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things around here

    A few photos from today:


    Sometimes yellow is just what you need to add some sunshine to your home.


    I’m so inspired by this spread from Holiday with Matthew Mead {I know it is a holiday publication, but I want my house to reflect this calm warmth all year long}.


    The boys and I made these decoupage easter eggs {tutorial found at Dear Lillie}.


    Sometimes the simplest things like tissue paper flowers in an old basket can make the loveliest centerpiece.


    A gorgeous hellebore from Nonna’s garden promises that spring is here.


    I am finally getting around to painting the walls in our bedroom {Bedford Gray by Martha Stewart}.  I’m not sure I’m in love yet :


    The april giveaway collection is just hanging out on the dining room table waiting to be won {you can enter here}.


    Lots and lots of legos : a new organization system is in the works. Not sure if it will stand the test of time, but its worth a shot.


    This bible study is changing my heart. And life.

    Things around here are pretty. Flowers, pillows, happy children with plenty of toys. My life looks pretty. And for the most part, I can say that things are great.

    But my heart is heavy : in a new sort of way. I say I’m in a funk, but I’m not sure that it accurately describes how I feel. My heart is being refined and while it hurts a little, it is a good hurt. 

    I’ve been realizing the past few weeks my life is out of balance. I love doing the work that I do, am inspired by it, fulfilled, motivated and encouraged daily by you sweet ladies. But I also have four children whom I love. A husband who is fun to be around, friends who live literally next door. And yet, half the time I choose writing a blog post or designing a new print or emailing a reader over them. Maybe even more than half the time. 

    I don’t confess this for any other reason than to let you know that I am not as put together as I appear. Or would like to be. Or would like you to think I am.  Just so we’re all on the same page. I struggle. I have bad mommy days. I go weeks without spending time with really great girl friends. My laundry piles up and there is a lot of dust on our unused piano.  My motives are often impure and most of the time I don’t even recognize it. 

    We’re all in the same boat : trying to do the best we can, sometimes finding success, other times unable to escape the fact that we’re failing miserably. 

    While in Houston, my best friend and I were talking about these things when this scripture came to mind:

    1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

    1 corinthians 13: 1-3

    I try so hard to be the best blogger or the best designer or decorator or project do-er {or fill-in-the-blank} and yet, if I am not loving those around me I am nothing.  How much of my time and energy is spent on doing and striving and forgetting about the simple {and loving} things like phoning my mom or sending a note to a struggling friend? I hate to admit the truth.

    I don’t really want to be a clanging cymbal. They are sort of annoying.

    And so, I am on this journey – a hard, painful, beautiful journey – of figuring out how to genuinely love. Not out of selfish gain, but out of sacrificial goodness.  The book I’m reading says that the mark of maturity is love. I sure hope I can get there soon.

    Be encouraged today. And perhaps you can put an extra dose of love into your everyday occurrences – it truly is the most excellent way.

    126 thoughts on “things around here”

    1. I am overwhelmed by your transparency. I see that this is an older post, but I just found your blog through a link on FB and I clicked on it for homeschooling ideas. WOW!!! To say I am a work in progress would be the understatement of the century, so to consider the responsibility of educating my sweet babies is Mt. Everest and I feel a little crazy just thinking about it!! But you’re real. And they’re real. And I’m real. And we can REALLY do this. I believe this. I really do, and this heart-wrenching, painfully honest post is life. Acknowledging it is therapeutic for you and the fact that you chose to share it is therapeutic for me. Thank you. What a gift you are…I feel like I know you…and you make me feel like I am one step closer to realizing this dream of being a part of my 3 sweeties’ education.

    2. Any chance you made those pillows?? They are lovely! Please let me know if you did make it and if there happens to be a tutorial!
      Love, a devoted fan

    3. I found your blog recently through pinterest. I have been enjoying sifting through your posts and then I found this one. I felt compelled to connect with you. I lost my best friend of 32 years last September. What a hole in my heart it has left. It also rocked the core of my beliefs. Every thing happens for a reason right? When God closes a door he opens a window. I had so many thoughts I relied on to cope with difficult times. Then my friend was gone. How does that happen to someone at 46. Someone that is loving , giving , strong , who wants desperately to be there for her two children? I have always been a creative person. By designing and sewing and expressing myself through art I have always found myself. When my friend passed I couldnt find myself . I threw myself into being busy with things that did not nurture my soul. I stopped creating. And then I found your blog. A mix of honesty, beautiful style and inspiringi ideas. I now belive that God brings things to your life when you need them. I have started being excited about creating things for my home . I wasnt able to start the quilt from her clothes that I wanted to make for her children. I finally feel inspired and excited. God works in mysterious ways . That is my new belief. You just have to follow what your heart is telling you at that time. I am learning to trust the faith I have. Thank you so much for inspiring me to move through my grief and find myself again. Sometimes you just dont know how your life will connect with another.

    4. i’m so glad i found you! love love your posts and pics and heart and honesty. this post and the lil xmas star for the nativity are my fav’s so far, but i haven’t read them all yet. :)

    5. Just found your blog and was reading back on older posts…soaking up the design ones when I ran across this one and, OUCH! What great words and great truthes. SO what I needed to hear today! Thanks!

