i am.

this. on repeat. since sunday.

wherever you are…whatever you are carrying…He’s with you in the middle of all of it. He’s holding onto you, & you can cling to him.

He will not leave you.
you are not alone.

there’s no space that His love can’t reach
there’s no place where we can’t find peace
there’s no end to Amazing Grace
take me in with your arms spread wide
take me in like an orphan child
Never let go, never leave my side.

i am,
holding on to You.
i am,
holding on to You.
in the middle of the storm,
i am holding on,
i am

i am,
holding on to You.
i am,
holding on to you.
in the middle of the storm,
i am holding on,
i am

Love like this, oh my God to find!
i am overwhelmed what a joy divine!
Love like this sets our hearts on fire!

i am,
holding on to You.
i am,
holding on to You.
in the middle of the storm,
i am holding on,
i am

i am,
holding on to You.
i am,
holding on to You.
in the middle of the storm,
i am holding on,
i am

this is my Resurrection Song
this is my Hallelujah Come
this is why to You i run
this is my Resurrection Song
this is my Hallelujah Come
this is why to You i run
there’s no space that His love can’t reach
there’s no place that we can’t find peace
there’s no end to Amazing Grace

i am,
holding on to You.
i am,
holding on to You.
in the middle of the storm,
i am holding on,
i am

i am,
holding on to You.
i am,
holding on to You.
in the middle of the storm,
i am holding on,
i am

to give: inspiration & favorites

i imagine the web is probably lighting up with thoughts these days about how Christmas is next week. i remember distinctly when the time between the start of school, halloween, thanksgiving, & Christmas taking an eternity. my how time flies & suddenly now i’m adult & even though the calendar says it’s december 18th, i swear it was really september 1st just yesterday.

i pulled together a little round-up of some of my favorite artists & things that have been catching my eye lately. i didn’t intend it to be a Christmas gift guide, although i bet some things can still ship in time. lots of these items are available at local shops nationwide, so there’s that, too. in general, though, i just think these items are fun, different, & joy-inspiring :o) they’re made from artists & companies that believe in creative, honest, hard work, & supporting their businesses just plain feels good. these items & those you’ll find on each artist or company’s site would make great gifts any time of the year, and all of them are really fun & inspirational to follow on their blog, instagram, or social media.

i hope you enjoy perusing it as much as i did making it!

– – – – – – –

1canoe2_

images from 1canoe2

i am a diehard fan of 1canoe2’s signature style & whimsical take on every day items. their cards & prints are happy, fun, & beautiful…as are their tea towels, calendars, notebooks…the list goes on. i’m particularly smitten with their illustrated playing cards, hand-painted wanderlust globes, and recipe cards & perpetual calendars that come in berry basket-inspired wooden boxes. you can find their work in their online & etsy shops as well as tons of great places from coast to coast!

valmarie_packed-for-adventure_

image from val marie paper

this bag really, truly makes me happy at just the sight of the picture. the snorkel…the super simple font…the anticipation of a fun adventure…the fact that the bag is just big enough to throw a few things in & go…love it. val creates beautiful wedding stationary and has an etsy shop for the rest of everyday items: prayer & gratitude journals, totes, notebooks, etc.

 

chatbooks

image from chatbooks

i learned about chatbooks from crystal’s instagram* feed & was intrigued right away. at $6 for a 60 page book, free shipping, & a list of positive comments, i was sold. you can do books from your instagram feed, from pictures, or there is a way to make one as a group, too. you can even include captions if you want! to start, i made a book of instagram pictures of a certain hilarious little pug.

sota_

images from sota clothing

in college i had to come up with a business plan…and it stayed right there on paper. spencer johnson, however, turned his college project into a legit company: sota clothing. their gear is awesome; this sweatshirt & mug caught my eye right away. it’s been fun to hear that a number of friends know & are excited about them, too! virtual high fives to spencer & his crew for their creativity, branding, & furthering the love of our great state. sota gear is available in their online shop as well as a handful of local twin cities shops.

yokepenco_rosewood-oblique_

image from yoke pen company

love calligraphy & dream of getting more into it one day. a few weeks ago a calligrapher i follow on instagram posted a picture with a pen that stopped me in my tracks. the maker is christopher of yoke pen company who makes each holder as a hobby & does custom work, too!

storypeople_make-something-magic_

image from storypeople

my love for storypeople is no mystery, so finding brian’s newest book here is likely no surprise. in their words, “it’s filled with love & magic & all sorts of secret notes to help you remember the most important thing in your life…” i don’t imagine it’s a bold statement to say that we can probably all use as many of those reminders as possible. we have one of brian’s prints (that i treasure), & i’d love it if one day our walls are confetti-ed with prints & our tables & bookshelves tucked in with books, all overflowing with storypeople’s encouragement, fun, joy, & love. all sorts of wonderful items are available in their online shop as well as in stores. here in the twin cities, i’ve seen storypeople goodies at bibelot & patina.

