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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

First Edition is Here!!

Happy first day of Summer! Today was the first day of Summer break for me! I have 75 glorious days off and I plan to make the most out of each and every day!

I have been working very hard to bring you the first edition of my newsletter, 'The Simple Life'. I really enjoyed creating this for you and I hope that you will enjoy it too. Just click the picture below to download your copy!!




And stay tuned for new photos of my home to be add very soon! I am so excited for this Summer and all that is in store!!

Many Blessings,


Friday, June 16, 2017

What I Learned This Season: Spring


Only 2 more school days left and then it's Summer!! I am back again for another post of 'What I Learned this Season'. I definitely think I learned a lot this Spring, but more than that, I feel myself growing in a lot of ways, spiritually, and it just feels so amazing! I thought I would do this one a little different and share with you in one-liners & quotes, just for fun! So, in no particular order, here is what I learned this season......

1. The days are long, but the years are short. Make every moment count, because before you know it, the time will be gone!


2. Being content means, wanting what you already have, not having whatever you want!

3. Wisdom and humility are a package deal. Those who have great wisdom have experienced great humility. #lifegoal

4. Sometimes our lives feel like they are spinning out of control. In our hearts we scream, 'this is not the way I imagined it', but even when our plans don't seem to match God's path, we can still count on His purpose. Can I get an Amen?!!

5. "The influence of a good teacher can never be erased". I received this quote in a beautiful frame with such a sweet note from one of my student's. It made me cry, because as a speech language pathologist, a lot of times, I get over looked. It is nice to receive stuff like this, once in awhile, to remind me why I chose this profession.

6. Just because you have a lot of dietary restrictions, doesn't mean you still can't have fun. Try these amazing treats! They are delicious and perfect for that sweetness you crave, but you don't have to feel guilty about it!

 

7. "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends".  -John 15:13 What a great example of what true friendship really means, than the story of David and Jonathan. I knew at one point in my life, that certain relationships would not last, and would probably drift apart, but I have no hard feelings about it. It just makes me so grateful for those few who have stuck by me from the beginning and will go with me till the end.

8. "I must have flowers always & always". -Claude Monet 
It turns out, that I am better at gardening than I thought. Most of the time I have had bad luck with flowers and plants, but when you do a little research and put in some effort, you can grow some awesome stuff, and really enjoy it too. I can't wait to plant some bulbs and trees in the fall!!



9. Anyone can wear red lipstick, you just have to find the right shade. -Jess Connolly

                                                   

10. Chillin' in the car they spent all day waxin'
         Leanin' to the side but you can't spead through
         Two miles an hour so everybody sees you
         There's an air of love and of happiness
         And this is the Fresh Prince's new defintion' of summer madness..
         Summer, Summer, Summertime.
         Time to sit back and unwind!  -DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (aka Will Smith)

I am so ready for Summer and I hope you are too!

Many Blessings,


Monday, June 12, 2017

A Year in Photos

In 2016 I decided that I want to do keep a log on my son for that whole year, in photos. I took a photo  of him every week (or at least I tried, lol) and it is so cool to see him change over the year. I think he definitely looks older when I look at the first few pictures compared to the last one at Christmas! I am going to create a cute little journal for all of the pictures to look back on when he is older.






Since I enjoyed doing this so much. I had an idea to do something similar for this Summer. I recently just purchased the Instax Mini 9 Camera. I love it so much!! I have a very old polaroid camera that still works and I just love these kinds of pictures. They are so fun! Plus, my son loves that the photo comes out of the camera right away.

So if you are look for a fun way to document your Summer, why not do it with photos. There is a little space on the bottom for you to write the date or a little message too!! Only 9 more days till the first day of Summer! I can't wait!

Many Blessings,

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Trip Down Memory Lane

I hope that you all had a wonderful Memorial Day. I certainly enjoyed the three day weekend with my friends and family. I am so ready for Summer!!

