Archive | thoughts

Four years ago: blogs are like …

Sometimes I look back at the post archives on the blog and think it’s fun to see what was going on one year, two years, even four years ago to the date. When I came across this post from August 15, 2011, it felt like a good one to bring back for today.

We’re all pretty aware that life shown on blogs and social media is not a perfect representation of reality and the conversation about comparison and appearances has been ongoing. But it’s still a great conversation to have.  And even though this post was written at a time when there was no such thing as instagram, pinterest and twitter certainly wasn’t as big a thing, the struggle is still real, if not even more in our faces every day.

The comment number on the original post from 2011 is among the highest of any post I’ve written, so I assume it hits a cord with a few of you :)

So let’s go back a few years and take a peek at the post:

I AM A BIG FAN OF BLOGS

originally published on August 15, 2011

I write a blog. And I do love it.

But before I was a blogger, I was a reader of blogs. Lots of them.  And I still am.

My intention with this post was to share a list of the blogs that I love – and that will come – but I feel this need to share something else instead. Something not quite as fluffy as blogs I love, but probably important to say since it’s been on my heart for quite some time.

Comparison. Insecurity. Self-righteousness.

Ugh.

My best friend says that blogs are like pornography for women. Now don’t be offended. I know that it’s a pretty raunchy comparison, but bear with me. The thing about pornography that traps so many is the lure of something almost reality.  The women are gorgeous and tight, they’ll say what you want to hear and do what your wildest dreams could only imagine. They give you promise of something so good, but always leave you feeling inadequate, let down, and unsatisfied with your true reality.  And yet that promise is so tantalizing, you keep coming back for more.

The same can be true of blog-reading. It all looks so good and attractive, is inspiring and encouraging (even addicting), but you often walk away feeling inadequate, let down and unsatisfied with your true reality.

We get so absorbed in and enchanted by the life of whosever blog we’re reading that when we step back from the computer and look around at the beautiful mess that is our real life, we feel like we don’t measure up.

How many times have I had these thoughts :

I wish I was as creative as Ashley.

If only my house looked like Erika’s.

I will never be as full of wisdom as Angie.

Or as chic as Seleta.

Or as clever as Kasey.

Or as good a mom as Meg.

and on and on and on.

I don’t know these ladies, but in my few interactions with them I can say that none of them intend to make others feel this way.  They are beautiful women who are simply sharing their lives.

But this is the problem with blogs. We present what we want to (typically only the best of life) and put on a front that we have it all together. Of course that is what I want to write about. Who wants to read about my bad hair day and the bad attitude that followed? Or the frustration I feel when I just want to eat my own breakfast and wish my children would leave me alone for five minutes!? Sometimes posts like that happen, but the majority of them are happy, clean and pretty.

What breaks my heart, sweet reader, is that in my attempt to share the best of my life with you, perhaps I have left you feeling somehow inadequate.

That your home doesn’t measure up. Or your talents. Or your children (or lack thereof).

And that is truly not my intention.

My maiden name is Jones and I find it quite ironic that my biggest struggle of all is comparison.

You know, the whole keeping up with the Joneses thing?

Oh, how I am completely aware of it in my own life.

It is a constant struggle for me to be able to look at other’s successes and be genuinely happy for them without that little nudge of insecurity to creep in.  And on the other side, it is a challenge for me to look at my own successes and not feel like I am somehow better than another.

To be in that place where I am fully confident in who God made me to be and have no need to compare myself is where I am headed, but I am not yet there.

I read this devotion to my children months ago and it has stuck with me:

“Stop comparing yourself to other people. When you compare yourself to others, you end up either feeling that you’re better than they are, or feeling bad about yourself. Neither of those things is what I want for you.

I created each of My children with unique talents. And I have given each of you your own road to follow. So it is useless to compare yourself to someone else – that person has a completely different path to follow.

When you want to feel good about yourself, remember how much I love you. Remember that I made you just the way I want you to be. And remember that I died so you could have My salvation. You are a jewel in My crown.”

Isn’t that good? Written for little ones, but pierces my soul with its truth.

