Sunday, December 8, 2019

Hope for Change

It's been awhile since I have written anything, and if I am being honest, it will probably be along time before I write again after this, but I have felt for awhile that I needed to write this post. There have been a lot of changes this past year. Each one defining who I am a little more. I used to think that I dealt with change well, although more recently, some of these changes that have occurred are the result of something not so good.

I could sit here and list all the different things that have changed, but it doesn't matter. What matters is realizing that change is possible and recognizing that in order for true change to happen we need to let Jesus do His work. Too often we pray for something not realizing we are asking Him to change something for us, whether it be our circumstances, a relationship, or someone else. Then what happens, is we don't fully trust that He can do it. We try to step in and change things in our own strength, on our own terms or we don't like His answer and the change is no what we anticipated!

Life is tough and when something happens that we aren't expecting, it changes everything. It forces us to change. For me this is what it's been lately and I'm learning more and more not to resist but to just trust that HE is good no matter what my circumstances. With Christmas only two and half weeks away, I am reminded everyday that, on the day Jesus was born, it changed everything. He was born unto us, as a human, to be with us, and one day save us.

Emmanuel, God with us! His birth represents hope for all!!

Hope for those who have lost.
Hope for the weary and afraid.
Hope for the sick and the hurting.
Hope for you & me!

And as we wait for the good to come out of our change, whatever it may be, as we walk through the difficulty of our change, let's hold onto that hope, that God is with us. He dwells within us, walks beside us, and goes before us. He is hoping for change just as we are! He longs for us to come to Him in full surrender to be changed. From that very first Christmas morning when He changed everything till the last day on this earth when everything will change again and be made new. He is with us, working in us, and through us, giving us hope for what's to come.

Many Blessings & Merry Christmas,

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

What This Summer Has Taught Me

Over the Summer, I read the book, The Next Right Thing, by Emily P. Freeman. To say that it was a great book would be an understatement. I am actually re-reading through it now, because I feel like I really need it to sink in!

For as long as I can remember, I have been a planner, a list maker, and an organizer, because it helps me feel whole. Getting everything out of my head and on to paper, just has a way of calming my soul and brings me peace. Maybe because it makes me feel in control.

But what happens when something terrible happens that you didn't plan for? What do you do when your to-do list is so long that it takes away from what really matters the most? How do you feel when you are so organized and yet, you still can't find what you are looking for? Because, let me tell you, it seems to be happening more and more for me, and I don't like it.

For a long time, I always felt like I was pretty good at figuring out what the next right thing was, because,.... well, I was in control of these things. Over the course of this past year, and more specifically this past Summer, God has been slowly speaking to me about these things. Now, on any given day, you might here me say that God is in control, He's got this (whatever the situation might be) and honestly, I really do believe it! I have seen Him work in the most craziest and beautifulest (don't even know if that's a word), of ways. He is an awesome God who is ALWAYS in control, but....... I don't REALLY, always recognize and trust! I think to myself that I can do it all, fix the problem, and make everything look perfect, and then when it's not, I'm left feeling frustrated, tired, broken, and stressed.

As the Summer came to a close for us, we decided to take a mini vacation to my favorite beach town. It was wonderful! There was no pressure, nobody was in a rush. We didn't have a schedule to follow or a to-do list to check off, we just spent time together, the four of us! We did a lot of laughing and exploring on the beach. We even climbed to the top a lighthouse together and the view was spectacular! As I was thinking of returning back to work one of the quotes from Emily's book came to mind...

"But if you remember Christ dwells within you, beside you, and before you, he will remind you of what really matters. Ask Him, then listen well. Your work is your work. Your pace is your pace. Your life is your life. What a gift!" Amen?!!

And when things don't go as planned, and you feel confused, lost, broken, worried, whatever it may be, just remember God is always there with you. Helping you to pick up the pieces, filling in the gaps, carrying you through, and leading the way. All of these parts of us, the beautiful and the broken, that's what makes us whole. When we change our perspective and realize that life doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful, we can get so much more out of it. We finally realize the missing piece to our wholeness is surrendering full control over to Him and then letting Him lead us into the next right thing. Many Blessings!