I started my blog about two and half years ago, when my son was a little over a year old. I honestly can't believe that it has been that long already. I have learned so much during that time and I definitely feel that I have grown, not just as a writer, but in many different ways. I thought that it would be fun to go back and take a look through all of my posts that I have written since day one and share a few of my favorites. It was neat to see how my interests have changed and what stayed the same.

So in no particular order, here are my favorite posts.....

The Story of Hope

Two Pink Lines
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A Note of Encouragement 

Advice I Need to Take Myself

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Something Fun 

A Year of Pinterest Projects


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On Being Real
The One Goal I Didn't Want People to Know 


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The Important Stuff

The Simple Life


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A Freebie for You
How to Get Unstuck


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My First Big Project
A Monthly Devotional

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My Favorite Series
Creating Your Nest


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A Writing Challenge
31 Days of Home Projects
 
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My Favorite Link Up

What I Learned This Season


I hope that you enjoy these posts as much as I enjoyed putting them together!! 

Many Blessings,




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Thursday, May 25, 2017

My Unexpected Role as a Compassion Mom

Two weeks ago, as I was celebrating Mother's Day with my family, I realized how having the responsibility of being a sponsor to a child, is a lot like being a mother. I never thought of it that way before, because I have never even met him before, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized just how much I loved this little boy and cared for him.

His name is Puguh and he is about to celebrate his birthday and turn 14!



I have been blessed with the opportunity to sponsor Puguh since he was 6 years old. I can't believe it has been 8 years already. He has grown from a child to a teenager and I have had the privilege to watch each year, as he has learned new things, struggled through hard times, and grown to know His Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We write letters back and forth and send pictures. I receive updates from local counselors on how he and other students are doing in that area. I pray for him continually and I send money once a month to help with any supplies, food, and clothing that he needs. I love ready the letters he sends and, oh, how amazed I am, that he is taking the time to pray for me and my family as well.

He has been such a blessing to me and my family, and yet I have never even met him. I am guessing that he might say something similar about me, considering I am the one who is sponsoring him. Just a few months ago, a huge earthquake hit the coast of Indonesia. Upon reading about this tragedy, my heart sank. I immediately wanted to know if Puguh and his family were ok. The thought of losing him really broke my heart, and I began to cry as I thought about him and all of the others affected. Thankfully both he ands family are all ok. That was the moment when I realized just how much this boy means to me! What I thought was just doing something good for God, 8 years ago, has been so much more than I could ever imagine.

Compassion Sunday was three weeks ago, on May 7th. I did not get the opportunity to share my story that day, but I knew it was not too late to share. My husband and I, along with my son, Greyson, are praying about sponsoring another child as a family. I know that there are so many children out there, that need someone like you and me to help care, pray for, and love them, in a very unique and unexpected way, kind of like a mom.

Would you pray and consider sponsoring a child today? It is very simple and it can be life changing! Follow the link below for more information on how to get started today.

Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion


Many Blessings,

Friday, May 5, 2017

Exciting News for What's to Come

Today I wanted to share with you all a few things that I am working on and hopefully will be ready by June! I have not really been writing a whole lot because I have been focused these other great ideas. The first one that I am super excited about and I hoping that you love just as much as I do is The Simple Life Newsletter. This is a quarterly newsletter that will be released at the beginning of each new season with the first edition coming this Summer.


There is so much in here that I can't wait for you to see; encouraging words, recipes, decor tips, seasonal favorites, art prints, and so much more! This newsletter is for anyone. You don't have to be a subscriber to receive it (although it helps because you won't ever miss an issue). Just be sure to check in on the first day of Summer to grab your copy.

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The next thing I want to share with you is a few changes that I am making to my blog. If you haven't already noticed, my homepage is a little different. I am slowly rearranging and adding things. Hopefully, all will be complete within the next month or so. Here is what to look for.......



1. New "About Me" section. I am updating this portion and I hope that you will take few minutes to read a little about myself and what is important to me.

