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happy mail



Loving getting snail mail.  I know the sound the fed ex and UPS trucks make as they turn the corner and put on the breaks.  I know exactly what time the mail man comes.  I like to be the one that gets the mail.  Packages and parcels just make my week.  And of course I love pretty boxes from stitch fix.  This is actually my second one this month! 

This time when I requested my fix I asked my stylist to send me tops only and to send me lots of patterns.  Mission accomplished.  Here's what was in my box:



Daniel Rainn: Bilson Pleat Detail Tabsleeve Blouse
Kut From the Kloth: Daumier Dot Cotton Chambray Blouse
Jack BBDakota: Atlantic Cotton French Terry Cardigan
THML: Kahlo Embroidered Racerback Tank
Tulle: Valentine Heart Print Top

From first view out of the box I was pretty excited about everything.  The fit is great on all of it.  I think I'm definitely keeping the funky tabsleeve blouse.  It's versatile for dress up or down and a good transition piece for spring.  I'm debating the chambray.  Fits great.  Love the polka dots.  No brainer? Should I keep it?  Love the colors and texture on the tank, but I think I'll hold out a bit before I add to my tank collection.  

Thoughts?  What would you definitely keep if you were me?



.........

Sign up to get your stitch fix invite by clicking ---> here 
and i'll be totally honest with you (i've shared details before)... stitch fix has an awesome referral program.  so if you sign up for your invite with my link, when you order your first fix I get $25 stitch fix credit!!  pretty sweet deal.  I tell you this for two reasons: 1. duh, i love stich fix credit and 2. once you sign up, you can get your own referral code and start earning referral credit too!!

No more long distance

 
It's been a while since I shared any part of my/our love story.  I've posted about how we metour first date, and our engagement, but today I stumbled upon some fun pictures of when we finally lived in the same town.  An exciting time!  

We had dated long distance (6 hrs difference) for two years.  I'm a school year ahead of David (only a little over 2 months older in age) and after I graduated I planned to move closer to my then boyfriend and work while he finished school at Vanderbilt.  The summer after graduation, we both did our own things.  I interned at the Boys and Girls club, he traveled Europe with his brother.  Plans were already set for me to live with a girlfriend I had graduated with in an apartment outside of Nashville.  By the time moving day arrived, we were already happily engaged.  And so began the crazy season of living in the same city and being newly engaged.  August of 2006 - March of 2007 when we wed.



Man those are some baby faces! I mean, so hard to look at that face and think I had just graduated from college.  Who let me graduate?  Just a baby!  Anywhoo... I digress.

After dating long distance and seeing each other on average about once every 3 weeks (sometimes we went as long as 5 or 6 weeks) being in the same city was crazy.  Well... I was in Franklin and he was in Nashville -- but basically the same.  A 15/20 minute drive vs. 6hrs?  Yes please.

It was a weird adjustment.  I wanted to spend every minute of the day with him.  He was still in school. I had only a few friends.  He had all his college best friends and roommates.  Plus the season of engagement is just supper hard I think.  The already and the not yet kind of deal.  But it was so so sweet and fun to get to spend that time together before we got married.  To do "normal" couple stuff.  To not spend hours on the phone.  To not spend hours in the car.  To get to say "I Love you" every time i saw him (we waited until we were engaged to say it).  To not say goodbye after 36 hours.  Preparing for a wedding together.  Such a great season.

Loved him so much then.  Love him more now.  

Keep it Liquid.



I'm over at the Influence Network blog today talking about how & why I keep my blog "liquid."  Check it out.

Keeping Cozy


 watch: fossil //  boots c/o B.A.I.T Footwear // jeggings /o denimocracy
chain bracelet c/o karen london // linking up w/ #wiww

I got to meet sweet Melody of Melody Joy Designs & Dance Parties in the Rain at Influence Conference this past October.  What a breath of fresh air this lady is!  Such a generous, creative, and huggable heart!  I think about her most every day -- each time I put on my cozy as cozy gets cowl scarf that she knitted for me.  Oh it is so warm and plush and just big perfection.  Love it almost as much as I love her!  Check out her shop.  Check out her blog.  twitter. instagram. etc.  

p.s. i need a haircut. 
p.p.s. hipster hats are cozy and hide overgrown hair.

