Archive | Life Beautiful

Nothing Profound, Just Pigs & Chickens

Back when I was a little girl and was given the task of taking out the kitchen slop (or “compost” if we’re sticking with nice terms) to the farm animals, I never would have guessed that as a thirty-something woman, wife, mom to five, and mompreneur, that this small, menial task would become a favorite~even one of the looked-forward to moments of my day! Because that’s exactly me these past several weeks! I think it can be logically explained though…without assuming that I have gone off the deep end. :) It’s probably has something to do with the constant chatter of little humans around me. Maybe even more, the constant use of technology and social media for communication and business. There’s something so wonderful about leaving the kitchen behind, walking out the door with my little boy in tow, and taking all the scraps from dinner out to those hungry ladies and boys. Everybody needs an escape, quiet moments in the day, right?….and why not escape to the pigs and the chickens!? :)

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The chickens always arrive first. We call for them, and they seem to be most in-tune with their surroundings. They come clucking and picking daintily at the juicy scraps we’ve thrown on the ground. The beautiful rooster with his deep jewel tones, the less-colorful rooster that hatched from a nest full of eggs late last winter, and the hens who keep us supplied with dozens of brown speckled eggs. We lean in over the fence and watch them as they peck and scratch.
If they’re lucky, those chickens may get a few minutes to themselves, but usually, like clockwork, the big Idaho Pasture pigs come without invitation, grunting and barreling their way through to what is *obviously* a snack meant for them. The chickens scatter at first while the pigs eat like, well, pigs. The make all the undesirable noises as they slobber and slurp down everything in their path. The hens eventually settle back in among them, picking daintily at what’s left.

It’s prime teaching time for children of all sizes on why it’s better to be like a chicken than a pig when it comes to table manners and all types of relational interactions. :) Chamberlain and I watch till every piece is gone, and then the show is over. Everyone scatters off into the yard off to the shade of the trees, going back to whatever they were doing before we showed up. We amble back into the house, looking forward to tomorrow and this new-found task. It’s a simple, grounding, uncomplicated part of our day. And there you have it, for the first time in my life, though I was raised as a farm girl till I was ten, I’m officially loving the farm chore of taking out the slop. Funny how life often comes full-circle in the simplest ways.

Our Office & School “Work Room”

Welcome to this lovely space we have been completely and thoroughly enjoying
for just one week~my office and the children’s space for lots of book-learning!


It was never supposed to be a “makeover” . . . we’ve only lived here in our new home for three years!!
The plan and the dream was to have a highly functioning and beautiful room for my workspace,
and a place where the children could learn and craft,
and where we could read comfortably together for hours!

But we moved into our house with a few unfinished projects (doesn’t everyone do that!?),
life keeps moving along, other projects come first, money runs low,
and before you know it, nearly three years have passed you by!
So now, it truly feels like a makeover! A huge, amazing “before & after”.



I cannot even tell you the level of frustration I felt from time to time . . .
trying to do our school years without so much as a bookshelf or a cabinet for supplies.
We improvised with many baskets on top of the piano, under the table. . .
But with a toddler in the house getting into everything within reach,
our baskets were more often than not in a state of chaos too!

Shortly after we moved into our home, I did ask Amy Weaver from Amy Weaver Designs
to add a bit of beauty to the three big bare walls in the room.
I have long admired her talents and beautiful home,
and I had also asked her advice on pain colors for several rooms in our house while we were building.
The budget I gave her was *so* small, but the touches she put into the room were lovely
and served to make a more homey space for a little over 2 years.
(You can see all of those before/after pictures HERE)

Amy’s touches to our walls made the room a little more cozy and homey,
but as she mentioned in her blog post, the room was still in need of furniture and storage.

Shortly after Amy’s redo of the room, I moved the black bookshelf to the basement since we needed a shelf down there
and I didn’t really feel it was doing much to help the looks or function of the room.
Earlier this year I added this big canvas cloth that I really like to both beautify
and try to distract from all the clutter on and around my desk. Ha!
I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the world’s neatest person, but seriously,!!!
So, yes, I was constantly trying to improve and brainstorm on what could help us out . . .
knowing that “one day soon” we’d do the real deal and if I could just hang in there . . .  :)

So, earlier this year when I saw that a local couple whose home I have long admired
was beginning their own business  “JKS & CO” . . . . creating “indoor and outdoor dream living spaces”,
I filled out an application on their website immediately!