2. I am working on adding photos of my home so that you can take a virtual tour of my home and hopefully find ideas and inspiration. I will post photos each room and provide a list for where I purchased most of my items. I have also been working on starting a small side business as a home decorator, so these photos will also show others, who are interested, the work I have done and give them an idea of my style.

3. I have created a book list tab. I will be constantly updating this as I continue to finish more books. I don't get a chance to read that often, so if a book makes it to this list, then it means it is worth the read.

4. Finally, I have the "Creations" folder, otherwise known as 'Freebies". This is a collection of all of my printable artwork and other documents that you have full access to, if you would like to download something. This constantly gets updated as well, so be sure to check back often for anything you may have missed!

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Finally, I have been working on a fun little challenge that will take place on Instagram. I love Instagram so much. I can't even begin to explain all of the reasons why! I have been trying to think of something different to do, that allows many people to get involved. I know that the home decor community is so big and continues to grow every day, so I created the home decor photo challenge that will take place for the month of June. I am currently looking for a few hosts to do this with me. Any one can play along, you just follow each prompt for that day, when you post your home decor photo, and use the hashtag #homedecorphotochallenge. I am super excited for this. I hope you will join in the fun!

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Don't forget to subscribe so you can receive this month's subscriber freebie and all the other goodies from the previous months. These exclusives are only available to my subscribers so be sure to sign up today!



Many Blessings,


Monday, April 17, 2017

He Gives More Grace

The other night I was watching a very popular reality TV show, when one of the players made a very bold hurtful statement. Everyone's jaw dropped, including my own!! I really could not believe what he had just proclaimed to millions of viewers watching around the country. I felt so bad for the person whom that statement was made towards. The look on his face was shock, disbelief, and hurt. Immediately, all of the of the other players started attacking the player who had made the hurtful statement. There were even tears from some of the other players. As the conversation ensued, you could see how the "accuser", we shall call him, started to realize the impact of his words. The victim, handled the situation with great humility and grace. However, not everyone else was as forgiving.

Has this sort of thing ever happened to you before? Maybe not this exact scenario, but probably something similar. I know it has happened to me plenty of times. I open my mouth and spew a bunch of stuff, without thinking of the impact the it might have on someone else. A lot of the players felt that he said those words to be hurtful, but I honestly think that he was just caught up in the moment and didn't realize the weight of his words.

I have to admit, as much as I felt bad for the victim, I felt even worse for the other guy. He is going to carry that guilt around for a long time, not to mention all of the hate mail and messages, I am sure he will receive from viewers. Now, don't misunderstand what I am saying, I don't think it was right what he said, for whatever reason, he definitely knew he screwed up and was genuinely apologetic. I am just pointing out that, saying you are sorry, is just as important as having to forgive someone.



Think about Jesus and what He did for us. He suffered great pain on the cross and had to experience separation from His father as He took our sins for us. His last words as He hung on that cross were, "It is finished". Think about what those words actually mean to us. God's plan had been fulfilled. A plan of redemption to rescue, in love, the very people whose sin had nailed Him to the cross.
He sent His only son to die on a cross and take on our sins so that we could be forgiven. We are now able to approach the Father because of what Jesus did for us. When God looks at us he doesn't see any sin, because Jesus intercedes for us. I don't know about you, but that is just so amazing to me. It is hard for me to even grasp at times! Such amazing grace!!

So then, why is it so hard for us to forgive at times? When a God so loving, continues to give more grace, to a people so undeserving? Let's remember this as we get back into our normal routines. Easter is over, but that doesn't mean what He has done for us, has to be forgotten. The next time we are faced with a situation where it might be hard to forgive, remember the grace that is given to us each and every day!

Many Blessings,







Friday, March 31, 2017

A Friendly Weekend Wish

Hey everyone! Just wanted to stop in and say hi. It's been a little while since I have posted anything!




March and April are very busy months at work for me, so I don't really have a lot of free time to write. I can't believe that it is the last day in March already! Thank God! I am so ready for Spring Break, which is only two weeks away. I have so much in store for the upcoming months, I just can't wait until I am able to share with you all!!!

