When Wanderlust Calls

I have always lived within earshot of train tracks.

From the slice of suburban life that I called my childhood home, to the dilapidated balcony of my younger self’s great leap into independence; from the teeny tiny Californian apartment rubbing elbows with a new husband and a new name, to the solid brick ranch nestled in the vibrant green that is Tennessee’s cloak…

…the wail of a train’s whistle has penetrated the walls of every abode-and every stage-of my life.

“Come, see where I may lead you.”

I am inherently a homebody. My favorite personal accounts and sections of books are not the wild excitement of far off places and daring escapades, but the details and tender moments of daily life. Of people growing and learning together. Of the intimacy and beauty of life planted.

I’m the one who wishes the montage of Belle and the Beast getting to know one another was 30 minutes longer.

And though I have been fortunate to have visited a great portion of this vast country (more than I ever thought I would), my heart has been, and always will be, filled with visions of cool roots and familiar routines, warm hearth and a place of my own to rest my bones at the end of each day.

The itch of wanderlust rarely touches my skin.

But sometimes….the haunting cry of a train will rise with the morning mist, beckoning to me despite my flat feet planted in terra firma, and the life grown there.

And I am bitten once more.

Traveling by flight is an incredible thing; quick, efficient, and terrifyingly high. Between the pressure changes pulling and pushing your body, and the booming whirl of the engines filling your ears, the experience will overload your senses.

But as amazing as flying across the country is, it lacks the experience of transition. You miss the subtle shifts of land and people, scents and accents.

Travel by vehicle is better, in the sense that the slower pace enables you to truly view the world passing by. But driving requires focus in order to preserve life and limb, often robbing you of a thousand tiny glimpses and opportunities around you.

Most of all, the very sounds of planes and cars, with their various earth shaking thunder and shrieking horns, cause you to cringe or stiffen in unconscious defense.

But not a train.

It whistles to you, sings to you a melody of steel and steam, promising an unknown destination with a hundred sights before you reach it. Cradled within its metal womb, you can watch the world shift and change, see where iron and earth intertwine, where plains grow into mountains, or the ocean adjusts its hue.

Even the people around you change with the landscape. Commuters heading home with anticipation, small children gazing out windows in wonder, even lonely travelers silently wishing to be known by a stranger. Their faces are as diverse and emotional as the creation outside, there to teach you of a vast world full of vivid history.

All this while being swept along by something more powerful then yourself, lulled by the rhythmic clickity-clack of the tracks beneath. It breathes a sigh of magic with each mile, and promises adventure.

So as I wash my dishes, and sip my tea, bathe wiggly children, and fold laundry, I am thankful for the solid life that is mine. Both the mundane and extraordinary can live within the same four walls. Both wonder and routine can grow in a backyard garden.

But once in a while, the pull of unknown places and far off lands builds within me.

The wind has changed, and I hear the train.


What calls to you? How does wanderlust grab hold of you?


Listen my son, for to you I confer

Our history, our past and beseech you


For the crimson stain of our brothers

Splattered across our homeland walls


For the smell of burnt flesh and embers

Where our sisters once danced aflamed


For the sound of the desert zephyrs

That buried our children’s weary corpses


So to you my son, these words I transfer

Lest we forget the Hand that saved us


Click here for a summary of the Armenian Genocide. April 24th is the day that we remember the atrocities committed against thousands of Christian families (my own great grandfather being one of them), and the light of faithfulness that still shined through all that horror.

A Tale of Birth

I find birth stories to be breathtakingly beautiful-a window into one of the life changing moments of a family. So this is one of ours. It was very different from my other births, and found it difficult to write. But I did. It may be raw, unexpected, and a trifle long….but it’s ours. Part of our family history now. And I would like to share this small window with you.


Our third son was born at 6:44 am—Christmas morning 2016.