They came out one evening to look at the room and discuss ideas.
They gave us an estimate for the job a little over a week later, and things became official. :)
Jake & Janelle were great to work with! Very sensitive to any wishes and ideas we had in mind,
but also very capable to being able to visualize exactly what would make the room fully functional, and of course beautiful.

I knew things were going to be grand the moment she looked at one corner of the room and said,
“And here I’m seeing a ‘Mother’s corner’ with a chair and reading light”.

She also mentioned a sofa on one side of the room where we could do our reading together.
Yes, yes!! This was exactly the woman I wanted to be “seeing” what could be . . .
For the past three years we would carry our piles of books around to the living room for reading,
and then drag the books and ourselves back to the school table to complete assignments.
It worked. But I *dreamt* of a comfy space to read *in* the school room!

Janelle then created a private Pinterest board where I could see the ideas and items she was gathering for the room.
To be honest, I looked at the board twice before “makeover” day.
I just knew that whatever she was going to put together, I was going to LOVE!
I had been in their home a couple of times and absolutely loved the layers,
and the textures, soft lighting and gallery walls.

So, the first change that happened a few days prior to the complete makeover,
was the changing out of this window for a set of patio doors.
The window had been a bit of a mistake from day one ~ it was too high for kids to see out of.
Plus, after we built the porch in the back, we realized it would be great
to have a door opening to the porch from this room.

Huge improvment!! I’m so excited for this one change alone.
It opens up the space a lot and seems like it will be a great place to “shoo” children out for recess. 😀

And then comes the “Big Reveal” of all the wonderful changes that happened to this room in ONE DAY!!
Jake and Janelle arrived at 8:00 last Saturday morning, and along with their cabinet installers,
electrical work done by Phil, and the counter top guy, they were completely finished with this room by 6:00 that night!

This was my first glimpse . . . and it’s the view I have from my kitchen when I look over towards this room.
It beckons me to come in!

This is also the view from the door. A big comfy couch and gallery wall with light streaming in . . .

The baskets tucked in the corner for Olivia’s books and toys!

There was just *so* much to take in.
If truth be told, I sat around for the first few days just *staring* at the beauty . . .
and the amazing transformation from a frustrating space that wasn’t working for us . . .
to a completely gorgeous space that can handle all our books and “stuff” and hard work!!
My heart is completely amazed and grateful. *So* grateful.

The Mother’s Corner!!
Complete with a basket for my own books that I’m currently reading, a comfy chair and blanket,
a soft reading light, and touches of Paris incorporated as well which is a story in itself!



For the past year or so I have been enjoying reading French Cookbooks and trying my hand at the recipes.
This has led to a few movies, blogs, and more that have delved a little more into French culture and food. Yum!
But literally, on the evening that Jake & Janelle were finishing up this space,
our family headed out the door to attend a little dessert night with friends
and a family who has been living in Paris for the past several years
for the express purpose of spreading the Gospel there.
It was an absolute delight to meet them and hear how God is moving in Paris!
The people groups represented there and the “crossroads” that it has become in our world
makes it an amazing place to reach nations for Christ.

As our new friend so aptly stated,
“Paris is a great place to visit until you start sharing the Gospel . . .
then the fangs come out.”
And that’s probably true in any place of the world.
Our enemy is alive, but knows his days are numbered.
Christ is the Answer to the sin and depravity of man . . .
It’s our honor and privilege to me the message bearers of that Good News!!

Oh, and I love the way they do evangelism there.
He said the people love to eat and party,
so he and his team decided that they wanted to be known in Paris
as the people who throw the best parties!!
People come for the food and the fellowship, but leave with knowledge of Jesus.
So much more I could tell . . . but all of this to say that when I came home . . .
back to my “mother’s corner” and saw that Eiffel Tower,
I knew that this was more than a pretty picture,
more than just a place I want to visit one day,
more than just a symbol of a country whose food I like to (try) to cook,
but a beautiful, constant reminder of a place that needs Jesus.
It’s my reminder to pray and ask the Lord of the Harvest
to send forth laborers into His Paris harvest field.