Simply Yours,

Friday, June 14, 2019

Summer Watercolor Challenge

So,... even though I have been taking a break from social media and blogging, I did promise that I would share with you guys my list for the watercolor challenge that I am doing this Summer. The whole idea started when I decided that I wanted to try something new every so often, and I just love watercolor paintings. I decided to only take on easy items at first just to kind of get a feel for it and see how things go. There is a different prompt for each day and the idea is for it to only take about 10-15 minutes to complete.

For now I am sending you the first half of the prompts. Let's see how we do. Remember to be intentional about this. If this is not something that you are interested in or think that you will have time for, then don't do it. This has been an interest of mine for quite some time now, so I will be intentionally seeking time each day to complete! Try your best, but have fun! I have no prior knowledge or experience with watercolors, so I am starting at square one. I  have my paints and I have my watercolor notepad. It's nothing fancy or super expensive, I bought them both from Michaels! Finally, receive grace! This may not be for you. If you are a few days into this and you are not enjoying it or if you just can't seem to get the hang it, it's ok to stop. Nobody is forcing you to keep going. This is supposed to be fun and maybe you will end up being really good and start your own little art collection. I have learned over the years after much trial and error that there are plenty of things that are just not my thing, but I never would have known that if I had not tried. I also have discovered that there are a lot of things that I really love to do and a few that I am really good at. Click the box below to sign up and have the PDF list sent directly to your inbox! 

This Summer, here's to having lots of fun and trying new things!! Please feel free to share your photos too on social media! You can use the hashtag #TOSWatercolorChallenge. Many Blessings!!!

Keep It Simple,

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

It's Gonna Be May

Have you guys ever seen the meme of Justin Timberlake, singing a line from one of his ever so popular songs, It's gonna be Me? Except, it says May instead of Me. It usually pops up around this time, every year, before May. I thought it was only fitting for the title of this post.

It's been over a month since I have been on here to share with you guys and after this post it might be even longer before I am on here again. So..... I thought I would hop on here really quick and just fill you in on a few things! I have decided that I need more time away from social media (Instagram, Facebook) and blog writing. God has made it clear that this time with my family and little ones goes by so fast and there is no need for me to rush things. There will be plenty of time in the future for more blogging and Instagram! Am I right?

We have been working around the house a lot to clean out and organize. Over Spring Break, we cleaned up the yard and I got to work on my garden. We planted some more bushes and I also got to clean out my garage! Finally! This whole cleaning out and organizing really got me thinking about my blog. That's part of the reason why I decided to continue my break from writing. I need to go through everything and see what needs to go, and where I need to make some changes. I am always coming up with new ideas! Sometimes, these ideas stick and other times, not so much. I feel like I need to make things more uniform, and get rid of things that aren't really useful anymore. I am pretty much going to declutter and simplify my blog! I have lots of other fun stuff in store but not quite sure when I will be able to share. I plan to work on this while I take a break from writing and during the Summer while I am off.

Garden in progress. Need to add some more flowers and mulch!

I am so excited to tell you, that we finished our laundry room too! I am so happy with how it turned out. I am so glad that I decided to do this. I was planning on holding off, because I thought everything was going to cost too much money, but I got creative and we redid it all for a little over $100. Here are a few ways that we were able to save. I went to a bunch of thrift stores and online yard sales to find some sort of shelves that I could use ($15). Next I searched my home for pretty baskets that I could swap out and use in the laundry room (free). I also stole the shoe rack from my closet to use in the laundry room, since most of our shoes end up there anyway (free). I bought a gallon of paint from Lowes (distant gray $35.) I also bought the hardware for the shelves from Lowes ($25.) I re-used all of the wall decor that I already had in the laundry room to make it look pretty, and finally I purchased a new flush mount light ($30). I posted some photos below for you and I pose the same challenge to you. Are you putting off a project because you think that it will cost too much, and you don't have the money? I promise you, that it is totally doable!! You just have to brainstorm and think of alternative options to the really expensive stuff. I used Pinterest for inspiration and I used a lot of what I already had (and I didn't even realize I had it).