eighteen for eighteen


1. M loves to chatter! Most used words/phrases: Up Please, Where did it go?, What's that?, Oscar, Momma, Dadda. She can also say all her aunts & uncles named + grandparents.
2. Magnolia has two baby dolls that she loves to swaddle and rock.  I did not teach her these things.
3.  Bath time is still a favorite part of the day.  She is getting more adventurous with laying down in the water on her back and tummy.
4.  Magnolia likes to sing.  Sometimes when we sing to her and stop, she'll start singing in our place.
5.  She can answer the first three questions of the children's Catechism:  Who Made you?- God.  What else did God make?- All Things.  Why did God Make you and all things? For his... Glory!  Sometimes when she is in hysterics these questions calm her down.
6. She climbs on everything.  From the couch to the changing table and back down with ease.
7. She reads to herself.  Turning pages and saying "words" out loud.
8.  Favorite books are Brown Bear Brown Bear and The Napping House.
9. 12 teeth including 5 molars.
10.  Has had 2 ear infections and one throw up bug in the last 18 months.
11.  Weighs just about 25 pounds.
12. Still rocks a mullet.
13.  Wearing size 18months.  Sometimes can still wear 12mo or 12-18mo.
14.  Really likes shoes.  Finds them and brings them to us.  Asking us to put them on and repeatings "shoes shoes shoes."
15.  Begs to brush her teeth.
16.  Loves church nursery and gets excited to go see her friends.
17.  Prays with us at dinner.  As soon as we all sit down she reaches out to grab our hands.
18.  Still doing cloth diapers -- though not at night and not when going to the nursery/travel.  We're pretty hybrid about it.

19. eighteen came way too quickly and I still have so much i could say about this little joy love!...

Quest Post // The Winter loves of Coconut Robot


Winter in Pittsburgh is cold. Not quite as cold as winters in Wisconsin, but usually more dreary.
Blech.

But there are a few things that tend to brighten the winter days: game nights, fresh baked bread, and soup. I know. It's a bit random, but these three things really boost my winter spirit.  Especially when February and March snow storms come around! {Now I know Blair resides in the sweet city of Nashville, but I think these three loves are great all year 'round!}

Ready? ready.


IMG_8044
My sister and brother-in-law always give us the best games at Christmas--this year they didn't let us down.

My Top Three Games

games
fresh-bread
I've totally gotten hooked on overnight lazy bread. It's just too easy not to be!

My Top Three Bread Recipes

soup
I could eat soup every day in the winter. If it wasn't for my husband giving me the "I think we've had enough soup for the week" look.

But I can't take too long of a break. There is just something about a piping hot bowl of soup or chowder or stew that makes my Norwegian stomach happy.

My Top Three Soup Recipes


So there you have it. Just a few things that bring a smile to my face in the dead of winter--along with a wood stove, coffee brewing, movie nights, sweat pants and a myriad of other loves.
What puts a smile on your face during these winter months?
Thanks so much to Blair for letting me invade her beautiful space today!
xo. kaciasignature

.-.-.-.
I'm so thankful to my sweet (in-real-life) friend Kacia for guest posting today! Such a yummy, fun, and cozy post!  You can find more of Kacia here:  blog | facebook | twitter | instagram.

Also thank you to Kara Kae of The Mom Diggity & Alissa of Rags to Stitches for guest posting the last two Mondays.  These three pretty girls helped me take a little bit of time off and I was so thrilled to introduce them to you while I was away from the computer.  xo

you asked, she answered


I have loved getting to know Emily through reading her book, Grace for the Good Girl, over these past couple months.  Reading it alongside my #thesamepage co-host, Rachael, and several of you, made the journey all the more sweet as we struggled through and learned together.  

Below are some questions you asked Emily about the book, raising children, and further reading.  You can also head over to Rachael's blog to find some additional Q&A with Emily...


