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when you don’t know what your thing is


It’s a message I keep getting over and over and over:

Be who you were created to be.

Stop comparing yourself to others.

Walk confidently in the gifts God has given you.

Shine your light.


At If:gathering a few weeks ago (it was so, so amazing. Truly one of the best weekends of friendship, great food, deep conversations and God whispering to each one of us), I left feeling affirmed to carry on and just do my thing.

I came home ready and motivated and even doodled this saying as a reminder.

And then I had a moment of crisis: What exactly IS my thing?

Maybe you can relate. Maybe you’ve taken positive steps in overcoming comparison, have learned to accept yourself, ready to step into the great roles the Lord has for you … but you just have no idea what that looks like. You don’t know what your passion or gifting or talents – your thing – is.

I get you, darling.

I’m there too.

I spent some time brainstorming, reading articles about ‘how to find your calling’, reflected on times I’ve felt most alive and I’m slowing figuring out who I am and what I love. Just a few glimmers of awareness feels really great and hopeful and reassuring.

So if you see the photo above and feel excited to embrace your passions/talents/calling


you see the photo and wonder if you even have any passions/talents/calling


You have a purpose, great value, a unique ability and through intentionally reflecting, dreaming, talking with people who know and love you best, it will be made clear to you.

I truly believe that.

And maybe the best part of all, is that your thing looks different than mine and there is no need to feel intimidated or inadequate or puffed up when we look at each other. We get to live out our unique talents, seeing the beauty within each of us and sharing them with one another.

And so, my friends, let’s continue on this journey of doing our thing.

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the care and keeping of you (and me)

I got my haircut last night.


My previous haircut was seven months ago. They suggest getting your hair trimmed every 6-8 weeks. You could say I was a bit behind.

Last week I had a colonoscopy.

It was so pleasant.

That is a total lie. None of it was pleasant. Except maybe the glorious sleeping gas they give you that knocks you right out and makes you dream happy dreams (it also makes you a little crazy and you might say random things to the nurses when you wake up and find hospital bed selfies you don’t remember taking when you look through your phone a few hours later. I’m slightly embarrassed about my post-anesthesia behavior.)

For months I knew I needed to get to the doctor. And that I needed a hair cut. And a dentist appointment and better face wash and moisturizer that doesn’t sting and all those little maintenance things you forget about doing for yourself when you are a woman.

This idea of self-care has come up in conversation a lot lately.

My girlfriends and I pushed each other to finally schedule doctor appointments after admitting how long it had been since we were last seen (me: almost 5 years. Not proud about that one). A lady yesterday told me she consciously chooses to buy her son new clothes before she gets something for herself, even though she could really use a few new items. An instagram friend shared that she finally pampered herself with a manicure – and decided not to feel guilty that it took time away from her to-do list.

Sometimes we forget about taking care of ourselves because we’re too busy taking care of others.

Sometimes we don’t have it in the budget.

Sometimes we don’t have the time. Or make the time.

Sometimes we’re waiting for the symptoms to just go away, or the weight to come off or our situation to change.

But ladies, we really need to care for ourselves anyway.

Getting your toes painted makes you feel pretty. Going for a run makes you feel rejuvenated and healthy.  Following through with a medical procedure makes you face the truth and move forward.  It doesn’t matter what your thing is – a haircut, new pair of jeans, updated lipstick color, an eye exam, a workout dvd, mammogram, crest whitestrips, a correct-sized bra – whatever it is, take a first step towards caring for yourself.

Do it for your kids (they need to see you take time for yourself!), your husband (he likes when you feel pretty!), your friends (let’s encourage one another!) – but mostly, do it for YOU.

So that’s my pep talk for the day.

I’d love to hear your thoughts … do you struggle in this area? Do you think it’s important to take time for yourself? What stops you? What one thing do you need to do to take better care of yourself? Let’s chat …

(and also, will you please remind me to go get my haircut in about 6-8 weeks?!)

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me, in bullet points.


When I write a post, I feel like I’m writing to friends. I’ve been doing this for five years now and while things have changed and grown in ways I never could have imagined, it still feels small and personal and like we’re sitting across from each other sipping coffee.  I hope you feel like that, too.

One thing I forget, though, is that many of you are new-ish here. I assume you know me and our family and what this blog is about when maybe you just got here after clicking on a photo on pinterest (welcome!).  So I thought I’d take a few minutes on this first post of the new year to properly introduce myself to you. My life in bullet points, if you will.

* My name is Emily. Maiden name is Jones. Married name starts with an L (hence my out-of-control wall of L’s).

* I’m the middle of three girls. My sisters are the best. You would love them both.

* I was a ballerina all my childhood and secretly wish I could still dance. I don’t have the right feet for ballet, but my posture remains pretty good.

* I went to college at Azusa Pacific University (a christian college in southern California) where I met my future-husband, Ryan, also from the Seattle area who was looking for the sun for a few years. We moved back home after graduating and while there are many things about Seattle that we love, we look at each other every March and start searching for houses in sunny cities.

* My degree is in Child & Family psychology. I thought maybe I’d like to be a family therapist or an elementary school teacher. I do neither professionally, but find I still love talking deeply about marriage/family/relationships and being in my kids’ elementary school classrooms teaching art.

* My mom’s parents were part of the Seattle theater culture in the 50’s and 60’s. My grandfather was an actor, musician and set designer; my grandma was a dancer and actress and made pie crust perfectly. I’m pretty sure my artistic side came straight from them. I’m still working on the pie crust thing.

* When my friends started getting married and having babies, I designed their stationery which turned into a business: Jones Design Company. I made wedding invitations, baby announcements and one million Christmas cards for 10 years before ending this aspect of the company in 2012.