His was a different birth than my others, and carrying him mirrored that in many ways. Of the nine and a half months of pregnancy, I spent more than six of them sick to my stomach, whereas during my other pregnancies, it was closer to four at the most. I was in a new city, and in a new house, and was in the care of a new midwife (the midwife who delivered my other three was unavailable for this birth).

Although my body carried this baby similarly to the prior occupants, everything was different. Everything felt unnervingly new; like referencing a map from the country while walking through a city’s busy downtown. They both have roads, but the familiar landmarks were in the wrong places; congested paths existed where there were once grassy slopes.

This was my fifth pregnancy in four years. I knew deep down we were always meant to have him, but didn’t expect him to make an appearance in our lives at that particular time. I was sure that we would have more time between him and our last baby, but surprise! In the dim light of that damp spring morning, two vivid lines revealed a different plan. A different timeline.

And a completely different year to come.

I was overjoyed as well as apprehensive. Excited for this new tiny life and all the amazing unknowns that accompany him as he grows, but worried about the months to come. Would this be like the other pregnancies? Easier? Worse? How would I juggle caring for three little ones under the age of four, a husband who works two jobs, and settle us all in a house we had moved into a mere two weeks before?

The months to follow were hard. Continuous nausea made eating a daily struggle. Nearly every other day during the third trimester I endured excruciating muscle spasms in my sides, often waking my husband in the middle of the night with my gasping cries. The sleep I did get was often plagued by nightmares, forcing me to wake myself again and again in order to shake those visions of terrifying helplessness that return every pregnancy. And during the day, I struggled to care for our other three children, too young yet to handle many tasks on their own. I did the best that I could, accepted any help that was offered, and daily prayed for strength in order to survive.

I was tired.

Not an “I didn’t get much sleep last night” kind of tired, but the kind of exhaustion that seeps into your bones, filling them with a heavy desperation for rest. My entire body felt bruised; each grab and touch from little hands pressed painfully deeper into my sensitive flesh. Every cry became a thousand times louder to my ears, as I cringed in preparation for the hundredth one in a single hour. Every movement my body was forced to make ended in fresh pain, as I crawled through the minutes leading to the moment I could lay myself down once more.


And yet, I loved this little boy. I felt trapped within a body that no longer responded or functioned the way I needed it to; trapped within a body rapidly hurling toward the ordeal of childbirth; trapped within a body that everyone and their mother had an opinion about, but no one heard my voice. And yet, I loved this little boy. Throughout the weeks and months, his tiny presence nudged me back to the same conversation with God, “Please. When will this little one arrive? I’m so afraid. Please, I don’t have the strength to do this again.”

“Soon, Daughter. Have I not been faithful before? I shall be faithful in this too. Soon.”

I am incredibly thankful that my God is a patient God, and His tender mercies often took shape in my mind as Psalm 121:

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from?

My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber;

indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life;

the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.


The week before Christmas, I began to withdraw into myself, growing more quiet than usual, and often seeking solitude from the household din. For me, this was a common practice in the days leading up to labor; a way to settle myself in preparation for the task to come. But this time was different. Those moments no longer provided the peace of mind they had in the past, only a weary desperation. Like a caged animal, I would find myself roaming around the house, unconsciously searching for an escape from both the physical and mental walls confining me.

I had hit the “fight or fly” point of childbirth preparation, and this time, my first instinct was to fly.

I don’t know why I was so afraid this time. I knew that I shouldn’t be; I had given birth before. Three times in fact, at home, with no pain relief. And though I am no superwoman, there was absolutely no reason why I couldn’t do it again. Both the ultrasound and checkups that week showed the baby and me to be fine, and ready to go.

But that was the problem. I wasn’t fine.

By the time Christmas Eve arrived, I had been having contractions on and off for the past few days. My mother and sister were in town for the holiday, and had prepared a sumptuous dinner for us all. Our little kitchen was filled with the tantalizing aromas of a Christmas feast, and the fellowship was a welcome distraction. Our little ones were all tucked into their beds, still buzzing in anticipation for the morning, while we adults settled in for a relaxing evening.