I had some time to go through and clean up my Pinterest page as well. I am really on a cleaning kick, I'll tell ya! I am happy though, that I did it. I had a lot of really old pins that were no longer useful and I did some re-arranging and added some new categories. I would love for you to check out my new page. Feel free to browse around some of the different boards I've created!

I had mentioned in my last post that I wanted to do a "100 Days of Watercolor" Challenge and create a free online organizing class! I still plan on doing both of these! I will send out an email with details on the challenge before it starts, so that you can join in with me, if you would like! This is going to be a simple task that you can do each day. I'm very excited, because I have been wanting to start doing watercolor painting for awhile now!

Once I have some down time this Summer, I will start working on the organizing class. This is going to take a little longer to complete, especially since, at this point, it is only an idea. I have no details or plans written out just yet. All I know is, I love to organize and clean out stuff, so I thought it would be a great way to share with you guys some of my tips and tricks!!

Stay tuned, tomorrow my Touch of Simple List will be going out for May. This might be the last one I send out for a few months, until I feel led to start back up! There is some really good stuff in there, so be sure to open it and don't delete it! I will leave you with this message from one of the pastors at my church. It was Sunday's sermon on the day my daughter was baptized. It is one of the best sermon messages that I have ever heard! Check it out here --> "What did you say?" Until next time... Many Blessings!!

Keep It Simple,

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Ready for Spring

I feel like I always say this every year when I am tired of the cold whether, but I am soooo ready for Spring!! Just warmer weather, really! We keep getting glimpses of it and then it gets cold again! With today being the first day of Spring, my hope is that it only continues to get warmer from here on out! This girl needs to get out of the house!

Here is what I have been doing to get ready for Spring..

1. Declutter / Un-decorate & Decorate / Organize. This might be one of my favorite times of the year! I joined in for fun with Emily Ley for the Ruthless Declutter Challenge. You should join too!

2. After I finish everything from number one, I clean everything, REALLY GOOD! Here is my favorite cleaner that I use for everything, Thieves Cleaner!!

3. We have a really big open bed in our back yard that we always just fill with mulch. Well, this year I plan on making it into a beautiful garden! I can't wait! I have been drawing up a plan and making a list of all the flowers/bushes I want to put in there. Here is a picture of what I am going for. The area already has a rock boarder and I have a bench and a chair. Not sure if I will do stones inside, but I will definitely share with you as I go.

4. I go back to work in 10 days, so I have been trying to wake up a little earlier each day to help me prepare. I have been on a bit of a different schedule since I have been home on maternity leave, and I know it is going to take me some time to get back into a routine. Wish me luck!

5. Every three months, I like to do a quarterly check-in with my goals! I take a look at what I have been doing to achieve them, and see whether or not it's working. Then I see if I need to re-evalute some of them. With the changing of Seasons, there is always room for change and growth. It's an opportunity to start fresh and to look forward to what lies ahead!

6. Going back to number one, decluttering and organizing, I did the same for my clothes, and created my Spring Wardrobe Capsule! I have been doing this for over a year now and it's life changing. Head on over here --> Capsule Wardrobe to learn how to create one for yourself!

What you Missed......

Last month I did a Giveaway, featuring all of my favorite things. One of my favorite items, Beauty Counter lipgloss seemed to get a lot of attention!! It is the perfect color for Spring and you can order it from my good friend Alison. Just follow her link --> Beauty Counter and you can order any of their products through her. I use several of their products and I love them all. They are definitely worth every penny!!

Just last month, I launched the first Touch of Simple List! This is different than my regular blog posts, as you can only receive this list, via email. This is something that I have been working on for awhile! I am sure that you will love the content. Be sure to sign up to receive the next one. Follow the link here --> Sign Up.

And if you missed it, here is the link to my last post, What I Learned This Winter.

What I am Working on...

100 Days of Watercolor/Hand Lettering Challenge, coming this Summer if you want to join with me!! Follow along for more details!

