Category Archives: one little word

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You’re here! I’m so excited! On February 26, 2005, I started this blog, and for the next two weeks, I will be looking back at the past TEN YEARS of blogging!

Ten years has gone by in the blink of an eye. At least, it seems so at times. I’ve been browsing back through old posts and, while the style of my photos (lots of borders and filters in the early days) has changed, the core of the posts has not. It started with a few posts about my kids and that’s pretty much the same today. I wrote about things we did, places we traveled, movies I loved, following my love of photography into a business, family, friends, parties, scrapbooking, memories, happy times, sad times, publishing my novel. So much of our life.

Ten years is a really long time.

So, for the next TEN DAYS, I will be looking back, sharing old photos and favorite posts, and there will be GIVEAWAYS!!!

GIVEAWAY INFO: There are four ways to enter through the giveaway box below and each will get you five entries in the drawing.

• The first option is the only one you HAVE to do in order to be entered. I’ll ask one question in every day’s giveaway. You just have to enter your name and email address, give a brief response to the question, and you’re in the drawing.

If you want more chances to win, you can …
• Join my mailing list (if you already have, enter your email address so I can verify)
• Tweet about the giveaway and copy/paste the link from Twitter
• SHARE about the giveaway and the BLOG-IVERSARY on your own blog, Facebook*, Pinterest, etc. and link to that as well.

All giveaways will end on my actual BLOG-IVERSARY, next Thursday, February 26th, so the giveaways will all be OPEN until then.
The winners will be announced in a blog post on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27th!

* Note: If you share on a private Facebook account and we aren’t “friends”, make sure you change the audience of that one post to “public” so I can see it. ;)


I’ve got a paperback copy of my first young adult novel ready to sign. The Truth About Drew was published last May.
It’s a sweet, uplifting, heart-warming story full of friendship and family with a journey to faith and a mystery surrounding a boy and his notebook.
Enter below. Tell a friend! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you have any questions at all about the giveaway, feel free to ask.


hello, monday

Welcome to 2015! It’s been a nice couple weeks off with Jake and the kids, but I’m excited to be back, to get back into our routine, and set some goals for the year. So many of the blogs I read are sharing their plans/goals/resolutions for the new year and I love that. I’m inspired by those posts. And it makes me want to share more here.

A week or two before the year ended, I was trying to decide what I could do daily that would be in line with my One Little Word – learn. It would be awesome to just spend every day learning a new kind of craft or hobby, but that’s not really doable. One of my goals this year is to spend more time in the Bible and I’ve started off great. I’m using the She Reads Truth app’s “The Bible In A Year” plan to finally read through the entire Bible. (I started it a couple years ago, trying to read it straight through, but got stuck in Jeremiah and never finished!) I’m also studying the book of John along with the She Reads Truth girls (Can you tell I love them?) and reading a Proverb a day prompted by my friend Anita this month. A very good way to start out 2015.

Many months ago, I bought this notebook (above) at Target, but it’s so cute that I just hated to use it. It’s been sitting on my desk, begging to be written in. As I’m reading through these Bible passages and reading my favorite blogs daily, I always come across verses or quotes that I love. So my little notebook now has a purpose. It will be the home for one favorite verse or quote per day. Writing things down always helps the mind remember them better, so this will be a perfect way for me to take these special passages and let them sink in.

I’m thinking I might want to do something with them, like print some out for my Project Life album or have a hard bound book made with my favorites or something. Just mulling that over for now.

Since I haven’t been around here yet this year, I haven’t shared any of the verses/quotes yet. I may end up sharing them daily on Instagram instead of an entire post for a quote, unless I have something more I want to say. But for today, here are the first five.

January 1
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
– Proverbs 1:7

January 2
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
– John 1:1

January 3 – I love this one!
The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.
– John 3:8

January 4 – This is one of my favorite verses and I cling to it a lot in my life.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.
– Proverbs 3:5-6

January 5
Better to write for yourself and have no public,
then to write for the public and have no self.
– Cyril Connolly

Read this quote today on Emily Freeman’s wonderful blog post and really liked it, then Googled Cyril Connolly because I had never heard of him before. As part of my year of learning, I thought I should at least know a little bit about him. (He was a literary critic, writer and editor.) :)

one little word 2015

When I think back on my one little word for 2014 – OPEN, I feel like it has been a good word for me this year. I’ve been (tried to be) open to what God wanted to show me this year. I’ve been studying the Bible more (the She Reads Truth site has helped so much with that) and really taking everything to heart. I opened up and got over my fears and insecurities enough to share my book with family, then published it and shared it with the world, which was terrifying. I’ve been a little more open-minded (a teeny tiny bit … this needs work), opened up my heart some more for healing, and been open to new things, new ideas, new people.