This is the view as you walk in from the porch through the patio door.

So much excitement over that desk and storage space! A sigh of relief, really!!
And the details are mind-blowing! The printer is hidden away in one of those drawers,
The outlet for the computer with USB plugs included at just the right spot
so that my OCD brain doesn’t have to see cords hanging in terrible places,
and then the undercounter lighting installed by my man,
as well as the beautiful carrara marble he chose for the counters.
It’s absolutely beautiful!


My office chair!

The details Janelle incorporated into the decor were enough to make me teary-eyed!
She printed pictures from my instagram/facebook and framed them.
She framed a quote that I recently mentioned that I had loved.
I mean everything was so personal and lovely! A delicious work space!!
And just in case all of that wasn’t enough, she placed a bouquet of roses, a burning candle,
a mug, lotion, and a note of blessing there on the edge of the desk  . . .
I was speechless, really!



And then there’s the children’s side of the room!
A corner closet, plenty of shelving, a personal desk space complete with cork board and a pull out drawer.
JKS & CO even placed a nameplate at each spot, designed by a young lady
who took several descriptive words I had given Janelle about each of them,
and literally you can *see* the personality or interests of the child through her drawings!!


The children have been diligently working in their workbooks
or just sitting here to doodle and read. They LOVE their space!


In the center of the room is this large farm table and benches . . . a perfect place to craft or do an activity together.

That gallery wall over there on the far wall is one of those things
I feel Janelle was first “famous” for in my mind. :)
I saw how she did them so well in her own home
and have begun to group these “collogues” around my home too.
I really appreciate the fact that she incorporated the things
that I still had in the room from when Amy had been here:
the chalkboard, the magazine rack, the “READ” letters (on the shelf) . . .
and that “N” was a gift from my friend Clarita
just several days earlier for my birthday!
It fits into the room and the wall perfectly!
The empty frames were thoughtfully incorporated
and are waiting to be filled with our next family photos.

OH! And another really neat “coming together” of this room is
that “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm & secure” sign.
It comes from Amy’s sign shop. I *love* her signs and have another one in our home as well.
I think it’s so fitting that the two women who have blessed this room
with their gifts and abilities at separate times,
actually have an agreement to place one of Amy’s signs in every home
where JKS & CO do renovations & decor work!


And that pretty much wraps up this little post!
I know some may wonder where the items come from.
And the great part is, I don’t really know!
JKS & CO had that all under control! 😀

I realize more and more how much I *don’t* enjoy shopping . . .
and one of the wonderful aspects of this room makeover is that I did not shop!!
I didn’t have to look around, spend hours driving or browsing
or debating back and forth over style or price tag, or even carry it home!!

It was all taken care of by a very talented, gifted couple
while I was doing things I do enjoy, like being with my family,
cooking or canning, or working the home business.
That’s a really great tradeoff in my opinion!!

Meanwhile, they were working “behind the scenes” and on a certain day,
last Saturday, they arrived, installed everything, and it was DONE!
What a great feeling! 😀

{{I do know that the built-ins were done by guys they called “Dave & Preston” . . . .
the chandelier and sofa came from Ballard Designs,
the farm table and benches were built by a local Amish man,
the blue carpet from,
and most of the frames, art, clocks, baskets, etc
came from HomeGoods, a few from Pottery Barn,
and others from Target’s Threshold line.}}

Thanks for stopping by for a look!
It’s been a pleasure to share this lovely space with you.
No one is probably more shocked than I that a room could go from
pretty terrible and frustrating to so beautiful and yet fully functional in less than a day!!
I’m so grateful for this space that we will use well in days to come!

shellycFrom this . . . (2012)
shelly1to this (2013)


to this! (2015)

All of the Good Things

good things{Creamy Pumpkin Pie Tea from Bulk Herb Store, pretty catalogs, cozy blanket}

Do you ever feel so blessed that you feel you cannot contain it?
That you cannot adequately describe or detail or express
the emotions that well up in your soul when you stop to look~
really look~ at all the.good.things. in your life?

And I don’t mean that your life is trouble, stress, or pain free?
I mean, how, that even in the dark times, you see the beauty.
Even in the pain, you experience joy.
Even in loss you know the fullness of Christ.

