, peace, hope. He couldn’t manufacture them. He trusted in God first.

So this week, I’ve begun to navigate a little more slowly, more intentionally in the things I do, in the people I’m with, in moments God gives.

I’m letting myself abide.

Abide desk

I pray this prayer for you- that God will fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Abide: Season of Peace

To say I enjoyed October, is to put it mildly.

And I’d been joyfully praying over and planning what to write about in November (and possibly December). It’s kind of an odd phenomenon to be this plan-y for me, you guys. But I really like it!

Especially, because it gives me an opportunity to look at what God is saying to me lately.

The message has been overwhelmingly, abundantly clear: abide. 

I’ve longed for peace.

I’ve asked for clarity.

I’ve prayed to know the Lord better.

And I keep hearing the answer: Abide.

Amidst all of the swirling questions about things that do and don’t matter, I find I mix them all up and require an anchor. The answer keeps repeating like a sounding joy, Abide. 

To my shock (not really), abiding doesn’t fall within the spectrum of things I’m good at. And it’s grown more evident, like a whisper that rises to a shout, that passage in John 15:

The Vine and the Branches

15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.


So, that’s what we’ll be exploring around here as we enter into my absolute favorite time of year! Abiding in Christ to cultivate a season of peace.

Day 31: A Song for Harvest Time {Really, It’s for You!}


It’s the last day of this year’s Write 31 Days Challenge- and I made it!!! I wrote every single day of October here on the blog. Just in case you didn’t know, if you click the pic just above this paragraph, it’ll take you to the home page of the 31 Days of Enjoy series, so in case you missed any, they’re all conveniently listed right there just for you!

Speaking of just for you, I wanted to take this last day of the series to share a song I’d written some time last year about autumn (and love… and life… basically I wrapped up every profound subject in this one song. Just kidding, I didn’t, but for a second it sounded that way, didn’t it?)

Harvest TimeI don’t have fancy recording equipment of any kind, and decided only in the last couple of days to record it and share here, so this is just a rough video. But I’m hoping this can be one of those “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful,” moments. I also put the lyrics below, too.

Autumn sun is sinking low
The spark in the air is one I know
Something grand will soon begin
Something’s coming in, something’s coming in
So come along with me
Let’s run away to the place we go
When October rolls around and the winds may blow
But I’ll hold you close, I’ll hold you close
Bright autumn days remind me
Rejoice in this harvest timing
The earth is ablaze, earth is ablaze with the light
In the harvest time
Everything’s aglow
Trees and fields aflame as if they know
That it’s time to burn bright
And time to find a voice
Time to rejoice, time to rejoice
Springs and summers may come
Winters may go, but in my heart it’s fall
It’s the one I like best of all
Though we’re blessed in them all, blessed in them all
Bright autumn days remind me
To rejoice in this harvest timing
The earth is ablaze, earth is ablaze with the light
In the harvest time
Like light in the darkness shining
There is a harvest inside me
Seasons may change but you stay the same
And bring life, you bring harvest time
I confess, I’ve loved every minute of this challenge! I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have! (See what I did there??) 
Please feel free to share this song with others, and you can also visit my youtube channel for more songs here (provided you aren’t a Judgey McJudgeypants… the quality of that video is how the others are too. Also, my piano resides in my daughter’s nursery, so prepare yourself for a lot of pink stuff in the background.)
 I realized only in the last couple of days that while I’ve talked about music a couple of places in this series, I hadn’t shared any of my own. I struggle to be brave enough to do this, because of all the disclaimers I am prone to make (you know, like in that last paragraph), and because I always feel like I could do better. But making music is just my favorite beyond favorite thing to do. Even more than blogging, or art, or- gasp!- eating. (I did manage to share a few songs last month, because that was a huge, amazing thing that happened to me. But it still took some mustering of courage to share, somehow.)
Really, I hope this can just be an encouragement to you, to boldly enjoy the gifts God has given you- often I think those are made to be shared with others. So, share! Create!
(And thanks for reading/commenting, whether you’ve been with me every day, or only on a few. It’s a huge blessing and encouragement to me!!)

Day 30: Fall Family Photos


Family photos. They’re just one of those things… You know? Those things people do. Those small luxuries we cherish in the name of family. (And I do mean family photos in the professional sense.)

But it’s not a luxury we’d enjoyed before. We were able to get a jump drive of some lovely, precious, dear photos of Lucy the day after she was born (because be still my heart! even though the jump drive itself was overpriced, the pictures themselves are priceless to me). However, we never had pictures taken of us as a family (we reminisced this past weekend about our lack of engagement photos)… Until now!