At the same time, there were not so happy things about my word as well. When you open yourself up, sometimes it hurts or can bring pain if you allow it to. And I did at times. I let old ways, old feelings, and old pain affect me and my mood and the way I functioned as a wife and mother and writer. I wouldn’t say that it was really a bad thing, though. I did learn more about myself as the months went along. But some days I was just in awe of how God still loves me even when I have to be taught the same lessons over and over and over again. It’s got to be so frustrating for Him to deal with me sometimes. ;)

Overall, I’m happy I chose “open” and I want to continue to let that word be a part of who I am.

I’ve had my word for 2015 stuck in my head for months now. Seriously since the fall.

Project Life® card from the digital Dazzle mini kit

definitions: to gain knowledge or understanding of or skill in something by study, experience, or instruction. to hear or be told something. to find out.

synonyms: get, master, pick up, get the hang of. ;)

Back in September or October, I made a long list of things I want to learn. Quilting. Calligraphy. Sewing. Book binding. Letterpress. Watercolor painting. A bunch of fun crafty things. And lots of people and topics I’d like to learn more about. Former presidents. More history of Biblical times. Fascinating people. Books I’d like to read. Movies I’d like to see. As I get older, more and more things interest me and that thirst for knowledge that just wasn’t there in my younger years is alive and well now that I’m in my early 40’s.

So what I hope to accomplish with my word this year is to learn at least three things from my list of crafty skills and to read a few biographies (not sure of who yet) and older classic books I’ve never read. I’m not going to make a list a mile long of things I want to learn because I know that’s just setting myself up for failure, but I think just a few is totally doable. We shall see. I’ll be posting about them here on the BLOG under the category in the archives – one little word.

What’s your ONE LITTLE WORD this year? Leave a comment below! :)

one little word

I remember the kids always doing acrostics at school with a personality trait for every letter of their name. I don’t know why, but as I was writing this post, I kept staring at the word “OPEN” and this acrostic (in the photo above) just popped out at me. Old. Pain. Ends. Now.

I love this quote:

     “Listening to the pain of loss and heartbreak can wake us up to who we are, where we come from, and what matters most.
     But only if we open ourselves up to them.”

– Emily Freeman, A Million Little Ways

I jotted this down when I was reading Emily’s book. It’s so true for me as I’ve moved through this past year with my one little word … OPEN.

Being open to that pain is hard. There have been plenty of days when I went back to my old habit of closing the door on it and pushing it deep down inside. There have been others when I’ve laid on my bed in a puddle of tears and sobs and let all the feelings and emotions just come out, the pain and bitterness and sadness and regret overwhelming me.

But on the other side of all that, I do feel like I’m more awake to who I am. And I’m able to use what I’ve learned (and continue to learn) in my writing because I’ve listened instead of hiding from it.

Old Pain Ends Now? Yeah, I like that. Sounds pretty good to me. :) But I will continue to be open to what God wants to show me this year, dealing with the pain and loss, and on into the next and the next and the next.

writing is healing

I downloaded an ebook this morning called “Writing to Find Yourself” by Allison Vesterfelt. It is available for FREE over at Noisetrade right now. It’s all about finding yourself, your voice, through writing.

It’s been a few weeks since I touched my latest work in progress. I’ve barely stopped long enough to write out what’s been happening in our days let alone to write anything “deep”. Maybe it’s because July was a busy month. Maybe it’s because I was sick and didn’t feel up to it. Or maybe it’s because the last chapter I worked on was an emotional one. It dredged things up that hurt, and I was sick and tired of remembering.

Writing helps to heal old wounds. I know that. It is cheap therapy, as Allison says in her book.

Maybe I’m just afraid. Because I will learn things about myself that I would rather not. I’ll face all the things I never dealt with and I’d much rather they stay locked away.

But I know to find my real voice and tell my stories, God wants me to open up. There is no growth if you don’t.

So I will write.

To heal.

To grow.