juliesong_

images from julie song ink

julie song is an illustrator, calligrapher, & lettering artist i found through instagram, & her feed is undoubtedly one of the most swoon-worthy feeds there is. her work is exquisite – natural, organic, light, & engaging. her wedding & branding work is elegant, timeless, & classic with a few touches of fun & playful. the range of her work is mind-boggling, creating an opportunity for just about anyone to have a pretty little julie song ink ditty in their life. be sure to check out her etsy shop, too!

katiedaisy_

images from katie daisy

katie daisy’s work is just plain joyful. i’ve seen her beautiful cards, prints, & journals for years, but only recently did i learn more about her. imagine how stoked i was to learn that she graduated from MCAD! her style is bright, fun, & whimsical, drawing lots of inspiration from nature. as someone who believes words really matter, the way katie incorporates quotes & simple truths into her cards, prints, & notebooks makes her inspired work even more meaningful & soul soothing. her etsy shop is full of all the pretty goodies your heart could desire, and i also see her stuff at shops throughout the twin cities (bibelot & patina for sure).

hatchery_

image from hatchery

my introduction to hatchery was a little red box with a few pretty little jars & bottles nestled inside of it on sarah’s instagram feed. a few seconds later i was scrolling through hatchery’s feed & learned that they deliver small-batch artisan ingredients monthly to subscribers – think stitch fix for the kitchen. being a girl who reads cookbooks like novels & considers chopping therapy, i was hooked! until i can afford a subscription, i’ll encourage everyone i know to join so i can live vicariously through them :o)

gratitude, day 18.

gratitude_xsgratitude is a miraculous, wonderful thing. it really does turn what we have into enough. sometimes – often, even – it reminds us that what we have is even more than we need. although it’s kind of a “thing” for people to list something they are grateful for each day in november, this isn’t really that. it’s sort of my mash-up of a daily writing exercise i see people do every day in october paired with practicing gratitude. it won’t be the same every day. sometimes it will be a short, quick post, and other times it will be a reflection or recipe. but most importantly, every day there will be gratitude.

today, i am grateful for storypeople.

storypeople_singlemind

*image from storypeople

friends, truth be told, more often than not, email and i are at odds. it comes down to being an in-person person, but let’s be honest – email can be a monster. cluttering up the good stuff, there are weekly emails, promo emails, e-receipts, blah-blah-blah. i’m pretty good at deleting them & unsubscribing to lists i don’t need or want to be on for whatever reason, however, there is one email that i actually subscribe to daily (crazy, right?!) and actually read every. single. day. if for some reason i can’t read one on the day it comes, i save it & get a little bonus the next day when i get to read two. storypeople.

brian andreas is the mastermind behind storypeople, and his short thoughts, reflections, and tidbits share stories of hope, goodness, & imagination. the emails are simple and very short with only an image of one of brian’s prints as the body of the email, and they always encourage & re-center me, offer a nugget of inspiration, or make me smile or laugh. today’s email was “single mind” – the image in this post. when i was finally able to read it this afternoon, i knew right away that i wanted to share this today because, as happens so often, as soon as i opened it, my heart swelled, a smile stretched across my face, and i thought to myself, “oh, thank you, thank you for what this reminds me of & inspires in me.”

this particular print also just so happens to be the one that introduced me to storypeople. i was at bibelot in uptown years ago looking for a gift & soaking up the goodness that is bibelot ;o) when i noticed some prints near the register. flipping through them, this one immediately caught my eye. being single and longing to be married, this print deeply resonated with me as i thought instantly of my husband who was still “out there somewhere” and the love that i already had for him. i bought it that day & it served as a sweet reminder for years as i waited for the day i would meet my husband. now that i get to spend my days with dustin & to know the man i loved for so long before i knew him, the print is even more treasured.

i know we don’t need more technology distractions, but if a little inspiration is what you might need, i highly recommend the emails (the sign-up is right in the middle of the main page storypeople webpage). brian is also fun to follow on instagram, and he has a new book out that i’ve been totally crushing on. the title is, “something like magic: on remembering how to be alive;” the title alone makes me swoon.

gratitude, day 1.  ::  gratitude, day 2.  ::  gratitude, day 3.  ::  gratitude, day 4.  ::  gratitude, day 5.
gratitude, day 6.  ::  gratitude, day 7.  ::  gratitude, day 8.  ::  gratitude, day 9.  ::  gratitude, day 10.
gratitude, day 11. :: gratitude, day 12. :: gratitude, day 13. :: gratitude, day 14. :: gratitude, day 15.
gratitude, day 16. :: gratitude, day 17.

