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Saturday, May 5, 2018

What We've Been Up To Lately

It's been almost four months since I have written a blog post!! So much has transpired since the last time I shared with you and I am hoping to fill you in with as much as I can without overwhelming you or boring you. I took a look back at the last post I did, in which I talked about being rooted in Him and I created some bookmarks with scriptures on them. Each one had a specific theme, being rooted in His promises, His plan, a confident hope, and His grace. What's funny is that these four themes or topics speak directly to how things have gone in our lives lately and I didn't even plan it that way when I created them.

I guess I should tell you, although I am sure most of you know, we are expecting a baby girl in October and we couldn't be more excited. This whole journey has been long, and at times, very discouraging, but He is good and His timing is perfect!! It all started with a promise. A promise that I would someday get pregnant again, but I had to really trust His plan and timing, all while keeping a confident hope. Well, He answered and we are so grateful and blessed. When I felt, from God, that I needed to take a break from Instagram and my blog writing, I didn't know this would be the reason why, but He did!! And believe me, I had to give myself a lot of grace during the first trimester, because I barely did anything at all and I always felt so guilty!



But I am back, and not as tired or sick anymore, and ready to share with you all again! First up on my list of things, is my blog name. As you can see I still have the same web address, but my blog name has changed. A little over 6 years ago, I started my very first blog, which was called Touch of Simple.  After I got pregnant with my son, I stopped blogging for awhile and eventually lost the name. When I decided to start blogging again, I felt like I had to completely start over, so I created a whole new blog and self titled it, The Erin Elizabeth. I have had this blog now for almost 4 years, and more and more, lately, I have been thinking about that name Touch of Simple again. I have also recently started a small side business of interior decorating, and I really wanted a name that fit. So, I decided to change the name of my blog, but keep the same address, so that people won't get too confused. Plus, I think that they are both fitting. My web address is who I am, easy to find, but my blog, and now my business, have a new name that represents what I am about, simplicity!! Simple style, and keeping life simple! Hope you like it!

With Spring in full swing, I just wanted to share a few fun things that I have been up to, these past few weeks!!
It seems these days that everyone has been creating these wardrobe capsules. I have to admit, at first I was a little skeptical, but after doing it now for almost a year, it's definitely the way to go. There could not be a better way to simplify your wardrobe! The idea is to only have a select number of pieces (I have 40) that you can mix and match to create many different outfits. You carefully go through your wardrobe and select only those items that you really love and that can mix and match well with all of your other pieces, and then you get rid of the rest!! I know it seems crazy, but it really does save you time and stress when choosing your outfits each day. The process can be scary at first, but once you do it for a couple seasons it gets easier. I have learned to select quality items over quantity. Some of my items I use through out every season, like jeans, certain shoes, and tops, and the rest is seasonal. I have only purchased a few new items to add over the past 3 seasons, with the plan to purchase less overtime!! For this season I have about 5 dresses, 10 pairs of pants, a lot of shirts, a jean jacket (staple), and 8 pairs of shoes. Check put a few of my favorites from this season below.


I didn't realize at first, but all of my favorites are from Old Navy! I guess I really loved what they had this season! If you want to see how they fit on, you can take a look in my Instagram stories under features!

It took me awhile to get my house decorated for Spring, but it is finally complete. Now it's time go through and do all of my spring cleaning (I will talk about that next). I usually do it the reverse, but the first trimester of this pregnancy really kicked my butt, and I didn't feel like doing much of anything!! Here's a quick photo Home Tour. Can you guess what my theme was?







It's that time of year again! Time to go through everything and get rid off all the junk and clean out all the areas that have been forgotten! I really don't mind spring cleaning, because it's a chance for me to go through everything and organize it! Plus we have an annual yard sale every year around this time, in our development, so it's the perfect time to do it! I have created a simple checklist for you, if you plan on doing some Spring cleaning as well! I try to check one or two items off of my list each day. It is less overwhelming too when you break it up. I make two piles trash and sell/giveaway. It normally takes me about two weeks to complete everything!



We are already into May and school is almost over, which means Summer is right around the corner. I don't know about your kids, but when my son had off for Spring Break, he was begging to go back to school 3 days in. This means, I better have stuff planned for this Summer or we are all going to be in trouble!