I am working to re-vamp my Pinterest page. I thought this was going to be an easy thing to do, but it's proving to be quite the task, so stay tuned!!

I am working to try and put together a free organizing class. I am only in the beginning stages, but I hope to have it finished and ready to share with you by mid-Summer!

Laundry Room Redo! At last, I have been waiting and waiting to re-do my laundry room and finally we have started! Stay tuned for the latest updates on the progress and the final reveal! Should be finished by the end of April!! Thats it for now! Many Blessings!

Keep It Simple,

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

What I Learned This Season: Winter

Things have been pretty busy in this house lately. I wasn't even going to write the post this time, for this link up, but for some reason, I just love participating and sharing all that I have learned every season! It is a good way for me to sum up everything into one post, especially during busy seasons of life, when I don't have as much time to post more. I feel like my last few posts have been ones that I have written for this link up, with maybe one or two in between. So it goes, when you have two little ones.

Here are the seven things that I learned this past Winter Season.

1. Being content with what you already have, can sometimes be very hard, especially if you are on social media these days! It's hard for me to admit, because I have so much to be grateful for, that I feel guilty at times for wanting more. One verse that has really helped me with this, comes from 1 Timothy chapter six verses six and seven.

 "Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. 7After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it."

How very true this is and when I think of it this way, it really puts things into perspective for me. Taking the time to give thanks each day for specific things really helps too!

2. Memorizing scriptures, though hard to do as you get older, is still possible and very necessary. I was so intimidated at the thought of trying to memorize scripture verses, because I have a hard time remembering things these days, but it is possible! I have been memorizing a new verse every week, for the past few months, and it really has helped in tough times when I am able to recall these verses!

3. I have decided to participate in the Ruthless Declutter Challenge by Emily Ley, in an effort to get rid of stuff I don't really need, and appreciate all that I have! It kinda helps with the contentment thing as well. You would be surprised at the amount of junk that we as humans accumulate, that is not really needed. Less is more in this case! Having too much stuff in a room or in you home can cause an overwhelming and stressful feeling. I don't know about you, but I am going for a peaceful, relaxing and cozy feeling!

4. I have learned the secret to Instagram and how to not let it run your life or determine your worth. Do you remember when Instagram used to be the app where you would go to post a quick photo with just a few words, and no re-touching? My, has it changed! I know that Instagram has become such a great tool, especially for business owners and other writers/bloggers, but for me I have tried to go back to the 'post when you feel lead or just have a good picture to share' mentality, and don't over think it. Let go of any expectations you have and just have fun! So what, if you don't get as many likes or followers that you were hoping for. I have learned that the quality of your audience is much more important than the quantity. It makes me so happy to know that the people who follow me, actually like and appreciate what I am posting. It inspires them and encourages them. I don't need people who are just following me because of a giveaway or are hoping that I will follow back and then turn around and unfollow me. Let it go and get back to posting meaningful stuff without expectation!

5. Being a stay-at-home-mom has been one of the best times in my life. I have loved being home with both kids, preparing meals, caring for them, and doing fun activities with them.  It's also great to just have some more time to myself. While I am ready to go back to work, I am definitely going to miss being home with my loves. If you are facing a big change in the future or your time is limited in a particular way, I challenge you to make the most of each day until that time comes. I made it a point to make sure I did something special each day, so that it would help me to appreciate the last few weeks of being at home! I also wrote them down. This way I can look back and say that I truly enjoyed this time and cherished these moments. 

6. Tablets, computers, smart phones, and other technology devices, I am coming to learn, are not good for young kids. I am ok with the occasional educational programs and games, but it must be limited! I used to think that it wasn't such a big deal, but I have been seeing more and more of a change (not a positive one) in my son, after he has spent time playing games or watching videos on a device. We stopped allowing him to go on our smart phone and tablet, and we have limited his time on the computer now. There is just too much over-stimulation of the brain when kids are on these devices. This causes attention problems, anger outbursts and mood changes, and hyperactivity making it harder to calm down. I know sometimes it can be really hard, and I do think it is ok on limited occasions, when you just need a few minutes, but I think as a whole, young kids should not be on these devices for long periods of time.