For me.

second thoughts

Maybe people look at me and think I’ve got it all together. I’ve got a loving husband and two great kids. I’ve been able to work from home and be at all my kids field trips and class parties and soccer games. I’ve had my photography and scrapbook pages published in magazines. I’ve put “my life” out there on this blog for the past nine years, sharing all our trips and birthdays and moments. But it’s not the whole story. It’s not all pretty pictures and happiness 24/7.

Inside, I’m a swirl of emotions most of the time. But I’ve gotten pretty good at hiding it.

Sometimes I think about that line at the end of Titanic when old Rose says, “A woman’s heart is a deep ocean of secrets.” I’ve always liked that and felt it was true of me. Deep down inside, where nobody but Jesus can see, are wounds and scars and insecurities and doubts and fears. Things I don’t share with anyone.

I could. I could open up more (“open” is my one little word for the year after all). But for some reason, I feel like my deepest secrets are boring to everyone but me. And I’m sure it’s my own insecurity and fear of being hurt that keeps me from sharing. I used to be an open book. My friends from high school and college will tell you. I told them everything that was going on with me and everything that was in my heart. I let them in. What you saw was what you got.

I’ve been reading “A Million Little Ways” by Emily Freeman this week. It’s all about finding the art that God made you to do. One of the things she talks about is “first thoughts” and how a lot of times we edit ourselves and push our first thoughts – our true feelings and desires – back inside and go with our second thoughts instead for fear of failure, of being judged, of not being accepted, to please others.

This is so true of me now.

Maybe it was my broken heart. Maybe it was the years completely consumed by my business, or no longer feeling like our church was “home” anymore. Maybe it was Jake losing his job and the humiliation of going through a bankruptcy, or feeling like a failure – in my business, as a mom, as a wife, as a daughter, as the maker of our home. Maybe it was just life and years passing by and feeling like I should know what I’m doing by now. But I don’t.

I don’t think I’ll ever have it all figured out. This life. And I don’t think we’re supposed to. I think we’re supposed to question and search and seek answers. And I’m OK knowing that one day, I’ll get to sit down with Jesus and all the things that I never quite figured out here in this earthly life will make complete sense because they won’t matter at all. Things that seemed to be the hugest deal will pale in comparison to sitting in His presence and knowing that THIS is where I’m meant to be. HE is what matters most. No second thoughts about that.

one little word 2014

In 2013, I chose the word “know“. I really wanted to spend the year focused on knowing myself better. When you choose a word for the year, you just never know what you’re going to get. You never know what’s going to happen, how this word will become real for you.

Much of this year held big things for Jake – he trained and ran a 25K and went on a mission trip to Guatemala. I went about our life, taking care of the kids, going through the daily routines, trying to be a supporting wife for Jake along the way. I felt like I was very much in a happy little bubble. Things were going along well. But I hadn’t really taken the time to know myself any more than I did at the beginning of the year.

In October, my ex-fiancé’s brother died, and suddenly the bubble was burst. I was faced with the loss of someone I loved, someone gone too young, and seeing my ex again, which was much harder than I thought it was going to be (as I’ve written about HERE on the blog a few times over the past couple months). Within the span of about ten minutes, during a tear-filled exchange with him, everything that came before changed. Everything I thought about him and the way I saw our relationship shifted.

Since that day, I’ve had to deal with a lot of old hurt and resentment. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking and remembering and taking a long, hard look at myself, my decisions, the kind of person I was, who I am now, who I want to be. And I haven’t always liked what I’ve seen.

Like I said, you never know what’s going to happen after you choose your word.

I do feel like I know myself better. I have a long way to go and life is always going to be a journey to know yourself and know God more. The two, for me, will always go hand in hand. I can’t possibly know myself without knowing where I stand with God.

I read this on Emily’s blog a while back and made a note to share it someday. It fits well today:

“Knowing God and knowing self are both necessary for wholeness and holiness . . . Christian maturity demands that we know God and ourselves, recognizing that deep knowing of each supports deeper knowing of the other.” – David G. Benner, Sacred Companions

For 2014, I was considering the word “heal” but, while I do want those old wounds in my heart to heal, I want to be open to more than that. I want to be open to whatever else God plans to bring my way this year.

So, my word for 2014 … open. Here we go!

This cute digital card is from Project Life® Maggie Holmes Flea Market Mini Kit. I added the word “open” in Photoshop. The font is called Angel Tears and is available as a free font for personal use HERE.

monday’s list

me + Chloe selfie. Annie, MiMaw’s pug. Project Life 2014 first page cards are in the album!