Summer break can be awesome! Believe me, as a SLP who works in a school, I can't wait for school to be over! Now that I have a child, things are a little different! I need to have things, lots of things, to keep him from getting bored. Let's be honest though, I am not Superwoman and I am pregnant, so there are only so many things I can do. I created a bucket list of fun things to do this Summer. The best part is, it is stuff that we can all do together!! There are enough activities listed to do two a week. I also plan to take swimming over our in-laws a lot, many trips to the park, and he loves mini-golf!! However, that can get pretty expensive if you are going twice a week. I also found a lot of easy crafts/games on Pinterest that we can do together. That's why I added 'create something new every week' on my list!! Although my list is not fail proof, I am sure to still hear "I'm bored" once or twice, it gives me lots of ideas and it's a good plan to have, so that I am prepared when I hear those words!!

To grab a copy for yourself, just click on the download button below the picture! 

Download Here

I hope that wasn't too much for you at once and hope that May is a fantastic month for you!! Many Blessings!!

Simply Yours,





Friday, January 26, 2018

January Freebie

I started a new theme this year for my morning coffee chats that I host every Monday morning!!

I chose the word 'rooted' as my word of the year and I decided to follow suit during my bible study time. Every week I pray that God will reveal to me a new way that I can become rooted in Him. Then on Mondays I share all that I have learned from the previous week during my daily study time.

I decided to create these bookmarks for you, one for each of the four different chats I have done so far. I included a verse that I shared from that week as well.

For the month of January, here are the ways that we have learned to become rooted in Him




I will continue to create a set for each month moving forward. I hope that you enjoy them. All you need to do is click the download button below to receive a free copy for yourself! Many Blessings!






Simply Yours,


Thursday, December 21, 2017

Rooted in Him

I feel like I don't even know where to start with this blog post. I have everything in my head that I want to say, but don't really know how to express exactly what it is that I am feeling.

I wish that I could take you for a long ride through my brain, so that you could see what I mean, when I say, it never stops. It's always going. I mean, I do sleep at night. It doesn't keep me awake, lying in bed, but for the most part, it's always going! What can I create next? What project can I take on? What new idea can I come up with for my blog or Instagram? How can I take my passion for decor and turn it into something new and different? The wheels are always turning. More, more, more!!

Eventually these passions for writing, blogging, decorating, and designing, and trying to be more, are no longer things that bring joy. They start to evoke feelings of dread and doubt, and stress and anxiety. I get so caught up with trying to fit in with this world and follow suit with what everyone else is doing that I end up confused and lost.

In Romans 12 verse 2 it says......

 "Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."

God's will. Do we ever fully understand or know what His will is for our life is. I feel that there have been many situations, experiences, and storms that I can definitely say were part of God's will for my life, but it's always after the fact, that I am able to realize and see this. Then there are other times when I am not so sure if what I am doing is part of His will for me OR if it's my will for me. You know what I am saying? That's where I am right now. I feel that I've lost my voice, and part of my passion, because my desire is no longer to create and do what pleases Him, but to please myself. I'm chasing after the plans that I have for my life, instead of seeking to know His plan. 

Jesus made it very clear, what it is, that we are to do with our lives. He spoke to his disciples and said,

“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.  If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?Is anything worth more than your soul?"

That's a lot to take in and it's certainly not easy to do. And it's definitely not easy to admit, when you feel that conviction yourself. Over the past few months, I have been recognizing this more and more and have been trying to make that change. Maybe others don't see it, but I feel it. I feel the anxiety, the comparison, the desire to seek approval from others, the insecurities that I am not as good as the other person. I feel the stress of wanting to do it all, so that I can feel accomplished.

And it's crazy how this feeling comes in waves. During one season in your life, you feel good about your faith and your walk and then so easily, that relationship, that feeling of knowing your worth in Him, it just slips away. You start chasing your plans and your desires once again and He is no longer first anymore. Oh how the flesh is weak.

But my God, He is strong! And that is why I will always need Him. I will never be perfect. I will never have it all together. Some seasons will be better than others, but it is during these seasons, when I am weak, that I know may faith is being tested and my relationship with Him will only grow stronger!

My word for 2018 is rooted. Rooted in Him.

root1
ro͞ot/
verb
past tense: rooted; past participle: rooted
  1. 2
    establish deeply and firmly.

    "vegetarianism is rooted in Indian culture"

Rooted in Him and not the customs of this World. Rooted in Him, so that I don't need to seek the approval of others to determine my worth. Rooted in Him, so that I may know what His will is for my life. His good and perfect and pleasing will. I am giving up my own way, my plans and my desires, because there is nothing out there in this World that is worth losing my soul or my voice to, unless I am losing it to take up my cross and follow Him.




So this isn't goodbye, it's until we meet again. My blogging and decorating journey (and other desires), they're not over, I'm just pressing pause. Taking a break from pursuing what I want, and earnestly seeking what He wants for me.