Dec 24th, 7:00 pm: Shortly into our meal, contractions began again, but this time with more force and regularity than before. I remembered how this felt—this strange secret signal of the body, and had wondered how it would begin for this child.

With our daughter it was shock and blissfully ignorant excitement—as sudden as that first gush of amniotic fluid—surprising and life changing in one moment.

But with our other boys….I was awaken by their first contractions—like hearing a distant bell tolling a coming change. Each time I laid there wondering if this was it. Was this the first of the moments that would lead to a new name…a new face…a new life?

Each time, I knew the answer was yes.

And as I sat in that white kitchen chair, slowly eating, I felt that “yes” once again resonate through my being. Contractions were ten minutes apart, and half way through dinner I decided I couldn’t eat anymore (though I’m glad I did when I could!). My mother suggested that I go rest, so I curled myself up on my bed to watch an episode of Downton Abbey, all the while breathing through each contraction. Through the door, I could hear the homey sounds of kitchen cleanup—splashing of soapy water, dishes clattering, all mixed together with warm voices raised in laughter. The more I listened, the more tense I became; I wanted so badly to join them.

But I couldn’t; I was in labor.

Dec 24th, 9:00 pm: My husband slipped quietly into the room to check on me. No more than a quick glance at my face told him that I was not fine. He settled himself near me and asked what was wrong. With his presence warming the room, and knowing that he wouldn’t leave me alone until I told him, it was simply a matter of seconds before my emotional dam crumbled.

I sobbed the phrases, “I’ve ruined Christmas. It’s my fault he’s not here yet.” and, “I’m scared. I don’t think I can do this.” Between them I quietly moaned through contractions in an attempt to stay relaxed. That didn’t work. I was afraid and exhausted, now all the more so from the tense crying of the last half hour.

My husband spoke comfort to me, reminding me that I did not ruin Christmas for everyone. Babies arrive when they arrive, and as we’ve learned with the others, there is little I can do to rush them. My mother and sister understood, and they just wanted to make sure I was taken care of through all of this. The kids too would be fine; they are all too young to be attached to any Christmas tradition, so no feelings were hurt there.

He did, however, recommend that we call my midwife, since the contractions had been consistent for the last couple of hours. She would want to be aware of what was happening.

I agreed, and asked him to call her for me. I had texted her earlier that day when I lost the plug, so she wasn’t surprised to receive our call. As my husband updated her, I carefully pushed myself up and tried to collect my nerves.

Then I heard the phrase, “I’m so sorry, but I won’t be able to be at your birth.”

My midwife had been dealing with some health issues during my pregnancy, and my labor kicked in at a time when she couldn’t physical handle the midwifery duties that it required. Her co-midwife and their assistant would come to take care of me. I was well acquainted with both, liked both, but my sense of comfort and trust was highest with our primary midwife. Labor requires a great amount of support, and one of the two people I leaned on the most would not be there.

All of a sudden, the frail thread holding my broken pieces together snapped, leaving me open like an exposed nerve—raw, and unprotected.

My husband held the phone out to me, but I pushed it away shaking my head and sobbing. Another contraction hit and I leaned on the bathroom counter for support. I heard him in the next room tell our midwife that he would call her back, then quickly returned to me. He kept trying to hold me, to reassure me, but I couldn’t bear it. All I could do was shake my head over and over again, saying “I can’t do this. Not without her. I can’t do this.”

Eventually, he coaxed me back to the bed, sat next to me, and held my tense hands in his warm ones. He asked if I wanted to stay, or go to the hospital instead. I glanced around the room, taking in the pile of birthing supplies in one corner, and the baby’s crib waiting for its little occupant. Everything was ready for a routine homebirth. I had wanted a routine homebirth again so badly.

I turned back to him with panicked eyes and whispered, “I don’t know. I don’t know what to do.”