Christmas morning. What a blessing to wake in our cozy warm home with power back on after the ice storm outage. The kids actually slept until after 8, which surprised me. They are usually up at daybreak begging to open gifts. It was a nice time together. The kids loved all their gifts. The center picture below cracks me up and I’m so glad I captured it. This is the face Chloe got when opening several of her gifts. She looked like she was so insulted by the gift, but it was immediately followed by “This is exactly what I wanted!” Such a funny reaction.

Christmas dinner. Since my parents were without power through Christmas (they actually didn’t get power back until the Friday after Christmas), I was put in charge of making dinner and transporting it over to their house. Nothing too difficult. Ham in the crock pot overnight. I made corn, mashed potatoes and rolls the morning of and we got everything there nice and hot for our meal. When we arrived, Mom had made gravy and Stove Top stuffing by heating water over one of their furnace vents that gets nice and hot. It totally worked. haha!

Gift exchange. We had a fun time exchanging gifts. This was the first year in their new family room addition. It was a bit chilly with just the wood furnace going, so we all kept warm under blankets. It was interesting with no electricity this year. No lights on the Christmas tree or around the house. But we were all there together and that’s all that mattered.

top row: Santa’s elf. Chloe in her new pj’s from Grandma. Jake said he wanted a puppy for Christmas, so this is what he got – a stuffed labradoodle named Karina.
bottom row: My new Converse One Stars from my hubby. Zach and Uncle Rick staying warm. Chloe under wrapping paper. ;)

Visiting MiMaw. On Friday, we traveled to Port Huron to drop the kids off with MiMaw and Poppi for a few days. It’s been kind of nice having some time together, just the two of us, no kids.

Date night. We went out to dinner and a movie for the first time in months. Finally saw Catching Fire, which was excellent, by the way. Did a little shopping with Christmas money I had to spend. Got page protectors for my 2014 Project Life album and bought a Nutribullet. Loving that thing so far. Very easy to use.

Project Life. Spent some time putting cards in the Project Life album. First page and title cards are loaded. Excited to get started and also to share more of my album this year as I go along. Not sure I’ll be able to keep up with sharing my pages every week, but I will be sharing more as the weeks go by.

one little word. Thinking about my word from this year – know – and what my word for 2014 will be. I’ll blog about that here very soon.

just another date?

I had sort of a weird couple days last week. Just feeling overly annoyed at everything. Snapping at my family. Feeling very antsy. Couldn’t quite put my finger on what was bugging me until I looked at the calendar. I’ve always been one to remember dates and when certain ones roll around they affect me and sometimes I don’t even realize it’s happening. It was one of those dates.

It was a beginning. The beginning. Not an unhappy day in my history, just a reminder of what came later, a reminder that things don’t always work out how you plan, that sometimes things end. And sometimes you lose more than a relationship, you lose a friend. It was a long friendship that finally brought us together, but the ending was just too painful for that friendship to survive.

Would we still be friends now if the events of that date had gone differently? I don’t know. What would life look like now if we had stayed “just friends”? Only God knows.

One thing I do know is that as these dates bring old feelings and emotions to the surface, I need to embrace them. I’m praying that God will help me to deal with them and let them out of that place where they’ve been locked away for far too long, so maybe the next time I see that date on the calendar, it won’t bother me so much.

monday’s list

• Went for my first run in the dark on Friday evening. Not sure I really cared for that. It felt good to run in colder weather, though.

• Drove to Coldwater on Saturday to visit Lindsey and Kevin and their sweet little guy, Avery. It was so great to see them and take some family pictures and catch up. Avery has grown so much since the last time I was there taking his baby pictures. Adorable.

• Jake and the kids spent Saturday and Sunday at my parents’ farm working on tearing down a small barn my Dad didn’t want anymore, along with the help of my brother Tim and Jake’s good friend, Ron.

• I spent a couple hours in the car driving on Saturday, which gave me far too much time alone with my thoughts. You know how sometimes you’re just going along with your life, perfectly content, and then something unexpected happens and things just kind of shift. I guess that’s how I would describe it … my perspective has shifted. I’ve learned some things about myself over the past two weeks. Like I said, too much time alone with my thoughts. But wasn’t that my one little word for the year. KNOW. I wanted to know myself better and I guess I got more than I bargained for.

OK … it’s getting deep around here again.

• Happy Veteran’s Day everyone! I am proud of my hubby for his time in the Army – in Germany and Bosnia – and for my Grandpa, who served in WWII.

AJAXed with AWP