So this is what I am trying to say …

I love reading blogs. There are so many ridiculously creative, talented, wise women who I am daily inspired by.  And I want so much to be able to leave their little corner of the web feeling encouraged rather than defeated. That is a decision that is completely up to me. It is all about confidence : knowing who I am and whose I am.

At the same time, I want my little corner that is Jones Design Company to be a place where you can also come to be encouraged and inspired.  I try my best to be my genuine self and I hope you know that while I try to be as honest as possible, this is not the perfect representation of me and my life.  I am terrible at making meals. My closet is a wreck. I like crass jokes and am very goofy in real life.  I cry at stupid things (like the beluga whales doing tricks at the zoo) and I haven’t showered in a few days.

I love reading blogs. And I will share with you a list of some of my favorites. But I just wanted to get it out on the table that sometimes I struggle mightily with feeling insecure when I read these blogs.  I’m not sure if you feel the same way, but I’m guessing that since women can be very insecure creatures, perhaps you can identify.

But just remember (and I say this to myself as well) that you were made to be you. Not Ashley or Meg or Seleta (who are all delightful, I am sure), but just you.

You are a jewel in His crown.

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a day trip to mt rainier

Exploring Mt Rainier / jones design company

Ryan and I took the boys on a day trip to Mount Rainier this weekend.

You know how it is when you live somewhere and take certain places for granted and skip out on doing the ‘touristy’ things because you aren’t a tourist? This was one of those things.

But Ryan has summitted the mountain twice (he’s kinda amazing) and we were Audrey-less for the day (because let’s all admit that hiking with a 5 year old girl is not the easiest) so it was the perfect chance to do something fun and outdoorsy with the boys.

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The south entrance to Mt. Rainier is about two hours from our house – a beautiful drive through little towns that are in the middle of nowhere and I always wonder what draws residents to choose to live there. You get to the Mt. Rainier National Park entrance which is about 2500 feet above sea level and can stop off at lots of different turn-offs along the way up.

We stopped for lunch and hiked down to the Nisqually River bed, which is remarkably low as a result of our way below normal snow levels this winter.  The river water is all murky looking because it is from a glacier and is filled with tiny particles of bedrock (read the actual description here if you’re interested) and is super chilly even on a summer day. The top of the mountain peeked out through the clouds every once in a while and is seriously breathtaking up close.

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After lunch, we ventured on to Paradise – an area at about 5000 feet above sea level with a visitors center, picnic areas and hiking trails. This is the point where the real hikers take off from, but also great for just day trips. If you hit it right, Paradise is filled with wildflowers. We were a little late for those, but it was still so pretty.

Like I said, Ryan has done the big hike twice before and it was so fun to hear more about the specifics of his trips: the gear he used (40 lbs worth), how long it took (4 hours on the snowfield, sleep until midnight, hike to the top and summit at 7am, then hike all the way back down), what the top looks like (a crater you walk across to sign a book. On a very clear day, you can see all the way to Seattle). Needless to say, we were all super impressed with him.

We hiked the trails up for a bit until we were all winded. This hiking mountains thing is not for the faint of heart.

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One of my favorite parts was seeing so many different people speaking so many different languages. I forget what an amazing thing this 14,410 ft mountain is. It truly attracts visitors from around the world.

Once we made it down, we stopped in this teeny, tiny town for ice cream, sat for a moment on a chair lift-turned-swing then made our way back home.

I’m so glad we took the day to explore this part of our home state. It makes me excited to find the next ‘touristy’ thing to do with the kids!

Have you done anything fun around your home this summer? Please share!

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coffee chat No. 42

I made up that number. I’m not sure why.

If you’re new around here, sometimes I like to do what I call COFFEE CHATS. This is where I just spew all the little stuff out at once – kinda like if we were real life friends sitting around over a cup of coffee and hitting every random topic we could think of. You know, all those odds and ends that sit at the top of our brains and come pouring out if given the chance.

So that’s what today is: a conversation (albeit a bit one-sided. Sorry about that) between girlfriends about all the random things.

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First up, let’s talk about winners!