What a mercy that God allows these parallels to exist.
What a gift of grace that we live in a sin-cursed world
and yet . . . because of HIM we still have soul peace.
And not only soul peace and joy, but the ability
to enjoy relationships and countless comforts.

~~~~ Gratitude Dissolves Disappointment ~~~~
This quote has been challenging me in the past month!
It’s hard to stay grumpy or made or wallowing in self pity
when you give thanks as Scripture tells us to do.

The part that attitude plays in our outlook on life,
and eventually even in our reality, is too great to measure!
Did you know that scientists and psychologists are discovering that
our body doesn’t know the difference between our thoughts and our reality?

good things{The Living Word of God . . . not just paper & ink}

I’m sure this is why God tells us to “keep our heart with all diligence” …
to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ”…
to rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, give thanks,
sing to the Lord. sing praise . . . and countless more commands
that teach us to guard our thoughts and to think about GOOD things.

So yes, I sit there this morning giving thanks for all of the good things
and looking ahead to a month of joyous celebrations of Jesus and His people . . .
and those who are yet needing to hear the Gospel so that they can be His too.

good things{Our annual “wish book” for giving tangible hope and the Gospel to Asia ~
choosing the gifts to give has become a favorite December tradition}

Of course, the best things in life aren’t “things” . . . they are people,
and I hope you feel as I do that you’ve got THE BEST.

My wild-haired baby at 10.5 months
good things
She thought she was tough on this riding toy. :)
good things

Twenty-Two Cousins . . .
good thingsplaying for hours on end for 3 days straight Thanksgiving week.

good things

This Man Who Has My Heart More Than ever. . .
It’s a funny thing how we are still the same people we were when married,
and yet we never stay the same . . . as human beings we are constantly learning,
growing, adapting, developing . . . and am loving the journey alongside Phil.
good things
good things{compliments of our child photographer}

Rewinding the Camera to Mid October to that one time when
{for the first time, but hopefully not the last time} I earned a trip for two with our amazing company,
Plexus Worldwide, to the most gorgeous resort/hotel I have ever laid eyes upon!
Well, ok, I haven’t laid eyes on many resorts. Or possibly none at all?
But even those who have, said that this one was pretty special!
Due to circumstances which hindered my husband or my sister Heidi from attending with me . . .
I was so very honored and overjoyed to have a bestie, Clarita, enjoy the beautiful Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando
with me, where we were treated to massages, fabulous food, educational and inspirational training,
and times by the beautiful pools catching up with each other and our wonderful team members!
It was truly a gift in every way. And I am so grateful!

orlando 2 orlando orlando 3

Of course, baby was my traveling companion . . .
and I treasured this gift of time with her as well, because she’s a fourth born,
well, one can imagine that life is busy . . . and so when I get to have any of my children
one on one, getting to spend time with them individually, it’s something I really enjoy!

orlando{photo credits to Clarita!}

Thanks to my friend Kristen and the company who paid for my flight to Orlando
so that I could be a “help” to Kristen with her shopping list at Bloomingdale’s~things for the missionary families,
I was able to use my own travel voucher to have my Mom fly to our house for 8 days!!
What a treat!! She was able to help out with the children for the few days that I was gone,
and then we still had 4+ days to spend together when I returned!
I love my Mom. So do my husband and children!

gramma and baby
gramma & baby
gramma and baby
{The eldest daughter giving me “that look” because, being the mean, impractical mother that I am,
I had just informed her that she should go change into her *nice* boots . . . not snow boots. What a bummer! :)}

gramma and baby

A Family Week at the Cabin in Mid November . . .

good thingspuzzles . . .

good thingsFamily Devotions . . .

good thingsReading . . .

good things
good thingsSuper fun chores . . . 😉

good thingsChildren playing in the snow one day, and warm autumn air the next,
while their wary mother kept an eye out for bears.

good things
good things

good thingsgirlies . . . and lots of personality to go around!

good things
good things
good things

And That One Beautiful Snow Day in November . . .
good things
I’m so grateful for all of these good things . . .
and I’m looking forward to the celebrations and opportunities
that await us all in this new month!

May your December be blessed.
With so many good things.
But if nothing else, may you know Jesus.
He is the Wonderful One and the Giver of all that is Good.


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