So my husband, being the problem solver that he is, pulled his phone out again, but this time dialed his brother and sister in law, both of whom are doctors. I fell silent, and shook my head again when he offered me the phone. I knew that if I tried to speak, I would break down crying again. So in brief terms, he filled them in on the situation: Natashya was in labor, contractions were ten minutes apart, she was exhausted already and unsure if she could handle several more hours of this at home.

I heard my brother in law’s voice—so much like my husband’s—calmly asking questions about the pregnancy and my current state. He recommended that, due to the baby’s gestational age and my exhaustion, we go ahead and transfer to the hospital. There I would have access to a few more options that I may need this time around.

Then I heard my sweet sister in law’s voice telling me it was okay. Even though I couldn’t respond, she knew I was listening and spoke directly to me. It was okay to need something different this time, and that is exactly why the hospital option was there in the first place. This is why we have a plan B, and it is okay to use it. The baby will be fine, and I need to be where I no longer felt afraid, where I could have the opportunity to rest. Her words were a soothing balm to my frantic heart.

Dec 24th, 9:30 pm: My husband hung up the phone, and asked me once again, “What do you want to do?” This time I took a deep breath and said, “I want to go.”

Within ten minutes, we were all set to leave: hospital bag pulled out from its hiding spot, both of us dressed, and the baby’s car seat installed. I hugged my sister (who was still up) goodbye, and gave her instructions for the kids’ stockings in the morning.

As I propped them up on the piano, I felt a small twinge of regret that we would not be there to see our little ones open them in a few hours, but was thankful that my sister was there to make it special for them.

We piled into the car, and pulled out of the driveway into the night.


As we rolled along, I gazed up at the stars and thought about how our church family would be leaving the Christmas Eve service right now—a service filled with candlelight and holy words. Christmas Eve has always held a strange, otherworldly-like calm to me, and even within our car, making our way to the hospital, I felt it. The night before Christmas always whispers, “Something is coming”, and I heard it within me even as I grasped my husband’s hand through each contraction.

Something was indeed coming.

Dec 24th, 10:00 pm: We arrived at the hospital, contractions still going strong. He offered to drop me off outside the ER, but I insisted on staying with him to walk in together. I had only just gathered myself enough to show a thin layer of composure, and if he wasn’t near me, I was afraid it would all fall to pieces again.

We were ushered through the ER to the labor and delivery check in desk. I sat down to fill out the paperwork, and answer as many questions as I could in between the ever increasing contractions. The check in nurse gave us a puzzled look and remarked that we were the calmest couple about to have a baby that she had ever encountered. “Well,” I said, smiling at my husband, “this is not our first time at this rodeo.” The nurse laughed and paged another nurse to escort us to our assigned labor and delivery room.

Within minutes, I was changed into a very awkward hospital gown, tucked into bed, and hooked up to the various monitors in the room. The baby was still doing well, and after the first check, I was apparently 4-5 cm dilated. Soon, the doctor arrived—a man with a calm voice and kind eyes—introduced himself, and asked why I came in tonight. My midwife had already called ahead and spoke with him, but he was still unsure why a woman, who had had three previous home births, would at the last minute decide to come to the hospital, especially when there was nothing physically wrong.

I explained as clearly I could, and as he took in my faltering words and tired features, I think he understood as best as any man could.

Together, he, my husband, and I made a quick plan. The doctor had already ordered the epidural I had requested, and, as we also requested, would wait to first see if my labor would progress on its own before administering any Pitocin. Since everything looked fine, there was no reason to rush at this time. We were thankful for the calm and understanding atmosphere in which we had found ourselves.

Dec 24th, 11:30 pm: The anesthesiologist arrived to administer the epidural. He was a big man—tall and broad—and not at all what I would have expected (not that I’ve actually met very many anesthesiologists…), but very friendly and kind in his tone. After a few misses that resulted in shooting pains up and down my right leg, he settled on the right spot to place the catheter, and I was ready to go. My body shook for a while following this ordeal, and was tucked into bed to wait for epidural to take effect.