Last week was our big summer art print sale and whew! you all stocked up. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support of our little art shop. It seriously makes me blush to hear all your sweet words and receive orders for artwork I made. Who knew the little girl who wanted to be an artist (and a window dresser and a teacher and a talk show host) would end up getting to actually be an artist! It’s the best.  If you missed the sale and still want to order prints, use discount code GRATITUDE for 15% off.

Anyway, along with the sale was a fun giveaway of 10 prints of choice to one lucky winner.

winner

Congrats Rebecca! An email has been sent and you get to choose 10 of your favorites for free!

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We also did a giveaway with She Reads Truth for four winners receiving $30 in store credit.

srt-winners

Congratulations ladies! Your contact info has been passed on to the team at SRT and you’ll receive an email from them shortly.

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Since we’re on the topic of winners, let’s talk about the best new thing I’ve eaten in a while.

chobani flip
This yogurt is like dessert (it probably should be considered dessert, but I like to call it a healthy snack). I first bought a pack at costco, but they don’t carry it anymore. So now I find it for way more money at Target. #wortheverypenny

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A while back I was on a podcast with Jamie Ivey. It was such fun. If you haven’t had the chance to listen yet, you can do so here (we did episode #42 and #43). You’ll love Jamie’s show – all of her guests are interesting and kind and relatable.

Speaking of podcasts, I listened to a really good one yesterday from the Love + Respect show. I enjoy most of the podcast episodes because they are about marriage and God and life and hosted by a psychologist and pastor (father/son team), but this one hit me right where I’m at. God has me in a spot where my eyes are being opened to some ugly and hurt and un-truth in my heart and life and while it is hard to go through and a little bit painful, it feels so affirming to know it is all for His glory and is refining me and making me whole.

Ryan and I learned so much from reading the Love + Respect book and we go back to it often. If you haven’t read it, definitely add it to your must-read list.

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fox-island

Yesterday I invited myself (and the kids) over to my long-time friend Erica’s house. You might remember her lovely home from the Christmas house tour I featured last year. They’ve done so much work on their new house and this summer completed the most gorgeous backyard makeover. It’s like a dream. So she let us come over and we spent the day sweating in the sun, enjoying the view and watching seals pop their heads up out in the Sound.

I’m so thankful for her friendship. Do you have friends in your life that even if you don’t spend a lot of time together, you can always pick up right where you left off? There are no hurt feelings for going months without talking and you’re free to be yourself and do things like invite yourself over and bring store-bought cookies for dessert. She’s a gem and I’m grateful for this type of friendship.

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A few weeks ago I repainted No.3’s bedroom.

revere-pewter

We went with Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore – a color I used in our mudroom and really like. It’s the perfect warm gray. For more Revere Pewter inspiration, check out all the love on pinterest.

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Anything else?

Hmm.

I splurged on myself and bought this throw for fall. I found it for way less on another online shop, but this morning it is no longer available. Perhaps I bought the last one. If I find it again for cheaper, I’ll let you know.

We popped into a really cool coffee/tea/shop in Langley, WA (Whidbey Island) this past weekend. I was so inspired by the decor, the signage, the feel. If you find yourself in Langley, be sure to check it out.

My friend sent me this link for a house nearby that was renovated and looks just like what I’d want to live in.

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Okay, I’ve talked your ear off. I’ll let you get back to business.

(Is there anything else you want to chat about? Let me know in the comments!)

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My daily bible reading routine

I haven’t been great at opening my bible these past few years. I’ll just put that out there from the start.

The reasons are legit – my kids wake earlier than I do, I’m just so exhausted by the end of the day, I’m not part of a formal bible study so I don’t know what to read. And yet, if I truly believe that what I believe is true, then God speaks and nourishes my soul through His Word and the thing I need most in my day is connection and openness to hearing God. Which comes through opening my bible.

A little over a year ago, I discovered She Reads Truth and it has changed my daily bible reading routine.

She Reads Truth started as a small group of internet friends holding each other accountable to get into God’s Word and has turned in to the most amazing resource for women all over the world.  They offer simple bible reading plans, regular studies to work through, an app that makes following along each day super easy and optional workbooks that double as journals.

