Twelve Classics

    A few weeks ago I set a personal goal for myself to read 12 classic novels this year.

    I realized that I was a huge bookworm as a teen but really didn’t read very many classics. I think Little Women was the only one I read by my own choice. In the last few years I’ve also read The Hobbit, Pride & Prejudice and Emma.

    Since I only made this goal near the end of January I’m already a little behind since I’m re-reading Little Women but January is already over and I’m only half way done the book, we’ll see if I can catch up.

    I’m also reading some classics to Raeca, we started with Charlotte’s Web which we finished last week, and she requested Little House in the Big Woods as our next read (we’ve been going through the Little House series on CD in our vehicle since the summer, we’re currently on By the Shores of Silver Lake). I’ve got tons of ideas of classics that I can read to her (maybe I’ll make a list here one day), but I’m struggling to make a list for myself.

    I asked a few Instagram and Facebook friends for some suggestions of their favorites and have started a bit of a list for myself for 2015. I have quite a few classics on my bookshelf that I’ve never read before so between the recommendations and the books I have this is the list I have so far:

    * Little Women (currently reading)
    * Pilgrim’s Progress
    * Anne of Green Gables
    * Great Expectations
    * Jane Eyre
    * Persuasion
    * Atlas Shrugged

    This list isn’t in order (I honestly don’t know what order I’ll read them in), but I obviously need more suggestions. So help me out, what are your favorite classic books?


    2015: My One Little Word

    I have been contemplating my one little word for this year for quite a few months and keep coming back to the same set of words:

    hospitality, gather & community

    Maybe it’s not one little word, but it is my one little theme.

    Remember that hospitality project that I started at the end of last spring? The one that I focused on for a few weeks and then kind of put it on the back burner? Well, this year my plan is to revive that project and make it a lifestyle.

    This year I want to practice hospitality.
    We want to invite people into our home and into our lives.

    I’ve been working at pinning lots of gatherings on Pinterest. And while I don’t believe that the art of hospitality always needs to be Pinterest worthy I do know that I want to make an effort for my guests.

    A major part of the reason that we moved a few months ago was so we could have a home that was easier to accommodate having people over. We didn’t get a whole lot more square footage overall by moving but the way it is arranged we have a lot more entertaining space (as opposed to the house we moved from which had large bedrooms but a smaller space for entertaining). The the five weeks we were here before heading out to South Africa we had already opened our home to over 50 people and while I don’t think those kind of numbers will be constant (I’d prefer less people and more connection), it is a good start.

    I’m looking forward to all who I will get to know through this next year with such a focus on keeping our door open.

    As for the previous few years: last year my word was do, which encompassed finish, move and accomplish. I feel that really happened this last year. In 2013 it was serve, in 2012 I chose celebrate & create and in 2011 I had move and pray (as you can tell, I’m really bad at just picking one word).

    Do you have a word or theme for 2015?


    twenty-eight things

    Next week marks my twenty-eighth birthday. As has been my tradition for the last few years, I’ve written a list of twenty-eight things I would like to accomplish this year. You can also check out last years list of twenty-seven things and my list of twenty-six things. I’ll be posting an update to let you know how I did on the twenty-seven things later next week, and if you are curious how the year of being twenty-six was for me you can see my final update for that one.

    My list of twenty-eight things:

    1. travel to South Africa and complete our adoption (please, please, please let this happen!)
    2. have professional photos taken of our family of four (or five)
    3. move –somewhere, anywhere (I thrive in change, and kinda love moving)
    4. start something I’ve dubbed the hospitality project – more on that to come in the weeks ahead
    5. get my 2013 photobook printed – you can see the previous three years here
    6. go on a three month spending freeze – I have no idea if I could actually do this
    7. go camping
    8. run a 5K – I’m signed up for the Color Me Rad in September
    9. photograph my grandparents and document some of their stories
    10. register for a bloggers conference or The Beloved Society’s glampout
    11. photograph at least one dessert/meal/food item a month
    12. start growing my own herbs again, and actually use them
    13. find a place to start volunteering again
    14. eat more real food
    15. teach Raeca all her letter sounds
    16. go on at least six dates with Jared
    17. go to Europe – okay, totally throwing this one out there, it won’t happen but one has to dream, right?
    18. make some amazing gluten free bread or buns
    19. get a clear idea of what I want this space to look like and be about and write it down
    20. buy Raeca an amazing birthday cake this year, for her the birthday is all about the cake
    21. eat more meals outside
    22. get a globe
    23. go on five day/weekend trips around Saskatchewan
    24. decorate our master bedroom
    25. take a class
    26. write another ebook
    27. set a profit goal for the blog to help with the adoption costs
    28. keep dreaming