Until then, Happy Friday and Many Blessings in this season of life! I have linked up, two encouraging posts for you that I wrote for my church's online devotional study.


The Good Life: On Being Great

The Good Life: Watch Out for the Dogs

Don't forget to sign up to have my posts delivered directly to your inbox once a month. As a subscriber you will receive exclusive freebies once a month! I know that you will love this month's art print. I have mine hanging in my hallway!! All you have to do is click the tab at the top of my page that says subscribe!!

Many Blessings,

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Receive His Peace

Happy Saturday friends! I am back with some more encouragement for you. This upcoming Monday is the first day of Spring. Here's to hoping the weather starts to get warmer really soon!

Today, I want to talk to you about worry and how, so easily, we are robbed of peace, because of how much we worry.  I wish that worry was one of the emotions that we didn't have to deal with. I'm fine with all of the others, but worrying about things, it's the worst! Worse than all of the other negative emotions, because it's the hardest thing to let go of. Anger, frustration, sadness, nervousness; these are all feelings that I can overcome through prayer and reading scripture. These feelings last only for a short while for me, but worry? Worry can last for so long. Even when I say that I am not worried, sometimes secretly, I still am. I don't want to be, but it's the truth! There are so many things in life to worry about, maybe that's why. I just wish that I could let it all go.

Maybe I can. Let's take a look at some of the scriptures in Matthew chapter 6.
Chapter 6 verses 25 -34 says this....

 25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God[e] above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Friends, these are words spoken straight from the mouth of God!! How beautiful and reassuring they are to me, and I pray that they are for you too!!

John 14:27 has some of the most powerful words in scripture.




So let's receive His piece but trusting in His Word and knowing how much He loves us and will provide for us everything that we need!! Have a great weekend friends!

Many Blessings,


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Hitting the Restart Button

Here we are, almost to the middle of March already and just when I thought it was starting to get warmer, it snowed today. I just want April to get here already! January till Spring Break, every year, is always the hardest for me. I don't really have any breaks at work and with the weather being colder during this time, I don't get out much. This is the season where I need most of my encouragement. That little extra push of motivation to get me through till Spring.

After thinking about it, I realized that I am probably not the only one who feels this way. I decided to write a short series, on 4 different areas that I sometimes struggle with. Hopefully, by the time I write the last post, the weather will be warmer and we will be close to Easter Break.

The first area I wanted to write about is starting over, and I'm not necessarily talking about huge changes in life, but rather the smaller restarts of everyday.

For whatever reason people love the start of a new year. It's our chance to regroup and refocus our thoughts and priorities. Tons of people set goals and make new resolutions. I would be lying if I said that I didn't partake in these rituals as well. However, over the past year or two I have be trying to shift my focus in terms of when I can start over. Starting over at the beginning of a new year makes sense, well because, it's just that, a new year. But what happens when months, weeks, or even days into working towards your new goals and resolutions, you mess up? And believe me we will mess up. We are humans, we all fall short.

I love this verse from Lamentations.......
Friends, I want you to just ponder this verse for a minute. The Lord is letting us know that we don't have to wait for the start of the new year to hit the restart button. His mercies are new everyday!! As long as we acknowledge that we messed up and ask for forgiveness, we get to start over each and everyday. And that is just amazing to me. You see, He knows that we are going to mess up even before we do and so he wrote this amazing truth for us. That's how much He loves us!

So don't beat yourself up when you aren't achieving those goals that you set back in January. You can hit that restart button whenever you want! And when we mess up again, we can rest assured that he is faithful in providing us with new mercies every day!

Many Blessings,





Thursday, March 2, 2017

What I Learned This Winter


Has it really been three months already? I can't believe that we are almost through another season! I am back again to share with you what I have learned this Winter. I participated in Emily's link up for the first time, last Fall. I followed her advice on keeping track of the different things that I have learned over this past Winter, so that I could come back and share with all of you.