Q:  How do you go about teaching your daughters about grace? I have a young daughter, and I'm concerned I'm going to set her up to be a "good girl" that focuses on performance while struggling to understand grace. It feels like such a daunting balance when I think about passing this on to kids! -- Rebecca 
Q:  I would love to hear your thoughts about your daughters. Do you talk with them about masks and good girl behavior? Do you notice them wearing masks or is that still down the road as they grow older? I often wonder how we teach our children the big-ness of God and his grace (vs. teaching them to obey and value rules). The picture that has stuck with me is the tiny stream and the big river that your husband stumbled upon while hiking. I want my daughter (and myself) to experience the type of BIG, GRACEFUL life that really comes from God. xo.  -- Lindsey 

A:  These two questions were both about parenting, so I decided to answer them together. I get asked this one a lot, actually. And I know people might want to hear my amazing technique for keeping my nine year old twin girls from becoming good girls.

Don't I wish.

First of all, I don't think younger girls struggle as much with mask-wearing as we do. Or maybe they do, but I'm not sure it's fair to call it that. They are still figuring out who they are, so to tell them they are wearing a mask just confuses things. They need the freedom to "try on" different personalities at this age and see which ones fit and which ones don't.

That's why, when I wrote the youth version of Grace for the Good Girl (called Graceful) I didn't talk as much about masks - more, I talked about the voices we choose to listen to. Are you going to get your identity from the voice of the good girl or from the voice of God? 

I always think about something my mom told me once while she was working as a teller in a bank. When she went through training at the bank, they told her that she would need to recognize fake money if it comes through. But they never showed her fake money. Instead, her job was to practice counting and handling the real money so that when the counterfeit comes through, she would recognize it right away.

I suppose the same could be applied to parenting girls - I don't think we have to teach them about the masks, especially not when they're young. Teach them about their identity, about their deep beauty, about the grace and freedom and love theyalready have. Hopefully as they grow, they will know truth so well that the masks don't feel right from the start.

But let's be honest - there is nothing my mom could have told me early on that would have kept me from becoming a good girl. I had to live through it and learn from it. But that made grace that much more real for me. And the process allowed me to know Jesus more personally that I would have otherwise. I want that for my girls.

May our daughters be able to say the same thing. And until they can, may we not allow their well-being to be another try-hard life we hold onto.




Q:  I would love to hear about how you balance "not wearing a mask" and not stepping on toes. I have struggled in sad seasons of life with being vulnerable because I don't want to offend someone else or make them uncomfortable. I guess my question is how do you decide when to be vulnerable and take off the mask and when to just be quiet? I pray about this often, but would also like to hear your thoughts. -- Brooke
A:  I've struggle with this one too, Brooke. 

You ask "How do you decide when to be vulnerable and take off the mask and when to just be quiet?" I will say this - the mask is your flesh, or those unique ways you get your needs met on your own and by yourself. So choosing to take off the mask (in other words, not live from your flesh) is ALWAYS the choice to make.

But taking off the mask does not therefore automatically mean you will share everything on your mind or heart. You may take off the mask and still remain quiet, or you may take off the mask and honestly share where you are coming from. Those two things are not mutually exclusive.

I will tell you this: I've had to come to a place where I know deep within the core of who I am that I am safe - regardless of the circumstance of life or the condition of my soul (mind, will, emotions). But that "knowing" doesn't come easy and often it doesn't come at all. But that is what it comes down to.

I think the question is also this: why are you speaking up in the first place? Is it so that they will meet some need you have and you have an expectation of them and if they don't live up, you will be hurt/disappointed/worse off? Is it just so you can "get something off your chest"? Is it just for the sake of being honest?

In the core of who you most deeply are, will you be okay no matter what their response is to you?

I don't think you can balance not wearing a mask with not stepping on toes. Sometimes what needs to be said will step on toes. But "not stepping on toes" is not your highest goal. Your highest goal is the glory of God - and the way he reveals his glory through us is how we relate to one another in relationships.

Jesus stepped on a lot of toes. But it wasn't just for the sake of being honest. It was always for the well being of those whom he loved.


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Good GOOD stuff!  Am I right?  Thank you Emily for taking the time to answer these questions and for so much more! {find more Q&A here}

If y'all have never checked out Emily's blog, Chatting at the Sky, I urge you to -- you'll find a blog heave on inspiration and low on fuss. Add it to your reader. 