7. Delta Airlines is the best way to fly! I don't have one bad thing to say about them! My mom travels out to see me at least 4 times a year and on almost every occasion, she has extended her stay. Delta Airlines, not only helped change my moms flight for free, but every person she has dealt with, has been super nice and understanding. They have also provided credits for times when my moms flight was delayed or had to be rescheduled. They just have been very accommodating and the actual flight experiences have been very pleasant. We will fly Delta every time and we highly recommend them!

And that's it! No photos or pretty things added this time, just the facts! I am really looking forward to Spring and the warmer weather. How about you? Many Blessings!

Keep It Simple,

Friday, January 11, 2019

Happy New Year!

Do you know what today is? It's Friday, January 12th, and do you know what that means?......

Nothing! Haha, except for the fact that we are almost 2 weeks into the New Year and I am still going strong with my goals and have settled into our new routines! And do you know why that is? Because I have a new outlook on this year! I even created a motto! Yes, fancy I know! Not just a word of the year but a motto too?!! It may be a little cheesy, but I love it, and it's based off of four principles (simplify, wellness, grace, rest) that I want to try to focus on in my everyday life! So here it is...

Be Intentional. Try Your Best. Receive Grace.

And if you are wondering what I mean specifically, for each area, here it is in a little more detail.

So, if you are cheesy like me, and you like the idea of a life motto, feel free to use mine. I even created a free file for you that you can print out and hang!

And if you think the whole life motto is not really your thing, I get it! Here are a few other resources I am using to help me stay on track this year with my goals.

1. Simplified Planner by Emily Ley I'd like to think that I know just a little bit about planners, since I have tried so many in the past. Erin Condren, Live Well, Bloom, Target Brand, Bullet Planner, and a few others. They all seem to have different features that make them each unique, but for me, the Simplified Planner takes the cake. It has a space/section for everything I need to write down and I just love the look and layout. I will be sharing more about why I love this planner so much, next week in my Instagram stories @the.erin.elizabeth 

2. Prayer Journal by Val Marie Paper Since my word of the year is 'Pray', and my goal in fact is to pray more, I knew that I needed some sort of tool to help me with my prayer time. This journal is perfect. It was just what I needed and I am so glad I found it. I will share more about this journal next week in my stories too!

3. Body Love by Kelly LeVeque One of my main goals this year is to get back into shape and feel good physically. My lil one is now almost 4 months old so I have no excuse. I decided to set a goal of working out 3 times a week and making better choices about eating. I have Celiac's Disease and can't have dairy either, so I have already cut those out of my diet. I also purchased a spin bike, no not the Peloton (it's over-rated), just a cheap 100.00 bike that has been just as nice! Body Love has also been so helpful. She explains the science behind eating and eating well to stay full and create balance. I will share more about this book next week as well!

4. Start Today Journal by Rachel Hollis This was a last minute purchase for me, but I am so glad I did. I already have a morning devotional routine that I do first thing, so I just added this to it. It only takes me about 5 minutes to do. They are currently sold out online, but you can still create one yourself with a plain notebook. You don't necessarily need her specific one to do this. I will explain more about it, and how it works, you guessed it, next week in my Instagram stories!

5. Focus Areas Printable Worksheet  When I decided to create a life motto, I was thinking about all of the different areas of my life that I wanted to focus on. I decided to create a worksheet that included all of these areas with space to write ideas. I included the motto at the bottom, so that I would have it as a reminder while I was filling it out. Feel free to download a copy for yourself and start getting those ideas out of your head and onto paper. This worksheet is meant to be referenced all year long and I will probably update as I go. I don't plan on accomplishing all of what I put on here, it's simply just to get the ideas on paper so I don't forget them.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram @the.erin.elizabeth so that you can catch all of my stories next week. I will be sharing a little bit more about these tools and resources each day, starting on Monday. Many Blessings!

Keep It Simple,