    6. I am typically just a spectator and never a participant, and while I know this is not a recent post, I felt compelled to comment. I know that it is not a coincidence that I stumbles upon and read this on this Sunday morning minutes after saying my prayers, thanking our gracious and merciful father for contentment. I too struggle with balance, know that God has given me these gifts, but also my wonderful husband and family. I regularly tell people that God is not the author of stress, mess nor confusion. However I find myself in these states on many occasions torn between making time for all the things I love. For all of us – We know the answer, we just have to be still and seek him in all that we do, and he will provide peace, clarity, contentment and ultimately balance!
      Thank you for being so transparent which equals refreshment!

    7. Just found your blog during the holidays, a gift I will give to myself! This post spoke right to my heart. Thank you so much for being so honest and real, I can relate to everything you wrote…I look forward to reading more…maybe we are on the same journey miles away, but on the same path…

    8. I stumbled on your blog/site a few days ago (Maternal Lens via Facebook). Since then I have devoured your tutorials, photos and words. This post and your post about making time for yourself have really struck a chord in me. Thank you for putting into words two seemingly incongruent ideals – time for family and friends versus time for oneself. With a little clarity, a little prioritizing and a lot of thinking, it really is possible to have the best of both worlds. You’ve highlighted to me that 1) it is possible and 2) it is a balancing act – but one worth the forethought, concentration and risk.
      I am a mother to two little girls, three and nearly one. I love them dearly. My husband is also quite amazing, breaking all the stereotypical moulds. But I struggle when I have thoughts that these are not enough to satisfy me. Because I also need to be with myself, make time for myself and give myself a little space. It is just who I am and what makes up my nature. This post recognizes the internal struggle to be an active member of our wider community. A different post recognizes the need to be happy within yourself in order to bring happiness to others. Each are so very important and so I thank you.
      I feel I have found a kindred spirit. I adore your website. I am inspired by your creativity. I have already completed one of the many projects you have taken the time to tutorialise

    9. I like this post. I think it hits home for a lot of people… Including me {as I’m yelling at my 2 yr old to stop tearing my poor plant into pieces}. I’m just too proud to actually blog about it.
      I love your blog, keep writing and inspiring. It’s good for you and for us readers :)

    10. Thanks for putting into words so eloquently how I feel. I am sure we are not the only two mom’s who feel this way. I just stumbled upon your blog and I am so glad I did. It is just what I needed to hear.:)

    11. This was a good reminder to listen to the stirrings in my heart. Stirrings that say, “Why blog to connect with people when you have people around you to connect with?” Funny how that is. Like you say, we try and try and try, sometimes not realizing that we are failing miserably. Darn this truth! Thank goodness for love. :)

    12. I just found your website through pinterest. After reading this post you have encouraged me… Thank you for your honesty and know that it has helped other to become honest with themselves I am now a new fan!

    13. I love this post…. it’s something I KNOW I can relate to, (except the blog part-I don’t blog, just enjoy others… but we all have our distractions right?) Thanks for the face of realism and humanity.

    14. You are incredible young lady!! I love your blog and get excited when I see you have a new post – but I only look at your creative photos of what you have done. To give our God all the credit – this morning he took my eyes to read what you had written! Your honesty is what lives inside most of us but you have taken a leap of faith and but it into words. Hopefully it helped you and then helped those who have read your post. I am 57 and it took me a long time to be transparent with others and it is so refreshing. But I do find myself wondering why it took so long. I know now that I lived too many years trying to look all “put together and perfect” on the outside – while really all God wanted was my heart. I am a slow learner!! May God to continue to bless you in your journey!!
      ( I am a very, extremely new blogger – trying to figure this blog thing out)

    15. I have only been following my crafty and design dreams for five months…and I already feel very torn about how it makes me feel. Time in my office is like a drug, it is an escape, makes me feel confident and fun and creative and worth something, but yet alone. Outside that door is a wonderful husband and adorable little girl…that I have to some days really choose to give more time to then I spend alone – which then makes me feel guilty or defensive. I am so thankful to hear your honesty and that this is a struggle women feel when they follow their own dreams. I feel assured there must be an answer to this or atleast the awareness is the answer – if we keep asking God and letting Him lead us back to center – are we ok? I am hoping so because ignoring my gifts and desires to create for so many years left me very sad and anxious and unhealthy. I do believe that God creates us to have passions and desires that are to be used and I believe that women are created to be first wives and mothers, but I think they can all exist together…I will happily be reading your blog now listening for ways that you are reconciling this in your own life so that I may learn from women who have been doing it a lot longer!

    16. I remember my life being just like yours. I owned a Tea Room in Atlanta, Ga (actually outside of Atlanta) and restored an old mansion with a wrap around porch. The perfect dream Tea Room. At the same time we were restoring this fabulous place I worked as a Medical Assistant in Internal Medicine. My husband worked rotating shifts. One day we passed each other on the stairs in the Tea Room and he said, “hey, don’t I know you from somewhere”!! That did it for me!!! I saw myself in the mirror. We were getting ready to go to Siesta Key in Fl on vacation and it was then that I walked along the beach and asked God to change my life so I could focus on the important things. My husband was offered an “early out” and I said “take it”. I knew God was at work. I closed the “Tea Room” (which by the way was booked 3 months in advance), quit my job with the Dr. and now 4 years later God showed me what is important. I was reading a book at that time about listening to your husband. To make this short, we moved back to Indiana, bought a mini farm and got a cat. We now have coffee hour and hold hands as we walk to the lake and care for both our parents. This is the life!! We have no money right now as we are “sitting on” my dream home in Atlanta that is for sale. But you know what God showed me? To love, care and give of yourself is the most important thing there is and obedience to my husband and to God. Obedience brings blessing!!!! Thanks for letting me tell my story!!! My God bless you as you seek to make some “Siesta Key” changes in your life.