In no particular order, here are the 8 things I learned this Winter......

1. There is a lot of really bad stuff in the food we eat!! Unfortunately, I have had a lot of digestive related issues over the past few years. I was diagnosed with Celiac's Disease in 2009, so I have been gluten free since then. However, for the past year or two I have still been having issues and I just got fed up with the doctors trying to mask the problems by giving me prescription medication. A person I worked with, told me to see a Nutritionist who does Nutrition Response Testing and for the past 7 weeks that is what I have been doing I am about half way through the program and while I don't feel 100%, I feel way better than I did before. I have learned so much about food and how your body works when you eat certain foods. What is also neat is that everyone's body tolerates foods differently. I am learning that I can't eat soy, corn, or too much sugar, or my body feels like crap.

2. Starting my day off with prayer and time in the Word has really changed the way my days go. I didn't always used to have my quiet time in the morning and what I came to realize was, that if I didn't do it first thing in the morning, most of the time, I didn't do it at all. I've also been noticing a difference in my mood and my attitude towards others. I am more joyful and positive when I start my day off with Him. I chose JOY as my word for 2017 and it is so true that, you experience much more joy when you put Him first in your life.

3. It doesn't have to be the start of a new year for you to start over. You can hit the reset button whenever you want. Each day is a new day and we are not promised tomorrow. That is His gift to us and it is so freeing to know that if we come to Him as we are, He will meet us wherever and we can start fresh in that moment. I will writing more about this area of life in a 4 part series that will start next week. Be sure to check back in so you don't miss it!



4. How to give my 'best yes'. I started the book, The Best Yes awhile ago but I never finished it. I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to finally pick it back up. I am sure there are plenty of you out there who are like me, and have a hard time saying 'no'. This book is for you too. Lysa offers so many great tools and suggestions on how to go through the process of accepting an invitation/request from others. She talks about the power of a small no and how it can actually be good for you and your family to say 'no' more often. Especially if it is not a best yes assignment from God. Go order the book and don't delay reading it like I did!

5. I really love a good a book. With that being said, it takes me forever to get through just one book. Every year I say I want to get through at least one book a month, but it ends up only being like three books a year. That means it's taking me four months to get through just one book. It's not that I don't like to read at all, I just wish I had more time. I am trying to be better at reading before bed instead of watching tv, but let's be honest, how can I watch just one episode of Parenthood??!! In all seriousness though, I am learning not to put a number or a time limit on things, because when reality doesn't line up with my expectations, I become disappointed. Be sure to check out my must read favorites in the book list tab.

6. How important it is for my son to know Jesus. This World seems to be falling apart more and more every day. It breaks my heart sometimes to think that this is what my son has to grow up with. However, I am so thankful for what he is being taught in school. He is only 3 right now and he attends 2 days a week, at preschool/kindergarten program that is run by our church. He comes home singing songs about Jesus and Bible verses that he has memorized. It makes my heart so happy!! I love watching him grow and learn each and every day. My goal is for him to know how much God loves him and will always be with him. I pray that this foundation he is given now, will stay solid and be built upon as he grows older. 



7. Life is full of difficult stuff but God is always faithful. I have been using the first5 app as part of my morning devotions. A few weeks ago, I came across this passage by Whitney Capps. It was so powerful. It literally brought me to tears. I felt led to share.

"When we are dealing with difficult relationships or impossible circumstances we must trust our God and trust the mustard seed of faith we hold that God still resurrects even the most desperate situations. His process may be long and painful, but His plans are perfect."

What an awesome reminder this is. Anytime I start to fear or worry about stuff, I read this passage and let it sink in and I am filled with unexplainable peace knowing that He is in control.