A small portion of my right leg has been permanently numb for over a decade, and soon I felt that strange sensation spread to my entire lower body. My legs felt oddly heavy, and after a short while, could not move them at all. Sure enough, the pain of the contractions became dulled, and I felt myself relax for the first time in weeks. A nurse checked me again, and I was now 6 cm dilated. At that, she left us to rest.

Dec 25th, Midnight to 3:00 am: The strange thing about epidurals is that it doesn’t eliminate the pain, it just removes it, as if you were experiencing it from a great distance. By the time the contraction hits, you still feel it, but without the strength or intensity. I still moaned through each wave, but was able to remain relaxed and even slept between each one. As the hours ticked by, my labor did progress on its own: 7 cm, 8 cm, and then 9 cm.

Dec 25th, 4:00 am: I was now 10 cm, and the nurse asked me if I felt the urge to push, but after my insistence that I didn’t feel it yet, left me once again to sleep.

I lifted my unborn son up in prayer for the dozenth time that night, and nodded off.

Dec 25th, 6:30 am: Still very drowsy, I began to notice more hustle and bustle in our room. More nurses arrived, stirrups were unfolded, and the little baby heat lamp was warmed. For a moment, my mind panicked. Is everything alright? Is the baby alright? What is happening? But a nurse leaned over to smile at me and say, “Your baby’s coming! Get ready to push!”

Get ready to push? Honestly, I still didn’t really feel much urge to do so, and I was worried I didn’t have enough strength to hold myself up, let alone push. I remembered how much energy and concentration birthing required. Apparently this baby was coming now, and I was swept along before I could dwell on it greatly.

But if he was coming, I was ready, and I found that I was no longer afraid.

Dec 25th, 6:44 am: I remembered how to push. And I remembered how to effectively push. So much so, that the doctor barely had time to catch our son as he made his way into this world. Two strong pushes, and he was out. My body heaved a sigh of relief, and our newborn son was placed on my deflated stomach.

I glanced up at my husband and gasped, “He’s green! We have a Grinch baby!”

Then his tiny wriggling body nudged mine, and I saw past the green goo that covered him from head to toe. This was our son. I heard his kitten like cries as he searched for me. This was our son. I saw his perfect features that both mirrored his siblings and yet were entirely his own. This was our son.

Within seconds he was whisked away to be examined. He had passed meconium in the womb which explained the green goo covering him, and the NICU nurse needed to double check that none of it had been ingested or inhaled. As the other nurses cleaned and adjusted me back into bed, I could see his little limbs flailing in the examination cart across the room. His cries were strong, and I sensed no worried air about the room, so I simply laid back and waited. I was beyond spent, and still needed a few moments to comprehend that the job was truly done.

The morning sun was spilling through the windows as they carefully placed his bundled form in my arms, filling the room with a sense of warmth and golden newness that matched the occasion.

He was beautiful, and he was finally here—our little boy, our Lion cub.

I beamed up at my husband and said, quietly chuckling, “Merry Christmas!”


4 Things I Learned From My No Spending Month

February was my very first, officially titled, No Spending Month. I had never taken on this specific challenge before, and on Feb 1st, was excited to tackle it and see what I would learn.

I had given myself the following guidelines:

  • The spending ban would apply to extras, not regular bills or necessities (groceries, gas, utilities, rent, etc..)
  • This spending ban did NOT apply to my husband (he may not even be aware that I did it until he reads this!). It was a challenge for myself alone, and did not feel the need to ask him to join me this time. So he was free to buy his extras as he liked, but I challenged myself to not ask him to buy something for me. 
  • I purposely chose a month with no family birthdays, travel, or gift centered holidays. For my first attempt at this, I really didn’t want to set myself up for failure.
  • My children are all little (four under four), so I did extend the challenge to them indirectly. No new toys or clothes. Only diapers if we ran out. I don’t think they even noticed…

So 28 days later (and no, I didn’t purposely choose the shortest month of the year…), during which there were no runs to Starbucks for lattes, no movie rentals, no browsing through Target, and no late night online purchases, I had made it through an entire month.

