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A happy announcement for our family…

Yes, we are expecting or second child!!

And yes, I am still alive. After almost a year of posting on my blog multiple times every week, even while travelling, or packing, or moving across the country — I suddenly fell off the face of the internet. My last post was at the end of November saying I would be back in a week. Yeaaah, that didn’t happen. There has been a lot of difficult things going on lately, and added on top of that, we just moved into a new apartment, Tim had to start working both an overnight job and a day job, and I have been very sick.

BUT – the good news is … Tim was able to quit both of those draining jobs and is now, for the first time ever, able to put his masters degree to work, and is officially an engineer! So happy for him – and so happy that we get to have more family time now that he only has to work one job. And, super happy news for us, the reason I’ve been so sick is that I’m expecting! I’m due in August, and I’m currently 16 weeks along. Our 5 year old is SO excited to be becoming a big sister. :) And a lot of the other difficult things are simultaneously getting better and making us stronger in the process. We are so thankful to God for his provision and seeing us through some dark days.

And sometimes in life you have to say “good-bye” to things that are, perhaps, nice and fine, in order to make room for something better. And so, I am officially closing down my graphic design business and shutting down my Etsy shop for good. We are no longer dependent on it financially, and while I’m grateful that I was able to help our family while still staying at home with our daughter, I am SO much looking forward to being able to devote more of my energy to our family and to more important things. I was, in fact, also planning to shut down my blog, but various family members and friends (including my husband) really urged me to keep it going. And I think I will – it is nice to have a creative outlet, and one where I can chronicle and look back at later and (perhaps) write something that someone else will enjoy, is worth it to me. I will not plan to post 3 times a week, like before, probably more along the speed of once a week. And the focus will be much more on the home and not on business … which was, after all, my intention in the first place with this blog.

But my Etsy shop … it’s going. I’m planning to close in about a week. So if there’s anything you’ve wanted to buy from my shop, now is the time to grab it. I’ve got some inventory I’m looking to get rid of, so starting today until I close, with any order I will also include 3 more prints for free (of my choosing from my inventory.) But very soon it will be closed for good. It feels a little bitter sweet, but I’m also really looking forward to the first time in 3+ years to not be shipping out orders anymore. :)

Anyway, I know I kind of abandoned my blog for a couple months there, and I’m not sure how many of you are still around. If you ARE still around … thank you for your patience. :) I’m so excited about this new phase of our life, and I’m also looking forward to writing here on the blog again.


10 things you shouldn’t miss

‣ ‣ ‣  1. Several of you commented on Friday’s post asking “how are you still blogging while moving?” I can’t claim I’m keeping up with everything perfectly – but has been hugely helpful. I can plug in tasks I need to complete for moving, tasks I have to complete for my shop, and anything else – and it sends me handy email reminders so I don’t forget anything! Super helpful.

‣ ‣ ‣  2. I absolutely love rainy days. The sound of the rain against the windows is just so soothing and lovely. I think Tim is the one who showed me … it’s an on demand rainy day whenever you want it!

‣ ‣ ‣ 3. Fellow readers: do you ever feel like you’re not sure what you should read next? Well, the aptly named should prove helpful. You input books that you enjoy, and it recommends books that others who enjoy your books also enjoyed. Simple but pretty brilliant! Not all the answers are perfect, of course, but it’s a fun place to start.

‣ ‣ ‣  4 & 5. Fellow writers: if you’re not familiar with … you’re missing out! It’s for November which is NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth, and the basic premise is that you write a 50,000 word book IN A MONTH. It is crazy, insane, and a ton of fun. And whether you do NaNoWriMo or not, if you ever have trouble getting motivated to work on your writing, I highly recommend Let’s just say that it finds ingenious ways to punish you if you stop writing, and it’s great to crank out a high number of words in a short time – you can always go back and edit later. ;)

‣ ‣ ‣  6. Fellow wives: (and especially those who like me who struggle with housecleaning) should check out Lori’s series on Cerebral Homemaking. It’s really helping me completely rethink how I approach homemaking! Although, being in the middle of a move … perhaps not the easiest time to implement! Still, once we’re in our new place, I can’t wait to really start putting more of it into practice. ;)

‣ ‣ ‣  7. I know there are a lot of charities out there, but one you should definitely check out is You’ve heard the saying “if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for his life”. This site lets you contribute to third world families in a way that’s even better than just sending money – you can send a goat, a cow, a flock of geese … something that will continue to help them provide for their family over a longer time period! Check it out, and you could help a family provide for itself in a meaningful way.