* I cried really hard when we found out our No.3 was another boy. I mean, that sounds terrible and I was so embarrassed that my reaction was tears, but it’s what happened. By No.4 I felt prepared to have four boys. It actually kinda made me excited. Then she was a girl. Of course I can’t imagine having any other combination of kids. I really love having three men and a little lady (remember that movie?! Classic).

* I started blogging right before Audrey was born because women do crazy things when they are super pregnant and caring for three boys under age 5 at home. I had no idea it would turn into a passion and community and full time business and I couldn’t be happier about all of it. I needed a creative outlet and our family needed extra income and so it was the perfect fit.

* Ryan doesn’t show up on the blog or instagram much, but he is as much a part of Jones Design Company as I am. He’s the tech guy and marketing strategist; I’m the creative and make things look pretty.

* I wear jeans pretty much every day. Just wanted you to know that.

* And I wear fake eyelashes (lash extensions, to be exact).

* One of my greatest joys is inspiring women to create. Whether through hosting a craft night or posting doable projects or sharing home decorating ideas or teaching creative classes, I just love being part of it. More of that to come …

So that’s me. Well, there’s more, of course, but that’s a pretty good summary. I’m so thankful for you and look forward to a year full of inspiration, honesty, friendship and encouragement.


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when the holidays magnify heartache

This is a re-post from last year – it just felt like the right post to share again today. I adore this time of year as much as the next person, but it never fails that the joy and twinkling lights and peppermint candies are always accompanied by some type of undeniable pain and sadness and loss. If you find yourself not quite in the holiday spirit today, may this post be an encouragement to you …


I’m a dreamer.

Not in the sense that I’m a visionary with lofty ideas or plans. I’m not that type.

I’m literally a dreamer. I wake nearly every morning having dreamt the night before and can usually remember large portions of these dreams. Sometimes they are off-the-wall, make-no-sense types of dreams. Other times, I wake with a deep impression, a clarity, a sense that my dream was not just a dream.

Sunday morning, was one of those moments.

I’ll spare you the details, but the gist was that I quickly delivered a baby boy and he only lived for a few short minutes.

I woke with a broken heart.

I am not pregnant, we are not trying for another baby, it’s not a story I recently read or watched or had a conversation about. There is no logical reason why my sleeping brain would dream about this. Someone told me once that when interpreting dreams, pay less attention to the details and focus on the emotions instead. So I woke, thought about my dream and was compelled to pray.

This time of year is about joy and cheer and merry and bright. There is so much to celebrate, so many delicious smells and cherished traditions, festive parties and happy moments. It is the most wonderful time of the year.

But the holidays also magnify heartache.

The loss of loved ones. Broken marriages. Sickness. Financial struggles. Unexpected hardships. Unrealized dreams. Fears coming true.

These things happen all year long, but it sure seems they pile up during the holidays. Heaps of sadness, heartbreak, struggle, loss come pouring down during this time of year when we should be singing merrily.

I don’t mean to be a downer. I just know there is a lot of pain underneath our glittery sequins – sometimes hidden masterfully, other times oozing out in the least expected moments.

You are not alone.


As I lay in bed on sunday morning, I prayed. I prayed for the mothers who have lost babies. I prayed for the families who are fractured, for those with scary diagnoses, for the heartache and brokenness we all feel. Will you join with me in praying? For relationships healed and bodies made well, for jobs found and hope restored. But most of all, for an unexplainable peace to cover and comfort in the face of trial.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

You are welcome to download and print this quick scripture reminder I made for myself. Share it with a friend who needs hope today or keep it for yourself as a reminder of His loving gift of grace and peace in the midst of ugly circumstances.

grace-and-peace-print (click image to download)


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coffee chat thanksgiving edition

Hello my friends! Just wanted to pop in real quick to say hi and Happy Thanksgiving and whew … are you ready for the holiday wonderfulness to begin?!!


We are hosting Thanksgiving at our house so it’s a mad dash to get the furniture put back, pictures hung on the walls, accessories thoroughly dusted and rearranged, table set and groceries bought after our mini-remodel.


The floors look amazing (minus the big dent we made while moving the piano. oops), the white walls feel so fresh and the baseboard trim went up earlier this week and once it is calked and painted, it will totally finish off the spaces. It was a lot of work, a lot of money and a lot of dust and chaos for these past few weeks, but we’re so happy with the results.


I’ll show real after photos once we’re done. Hopefully next week.


Here’s a fun fact: Ryan and I slept this past saturday until 10:30. TEN THIRTY!


As I shared on instagram, it was glorious.  The kids are now at the age where they can wake up and grab a bowl of cereal and draw or play a board game (blokus is their current favorite) or watch a show without needing us.


Speaking of shows, the reason Ryan and I slept so long is because we couldn’t stop watching episode after episode of our favorite show: Newsroom. We stayed up way too late for three nights in a row and plowed through all of season 2. That show is so good. Quick witted, great acting, likeable characters, super interesting plot. A definite recommendation if you’re looking for a reason to stay up way too late and an excuse to sleep in.


Still finalizing your Thanksgiving menu? I promise you’ll want to add this recipe: Sweet Poatoe Puree with Brown Sugar & Sherry. It’s devine.


Our annual BIG thanksgiving weekend sale is coming again starting Friday! I think you’ll love the new christmas-y prints and it’s a great opportunity to grab a bunch of gifts for cheap, cheap, cheap. Details to come …


Alright, I better get back to readying our house. I hope you have a lovely holiday and many chances to count your blessings.


Happy Thanksgiving!

(all images from my instagram feed. Follow along here)

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