There was only one exception: we bought a new couch. Though, to be fair, this did fall under the guideline applying to my husband. I had promised him that this was the year we could replace our old couch. One sunny Sunday afternoon, he made a fun family outing of looking at couches, and was so excited that I didn’t have the heart to ask him to wait any longer (the poor man has been waiting 8 years..). I felt that that one exception was justified. You know the saying, “Happy husband, more grilled food”! …

Anyway, not only was I proud of myself for making it to the end of the month, a few thoughts struck me along the way:

  1. 9 times out of 10, you really don’t need that thing. Throughout the month, I would still save items to wishlists, but found myself returning to those lists again to diminish said items. Having gone a month without them, I found I didn’t really need them in the first place.
  2. No more thoughtless purchasing. By removing the quick buy trigger, I was forced to consider each possible purchase, both current (groceries) and future (wish lists). Do I really want this? Do I really need this? Will this actually bring value to our lives, or simply become a burden in a short time?
  3. I don’t need to own everything. There is a simple beauty in borrowing something. A ladder from a neighbor, a book from the library, walking to the neighborhood park instead of buying outdoor play items for the kids…I was once again reminding that there is freedom in enjoying an item for a time, then returning it. No need to always buy, always own, always keep. There can be beauty in the temporary.
  4. I want to set a new example for my children. My children may be quite young, but they do observe how I live, speak, interact, and….shop. By showing them that not every trip to the store deserves a treat, I can display not only self control, but contentment. I hope and pray that they learn to value each other more than things.

It was a good month. A reflective month….and I plan to challenge myself to another no spending month again in the future.

Have you taken on such a challenge before? What did you take away from it? –besides extra purchases 🙂 

What You Can See…When the Clutter Is Gone


A row of tiny, shiny rubber rain boots. The lyrics of a song that bring back memories of anticipation and romance. The way light pours through old, decrepit windows. A gallery wall of creativity. A hallway, that, although not decorated or changed at all, happens to be one of my favorite rooms in this rental.

And three little fuzzy heads nestled together on the couch, giggling at cartoons.

These are a few of the landmarks within our home that repeatedly bring a smile to my lips.

For when the clutter is gone…you can finally see what makes you smile.







What To Give When They Don’t Want Stuff

Christmas is coming!

Like most families, we’re making plans and collecting gift ideas. It’s a wonderful, joyful experience to give someone a gift-especially if you know it’s something that would truly make them smile.

But what do you give a loved one when they really aren’t too keen on “stuff”….AND you’re not too keen on only giving gift cards?

Welcome to a post on minimalism-gift giving edition!

You may have a family member or friend who falls into this category, whether they use the label or not. They’ve cut back on their possessions in order to enjoy more experiences and relationships, their homes have few to no tchotchkes, little clutter, and few items that serve only one purpose.

You really want to get them something…something they would enjoy, and is not likely to end up on the Goodwill pile a month after Christmas (sorry, that’s the truth of it). If this is you, then I have some good news for you!

There are PLENTY of gift ideas for a minimalist! But before we get to these ideas, there are a few points that need to be made, to help you understand your loved one’s mindset better:

  • They DO like stuff. They just don’t enjoy the unnecessary or general excess in their lives, and are more selective when it comes to material items that stay with them.
  • A thoughtful gift will have more meaning to them, and likely be something they will always remember.
  • They recognize and respect a friend who has paid attention to who they really are, minimalism included

Okay, now to the fun idea list! Gift ideas galore!!