gratitude, day 17.

gratitude_xsgratitude is a miraculous, wonderful thing. it really does turn what we have into enough. sometimes – often, even – it reminds us that what we have is even more than we need. although it’s kind of a “thing” for people to list something they are grateful for each day in november, this isn’t really that. it’s sort of my mash-up of a daily writing exercise i see people do every day in october paired with practicing gratitude. it won’t be the same every day. sometimes it will be a short, quick post, and other times it will be a reflection or recipe. but most importantly, every day there will be gratitude.

today, i am grateful for my health.

first salad 2011

if you could please excuse my very white hot filter & “sweet” frame on the picture above, i would be so grateful. because the truth is, even with as cheesy as it is, it’s truly an image that has been burned into my memory forever. i took this picture on New Year’s Eve 2011 right before settling in with a movie and a simple yet indescribably memorable dinner. that year, as we all ushered in 2012, i was gleefully turning the page from 2011 to 2012 full of hopeful expectation. after a number of years spending far more hours at doctors’ offices & in the hospital, with medications & on restricted diets (gah – no salad!), i had finally been doctor & hospital free for nine straight months, and there was no turning back. this bare bones salad & wine was my stake in the ground: goodness, wholeness, health.

these days, there isn’t a day that goes by on which there isn’t at least one moment of gratitude for my health. dustin’s work reminds me daily of the grueling reality for patients & families dealing with long term health conditions. the friend of a good friend was diagnosed earlier this year with ALS at just 30 years old. another friend’s cousin is walking through the nightmare of cancer & the tidal wave of havoc it is wreaking on her.

every story is unique, and every story both breaks my heart & reminds me of the depth of strength in each of us. i am reminded of this image & quote i found on pinterest two years ago:

the world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places. - ernest hemingway

*image & quote (below) from ohpioneer!

“the world breaks everyone, and afterward,
some are strong at the broken places.”
– ernest hemingway

gratitude, day 1.  ::  gratitude, day 2.  ::  gratitude, day 3.  ::  gratitude, day 4.  ::  gratitude, day 5.
gratitude, day 6.  ::  gratitude, day 7.  ::  gratitude, day 8.  ::  gratitude, day 9.  ::  gratitude, day 10.
gratitude, day 11. :: gratitude, day 12. :: gratitude, day 13. :: gratitude, day 14. :: gratitude, day 15.
gratitude, day 16.

inspiration & gratitude.

brave life

*original link is no longer available. if anyone knows to whom credit belongs, please let me know.

oh, time…you crazy, crazy thing. sometimes i feel you whooshing past me. thank you for the nights & weekends & hours filled to overflowing with adventures & laughter. and thank you for the just-plain-busy days and weeks of the mundane, not-so-glamorous yet necessary, every day life stuff. both are teaching me, and memories & goodness are in it all.

so, where i last left off…creativity. fears. dreams. the gap. perseverance.

inspiration is honestly everywhere. in gathering people at our house, in nature, checking out a new or visiting an old favorite restaurant or cafe, in a conversation, in sunsets and conversations…the list goes on. and, of course, there are copious gems on the inter webs, too. i’m thankful for brave, savvy creatives who have taken risks, shared their passions, and created spaces for beginners like me to look up to. here are some of my inspiration, encouragement, advice, & support go-to creatives.

cooking

  • smitten kitchen: deb’s writing is fun, witty, & approachable.
  • sprouted kitchen: sara’s recipes are fresh, healthy, & delicious.
  • molly yeh: i love molly’s blog for her lightness & silliness, stunning photography, & all-around inspiration. and a girl who did an in-depth study of the best mix-ins for funfetti cake?
  • sara kate gillingham: co-founder of the kitchn, cookbook author, & a potter, too!

life & faith

  • caroline schandel: this woman’s words pierce my heart & refresh my perspective in ways no one else’s ever have.
  • today’s letters: i could gush about this one – a daily go-to. hope-filled, life-giving, creative, encouraging. em writes most, but tim sneaks in sometimes, too. they write about everything from marriage to their backyard chickens, local coffee & good food, getting outside & the beauty of community, gratitude, raising their sweet babe, recipes – it’s a total mixed bag of goodness.
  • jen hatmaker: this post catapults me into laughter-until-i-can’t-speak with tears streaming down my face every. single. time.
  • story people: i love brian’s beautiful, simple-yet-profound work.
  • natalie creates: this woman really spans a number of categories, too: farming, creating, cooking. very down-to-earth, approachable, and fun.
  • momastery: her post earlier this month, the 5 habits every strong woman keeps, was incredible. this part in particular: “I have come to believe that a woman’s character is not just formed by the roles she plays or the job she has or where she’s from or what has happened to her. A woman’s character is most profoundly shaped by the daily habits she keeps. And this is hopeful to me, because it’s never too late to adopt a habit or two from a woman we admire.”
    part 2 jumped out at me instantly: strong women show up before they are ready. this is an area i have been desperately, intentionally seeking to grow in. i am so thankful for glennon’s thoughts on this. i love what she said about us having two roles but for some reason creating a third that we somehow put first. (although the link above works, embedding the video here isn’t working at the moment. i’ll add it as soon as i figure out what’s not right.)