‣ ‣ ‣ 8. If you like to make to-do lists (and in particular bucket lists), you might enjoy … it’s a fun way to keep track of goals and aims. Checking off the goal “lose 20 pounds” or “move to Boston” or whatever goals you have from your list does feel good!

‣ ‣ ‣ 9. If you’re looking for a laugh on Twitter, you should follow Honest Toddler. Basically you’re following a fictional 3 or 4 year old with complete ability to talk/write/share his thoughts and feeling. He has status updates like, “Daddy’s home!!! Mommy’s telling him all the feelings she’d had since morning.” or “Learning about colors. When am I ever going to use this.” Makes me laugh. :)

‣ ‣ ‣ 10. And of course, a little shameless plug here, there are only a few days left to get August’s print of the month (shown below) for half off from my shop, FlourishCafe. Details are here. :)

What sites and finds have your found online? Share them below! I love to hear from you. :)

Getting lost in a good book… what are your favorites?

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

I almost wish C. S. Lewis hadn’t said this, because its so true of me that I probably would have said it myself, and then everyone would be quoting me instead of him.

Well … ok, maybe not, but I do love this quote. :)

(In fact, I loved it so much, I embroidered it on this book tote I made! I call it a “quote tote” and I stitched my paper beads on it – WooT!
One of these days I should finish it so I can actually use it….)

Another book quote I love is from Kathleen Kelly in You’ve Got Mail and I think its sooo true of fiction…

“When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.”

I’ve always loved reading, and then by extension, writing. I remember when I lived in Prague as a kid I wrote all the time, coming up with overly-fantasical and highly predictable stories. You know, the kind where any time there’s a problem, suddenly someone has the perfect little magical doodad to fix that exact problem. Not “the great American novel”, but I was just nine and it was so exhilarating to create my own little worlds on the beautiful blank notebook pages. And one of the best ways to learn to write (besides reading) is to just go ahead and start doing it.

Pencil by Elisa Xyz
My love of writing grew so much that I decided to major in journalism in college. Journalism, as my professor always said, is just storytelling. True storytelling, of course, but the art is in the way you sculpt the information.

“A really bad storm came through town last night”
“This morning’s sunny sky seemed unfitting as Sarah Johnston found her missing roof scattered on the road in a tangle of branches and debris — evidence of the storm that swept over the city just the night before.”

But I know my love of writing really stems from my love of reading as a child. Recently, I was trying to come up with a top ten list of my favorite works of fiction, and I was amazed by how many of them were books I had read as a kid. So I gave up on a general top ten list, and instead, here are some of my favorite books from my childhood:

My I Love Books and Tea Illustration. See? I even draw about books.
Loosely in reverse order…

10 – Little House on the Prairie Series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
(Not exactly fiction, I suppose, but too classic to leave out!)

10.5 – The Little Britches Series, by Ralph Moody
(Weird numbering, I know, but its because its similar to the Little House books. Out west, based on a true story, but from a boy’s perspective. SUCH a touching story! My dad used to read this aloud to the family.)

9 – The Twits, by Roald Dahl
(I was pretty young when I read this, and I don’t remember a whole lot about the plot, just how much I loved reading it. Roald Dahl has such a contagiously fun style.)

8 – The Chronicles of Narnia, by C. S. Lewis
(The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is probably my favorite from the series.)

7 – An Old Fashioned Girl, by Louisa May Alcott
(It may seem odd, but I was never a big fan of “Little Women” – probably because I’m a lot like Jo, but I always preferred Laurie to that old professor. But “An Old Fashioned Girl” made me much happier!)

6 – The Green Door, by O Henry
(This one is just a short story, and I was a teenager when I read it, but it really resonated with me. I even memorized it and delivered it as a dramatic interp for a speech event.)

5 – Kidnapped, by Robert Louis Stevenson
(You know how when you’re a kid you find names you love in the books you read? My little daughter’s middle name is actually a version of one of the character’s names in this book.)

4 – The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
(I mean, come on, who wouldn’t want to discover a magical garden tucked away on the grounds of a mysterious mansion?!)

3 – Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll
(The hilarious poems were one of my favorite things about this book. I actually ended up putting on a theatrical version of this in high school.)

2 – Lorna Doone, by R. D. Blackmore
(I remember my grandmother recommending this book to me. One of my favorites of all time. Not a light read, but SO worth it.)

1 – Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery
(Anne, with an e, is perhaps the fictional character I identify with the most.)

I love books!
So what about you?
Does reading make you want to write?
What were some of your favorite fiction books as a kid?
Tell me in the comments!