  • movie tickets
  • concert tickets
  • sport event tickets (you get the idea)
  • paid membership for something they enjoy (gym, dance class, climbing, etc…)
  • if you’re a really close friend, personally contribute toward something you know they have been saving for (car, travel, house, etc…)
  • If you know they’re traveling in the upcoming year, gift them something they can enjoy there (wine tasting, dinner, hotel upgrade, special tour, ect…) Many of these can be booked ahead of time
  • Netflix/AudioBooks/Amazon Prime subscription for a determined time
  • Cooking classes
  • Special dinner for two in their city
  • A “Stay In Date Night” package: wine, movie rental, popcorn, candy, etc…
  • Overnight getaway to a local spot
  • Hire a cleaning service for a month for their home (if they have little kids, this is awesome!!!!)
  • Offer to come over and do laundry one week
  • Meal deliveries (homemade or paid for)
  • Spa/massage certificates (yes please!!!!)
  • Offer to the pay for or be a babysitter for their next date night (that is HUGE!)
  • If you’re a handy person, offer to come over and help with around the house projects for the next month
  • Pay for a car detailing or offer to do it yourself
  • Schedule flower deliveries for the next month (a special thing in January!)
  • Zoo membership
  • Swim classes for kids
  • Offer to carpool for a week
  • Offer to help with all the prep/set up for the next birthday party
  • Donation to a cause they’re passionate about in their name
  • If you’re friend/loved one is pregnant, offer to help with “nesting” to prepare for the arrival of the new baby (a nine month preggo lady climbing up and down chairs is not a good time…)

These are all gifts that, although do not always take material form, are extremely meaningful. And, in addition to all the above, there are always gift cards, which are wonderful gifts!

One last thing, if none of the above strikes you, or perhaps you still would rather just give them SOMETHING…..then all you have to do is ask. Seriously, just be honest. Say, “I know you prefer to have fewer things around, but I would really like to get you something for Christmas that you would enjoy. Would you give me some ideas?” Boom! Done! Odds are, there is something they would like, or would like to replace/update, but may not be something you had thought of. Always ask. It’s greatly appreciated.

I am one of these people. A minimalist in my own way. The older I am, the less I enjoy things….or rather, many things in one place. This past birthday, my mother took the above approach and asked me to put together an Amazon gift idea list for her to use. That was one of the best gifts in and of itself to me. I appreciated that she recognized how uncomfortable I am now with clutter. She wanted to give me something I genuinely wanted.

So I did. It was fun, low pressure, and I knew I could put anything on the list and not worry about how it came across. Some items were practical, others were updates to household items I already had. And a couple were lovely extras. It made my birthday feel all the more special. And she got to choose ultimately what she wanted to give me. Win win!

So maybe think outside the box this Christmas, and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the joy you bring and give!

Unless something else pops to mind, this may be my last post for a little while, as I prepare for baby #4’s arrival in just a couple of weeks!!

Merry Christmas to all!!


DIY Project-Touchable Wall Art

Here’s the deal: I finally hung frames and canvases in our living to create a gallery wall and LOVE it (even though I have yet to paint one of the canvases….)! Here’s the before:

Frames and canvases hung-before any changes


BUT……a frame and one of the canvases hangs low enough for our little ones to touch.

That’s right fellow moms, I purposely hung something low enough that three kiddos ages three and under would be tempted to touch.

And we both know that no matter how many times I tell them not to, THEY WILL TOUCH THEM!!!

Fine then, I had two choices. I could move the frames, but that would change the entire look……OR I could give them something “cool” to touch.

The frame was inexpensive so I wasn’t too worried about that one, but what would I put on the canvas that would be fun for little hands?

Rocks. BOOM!

Kids and rocks. You can’t go wrong, right? So I gathered up a few supplies and tried my hand at this:

Supplies gathered (pardon the glare…)


Gluing madness! (I burned my fingers several times..)


A few coats of flat white spray paint


Annnnddddd voila! Crazy, touchable wall art!


Gallery wall with current updates

To be honest, I’m not yet sure how I like it. I don’t dislike it, but I’m not sure if it is quite right….


I still have the other canvas to mess with, so perhaps that will bring it all together!

First, let’s see how long this one lasts on the wall…..I’ll keep you updated!