    17. Now I am an echo of what’s been said here, but wanted to show my support nonetheless. I’m a reader, not a commenter. And also a Seattle mom. But, I so appreciated your honesty an openness – as a crafter, mother, Christian. Thanks for the reminder of what’s truly important. Your pictures and creations are so perfectly beautiful! It’s a joy to be inspired by your talents. It’s also refreshing to know that we share the same feelings about time, projects and balance. It’s tough! Well said and well done.

    18. Good post Emily!! Taking time and showing a genuine interest and love for people is a gift that Kevin had–I admired that about him. : ) I need to do more of that too!!

      1. I REALLY enjoy your blog and website. I was walking my dog tonight and I couldn’t help but think about the cool things on your website and the things I want to do. [I have FINALLY found the inspiration I’ve been looking for and I sneak a peek every chance I get!] And I thought,”I sure hope she keeps this up because I am getting some really cool ideas from such a neat person.” Then, I come home and read this and I think, wow, maybe she’s like me, maybe not as perfect as I’d like to think you are! Isn’t that strange? Aren’t we all thinking there is someone out there with the perfect life and “I” just don’t measure up? Anyway, you’ve got an awesome gift and I will pray that you can continue to inspire and reach those of us seeking something more.

    19. You nailed it on the head. Sadly. Why is it so easy to lose perspective of what is truly important? And so easy for our priorities to get SO out of whack? Thank goodness we serve a God whose mercies are new every morning. I tell you what, I am starting fresh on almost a daily basis. But thank goodness I get such a generous opportunity. Keep on keepin’ on girl. You are a true gem and genuine inspiration. Glad Julia pointed me in your direction. XO

    20. that book was super impactful in my life! go from there to Sacred Romance by John Eldredge & Brent Curtis….girl get ready! God is glorious!
      Love your site and ideas. Beautiful!

    21. I am knew to your blog. I have no idea how I got here, but I love it. I have already done some of your projects and I’m not so crafty. Tonight I was browsing, looking for my next inspiration. I read this post. I don’t even know you, what this blog is truly about or your “story”. I just know that after reading that blog, I love ya. I feel those exact feelings. I have those same struggles, day in and day out. All Mom’s do, I’m sure.
      Best Wishes on your journey ahead to Love your Loved ones MORE! I applaud you!
      My motto:
      “I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart.”
      Van Gogh

    22. I am just in awe of you right now. I’m having sooo much fun checking out your blog (I’m so don’t like blogs…too many links to click, I have little patience for technology…weirdo, I know) I love your talent and all your designs but most importantly I love your faith. The Lord made you pretty extraordinary Emily. :)

    23. emily, this blog/mommy/balance thing is not easy. And the blogosphere is being used to glorify God, so you had better believe that it comes with challenge and opposition. I want to encourage you to check out the Relevant Conference {it is sold out for this year, but I wonder if there is not a loophole… let me know if you want to go.. I will pester Sarah Mae}. I know it is far for you, but it was SUCH a blessing to me to be in a place FILLED with these women: all who love Christ, almost all who are mommies, ALL creative, ALL bloggers, ALL who yearn to do and be more, ALL who long for balance. ALL struggle with the very things you write about here. It was worth EVERY penny I spent to go.
      a prayer to you this minute.

    24. While reading this post my 6 year old walked by and said, “Is that our house?” The lego picture is so REAL…please inspire me to organize them creatively. (I have three boys and I don’t see an end to lego messes any time soon)

    25. Emily: One of the reasons I love your blog so much is because of the love that I feel from it…… Your posts are incredibly beautiful, fun & inspiring, but even more-so your genuine spirit SHINES in everything you do! It’s a joy to be on the receiving end out here…. As always, thank you for sharing :)

    26. LOVE believers that can be real! I have friends that do “BIG” & “PUBLIC” spiritual exploits & yet neglect their friends who have been there for them… their kids are grown. I myself at 47 yrs old am & my son 2nd yr in college am just pursuing my BIG dreams & being who He created me to be. I say this to say we ALL at whatever stage we are in life are ALWAYS juggling these issues. I am drawn to that verse MANY times. I try to LOVE the one the Lord puts in front of me that day, that moment. I also STILL have to try to balance the all consuming world of self owned business, blog world & family. KNOW you are NOT alone!
      We ALL (esp women) struggle at whatever stage we are in in life. It is all part of our journey here on planet earth. LOVE you sister… you are doing just FINE!!!
      PS Just the fact that you see & acknowledge it is 1/2 of the “process” <3

    27. Emily, I so enjoy your blog…. all of your hard work and love of family and home and God is so lovely to behold on your blog. I just want to encourage you…. I am a mother of 4 and now a Grandmother of 2 way beyond the age of you…. You are right in the middle of it all and I just want to encourage you to continue to follow your heart… Be honest with your life …. It is a beautiful wonderful ministry. I will be praying for you, how nice for you to know that you are not alone.

    28. Emily, thank you for being so relatable in this way. I was JUST thinking the other day about how this world is filled with so much….noise…. and it is a rat race most of the time. I don’t want that. I too, want to be consumed by love and let the outpouring be that of Jesus’ love. The clanging symbol thing doesn’t work for me either. ;)
      I read somewhere that a mother’s inspiring words to her adult daughter was that “everything else can wait, they can’t” … they being family, children, people. The stuff that really matters. The only thing that we take with us into eternity. It’s been a good reminder for me amisdt the constant call of blogs, emails, facebook whatever… not to mention just regular, everyday life stuff that comes at our mom and wife doorsteps.
      All to say, thank you SO much for having transparency. It’s good to know you are a real life human woman behind this site. ;) Really though, thank you.