I pray that the Lord will bless you on your journey into 2018. That you will be rooted and established in His love and that the true joy we experience at Christmas will carry on in our hearts for the whole year!

Many Blessings,


Monday, December 11, 2017

Holiday Gift Guide: True Joy

This verse just doesn't want to leave me alone. Everywhere I go this verse comes up. I think God may be trying to tell me something and it's time for me to stop and listen.

You see, I am a planner girl and I love to organize! I don't necessarily think that planning is a bad thing. God does want us to be responsible and organized but only with the things that he allows us to control. This is where I struggle! Realizing what is and isn't under my control can be hard. There are a lot of things that I think I can control or fix, until finally I realize I can't.

This season, and more so, this year, I have slowly started to let go of those things that I want to control, but know I can't. I am not saying that I am completely worry free and have submit all control to Him, because if I am being honest, I do take it back sometimes.

I'm getting there!!! You see, I had a lot of things planned for this week, this month, this season, this year even, but those things didn't happened. The expectations of so many things, just fell short.

My word for 2017 was JOY! I wanted to find joy, true joy, in everything, even in the expectations that fell short, and caused a lot pain and hurt. Of course, as I sit here and type this blog post, I realize that I am amidst the season that is supposed to be the most joyful time of year, right? But what do you do when Christmas is not full of joy like everyone says it should be?

Bear with me for a minute, while I break this down for you. I promise I am going somewhere with this!!

What if I told you, that the Christmas we know, the one that we celebrate on December 25th, is not actually the date that Jesus was born. That it wasn't even in Winter, but early Fall. And,....What if I also told you, that the joy we expect to find at Christmas time, the sparkly lights, the Christmas music, the gifts, all the parties & festivities, isn’t really TRUE joy.



Don’t get me wrong, all of that stuff is nice and it does make us happy, for the moment, but it is all just things. What happens when Christmas is over and all of those things are gone? Do we still feel that same joyous feeling?

To me, joy is not a feeling, so much as it is a state of being. When I was younger, my mom always told me, that in order to find real joy, I needed to do this.

J- Jesus First
O- Others Second
Y- Yourself last

What does this look like you might ask? Let’s just say, this Christmas you have a heavy burden that you are carrying and there is nothing, not even that gift you have always wanted, that can bring you joy. Or, maybe, it’s not just one big thing, but a million little things, that have you all stressed and you just can’t find it in you to be joyful.

I’ve been there friends, but what changes our perspective during these circumstances is when we put Jesus first, when we acknowledge that we need Him. We lift up our hurts and burdens to Him and trust that He is in control and that His love never fails. Secondly, we take the focus off of ourselves and whatever our situation may be, and instead, we focus on others around us and how we can encourage them. This is hard, but when we put Jesus first and ask Him for the strength to do this, it is possible. Let’s also not forget that when we serve others and show love to our neighbors, Whom is it that we are really serving????

JESUS.

And I am sure you can guess what happens when we do this? Our problems, our hurts, our burdens, they become the last thing we think about, because our focus is no longer on ourselves. This, my friends is how we find true joy, because it’s not about us. It’s not about all the gifts, or all of the parties. It’s not about the perfectly decorated home or our schedule full of festive activities. These things may bring us joy, but it’s only temporary.

It's about the ones we love. Our family, our friends, our interactions with others and how we see Jesus in them. It's all the moments, good and bad, that He is there with us! Showing His love for us.



And it's us, putting Him first and fully trusting Him. Just like that first Christmas when He was born unto us. Mary trusted! She believed! She knew Who He was and what He was going to become. The ultimate Gift of joy, the Savior to this World.

So instead of writing out a list of gifts for you to buy, like I had originally planned, I write to you about the One Ultimate Gift. My prayer is that during this Christmas season you are able to find it. I pray that amidst your plans and festivities that you make room for Him! I know that for me, it took changing a lot of what I originally had planned to do. I had to cancel some of my plans and cross off a few of my to-dos. I had to let go of what I wanted to control and trust His plan, not just for Christmas, but in every Season of my life!

Many Blessings,


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

What I Learned This Season



1. A new perspective helps!! There is a difference between being thankful (the feeling) and giving thanks (the action). Inspiration from @lilsteedsmom


2. Instagram is great, but it's not everything! I love the connections I have made on there and I know I can count on lots of fun hashtags and inspiration when I am on there, but I have finally come to the point, where I just don't care. I don't care if don't get to post for a hashtag. I don't care if I loose followers or if I don't get that many likes on a post. It's OK! It's definitely a great tool and it took me awhile to get to this place, but I can't tell you how much better I feel, now that I realized this and accepted it.