You can also check out Emily here: 

gettin' my fix



Man-o-man have I been under the weather! phew!! I just can't shake it!  Nothing like my 7th stitch fix at the door though to brighten up the day.  However -- please excuse the iphone photography and lack of pics of the items on me... just couldn't pull it together.  Here's what was in my box:

Collective Concepts // Arinell Triangle Tribal Print Tank
Willow & Clay // Collins Striped Knit Blazer
Luxe // Gold Tab Layered Short Necklace
Tulle // Autumn Leaf Print Tiered Dress
Mystree // Florence Colorblocked Dress

I'm for sure keeping the tank - what a fun pattern... definitely something i don't have in my closet.  I love love the blazer but afraid it is a bit too small across the shoulders.  The color block dress is super cute, but not sure I need it.  And I always love a Tulle dress... oh! and the necklace!  What do y'all think?

I'm loving Stitch Fix's new branding.  So chic and user friendly.  They are reallllly taking off.  So if you haven't headed my advice yet and joined in on the fun, now's the time.  There is a bit of a waiting list because of how successful they've been, so sign up now and you'll get your official invite to join in a week or two. 

Shout out to my stylist Margaret from this fix.  She was so sweet and intentional -- taking time to read my blog and get to know me and my taste before picking the items in my box.  

Yay Stitch Fix!! {and p.s. I already ordered #8 for the end of the month!}

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p.p.s I'm featured today over on the Jigsaw London Blog as their Blogger of the Moment!  What an honor to be featured by a brand I love!  Head over there to shop my jigsaw picks!
p.p.p.s linking up today w/ #wiww

Guest Post // Rags to Stitches


  

Hi new Wild + Precious friends, Alissa here from over at Rags to Stitches.

I'm so excited to be popping by + sharing with you today. Although I have to admit when it comes to guest posting I'm sometimes at a loss for words. How do you find a way to be witty + down to earth, yet create a connection with new people in a very real way? I could tell you about the time I went Skydiving with my husband and how the whole way up all I could think about what how incredible God's creation looked from 17,000 feet and imagined how it must look to our Heavenly Father, only to have the doors thrust open, wind whip through the plane and a 200lb man force me out of an airplane. 

Then I thought I would tell you about how I took a trip to the mall recently and noticed how many people were wearing leggings + how it made me realize that leggings really aren't pants. They work better under dresses, skirts + tunics. But then I didn't want to offend anyone. I mean, you agree right, leggings aren't pants. 

I was completely lost in thought when my daughter entered the bathroom while I was putting my make up on this morning. She was completely upset because her brother wanted her to share her new puzzles with him. Through her tears she explained to me that she was feeling sad and that she didn't want her brother as her friend and she didn't want to share. I gently explained to her that her brother looks up to her, he loves her very much and wants to be big and smart just like her. Still not budging she informed me she missed school and her friends there that weren't her brother. 

In that moment, I felt the urge inside of me to get upset with her and lecture her on how she should never say things like that. I could even hear the voices in my head escalating even thought from the outside I attempted to appear calm and keep applying my eyeshadow. 

I listened to her go on a little longer. 

I wanted to let her get her feelings out so that when I did speak my words would be heard. She finally stopped and looked up at me. 

With a deep breath I shared with her how words said in anger and frustration can be so hurtful and ugly and how when they are said out loud to someone they could really break a friendship. I went on to remind her that her brother is her best friend and loves her very much. As parents we understand how somedays it's hard to be the bigger sister, but that teacher her brother how to finish the puzzle with her would make Jesus so happy. 

I listened intently has she walked back down the hallway towards the family room where her brother sat trying to finish the puzzle they had started. He looked up at her, smiled at her and proudly showed her the pieces he had put together while she was talking to me. I held my breath once again, waiting to hear her response. Such a big decision for a little girl to decide if she was going to continue to be upset with her brother or choose to please Jesus. 

"Wow Brayden, you did such a great job!" 
"Thank you Sissy!"


In that moment she made the choice to please Jesus and it hit me.... how often do we decide to hold bitterness in our hearts instead of choosing to please Jesus with our choices? How often do we let hateful words hang in the air, lingering and creating darkness that separates us from our friends or loved ones? I keep thinking that if my four and a half year old, who just got all those brand new puzzles for Christmas, could let go of her frustration and choose to play with her brother, then we have so much more to learn from our little ones. 

Do you have things your holding on to that wouldn't please Jesus? As we begin a new year, now is the perfect time to let go of those things, to wipe the ugliness from our hearts and let Jesus renew it and fill that space.