paper & hand lettering

#WriteOnDesign #inspiration #HandLettering #KidPresident

A post shared by write on! design (@jenngietzen) on

makers

  • little bit funky: i follow crystal on instagram more than her blog, but her blog is full of fun tutorials & inspiration, too.
  • amanda rydell: amanda is such a fun, local creative. she started be crafty workshops that she hosts here in minneapolis but she also travels to host them around the country, too! her instagram & blog are full of colorful, beautiful ideas & projects.
  • curly girl design: i am such a sucker for leigh’s cards. her way with words & whimsical images spark something in me.
  • the purl bee by purl soho: i mean, just one peek at their site is candy for a creative girl’s eyes! the patterns, yarns, photography…i could (and sometimes do!) get lost in the awesome tutorials & ideas!
  • fresh lemons quilts: faith’s quilts & other projects on her blog are beautiful! this is the quilt that first caught my eye (on instagram, of course), but i was quickly enamored by all of her work. definitely lots of inspiration here for this quilting-wannabe :o)
  • floret: ooooh my…erin can do things with flowers that make my mind race. she & her family plant and harvest field upon field (upon field) of the most unbelievable flowers. and her arrangements – i can’t even go there. you need to check out their website, blog, & instagram feed to soak up all of the overflowing goodness. i have never seen such stunning sweet peas, ranunculus, peonies, & dahlias. nor did i ever know there could be such a diversity of each type, color, & shade of bloom. the image below, from erin’s instagram feed, is just one example of what i’m talking about…

My view this evening. #farmerflorist #dahlias

A post shared by Erin Benzakein – Floret (@floretflower) on

one thing that i am beyond excited to work with next year is lara casey’s power sheets. i learned about them last year and finally jumped in when she launched the beautiful 2015 sheets. after learning a lot this year (you know, things like being true to myself, naming fears…) and desiring to grow in goal setting & tracking – paired with being & diehard list-maker :o) – i am really, really excited to see how the power sheets will help me grow personally & creatively in making what matters most to me & our family happen.

breathe.

Image

2013 is going to be a big year. every year is full of fun, adventure, challenges, & refinement (if you let it, that is); yet this one will be particularly big for me. and for us.

more engagement. learning how to do life together, in the same city (*fist pumps of excitement*). planning our wedding. getting married (!!). learning how to do life in the same house. choosing to let ourselves be shaped & sharpened & loved & challenged by each other. learning how to fight for the right things & how to let the rest go.

it will require lots of deep breaths in – to soak up everything that this season & this year lays before us.

it will require lots of calm breaths out – to get through challenging or tough or scary or more-than-i-think-i-can-bear moments.

i want to savor & absorb & enjoy everything that this year has in store for me and for us. and to do that, i want to get in the habit, in the mountain top & in the desert moments, of focusing on simply breathing. to focus on what caroline said in a message at the Gathering last year (march 2012): in order to breathe a full breath out, you need a full breath in.

i want to breathe full, deep breaths in of our sweet Lord’s goodness…so that He can more fully permeate the depths of me…so that i can more fully breathe out His love & grace, peace & joy by virtue of the overflow of Him through me, more in my actions & quiet moments than necessarily even with my words.

this is my OneWord365. one word to focus on, rest in, embrace. 7 days in, it is already distinctly shaping my thoughts, actions, words, & prayers…

10 things: 02.12.

need to work on timeliness of posting these :o)

february, 2012

  1. i LOVE celebrating friends.  can’t wait to meet babes youngblood!
  2. i’m not a huge fan of toronto.  yet.  i’ll keep trying.
  3. this month was a toughie.
  4. i got to sign up for my very-very-very-favorite-ever CSA. again!  I’M SO EXCITED!
  5. uber excited for this, this, & this.  from a few of my favorites: her, her, & her.
  6. still camped out with caroline’s message on rest.
  7. i had the BEST valentine.
  8. being with old friends is good for the soul.  even when you’re sleep deprived & chasing 6 kids under 5 yrs old.
  9. loved this from jon acuff: “every day i find a new way to need more grace than the day before. every day God reminds me i won’t exhaust His supply.”  thankful.
  10. “it looked like death had won, but love will last forever” [wish the video was still live]