    29. Thanks for being so honest! I think that in todays society we all strive to be so put together and have it all worked out… but no one does and it is refreshing to hear someone else struggles somtimes and that we all have more in common than we think!
      P.S. Dumping the legos on a large towel or blanket makes for easy clean up. Grab the four coners and dump into container. At least in works in our house!

    30. Emily,
      I just wanted to say thank you for being real. I have been following your blog for a long time and subscribe through my email, but I have never left a comment. I struggle with the same things you do. My blog is so special to me, but it has taken away precious times with my kiddos. However, over the past two years, I think I have found a good balance. Well, it’s not really balanced. God and family will always be first, and my blog is second. But with any job, there are seasons that my blog requires more of me, and that’s okay. I’d rather be busy at home with my kids than busy at work away from my kids.
      Anyway, you have a beautiful heart and a beautiful blog. I appreciate your honesty so much. May God bless you and your family!

    31. Thank you for sharing this post.
      1st… that first picture is almost the exact colors of my currently underway blog design.

      2nd… I love that you shared your struggles with imbalance. I am currently in the middle of a very very similar struggle. And while I don’t want anyone else to feel that way, it is nice to know we are not alone.

    32. Emily,

      This post brought such encouragement to me as I struggle in the same. Finding that balance seems so unattainable many days. I humbly thank the Lord for his presence, peace, and His perseverance in me. Just know that you’ re not alone. Romans 5:1-5.
      With Love, Erica

    33. I love your blog so much and I feel so connected with your post today. We are doing a Bible Study at church right now called Experiencing God and it speaks to the same things…it steps on your toes, but makes you want to be more and do more, but only through Him.

    34. Emily-

      I am so inspired by you and your blog and so many levels. Thanks for NOT being one dimensional and encouraging all of us to live beautifully physically, emotionally and most important spiritually. I hope to be able to share my faith as candid and non-threatening as you do. You truly have a gift and are using it to minister to so many of us!

    35. I have the same thoughts! I said when I started the blog that I’d never worry about trying to post every day. That I wouldn’t allow myself to feel guilty for missing days at a time… I realize now that it’s easier said than done!

    36. Oh girl…the Lord is at work! I can’t tell you how many times in the last 6 months I’ve used the exact same statement “My heart is being refined and while it hurts a little, it is a good hurt”…I’m thankful to Him that He doesn’t allow us to stay in the funk…His desire is to be more like Him and it’s a never ending process…never ending on this side of eternity that is. All we can do is listen to the Holy Spirit when He speaks to us and go directly to the Father about it. It’s good stuff isn’t it…He loves us soooo much! :-) My mentor LOVES Larry Crabb…I haven’t read his stuff yet but I’m sure one of his books will appear in the must read stack soon!
      Blessings friend.

    37. Most excellent post, and I think you speak for many of us. My blog is my only journal of our family, so I try to make time for it, but I have to say I rarely read other blogs anymore, too much to do in too little time, I get it as we have four children too. I’ve often wondered how moms such as yourself manage to make a business out of it too :) I’m going to look up that book right now, I could stand to work on myself a bit as well :)

      ps – my son LOVES the sheep print I purchased a couple months back, it hangs right next to his bunk bed :)

    38. THANK YOU! For putting words to my feelings, with an aging Mother who makes it difficult to want to call every day. You have reminded me of the priorities in our daily lives! And to remind me that things change and soon I won’t have that “dreaded” call to make, and I will miss her!!

    39. Ohhhhh I absolutely love that verse! It was read at my wedding ceremony and I honestly hadn’t re-read it in years. THANK YOU for sharing that. I too am feeling so much of what you so eloquently expressed. My bible study is going through the book “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan and it is cutting straight to the heart…challenging me in amazing, wonderful (and painful) ways. It’s amazing some nights to lay my head down and think back to all the fruitless and insignficant ways I spent my time or energy that day. Thanks for your transparency with this post. It’s obvious that it struck a chord with so many. God Bless you! ~Bri~

    40. so good to hear this! because I too struggle to be with others (mainly my family), because I am searching for my own peace. And maybe that peace is found in loving others and spending time with them instead of the daily interruptions of email, text messages, BBM’s, Gtalks, Facebook, Twitter (Have I even scratched the surface on all the outlets?). Good to hear this! But you MUST know how much prettier my inbox is because of you :)

    41. Its good to reflect and respond to the Spirit’s leading….thanks for reminding us to keep checking our priorities and make the First things First! I’m changing too, God’s leading can be uncomfortable, but it compels us to keep taking that next step forward to make us more like Him!

    42. Your honesty and transparency is so good. Good for young moms busy loving their young families as they grow and good for older moms like me who in hindsight wish that they had spent every spare minute they had with their family while we were still under the same roof. You are doing the right thing by rebalancing.

    43. we are all floating along on that same boat…surely we are.
      my first born leaves the nest in a few months. talk about not being able to wrap my mind about what that will feel like. there are most days sweet emily where i feel like i’ve dropped many balls.
      anyway, i think you’re wonderful. i love & respect your transparency. i hope you don’t stop blogging. even if you only swing in occasionally. you’re one of my top 3 faves. xo

    44. Emily, this is one of my favorite posts of yours. Love your honesty and that you don’t feel you’re all “put together” all the time! I’m going to check out the Bible study you mentioned. We’re going through Becoming a Woman of Influence by Carol Kent and it has really made me think about I live each day and how I interact with family, friends and strangers. No matter how long we live, we will always be striving to be a better person and more like Jesus. You’re awesome and you touch and inspire many, many women!