So this is what my daily bible reading looks like:

gospel

I grab my bible (or two – I like my NIV study bible and The Voice for a different translation), my current She Reads Truth study workbook, a pen and my ipad.  I don’t have a set time, just when there is a few minutes of quiet when I can steal away to the front porch or living room couch or my bedroom. I’m learning to just tune the kids out because unless I get up very, very early, there’s just no avoiding their sweet presence in my life (do you hear a hint of sarcasm?!).

Whatever the current SRT plan is, I follow along. I like to use their app, but you can follow each study for free on their site (or get them sent to your email each day). I find that I can’t keep up with the everyday – I miss a day here or there and so I like using the app to keep track of where I left off.  This usually means I’m behind a little, but I’m okay with that.

I used to just read the scripture, read the devotion and maybe pray for a second. But my best friend challenged me to use the workbook to write down prayers, thoughts, insights and since starting that a few months ago I find I get so much more out of each day’s lesson.  It makes me pause for a little longer, forces me to write which makes me think and I’ve had such soul-satisfying times with the Lord because of taking those few extra minutes to linger. Plus, I can go back and see what He was speaking to me and how prayers have been answered and where I’m still growing.

I’m so thankful for my friends at She Reads Truth who help us busy ladies get into God’s Word.
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I asked my friend Raechel if we could do a giveaway of their newest study and she was so generous! We’re giving away a $30 store credit to FOUR lucky ladies. You can use it for the upcoming This Is The Gospel study, or any of the previous ones (may I recommend Fruit of The Spirit? I designed the art, but also the study was SO GOOD). Enter the giveaway below.

We also have a discount code for JDC readers:

Enter EMILY15 at checkout for 15% off anything in the

She Reads Truth shop

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED*

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things I’ve learned this summer (so far)

things I've learned this summer / jones design company

My friends Myquillyn and Emily (and their dad) host a monthly podcast covering all sorts of themed topics. Their most recent, and the one I listened to yesterday, was titled What Only Summer Can Teach Me. They talk about the things they have learned this summer and I was so inspired, I decided to join the party and do some thinking about what the summer has taught me. We’re about half way through and so stopping to reflect seems fitting. What has been good? What has been not-so-good? Where could I change things? What random lessons have made up the summer? You get the idea.

So here’s my list of things I’ve learned this summer (so far):

sunshine does the soul well

We live just outside of Seattle and our summers are typically the most gorgeous time of year here, but they usually don’t show up until after the 4th of July. This summer, however, we’ve had nothing but sun, sun and more sun since the beginning of June. It has been glorious. Waking up to the sun shining does wonders to my mental state.

there is a two day period of funk when the kids transition from in-school to not-in-school

It happens every year. And every year I forget that it’s a thing, this transition-into-summer funk madness.  The first couple days of summer are a struggle – squabbling children, no routine, a never-ending stream of messes in the kitchen, the compulsion to do every fun thing all at once! forgetting that we have 8 weeks ahead of us to spread it all out. It takes a few days to figure out the rhythm of summer. I just need to remember and prepare myself for this again next summer so I don’t feel like locking myself in my room on day one of summer break.

I’m selfish and also introverted and sometimes that doesn’t make for a happy mom

Apparently it takes having 4 kids in the house at all times to remind me of how particular and selfish I can be. I got used to having them off at school for a few hours each day and I guess I enjoy a clean, quiet house where I can work or do a project or run errands or just be more than I realized. My selfishness and compulsion to have a spotless house has reared it’s nasty head more than once and it’s not pretty. Thankfully, the kids love me and the Lord is working on my heart in these areas.

if you need long torso swimsuits for your daughter, try land’s end

Our Audrey is a growing girl. She’s pretty tall for her age and has grown out of the swimsuits I bought for her at the beginning of the summer. Finding modest, little-girl suits for a long child has not been the easiest, but I just ordered a bunch on sale from Land’s End and they fit great. This one and this one are our favorites.