I'm praying that we'll take the time to search our hearts and find a place for our Savior. That we will focus not on the ugly, but what is pleasing to Him, who is filled with mercy and grace.

Thank you again Blair for letting me share your space with you today. Friends, I'd love to get to know you better, please feel free to pop by the blog and say Hi anytime.  

daily bread


{via}

"Small gifts wait in quiet places.  They hide under piles of daily tasks, waiting to be discovered and celebrated.  That's why I think Jesus taught us to pray for our daily bread -- not bread to las a life time, but bread to last this day.  It was a call to dependence, a call away from self-sufficiency, a call to turn to the Giver, a call to humbly and thankfully receive.  

I romanticize the past, longing for its fuzzy memories to rematerialize so I can hold them in my arms again.  I wish for the future to hurry up, certain that in its arrival will be peace and promise and finally, rest.  This is the day that the Lord has made, yet I long for another.  To find the lovely in the ordinary sometimes takes a bit of work, but the more i look for it, the more quickly it shows up."

-emily p. freeman, grace for the good girl
............


It's not often I finish a book.  I love books.  I like to have them.  I like to get them as gifts.  I just never finish a book it seems -- no matter how much I enjoy it.  So usually, actually finishing a book takes a good couple/few years of picking it up and putting it down again etc. etc.  This is a book I am so glad to have read front to back in one season... in a season that I needed it.

I met Emily, our author, at the Influence Conference.  She was the first session I went to & sitting in the middle of her session I texted David that if all I had driven up to Indiana for was to hear what she had to say, then my time had already been well spent.   She made me, as one who was created in the image of God -- a divine image barer, feel like an artist with a voice.  Not just feel, but believe.  She said we should "Listen to our tears."  I turned to my blog friend Nat & asked jokingly, "what does it mean if i start crying when she says 'listen to your tears?'"  Oh boy.  She backed some heat.  I wish you had been there.  I walked away challenged and profoundly encouraged.  

I don't have a crazy story about coming to Jesus.  But my redemption is no less miraculous.  I didn't have to be saved from a deadly addiction or an abusive relationship, but I needed saving just the same.  I don't struggle with sins of murder or adultery, but I need grace no less and deserve it no more than those who do.  

Sometimes we don't believe that.  We take our role as whatever we perceive it to be and fall into the shadows of those with "bigger stories" to tell.  We fall into insecurity, jealousy, pride, shame, fear -- instead of standing in freedom.  Because God is graceful, I am free!  Free to be myself sans apologies, masks, or stipulations.  I have a God who finds pleasure in giving the exceedingly abundant!  Do not be afraid little flock, for the Father is pleased to grant you his Kingdom (luke 12:32)!


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these are a few of my favorite things



warm wooly mittens
L.L. Bean duck boots
black coffee (this is a new phenomenon to me -- i was a flavored creams girl)
watching M play with her dolls like they are real babies
orange juice thats half pulp
Les Mis
Holland House
my oversized patagonia fleece
girl trips to D.C. (3 weeks away!)

what about you? what are you swooning over currently?

{linking up w/ #wiww & #www}

Guest Post // The Mom Diggity


I had a terrifying experience recently. I looked away for 30 seconds in a store and my 2.5 year old disappeared. She's not the type of kid to run off from me. I've never really had to worry about her, but that day she was gone. I ran up and down the aisles of the store yelling her name. NOTHING. I couldn't find her. They announced her name over the intercom and asked her to come to her mommy at the front. NOTHING. Finally we found her hiding in a corner of the giggling and so excited about her little game of hide-n-seek. 

I grabbed her in my arms trembling in fear, experiencing a feeling I'd never felt before. 

When I looked into her little face to talk to her she said so innocently "But Mommy, I was just playing hide-n-seek. I was just right over there!". In her tiny world that was no big deal. She was just having fun. She didn't realize how it hurt my heart to not know where she was, and how I was terrified at the thought of what could happen to her when she was out of my sight. 

I imagine this is how our Father feels when we run from Him. When we hide away in the corner to live our little life that is more fun. Once she was in my arms, she could sense that I just needed her close. She laid her little head on my shoulder and said "I'm sorry Mommy, I'll stay right here". 

That's what our Father needs. For us to climb in his lap and just stay. Be still. "be still and know that I am God." {psalm 46:10} 

Words that go through my head about a million times a day. But easier said than done, is it not? 