    45. Dear Emily,

      I just found your blog last month and I have been so inspired by it. As so many others have said, this post hit close to home. I struggle in the same way daily. I think it would be this way even if we didn’t have the blogosphere, the internet, etc. When our mothers were our age it was the TV, books, the phone…it just points to a deeper issue. We have been given a tremendous vocation, but we still want to be ourselves, maintain our own identity. In order for us to fulfill our vocation well, it is necessary to have these creative outlets, these times to recharge. Even Christ went away to pray; He needed to recharge. Like you said, it’s all about balance, but a balanced life is not some magical place of perfection. For something to remain balanced, it must be constantly adjusted. You’re simply in a time of adjustment and have the Perfect Guide to show you where the adjustments need to be made. Continue to follow Him and He will direct your paths.

      Much Love in Christ,

    46. Thank you for your honesty. It is nice to be reminded that us moms are not alone in our feelings. As my older sisters and friends tell me, it’s a season! Some days that helps and some days it makes me want to rush the ‘season!’ I appreciate you sharing with us!

    47. oh my goodness! The love you gave to your readers by letting your heart speak!!!!!!!! Sometimes it is so hard, and even so lonely……to do good just for the sake of it…but so worth it. So right with the world, and God.

    48. In tears. For weeks now I have been searching for the words that you just put down. I too am struggling with these exact things and think that maybe I need to check out this Bible Study. Thank you for sharing your heart.

    49. Oh how you have encouraged me ! These thoughts have been on my mind as well as I go about my day doing things I want to do. I too have small , precious children and a wonderful husband who dotes on me. I run an Etsy shop that is turning a little demanding, and in return for that success my little family gets put aside. it is a battle against what I “want” versus what I “should” do. I love my family dearly , but also love the thrill of a sale, a request for a custom order..ect.. Lately I have been thinking, I know I can balance this better, be a good mama,wife and friend. I dont want to look back on life , and remember my babies little years as busy ,hectic,gotta get it done days..all in a futile attempt to “be’ the best, the cutest, a popular shop. I remind myself of something often, ” only one life,twill soon be past,only what’s done for Christ will last”. With the Lords strength,we are more the conquerers through him..we can do all things through him who gives us strength..I know when I turn to him and honestly seek him with our life, he will be found! I want to look back with joy and happiness and not regret. Your post encouraged me so very much! Is’nt it so amazing what happens when we put aside our feelings and let him shine through!? Life is so much clearer when he is the focus :) Happy day

    50. Wow…thank you for this. I feel like you’ve verbalized exactly what has been churning around in my heart for a few weeks here in my little corner of the world. Thank you for your honesty and transparency. You have definitely been an encouragement today to my soul.

    51. You don’t know how I needed this today. I’m feeling like such a failure as a mother– and even jokingly told my husband today that I’m ready to turn the kids over to the state! Ugh. I say it tongue-in-cheek, but the truth is that my life is out of balance as well. If I spent the time with them that need to, then they wouldn’t be as needy and clingy as they are…and I wouldn’t feel like I was pulling my hair our all of the time. Thank you for the honesty and transparency. God is indeed doing a work in you– I will be praying that you find that balance. I pray that I do as well. =/

    52. Oh Bless you today Emily. I’m in a similar boat, God working on me, in me thru me to love like He does. I have been reading the books Radical by David Pratt and Ann Voskamps One thousand gifts…Wow, that is all I can say.
      Blessings to you!

    53. I am feeling that same tension. Right now my four kids are watching Phineas and Ferb while I respond to blog comments and read emails. It’s hard to find that balance between doing what makes me feel fulfilled and interacting with my family (which also makes me feel fulfilled). I appreciate your honesty here. :)

    54. Well I really think God to speaking to me today! WOW! First I just downloaded a bible study titled “What Am I Doing in This Pit?” by Mary Southerland. SO need this! Then I read your post THE second after reading the first day from the bible study! WOW! I will definitely get that book too. And you totally nailed it in your post – I think sometimes we get too focused on one thing that we forget all the rest of the world out there. Best wishes :)

    55. Emily-

      I think this is more beautiful than anything else you could have posted about. Thanks for your honesty, and helping others like me realize they’re not alone with those same feelings. I’m struggling with trying to find the same balance. I want my new business to take off, but I also don’t want it to take me away with it. Thanks for helping me remember whats number one in my life :)


    56. Thank you so much for sharing this in your post! I too struggle so much with trying to find the proper balance juggling a business, blog and being a mom and wife. Also, I am about finished with my latest devotional book and think I will get Inside Out next! Oh, and your photos all looks beautiful – love that yellow pillow. Now it’s making me want to add a pop of yellow somewhere! Haha!

    57. Everything you said is spot on. I often feel the exact same way, but don’t be too hard on yourself. This is a vicious cycle that we moms can get caught up in. Now don’t get me wrong, I certainly have the best of intentions and try to live God’s plan each day, but if I continue to let “mommy guilt” and other things influence something that truly makes me happy, I can easily become resentful. Like you mentioned, there’s definitely a balance, but God also obviously has a purpose for you by reaching others through your blog. This is a toughie. Hugs to you.