When we were down at Milligan last weekend, we stayed with my beautiful, dear, talented friend Kara, whom you at least know a little bit by now, if you’ve been around here awhile. While we were there, I begged of her a short session to- finally- take some family photos in the fall gorgeousness of East Tennessee.


I love how Kara’s photographs reveal her unique style- her mysterious and magical gift of capturing the beauty (both hidden and in plain sight) of a moment.


These ones… oh, my heart!


Of course, a quick shot in front of The Coffee Company, because of what I mentioned earlier this week.

just me

And she got this one of me, messing with my hair and being distracted by the leaves on the ground… So, you know, my default. (And I told you I loved that dress didn’t I?)


One reason why this was so fun was watching Lucy discover leaves (or “leaf” I should say, since she mostly just carried that specific one around the whole time) and pine cones and trees… And then catching those moments on camera! Ah- so wonderful.



Lucy Light

Oh, and this. This is my Lucy. Her name means “light.” Can’t you just see it glowing from inside her here?? (Sheesh. That picture alone would’ve been worth the whole session, even if all the others somehow turned out terrible! Which of course they wouldn’t have, but I’m just saying…)

These are just a few of the moments Kara caught up in her lens. She has good eyes, if you know what I mean.

And I know sometimes looking at somebody else’s family photos leaves me feeling like their life is somehow perfect and there’s this weird jealousy thing that happens (to me, at least). So, even though I can’t imagine you’d feel this way looking at mine (we weren’t even in perfectly coordinating outfits, you guys), I encourage you that these photos were just one more way to savor and enjoy this moment- this season- in which we are living. Your season is just as beautiful, just as important.

I hope these beauties, these holy gifts framed between four walls encourage you to see that in your own life, too.

You can find more info about Kara at her website here.

Day 29: 10-ish Favorite Pieces from my Fall Wardrobe


For some reason, I had it in my head that I wouldn’t allow myself to post about clothes during this 31 Day series… It’s silly and frivolous, I told myself.

And then I said, “Who cares, dumb Mrs. Trunchbull-voice in my head?!” The whole point of this series was to explore lots of aspects of enjoyment. And for me, clothes factor greatly onto the list of things I enjoy. Especially in the fall.


I don’t care that it’s not the most profound content ever. I mean, one of my early posts featured some of my favorite things on my Autumn Happiness board on Pinterest… Which I’m fairly certain is NOT deeper than talking about my favorite fall wardrobe pieces.

So, here are my favorite things to wear this fall!

This first sweater merited 3 pictures, so you get the full scope of how happy it is. And, as we all know, fall is blanket- I mean- sweater weather, so this is the perfect such one for me! I positively swooned over it the first time I clapped eyes on its muted tones, aztec-y (but not too aztec-y) patterns, and awesome drapey-ness. (Are you seeing why this is not a fashion blog? I basically just make up my own words to refer to this stuff.) 

EDIT 1 side sweater 3 front sweater

Plus, it reminded me of this sweater I found online for a mere $95 (vomit- who pays $95 for cute when you can get it at T.J. Maxx  for a tenth of the price?!) But this one was 16.99, and it’s SO soft! I’ve been wearing it all the time the last couple of weeks.EDIT 2 back sweater

Of course, I love this shirt from Old Navy, and this hat and scarf combo from the covered bridge festival(I love them so much, they also made an appearance here.)

4 scarf hat shirt

Here’s a close up of the shirt’s pattern, since you can’t see it super well in the first picture:5 shirt close up

(Side note: clearly I don’t care about wrinkles. Another reason why this is not a fashion blog.)

And because one blanket- I mean- sweater isn’t enough, there’s this awesome, lightweight cable knit piece (also from T.J.’s) which is just the right amount of structured and loose for me. (This is a real challenge people; I’ve often felt that cable knit sweaters made my not-tiny arms look considerably larger, making me feel more like a pumpkin roll wearing a sweater. Most unpleasant. Thus, I love this sweater extra because it doesn’t do that.)

6 cable knit

Then there’s this blazer, which I found at Target in January or February marked down to $10.50!!! (If there ever was a moment I felt like I was winning at life, that was it.) It basically goes with everything I own, so it wins the award for best blazer.

9 plaid blazerThis dress… it may be one of the best dresses I’ve ever owned. It’s that shade of green I’m always drawn to, and it’s just floaty enough (while also being structured) that I feel like it flatters me better than a lot of dresses do.10 green dress

This dress IS pretty fabulous too! Plus, it’s bright and happy pattern makes me feel like an ambassador of cheerfulness whenever I wear it. (I’m like, where are those fairy wings of mine?? I know they’re around  here somewhere… Now everyone be quiet while I burst into song with small woodland creatures. Though if you can harmonize, feel free to join in.)