3. There are lots of ways we can be the change right where we are. I had so much  fun writing (micro-blogging) about this for the #write31days challenge this year! You can see all of the posts here -->  "Be the Change". And it will only take you about 10 minutes to read through them all.

4. My sink will forever be filled with dishes. No matter how hard I try to keep it empty, it never fails. I have come to accept this and I am ok with it!!... I think!


5. I really love to sing, a lot!!  I have ever since I was young. I sing in the car, the shower, around the house while I'm cleaning, and even to myself when I don't even realize. You know where I won't sing?...... In front of other people. Why?? Because I am terrified. I have this fear in my head that when I go to sing in front of others that I am going to sound awful. Call it a pride thing, but I just can't seem to get over it. The funny thing is, I always pictured myself singing in front of others at church or other events, but when I actually start to consider it, I get that feeling again. I pray that one day, with His help, I can overcome this fear!

6. Speaking of fear, talking in front of large groups is not my thing either. I have learned that during these situations, I start to sweat, my hearts starts to race, and if it's really bad, my eye starts to twitch. I am a speech language pathologist in a school and I have to sit in meetings a lot with parents, I have no choice. You would think that by now I would be better at it, since I have done so many, but half the time, I feel like I can't even control it. It's so embarrassing. The one thing that has helped, is prayer & preparation! You can read more about this, in one of my posts I wrote about Finding Courage.

7. I have finally created my own planner using a bullet journal and I love it! I learned about bullet journaling at the end of last year and I wasn't really interested. I had my eye on the planner from Inkwell press for 2017. I really did love this planner, and I feel like out of all the ones I have used in the past, this one had mostly everything that I wanted, but not all. As I continued to practice my hand lettering this year, the thought of creating my own, using the bullet method kept coming up. I knew it was going to take a lot of time, but I knew I was ready for the challenge. It will be using it for 2018, however I did add in December because it's a crazy month, and well, I just couldn't wait! Here are some photos!

                   




And that's it!! It was a great season. I loved watching the leaves change colors and that smell of Fall in the air. We hosted Thanksgiving at our house and it was wonderful!! I am super excited for Christmas this year and can't wait to see what God has in store for 2018! I hope this Winter season is filled with many memories and lots of love for you all,... and if possible maybe we will learn a thing or two! Until next time...

Many Blessings,




Monday, November 20, 2017

Christmas This Year & Two Freebies

Every year, after Thanksgiving, we pull out the tree and all the decorations and we transform our house in to Christmas heaven. I love this time of year! Especially, now that I have a child of my own. It brings back some great memories from when I was a kid. I love that we have carried on some each of our families traditions, as well as, start a few new ones of our own.

This year I think I started a new tradition! Since we are hosting Thanksgiving at our house, with close to 30 people, I decided to decorate the house for Christmas before Thanksgiving, instead of after! I know that this probably makes a lot of people mad, myself included if it was last year, but I kind of have a new perspective on the whole thing.

You see, I used to think that if you decorated your house for Christmas before Thanksgiving, that you were just rushing through and totally skipping over the Thanksgiving holiday. But,....... but, if you really think about it, why can't you celebrate both. I love Thanksgiving, hence the 30 people I am hosting at my house, so wouldn't it make more sense to decorate before, so that your house was is all festive for your guests. Plus, you get to enjoy the decor for a week longer. I mean we all know that it goes by way too fast. We can still celebrate Thanksgiving with all the love and feels it brings while having Christmas decor up. It doesn't really make a difference. It's all about your heart and if you are making sure to make the most out of every holiday then who cares what kind of decor you put up.

This year, I have decided to go with a very simple look. I wanted a more natural feel, kind of how it was thousands of years ago, on that very first Christmas night. I went with browns and greens, with hints of gold and white. When I close my eyes and try to picture what is was like on that night, these are the colors that I see. No bright flashy colored lights or perfectly decorated trees, just the soft glow of the moon and the twinkling stars above. The wooden beams holding up the stable where he lay and the soft white clothes they wrapped Him in.


Here is a sneak peak of some of the decor I have up. I will be doing a full Christmas home tour on Sunday evening here on the blog and in my stories on Instagram, so be sure to check back.


 


Also, here are a few freebies for you. Two years ago I created a simple advent devotional to do with my family on each Sunday in December. It is a special time where we can all sit around and reflect on all the love, joy, peace, and hope that the season brings. And, I don't know if it's too soon for Christmas tags, but if you have already started shopping for gifts like me, then you will want these tags when you wrap your gifts. I use the different symbols for the different members of my family. That way I know who each gift is for, but I don't have to write their names on them!

Download Here

Download Here



 Many Blessings,