Lash extensions make life easier

I’ve talked about it on here before, and I’ll say it again: lash extensions are so great for summertime. I decided to take a break this spring and make sure my real lashes were still there (they were), but once summer hit and we were headed to a waterpark for a mini-vacation, I decided to put them back on. It just makes things so much easier for this light-lashed girl. No need to wear makeup = easy summer face.

Audio Books are not just a thing of the past

The last time I listened to a book on tape, it was literally a book on cassette tape. I think it was Bridges of Madison County that my mom had on while we drove to California. I probably tuned out most of it because I don’t have much of a recollection of the story and maybe it wasn’t that appropriate for a 15 year old? I don’t remember.

Anyway, audio books are not a new concept, but I’m a recent convert. I had no idea that when you order a digital book on amazon (I use the kindle app on my phone and ipad to read), you can add the audio version for just a few dollars more. I started reading Secrets of a Charmed Life and didn’t want to stop reading, but I had to go pick up my kids from their grandparent’s house (bless all grandparents of the world who offer to take the kids overnight) and so I ordered the audio version and listened while driving in the car. Then I popped in headphones and listened while baking a pie. It was amazing. You can switch back and forth between reading and listening and the app will keep up with progress on both formats. Game changer.

The slow pace of summer suits me just fine

I like working and doing and checking things off my list as much as anyone (um, my name even means diligent worker) and summer just doesn’t allow for that. It has forced me to slow down, take a break and as I talked about a little bit in the podcast with Jamie Ivey, God has been speaking this message to me and Ryan: Rest. Be still. Let Me handle the plans.

It’s not easy, I’ll be honest, because I like coming up with my own plans and I like keeping busy and feeling like I’m productive. We’ve done a little bit of productive work, but mostly, we’ve been learning to step back into reading scripture, wait on His timing and direction, pay attention to moments, take the time to reflect on all the things and it is resulting in a great trust in Him.

I’m grateful for the physical necessity to take a step back (what with multiple children and vacations and sleeping in and swim lessons and all) which has given me the chance for my heart to breathe a little more. There is a time for hustle, but right now it’s a time for rest.

And one last bonus one:

11, 9 + 7 year old boys are really fun

They swim in cold lake water for hours, go on the scariest upside-down rollercoasters over and over (I would puke), hug their mama often, play monopoly and card games, and dress up in ridiculous outfits just to get a laugh. They’re loud and messy and physical and whiney at times, too, but mostly I’m enjoying this stage with them. The boys don’t get a ton of screen time on here or instagram, but that’s not a reflection of my love for them. They just don’t dress as cute as Audrey :)

I’d love to hear what Summer has taught you so far. Anything big? Or little? Do share!

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Q+A / ask away

q&a

I like to do this once a year-ish … a few days of Q+A.

I chat at you post after post and sometimes it’s fun to switch things up and hear what you want to talk about. Personal, random, decorating, business – any of it – I want to know what you’re curious about.

I wish we could all sit together and chat in real life and actually have a conversation (poolside, perhaps?), but this Q+A is the next best thing for us online-friends. So go ahead and ask me anything in the comments and I’ll reply back as best I can.  Feel free to chime in and join the conversation as well! No topic is off limits and I’m a fairly open and honest girl … so … ask away!

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if you’re curious about what I’m really like …

I met Jamie Ivey (next to me, second from left) over chips + queso in Austin at if:gathering this winter and connected instantly.

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We both have four kids – three boys and a youngest girl. We are the same age. We love Noonday and Sole Hope and talking and Jesus. We have friends in common. I don’t know why, but she just felt like one of those people that if we lived in the same neighborhood/city/state, we would do life together.

jamie-and-aaron

Jamie and her husband Aaron (a worship pastor/song writer) live in Austin with their four kids. She’s an adoptive mama and speaker and hosts my favorite Podcast show ever called The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey. Each show, she and a guest chat about books and kids and work and life – whatever is going on in their lives – little things and big things and everything in between. It truly feels like you are listening in on a conversation between two friends sitting for an hour over happy hour. It’s fabulous. I think I’ve listened to every single episode.

Well, last week, Jamie and I did a little happy hour time over the phone. We were supposed to talk for an hour, but instead just kept going. And going. And going. And then after we hung up, we kept texting with more things to talk about. I guess that’s the sign of a fun new friend.

