Day of Love

Happy Valentine’s Day, world!!!

I have been exceptionally excited about Valentine’s day this year… As in, a couple days right before New Year’s I think I was pinning cute heart-related decor and party ideas on my Pinterest. (Not that I did any of the DIY centerpieces or wall hangings- ain’t nobody got time for that!)

I think it’s because, beyond all the cheesy jewelers commercials, cheap stuffed animals, and obnoxious pink and red explosions you can find in any drugstore and/or walmart, it’s a day to celebrate love. And not just romantic love, as Hannah points out so well today in her blog (which is thoroughly delightful and entertaining!), but loving your friends, your family, and appreciating those around you who do so much.

In the midst of February (again, one of my least favorite months of the year, when winter throws its biting and treacherous tantrums), when snow lays itself over the earth like a pure, sparkling white blanket, then promptly turns to nasty, gray sludge, which somehow makes everything else gray and sludgy in appearance too- we get to put up banners of love, bright pink abounds and it’s ok, and eating copious amounts of chocolate and/or the dessert(s) of your choice is acceptable and, in fact, encouraged!

Though I did not spend hours creating a glorious, vintage recreation of a Valentine’s banner or any decor for that matter, I did buy this $3 banner that says “LOVE” from Target (from the $1 spot… which I maintain it should’ve been $1 since it was located there, but I guess I can’t really complain, especially considering how excited I am about it!). I felt ever so accomplished as I taped it to the mirror above our kitchen table… Here it is!

Love Banner Love Banner 3

We’re making the ugly beautiful. I was thanking God for that this morning and loving the fact that this need to celebrate, to do something special, to adorn our houses, offices, schools with decorations ranging from tacky party supply store quality to the height of Pinterest-perfection just reflects the way we’re wired to be like our Father. God is always making the ugly beautiful! It’s the story of my life… and I would hazard a guess it’s the story of yours.

I’m so thankful for the blessings of this week. My immensely supportive husband helped me open our studio space for my home business- a big brave step of faith for us! Because we are anticipating a new season- a season of massive growth. And my parents sneakily sent bright pink tulips to commemorate the occasion, which just made my day!


Even when some facet of life is uncertain- where money will come from, how you’ll maintain sanity in your household, figuring out what to do with your life, and whom to do it with, etc.- even with all of this, we stake our claim in joy and abundance. In our weakness, God’s strength is made perfect- how AWESOME is that!! So, I’m free to share my imperfect love with others, to bless them as far as is within my grasp, and to put up my lovely, $3 banner I bought at Target over our kitchen table.

Here is a song I wrote in February of 2010, before Ryan & I got married that June. (Video quality isn’t great, friends,  and it’s not even the smoothest performance of the song… but I hope you enjoy!)

(To see more music I’ve written, go to and go to the Music page!)

Share some love today!

Blue Willow and Living Brave

It’s February!!! Who’s excited?!

Ok, no one is excited… But I am! Because I’ve decided all of life is meant to be beautiful! And even though February is, arguably, the ugliest month of the year (though, as I’ve mentioned before, August and I aren’t on great terms either), I see it as a challenge to make the world all the more beautiful to those around me!

It’s partially because somehow, I’ve managed to sustain that feeling New Year’s brings. There’s so much possibility, so much potential in a new year! And I get the sense that most people feel that for like, a week if they’re lucky, before they just settle in and begin to feel nothing is really changing. But what’s changed for me this year isn’t the world- it’s my commitment. I am 100% sold out to my dreams- to living in abundance, to being more gracious to people, to growing closer to the Lord… and certainly to success in my job as well, which will require a higher level of thinking; it will require dreaming bigger than ever before.

I guess what I’m really committed to is enjoying the journey. Being faithful in those little things, so I can build momentum for the big things! Part of that is taking joy in the daily gifts God gives… including ones that have been in storage for 3 and a half years.

For example: this week, the husband and I finally dug my grandma’s Blue Willow dishes out of the closet!

Blue 1 Blue 2 Blue 3

There they are… in all their glory. (Btw the middle picture is coffee and mint chocolate chip ice cream…) We hadn’t registered for china when we got married, because we just planned to use hers as our “fine china.” … And we registered for what we now recognize is a really boring set of Noritake dishes that are beige on top and matte brown on the bottom. Woohoo. BUT they are a really boring set of Noritake dishes that happen to be in excellent condition, and that go for $35 a place setting on Amazon. WOOHOO!!! (If you’re in the market for such a thing, you just let me know *wink wink*)

We love the Blue Willow already. And the nice thing is, if we broke a piece, Kroger weirdly has a bunch of cheap blue willow dishes! Granted, I have no idea if they will look cheap next to these, but I think some of them Grandma actually bought somewhere like a Kroger… However, she definitely bought some of them in England, because they say so on the bottom, and there’s no “dishwasher/microwave safe” stamp. Regardless, she bought them I don’t know how many years ago, so I imagine them to be way better quality than whatever is at Kroger right now…

I love these dishes because I grew up eating off them whenever we visited Grandma and Grandpa in Florida. Every Christmas or Spring break, we’d head down there, and my mornings consisted of eating grapefruit (though I didn’t really appreciate that til I was older) and toast, and sometimes the weird bran cereal that she and Grandpa kept on hand, drinking coffee, and hearing the Today show coming from the kitchen. So, every time I’ve used them this week, I imagined I was taking a mini-vacation to the sunny loveliness of Florida… escaping the ridiculously frigid temperatures and treacherous ice that has plagued us recently.

Speaking of coffee, my other delight this week was discovering my new favourite (Don’t you think words like that should always be spelled with a “u” like British people used to do?) coffee shop, called Cavu Coffee. I heard about it from my friend, Sara (who incidentally has the cutest, rustic home decor shop here in the area- see So I set out the other day, some work in hand, to find this magical place…


And had THE BEST mocha of my entire life… Ooooh it was soooooo good! Plus, the hot apple tart was pretty amazing too! And all their baked goods come from a local bakery. How cool is this place? I’m just excited, because both Caribou Coffee places have shut down in this area, and though there IS a Starbucks 15 minutes from my house, the only other options have been the Starbucks in the Target and in the Kroger nearby… NOT exactly places filled with ambiance. (To find out more about this fabulous place, click here and here.)

My favourite thing about Cavu? (There’s that “u” again…) It might be their name. “Cavu is an aviation term for ceilings and visibility unrestricted,” explains the owner, Emily Schanie.  “Essentially it means the perfect flying weather, basically blue skies.” How awesome is that?! That is how I see this year. It doesn’t matter whether there is ice, snow, rain, hurricanes- I’ve been given this day to live bravely, beautifully, with palms up toward heaven. I will receive every little blessing God gives, and pray to know His graces better! Today is always the “perfect flying weather” because God has already won the victory, and we- miraculously, unbelievably- share in that!

So, in spite of the cold, I’m thoroughly enjoying this year so far. I hope you are too! How are you living brave, enjoying the perfect flying weather of today? And/or what little delights have you discovered recently that are making your winter warmer? (And if you live near me, you better share the love so I can go too!)