    58. Well said. Your honesty and openness is something that is a blessing to your readers. It’s easy to think that others have it all together but in reality we all struggle with many of the same things. I appreciate the comment about love being a sign of maturity. It is something I’ve thought about alot lately and I’ve seen a marked improvement in my relationships with those I love as I’ve made the effort to show my love in more pronounced ways. God has given you the gift of creating beauty and I am inspired to find ways to add more beauty to my life but your honesty concerning your struggles shows an inner grace and beauty and a love for God and family. Thank you and have a good week.

    59. I just wanted to tell you that my bedroom is also painted Bedford Grey by Martha Stewart, and while I wasn’t sure I loved it at first, I absolutely love it now! Give it a chance!!

    60. Thank you for writing this post and showing us that even the most talented and put-together women still struggle at times. You are talented in so many ways and so positive, it must be hard to admit things are imperfect. I often wonder how these blogging mommies have time to do all these projects and post so frequently. I only have two kids and seem to always be needing more time to get everything done to maintain the house, nourish my own self and marriage and be totally present and patient for my girls whenever they need me. Seeing the imbalance and wanting to fix it is a huge step, so congrats on that, and thank the Lord it wasn’t a tragedy of some kind that shifted your priorities. Good luck!

    61. Thanks, emily, for being honest and transparent. I too, often struggle with guilt over how much time I spend on the computer. And how often my little ones are crying and I am trying to quickly finish something on the computer before I tend to them…I keep thinking that I should have a timer for myself.

    62. I love your blog but don’t comment very often but I just felt so much from your post today:) I think you put into words what a lot of us feel, I ask myself these questions daily. I really applaud your honesty in letting us know you are just like us even though you seem to have it all together constantly:) it’s what really keeps me coming back to your blog, well that and your amazing creativity!

    63. You are going to get there! The fact that you were brave enough to talk about it to everyone and admit your faults is so huge. We don’t know each other but I feel like what you do to make life beautiful is from love. I’m sorry that you feel like it’s not coming from the right place for now. What kind of blessings are in store for you after this cleaning out process?! I went through a similar time after my daughter was born. It’s a good and settled feeling when you make it through!

    64. I just put that book directly into my cart on Amazon. Your blog is a “can’t miss” for me but what I really love (even more than your amazing-ness), is this kind of realness. Thank you!

    65. I really like your post today! It is really real and sometimes I get frustrated that we aren’t more real with each other and I think that is because we (I) lack God’s love, like you said. thanks for sharing – I’m challenged and I may even pick up that book! blessings!

    66. Thank you for your words. I love to read blogs but quite frankly when they are all “Fluff” (as my husband would call it) I tend to get bored. Loved your post today. Girl, I think you are on the right track. Confess these things to God. Learn how He would want you to be. Fill your mind with truths from His word and then act. I see you struggling to be balanced but know it is hard for all of us. To me by the sheer examining of yourself you, are having a contriet heart before the Lord. Often when my children were small I would memorize scripture by placing it in the kitchen window over the sink and as I would do dishes, I would repeat. One that I recited often when I felt out of balance was- Psalms 139: 23-24. It says- Search me oh God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way (NASB). Love it in NIV also but that is how I learned it. My kids are grown now but I felt that verse helped me to remember to look at my actions and give my fleshy self to God to help root out what needed to be changed about my actions and then to be confident that He was able. Never forget God loves you more than you can even imagine. He created you, to be you, just like the creative person you are. While balance is important never sell short the gifts and talents he has given you to use and put that desire in you to want to express them. Have a very blessed day. Your precious heart for your God and family comes thru loud and clear.

    67. Thank you for your honesty. The balancing act feels impossible sometimes, but there is a way, and you are seeking it the best way possible, by studying the word and following Christ. It’s a process and a journey that we are all on! Blessings to you!

    68. I love your way of being authentic, it calls to all of us to be okay with being imperfect even while we strive to make a beautiful life for our family and using our gifts for the good of others. I read Inside Out a few years back and actually would like to re-read it, it’s one of those books that you know will always be relevant at any point of your life, because there’s always more to learn. It’s a great journey to be on though, even when it is uncomfortable at times (but then embracing that is part of it, isn’t it?). Thanks for giving us a glimpse into yours.

    69. Entries like this one just make me love you all the more. You inspire me with more than your beautiful designs – you inspire me with your beautiful heart. I am praying God’s grace and peace over you today, and can assure you I struggle with the exact same types of issues. It is good to remember that there is not one thing we can ever to do make God love us more (or less) than He already does. He looks at our hearts, not our accomplishments; He looks at us through Jesus, not our failures nor our noblest attempts to make ourselves righteous. My latest thought-corrector statement has been: “Grace alone. That is all, and that is enough.” God bless you – you are His treasure and such a blessing to the rest of us!!

    70. Very timely, Emily. I’ve been trying to learn balance with my blog too! I’m in a totally different boat – on the outside – but I imagine the heart is in a similar condition.

      Hey, it’s odd I know, but I just had a really poignant-feeling dream about you. Two or three nights ago. I went to your house and you were telling me how you’d decided to spend more time enjoying other people’s houses. Then you were in a barn, then riding horses, then on a train. I don’t know what it all means, but the spirit of the dream was so sweet and positive.

      Be blessed. You really are a blessing to those who read your blog (and to your friends!)