Since we went so long, she split the podcast recording up into two!

happy-hour-1-and-2

In the first episode (which came out last week), we talk about my sisters and the vacation Ryan + I just took, I try to explain what Jones Design Company is about, we share embarrassing stories of overexposure and then we dive right in and discuss what God is doing in my life (it’s so good and so hard at the same time).

I posted about the podcast on instagram and it was fun to hear reactions. It’s hard to let your true personality come through online – you miss the voice, inflections, silliness, real life that takes place over conversation when you forget the recording is going and you’re just being yourself. That’s part of what I love so much about Jamie’s podcast … it let’s you see another side to her guests who you might be familiar with for the book they just wrote or the ministry they lead, but this gives you a more complete picture. Anyway, I loved doing the show and love that when you listen, you get a more complete picture of who I am. So, if you’re curious about what I’m really like …

The second episode just came out today. We we’re supposed to record for so long, but like I said, we just couldn’t stop so it’s super random. Books we’re reading, what we’re doing with the kids this summer, my three current favorites, more embarrassing stories of me crying on a bus in Africa, what books we want to write.

So if you’re headed out on a road trip, or you need a distraction while mopping your floors, come listen in on our Happy Hour conversation!

P.S. There is so much in the conversations that I would love to continue talking about here on the blog. Let me know in the comments if there is anything you’d like me to share more about …

 

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when you don’t know what your thing is

do-your-thing

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.

Twirl.

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

or

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

BE ENCOURAGED TODAY.

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.

haircut

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.

emily

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.

xoxo.

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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 …

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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.

grace-and-peace

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?!!

thanksgiving-shopping-list

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.

putting-up-the-l-wall

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.

bathroom

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

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

bedroom

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.

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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.

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

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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 …

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

rejoice

Happy Thanksgiving!

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

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chosen (thoughts + free art prints)

chosen-free-artprints

My parents divorced when I was 20.

I know they say that adult children deal with divorce better than younger ones – and that probably is true to a point – but it sure doesn’t feel good or easy or right even when you’re grown and out of the house.

Let me back up for a second …

My childhood was just about as good as I could have ever asked for. I am the middle of three girls, our parents were young and fun, we lived in family-friendly neighborhoods with good schools and activities nearby. We grew up close to our grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins spending a lot of time with them for holidays, sleepovers, every chance we could. We had traditions and memories, vacations and love. Truly, I could not have asked for a better childhood.

Which I think is what made the break-up of our family even more difficult to deal with.

A handful of factors led to that devastating moment when my dad made the choice to leave us.  It never made sense to me – maybe it still doesn’t – how a man who adored his family and did everything he could to protect and provide for us could make the choice to walk away. I don’t think he knew what the true consequences were going to be. Maybe if he did, he would have chosen differently. I’d like to think so.

It still stings all these years later. I’ve healed a ton, but gosh my heart is still fragile. I miss him and feel sad and let down and even though I know their divorce was not my fault, I still can’t get over the feeling that maybe we just weren’t worth enough for him to choose us.

I don’t know why I’m telling you this. I guess I’ve just been struggling with some of the long-lasting issues that come with feeling not-chosen and it seems like something I should confess. Maybe you feel rejection in your life, too? Continue Reading →

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coffee chat no. 18

Every once in a while I just have all these random things to say and nowhere to fit them in, so they get all smushed together in a post series I like to call coffee chats.

coffee-and-soccer

Pretend we’re sitting across from each other (or standing on a soccer field) sipping our drinks (decaf, tall, extra hot, one pump mocha for me, please) and enjoying a few moments to just catch up and talk about all the things floating around in our minds.

Here are a few things I might chat about: Continue Reading →

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q & a day

q&a For the next day or so, let’s have a Q & A. Feel free to ask me any question in the comments and I’ll respond back as a reply to your comment.

Let’s imagine we’re sitting together over a cup of something delicious watching our rambunctious children and having a real life conversation (except without the inevitable interruptions from said children). No topic is off limits and I’m a fairly open and honest girl … so … ask away!

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