Friday, March 27, 2015


Yesterday's weather was glorious--windy, mid-60's, fresh, and sunny. Luke and I sat under a tree, munched on a stack, and felt the sun on our faces.

I felt that moment and embraced it--brought it in closely to my heart and fiercely hugged it.

The joy snuck in on me and I couldn't help but just let it be. It was one of those moments that I wish I could just bottle up and keep forever--those moments that you are just so darn thankful for where you are.

So often I feel this pressure to have this crazy, wild, and different life. I dream big things, but I have a simple life. I feel pressure to hustle instead of slow down.

That pressure to do and be more can float over my heart and shadow the good and the joy in my life. Instead of fully enjoying moments, I get stuck in thinking "if only"--which are perhaps the two most dangerous words in my vocabulary.

But when I delete those words from my inner voice, I see joy in so many more moments in my life. As it is.

Not as it was or as it will be or as it could be.

As it is. Simple + slow.

God gave me this life. This one. God gave me this season. And I'll only have one chance to live through it.

It doesn't mean that I don't itch for things to come, it just means that I am learning to open my joy-eyes more often and clearly see the sweet gifts that God gives me in my daily life.

The gifts of sunshine, a goofy grin on my son's face, and holding hands with my husband under the stars. Honestly, it's often the simple things (not the extraordinary things) that press into my heart.

I experience these moments with joy-eyes; eyes that see and experience the joy that only God gives. I know this because even on the stickiest or darkest of days, I can open my joy-eyes and see the little joys and gifts that God gives--the deep-seated, undeserved, and unexpected joys.

What gifts and moments have you seen with your joy-eyes lately?

ps. it's my birthday on Sunday and I'm turning the big 3-0! So, there is shop wide 30% discount on all products (no need to use a coupon code--the discount is already applied). This will be the last big sale for a while, so grab some prints while you can :)

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Naptime Coffee Date

Hello friend! There are just so many fun things I've been wanting to write about--so grab a cup + let's share :)

Uffda. It's been a morning--a good one, for sure, but definitely a busy one. Do you ever have one of those creative/motivational bursts when you just feel like you need to bust out the dance music, empty your closets, and do all the things?

Well, I had one of those this morning (well, actually, it's been kinda all week!) I was tired of looking at Luke's super cluttery closet, so I finally cleaned it out :) Now, it's a both a closet that fits extra clothes/toys/Luke stuff that he doesn't need daily plus is a fun little reading/play nook. It's definitely not Pinterest-worthy, but it's functional and fun!

Speaking of Pinterest, I've found a few recipes that hit the spot lately. I brought this cake to a morning mom's group, and it was definitely a hit! Sweet, but not too sweet for an early morning snack :) I've also made this super easy tomato soup a few times (the only change I made is to blend it...since I wasn't a fan of the chunky-factor). If you need something you can whip up in a few minutes + is easy to freeze, try it!

I've also tried a few toddler-friendly activities I found on Pinterest. Creating a sandbox in a storage tub has definitely been a big hit (even though we've used it only a few times since it's been so rainy), but the noodles and straw activity was not Luke's cup of tea. Oh well!

Have you had any sweet finds on Pinterest lately?

On a totally unrelated note, I feel like my business is going through an adolescence phase. Meaning: it's trying to figure out it's identity, and that process might be a little awkward ;) I'm pretty sure that most small business go through this process--the growing, the experimentation, and asking lots of questions about value, identity, and purpose. This past year (plus) has been a year of slow growth, but I feel like I'm really defining and solidifying a few key areas that I really need to plug forward and improve on. So, there's been a bit of "spring cleaning" in the shop (grab any of these 10 prints for $1 through March...they are going into retirement!), plus a lot of scribbling down ideas, writing specific goals, and trying to be patient :) I always want to do everything RIGHT NOW, but I know that taking it slowly (and surely) will benefit me and the Nicole Joelle Print Shop.

 photo IMG_1745_zpsdcznh2j8.jpg
(Be Still Print)

In other news, the big 3-0 is coming up for me! Yikes + yay! I'm actually kinda excited (and a little sad!) to see my 20's go, but also so looking forward to my 30's. I'm ready for them!

Before I zip off (those dishes are calling my name), I wanted to leave you with a few other posts/things I've found encouraging lately:

Good Enough Decorating over at the Nester--I needed this reminder in the middle of lots of projects!

I actually really love (most days!) living in a smallish house (just under 1200 sq. ft), so I am always interested in how other people live in small space (especially people with kids). How fun is this apartment? 

Speaking of small spaces, can I have this office? Off to look on Craigslist for a vintage airstream ;) 

I hope that you have an absolutely lovely rest of your Wednesday!

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Little Kitchen Who Could (a little update on our Kitchen)

I'd like to go back and have a moment with know the one who was like a Disney princess blissfully believing that my pumpkin of a kitchen would magically turn into the sparkly, pretty carriage by Christmas.

Still looking for that magic fairy godmother ;)

I wish I could tell her that she might want to start getting prepared for the long haul--start practicing crock pot cooking and decorating around a refrigerator in the living room. Also, I would tell her that she should check out the survival guide for Keeping a Marriage Healthy while Doing a Kitchen Renovation 

Because, people, this DIY kitchen renovation has been no joke.

A whole lot of ugly came out in me while our kitchen looked a whole lot of ugly. It's not easy for me to wait for and to be patient with my super handy (and handsome!) engineering hubby who is so careful and precise (which is obviously needed). I'm more like--let-me-just-eyeball-this-cut-and-get-it-done-in-two-mintutes ;)

We've had quite a few discussions during these last few months, but I really feel like we learning how to be better teammates (rather than competitors). Because, really, when I think back--I think we often have butted heads because we work so differently. In a process like a kitchen renovation (that has been 90% DIY projects), it's good that we work differently. I think we may be finally catching on that if we use that well, it's helpful. But we don't, it's fodder for lots of frustration and annoyance with one another.

Even though this experience of fixing up our kitchen hasn't been all flowers and elevator music, I am so thankful that we've done it. In the end (yes, we are finally finally at the end!), I think that it's not only improved our home, but improved our marriage.

Since I last shared about the kitchen, we've done quite a bit. I shared a bit here and here. Since then, we have installed floors, cabinets, upper cabinets up (on one side), countertops (believe me, after almost 6 months without them, I was SO thankful to get them installed), and the subway tile is going in this week.

Our list is still super long, but it's mostly small stuff (which of course is the stuff that gets put off), but we are seeing the end. I absolutely can't wait to show you the end result along with all the info about our materials, choices, etc.

The blog post will probably be titled: How to Renovate Your Kitchen without Knowing Anything while you Entertain a Toddler, Cook entirely out of Crockpot, and Use your Refrigerator at a Focal Point in Your Living Room.

The second installment will be called: My Review of Plastic Covered Plywood and Floor Tile Countertops after 6 Months of Using them (spoiler alert: not worth the money)

And the third installment: The Importance of Praying before Projects: How An Engineer and Bossypants Completed a Kitchen Renovation.

I'm kidding. I won't write those posts ;) Although I sure could...

Can you relate?
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