    71. What a breath of fresh air. I too blog, (not nearly as well as you!) and find it is turning into a struggle to get readers, keep readers, and find content that I enjoy writing. It has become more of a hassle than a joy and it makes me sad. I don’t want to feel like I “have” to do something. I too often (and hate to admit it) choose to make or do something for my home, than go for a bike ride with my little boy. And that makes me sad. I love your blog, your home, your ideas…so please keep doing them…when your time allows! :)

    72. Emily, I discovered your blog only a month ago but I have become a daily visitor. What inspires me so much about what I read and see on your blog is the fact that your creativity is related to those things that have deep meaning for you: your family, friends, and relationship with God. Thank you so much for being so authentic in this post. It takes courage to be honest, but I believe most of us have exactly the same concerns about balance in our own lives (especially those of us who spend a lot of time doing creative work that is linked to computers!), and it helps to hear another express them so eloquently.

    73. I love that you’re keeping it real. We all face the same challenges of trying to balance devotion to our families with other pulls in life and I am reminded time and again that I can do it all, just not all at the same time.
      Enjoy this happy time in your house – even the legos scattered on the floor bring a smile to my face remembering those days not long ago when my kids weren’t in school full time. It’s a wonderful life you have!

    74. You have beautifully expressed what is in the heart of many – how best to use God’s gift of time. How to love people well. What is the balance between my inner life and my outer life. How to harmonize the two.

      God’s word is full of so much wisdom. Intent study and a heart that desires God will bring that wisdom to you. Listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit whispering through your day. And thank you for your honesty.

    75. What a blessing to have so many encouraging readers/friends… it is obvious, that you are loved.
      {Once upon a time ago, Larry Crabbs book Shattered Dreams changed my life! and a couple years ago, I read Inside Out… there is no way that anyone could read these books and not be changed}
      It is a beautiful and difficult journey that you, that we are on. Where our hearts are being aligned with Gods, and our worlds collide with His. The letting go of what we think is best, to find what is far better and beyond great. “Your Kingdom come, on earth as it is in Heaven.” ON EARTH… this is our aim… to be His hands, His heart, His Love and Light, here and now.
      One thing I’ve learned over the years, is learning to say “No” to the good, and “Yes” to the best. Your blog is good. But your family is best. :) But you have already recognized that.
      What a joy, that you have the privilege of sharing this journey with other woman.
      You are being used in this shaping, this rearranging of your heart and priorities.
      Thank you for speaking truth in this space…

    76. Thank you for this. Lately I’ve been so frustrated by how messy I let myself get (in all areas of life). As I’m trying to get a new crafting blog going, it seems even tougher to balance everything. I love crafting, and I love blogging, but often I spend too much time reading other people’s blogs when I should be working on my own creative ideas. And too often, I let EVERYTHING get in the way of spending time with friends and family. And still even more often, I spend too much time wishing I were different, when I should be actively working on the things I want to change, and appreciating the things that I do well.

      I know I don’t know you, but for what it’s worth, you have a beautiful blog. And it’s very obvious that you are a beautiful woman with a beautiful heart. Thanks for sharing it.

    77. I think all of us have a difficult time balancing our family versus our passion – whatever that passion may be – blogging, crafting, our careers, etc. It is hard when a lot of the family stuff just seems like work and doesn’t really recharge or inspire us. I mean who really is inspired to do the endless laundry or make dinner for the 5 millionth time or clean up all the toys. It feels so much more rewarding to accomplish something tangible like a blog post or a new craft or finish a project at work. I think that if we should probably consider ourselves lucky that we do have these other passions pulling at us because ultimately our family is better off because we are more complete people.

    78. Such an important reminder! We let life get too busy with things, and don’t take the time to really be servants to the most important people- the ones closest to us! On a side note- I painted my bedroom martha’s bedford gray last year and still love it!

    79. I’ve been feeling the same way in regards to my husband and home vs. work/etc. Thanks for your honesty and reminding us not to get caught up in this world so much that we neglect living the real one.

    80. Maria Fernanda McClure

      Thanks for the reminder! Just know that your words resonate with so many of us. I shared your post with a blogger friend and she saw fit to mention it in her post today. Here’s what she had to say: “Finally, for something more of substance, my friend Maria sends along a link to the Jones Design Company. It makes sense to me that someone who loves beauty and makes a living helping others discover how to make it happen in their home, would be drawn to deeper things.”
      Bless you and yours!

    81. Please don’t feel too bad today Ms Emily, sometime we have to sacrifice a little today for a brighter tomorrow :) Good luck on your journey.

    82. Again, thank you for sharing! I feel your thoughts and identify too…
      I am a doer, always wanting to fill up my time thru the day with ‘stuff’ and then I look back and most of the time see a jumbled mess! I think as women we have and play so many roles… Mom, Wife, Lover, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Doer, Cleaner, Listener… the list could go on, its just our nature! My Husband says to me (often), “can’t you just sit still?!” And even tho stillness is what ultimately brings us closer to God, it is uncomfortable sometimes (at least for me).
      I have only been looking at blogs now for about 3 months, your is by far my fav! You have inspired me to want to have a blog of my own…. but again, I struggle with the thought that a blog would be one more thing to ‘jumble’ my days!!! So I pray, think, and daydream…. Maybe one day I will start one! Who knows….
      Hang in there…. Keep your chin up and your sights set on God! His plan will always be there!!!