8. There are lots of awesome communities on Instagram! Back in November I took a leap of faith and messaged a few ladies that I admire on Instagram. Other than the photos I see on their feeds, I knew nothing about them. Well, that was the best thing I could have ever done!! Not only did they respond, but the responded with open arms and since then my Instagram experience has been so different. I tried so hard before, to gain new followers, but I just wasn't tapping into the right audience. Once I started to engage with these women who shared the same passions as I do, everything changed. I have been joining in on fun hashtags and giveaways and I am meeting new people in this community every day. I have not only gained lots of new followers, but I have gained friends. This community of decorators really care about what I post. They are interested in what I have to share and I love that I have finally found a community where I belong!



Top Row Left to Right:

Stacey @farmhousechic4sure
Carla @myfarmynest
Laara @rusticmeadowslane

Middle Row:

Photos from my feed @the.erin.elizabeth

Bottom Row Left to Right:

Holly @hollys.hobby
Cindi @themustardseed205
Alyssa @cottonpickinacres

Be sure to stop by all of their Instagram feeds. They are some very talented women!!

I hope that you all have an amazing season of Spring! I know I am looking forward to it. I'll see you back here in three months for the next edition of 'What I Learned This Season'!

Many Blessings,

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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

5 Tips for Styling Your Shelves

I am no expert, but after styling and re-styling, and then re-styling again, I feel that I have become pretty good at styling my built-in bookshelves in our front office.

At first, they were just holders of books, DVDs and other random things, but they just looked so messy and the styling was not cohesive to the other pieces in the room. I must of re-arranged them at least 4 times before I got them the way they are now.

I think that it was so important for me to get the styling right, because they are so beautifully made and have so much more potential than to just be used for storing things. I knew that there was a way for them to be functional yet still pretty to look at. It was also important to me, for them to stand out, because they are one of the first things people see when they walk into our house.

Here are a few photos of what the shelves looked like before the transformation.....

Ugh, I can't stand looking at them. Look at all of those ugly DVDs! I am so glad I moved them out of view!

There is just too much going on. Too many colors!


You can see I tried to style them a little but it just wasn't working!


And here is what they look like after.....




Here are my 5 tips for styling your bookshelves:

1. Think outside the box. They don't have to be just for books and you don't have to stack the books in the traditional way either. I turned my books around so that you see the pages not the spine. Think of all the different things out there today that are not being used for what they were originally intended. I also added a few baskets to store things in, such as pens or bills that need to be paid. Remember, you can have them look pretty and still be functional.

2. Start Fresh. Take everything off of the shelves and start fresh. I went through all of my stuff that I had on my shelves and decided if I really needed to keep it out or if I could find another spot for it somewhere else. I also went through all of my books and made piles. I got rid of a lot that I know I will never read again. I kept some of the really nice older ones to use for styling, and the books that I refer back to often, I grouped them all together.

3. Decorate your Shelves. I went around my house to find some nice photos and other framed art that I could place on the shelves. I also found some fake plants and a few other nice personal items. This could be anything that has meaning to you. We have a really nice clock that was gifted to us by my husband's best friend. We never really had a place for it until we moved into our new house. Now we do! I also have some items from our wedding that I had stored in boxes because I wasn't sure what to do with it before. Now I can actually display them and they become pieces that tell part of our story.

4. Forget about Symmetry. When I say this, I simply mean don't worry if things don't look a certain way. You will probably arrange things a couple times before you get it the way you want it. I put one big decor piece in the middle shelving unit as a focal point and then everything else I just staggered according to each individual shelf. You want to mix things up a bit though when styling each shelf. Try not too have all of one thing (i.e. books, plants, photos) on a shelf. For example I put a few books and a plant on one shelf and then a few more books, at the opposite end, and some pictures, on another. (See the photos above for how I styled the different shelves).

5. There is no wrong way. I always include this as part of my decorating tips/advice. You need to have fun with it. If you are getting frustrated, walk away for a little and come back to it. It can be overwhelming but it shouldn't be something that makes you so frustrated that you give up. Decorating should be fun. You are creating your nest/space to enjoy and to share with others there really is no wrong way of doing it. Just keep mixing things up until you can step back and say, "That's it"!



Many Blessings,