I find it incredibly difficult to be still. To really take the time to rest in Him. I live a busy lifestyle. I'm a stay at home mom to two toddlers and pregnant with my third. I wake up in the mornings to the sounds of giggling girls through a monitor on my nightstand. My life is full, and quite busy. It's easier for me to run from my Father and do life as I want to do it. But it's when I'm in His arms, with my head on his shoulder when I feel the safest. When my world makes sense and is still for just a minute.  

 wild&preciousguest

As I look forward to a new year, I have no idea what it will hold for me. I will face hard times. I will experience joy. But it's how I face it all that really matters. As a mom it's SO important that my kids see me taking the time to rest in our heavenly Daddy and put him first. It helps our entire lives slow down and focus on what is truely important. What will you choose this year? To hide in a corner of your life and try to do it on your own? Or will you climb in your Daddy's lap and be still with Him? 


-----------------------------

james fam
   Kara Kae James blogs at The Mom Diggity: a virtual baby book, and a real and honest look at parenting little ones. Being a mom to a 2 year old, 1 year old and about to have baby #3, she strives to be an encouragement to other moms while attempting to survive the little years herself. She is covered by grace...and two day old milk. Follow her on twitter, Facebook and Instagram!   

i'm here and there



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I'm so excited to be a contributing blogger for the Influence Network Blog (which you don't have to be a member to read).  Today I'm over there talking about "When blogging Hurts" -- talking about ways that blogging can be destructive in all areas of your life... some truths I've learned the hard way.

I'd love for you to hop over and check it out.  Hop on over to the recently launched influence network too and take a look around.  You'll find a great group of bloggers being in community together trough forums, online classes, downloads, and so much more.  

Also, hop over to the stitch fix blog.  I'm beyond bumped to be listed along side several fashionable blogging buddies as one of stitch fix's top 10 bloggers.  Oh how I love stitch fix and love sharing them with others.  And they are blowing up! If you've been thinking about signing up, I'd go ahead and jump in now.  They have a small waiting list, but the wait is worth it.  Sign up here.  Such a fun way to shop! (and eee! i get my next fix in a week! can't wait!)  

Living Worship


Notes from my reading this week.  Some really good stuff on worship...






"We send money and offer prayer and sit with a lonely neighbor, in Jesus' name.  We wait for love, we long for home, we pour out our hearts and hopes and fears and longing; we create with words and photos and colors and food, all beautiful acts of worship.
But we don't call it that.
We call those things living.  But when the Spirit of the living God lives inside of you, then your living is also your worship."  -- epf

"Free women respond with worship in everything.  It is a natural outpouring of thankfulness and awareness of love and grace and truth.  It isn't mustered up; it flows out." -emily p. freeman

{grace for the good girl, #thesamepage}
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it's in the bag


trinity ring c/o karen london jewelry //  cuore & pelle bag c/o style mined // watch fossil

New Year's Day here in these parts was a bit dreary w/ a constant drizzle.  I had plans to run, but eh -- undecorated the house instead.  Had plans to take outdoor outfit pictures, but eh -- but plan B instead.  And although as you can see, I didn't quite figure out proper lighting and blah blah blah, you now get to see (it it's fullness) my new chalkboard wall.  It's right outside our kitchen and so much fun.  D did it all himself.  It's magnetic and awesome.  Plans for some framed pictures above the wainscoting and the outside of the board still needs to be trimmed.  But yea, pretty thrillllllled about it.

I'm also really thrilled about my new bag.  It arrived the day before we headed out to celebrate Christmas with the family.  Woohoo Merry Christmas bag to me! I love it.  Don't let the size of this bag deceive you.  It is like Mary Poppin's bag - I could fit a coat rack in this thing, but yet, still not loose my keys in it.  It even has a zippered expandable bottom if you realllly need to throw some extra stuff in.  The best.  Love the gold hardware on the black leather.  Love the short & long handle  You'll be seeing more of it I'm sure!  

Also -- on the subject of bags, its been a while since I've done one (or seen one), would anyone be interested in doing a "Whats in my Bag" link up?  Last time I did one was way before I had a kiddo and the "usual contents" of my bag have changed quite a bit!  Let me know if a link up sounds fun to you.

xo

 

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