    83. First, I LOVE your blog. I love this post. I love that you are being so honest. Your writing and design sense is amazing. I enjoy reading blogs, getting ideas, seeing what I have in common with other people. Seeing what we share. However, sometimes blogs make me feel even more inadequate! When my favorites skip a day of posting or have a really short post or talk about their dusty pianos, I enjoy reading them just as much as the tutorials or projects. I know they are real. They are busy. They are busy enjoying life! Writing a blog (especially with as many tutorials as you do, thank you!!) take a lot of time. I can’t wait to frame my family quote. It’s going in the bathroom so I see it first thing! And maybe one in the kitchen, where I spend a lot of time, and maybe one….

    84. Emily,
      Thank you for being real, authentic, inspiring, encouraging and humble. I can only imagine how crazy your life must be at times with a wonderfully big blog, design business and 4 kids. I have a teeny weeny blog and four kids and sometimes I think I need to just stop blogging because it can be too much. Keep walking in truth and love girl! You are an inspiration because you don’t have it all together! Thanks for blogging and sharing your struggle, I can so relate and I am going to go check out that bible study book you posted! Thanks for blessing me today!

    85. Beautiful post..and I’m right there with ya! I actually just did a post about breaking free from the perfect home. I am realizing that the most important things in life are my kids, husband, and friends. So….I will let dishes pile up in the sink and go play outside, I’ll let toys clutter the floor and pull out a craft project, I’ll start injecting more color and fun into the house decor. I competely love your blog, by the way. I think most of us are completey amazed at your talent!


      This is a wonderful talk given from my church. All us, want to do so much. The reality is, there isn’t time to do it all. Good, better, best is the title of the talk and basically there are MANY good things we can be engaged in, but in our busy lives sometimes we need to decipher between the good things, the better things and the best things we can be doing with our time to ensure we use our time in the best way possible.

      Hope you figure out your balance soon, it’s hard to do.

      have a great day!

    87. Emily, I SO appreciate your blog and your authenticity. What a wonderful encouragement to come here and know that I can not only find wonderful inspiration but that I can also find encouragement for my soul. I love hearing how God is working in you. I think what you struggle with so many of us can relate too. Thanks for being real – and for sharing with us what God is doing in your life. It is an enormous encouragement!

    88. This post resonates with me, too. I bookmark all kinds of design inspiration blogs and flip through them every day so it was a special bonus to be touched in a heartfelt way this morning, to know that others are searching for beauty that is more that surface deep and goes beyond fluffing our dwellings. That will make your blog extra special to me now. Hoping you find the balance that you’re needing.

    89. hi, emily! i’ve been reading for awhile but have never commented. blog shy, i guess.

      i just had to comment on this post. so much of what you’ve written here, God has been burning on my heart, too. i love the opportunity to create and reflect His artistry. i love my family, too, and so desire that my children and husband feel loved and built up in our home. sometimes the two seem to be at odds. even though it takes a little extra time and intentionality, i know that actively loving others will bring me more joy and closeness with the Lord than anything else.

      can’t wait to check out the book/study you’ve linked to!

    90. although I totally get what you are saying, also know that the Lord HAS used your blogging to impact this world, too. I made a little “blessings board” from your print about your family and it has been a HUGE encouragement to my family to stay focused on loving others and be a blessing even when our selfish souls tell us to ask otherwise. AND it has been such a great example to see someone who is a designer but filters everything through God’s kingdom first. You don’t spend $1000000000 on everything in your house and push your readers to be bad stewards. You inspire us to be the creative beings God intended!

    91. thanks for your honesty – can i say, by way of encouragement, that your words could’ve been mine as well? the word ‘refine’ has come to my heart and my mind several times in the last few days. i’m clinging to the fact that through refining, something beautiful, that reflects Him more clearly, is made. press on!! :)

    92. I can say, as a reader of blogs and an occasional writer of one, that I’m in awe at the balancing act many of you can do. I’m amazed daily at the inspiration I get from these electronic pages every day. With that said, however, that very thing has kept me watching and wishing and longing instead of doing and being and living. I sometimes let what I see in all of the beautiful places I find on the internet replace what I could have here in my own life. There definitely is a balance to be found. I am in a similar place. I’m figuring out what really needs to be done with this life that I’ve been given. Just me. Just my life. I know it’s an original creation and has an original purpose only meant for me to do. There’s a stretching going on in a lot of us. That new wine skin that isn’t comfortable until it’s been uncomfortable for a little while. You’ll figure it out, though, because you’re aware of it now. You’re in the uncomfortable that will eventually bring the comfort that you are exactly where you are supposed to be doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing. And as for the love part? It will gush when you get to that point (so I hear).

    93. So nice of you to be painfully honest. I feel exactly the same way right now. At least you have your Bible open and are reading. I have neglected many things to get my open house ready, and my time with the Lord has been one of them. I admire you and your blog very much, but right now, I admire your open honesty the most. Thanks for at least today, not being super woman, because today, I can really relate to that.

    94. Thank you for your honesty and love. It’s hard to find that balance sometimes, but know that we love you when we find you here on the blog, and we understand and appreciate when you are just with your family.

      1. Emily I am a new follower of yours…When I first started I have to admit I felt a little envious that you were able to do all these things so well…Its refreshing to hear that your just like the rest of us trying to keep all of our balls in the air at the same time…I had a conversation with a girl friend and said to her…I’m not doing anything great…It’s like I’m on coast mode trying get by everyday with so much on my plate…I appreciate you honesty and believe me I have been there and back…Now I am trying to prioritze more and delegate which has seem to help…My advice is you are one person there are only 24hrs in a day…One can only give so much…

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