7 red dress

Somewhere between the worlds of lightweight coats and winter coats lives the beautiful land of This Perfect Coat…

8 awesome coat

coat closeup

And boots, of course. The middle ones are rain boots I’d ordered off of Amazon this summer. (Why is it so hard to find cute ones that don’t have obnoxious patterns all over them?! Maybe I just have an issue committing to pattern… Except plaid. I’m obviously committed to plaid. Just not on my boots!)

6 bootsWell, that was fun. I hope it was fun for you. I’m enjoying this year’s fall apparel more than I have in a long time!! I know they’re just fabric and stitches, but they’re little luxuries I’m enjoying, gifts that somehow really do brighten life. And that is part of what this series is about.

Day 28: Enjoying Coffee. {And Catching Up.}


We’ve traveled a LOT this month. Like, every weekend but one. And I have positively loved every minute of it.


But I will be glad to get to this weekend. Because I’m not going anywhere. And maybe I’ll finally put my laundry away, and wash that particularly intricate sippy cup of Lucy’s which has been renting out a corner of the sink from me for a few weeks now. (I keep washing everything else BUT that sippy cup. I know I said it was intricate, but it’s not really that intricate. There’s really no reason not to have washed it. I just haven’t.)

Other than that, I’ll be glad to settle my home once more. I find it needs hushing again. I’ll also be glad to settle my schedule again (my brain’s going, “Schedule… what’s that? It sounds familiar…”). 

IMG_3612This time last year, I was still attempting to basically work 3 jobs (daycare, a home business, and working as Communications Director for Wendy). And I was extremely scheduledI’m not sure I’ve ever been that scheduled in my life. And maybe I should clarify- I’ve had a schedule of some sort, but this time it relied at least 80% on me to craft the schedule (other than the hours at daycare). So, to keep myself sane, I clung to the structure I set up, which was an hour-by-hour agenda 5 days a week.

People. I am not an hour-by-hour agenda kind of girl. But I had to be in that season, because I just couldn’t keep all the balls in the air.

Even more than the schedule, though, I clung to Jesus. I was desperate for the joy even in the midst of that stressful season. I knew it was there, because God promises joy and peace in every circumstance, even and especially when things aren’t peaceful naturally. (Are they ever?) 

This was one big reason for the Reclaiming Abundance Project. I knew we needed to shift our mentality as a family towards abundance instead of scarcity. That project helped start the process.

One aspect of that rigid schedule that I still love is the time I’d labeled “Coffee and Catch-up” in my datebook. It was between 30 minutes to an hour long, depending on the day, and it always took place during Lucy’s afternoon nap.


During that precious time, I would stop everything else, remember to breathe, be thankful, and- you guessed it- drink some coffee. (And often have a couple pieces of dark chocolate, or a little cookie or two.) Sometimes I would work on a blog post, because that gives me joy, or I would let myself just straight up play on Pinterest, or I would draw/do something artsy, or have more quiet time.

It helped so much to schedule that time in, because without it, if I took any time for anything fun/life-giving, I felt a disproportionate and soul-killing guilt over not maximizing my time perfectly.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Now I’m down to two jobs, technically. (Though I think of both this blog and my Etsy shop as a job, because they are life-giving to me and crucial, and something I feel called to build. So kind of still 3.) These days, I’m experiencing a fairly different agenda, one that mercifully does not involve being rigidly scheduled from 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM (I’m not kidding; that’s what it was before). And I still experience the challenge of how to manage my time well, but I also still utilize the “Coffee and Catch Up” time. (Moreso when I work from home, versus daycare days.)

It’s just one way I wire my days with built in enjoyment. (And I desperately need that.) 

Yesterday, I opened this dark chocolate bar which was left along with a beautiful, welcoming note in our room when we stayed at Kara’s house last weekend.

dark chocolate

I didn’t initially read the whole name of it, because quite frankly I was looking at the awesome design on the packaging. So, when I took the first bite I was delighted to discover caramel inside! It’s not the first time I’ve had a piece of chocolate with caramel inside, but it just took me by pleasant surprise!

EDIT desk front

And that’s really what this intentional time of enjoyment in the day does for me. It’s like finding caramel where you didn’t expect any. So much of daily life is already a gift in and of itself- rather like dark chocolate! But anything that helps foster better sight- a better seeing of the beauty and gifts before you- that is where enjoyment blooms a little brighter.

For me, it gives way to worship, because it’s like God knew just how to speak to my heart. The chocolate itself isn’t the point. The blessing is. It’s part of the delightful relationship available to us through Christ. Somehow, all these little graces act as little markers on the road, reminding us whom we are truly enjoying.

EDIT desk above