    P.S. I have just started to use my Facebook page for the blog again, come on over and join the fun!

    Do you make goal lists every year?
    What are the top one or two things you would like
    to accomplish/have happen in the next year?


    twenty-seven things

    Well, today marks the anniversary of my entrance into this world twenty-seven years ago so I figured what better way to celebrate than to share with you the things I hope to accomplish this year.

    My twenty-seven things:

    1. travel to Africa again or a new country – God and some friends have been putting some crazy dreams on my heart and in my head
    2. do 27 of my Pinterest pins – I’m thinking this will be pretty easy
    3. take a blog rest every seven weeks
    4. send some happy mail each month – if you want some happy mail delivered to you, just send me your address!!
    5. keep dreaming
    6. buy fair trade more often
    7. buy ten house plants and keep five alive – this might not seem like an accomplishment to some but it sure would be for me!!
    8. make blessing bags to keep in the van and giveaway when needed
    9. make some lunches to take downtown and give away – I’m thinking I should include some banana muffins
    10. tutor some elementary students
    11. make forts with Raeca
    12. teach Rae preschool
    13. sew a quilt
    14. start or get involved in a social enterprise
    15. go on a weekend getaway with Jared
    16. sew an article of clothing for myself – one that I actually like
    17. create a reading corner in Raeca’s room
    18. do a month of crossfit
    19. “run” 10K – at one time, without dying
    20. go on a picnic with my little family
    21. photograph each of my grandparents, and Jared’s grandpa too – my grandmas are both very camera shy, this is going to be a hard one
    22. continuing writing monthly letters to Raeca – it’s my goal to get them made into a photo book once she turns five
    23. meet an online friend – there have been so many women of action that I’ve met online and I know if I get to meet one of them, chances are it will be in a foreign land
    24. take risks
    25. get back into my morning prayer routine
    26. pray for the entire world – via Operation World
    27. teach an art class

    Here is one of my Pinterest DIY’s from this weekend. Jared helped by cutting most of it out. I hope to take some better photos of it yet to share:

    with love,


    26 things before 27 // final update

    So my birthday is coming up next week . . . it has really felt like I’ve been 27 for the last year, so at least I don’t need to adjust this year!

    My 26th year definitely didn’t go at all like I had planned. But we all know that our plans aren’t necessarily God’s plans. Here is what I had on my list for my 26th year:

    1. get our referral – well, that sure changed, didn’t it?
    2. read 10 booksaccording to my Goodreads I’ve read something like 24 and I know I forgot to put some of them in there.
    3. travel somewhere new – we went to Salmon Arm, BC, I’d be there before but we also checked out the Bible School my brother was attending, and I had never been there before.
    4. start a missional living community or maybe just start living missional myself – I’d say this is a work in progress
    5. start or join an orphan ministry – Once Was Lost
    6. learn to wrap pretty gifts– well, I learned how but didn’t really always do it
    7. help someone begin the adoption process – I’ve answered many questions over the course of the year
    8. photograph my everyday life – thank you iPhone and Instagram for this one
    9. dare to dream – definitely dreaming some big dreams
    10. bake a cake from scratch – didn’t even try
    11. watch a play – nope
    12. learn a new art form – learnt how to screen print
    13. become a mentor
    14. find a mentoryes, I’ve got a few! Though I would almost call them inspirers instead
    15. develop the rolls of film I have sitting in my desk drawer – I just trashed them instead
    16. go thrifting with a friend – with my Mom!
    17. have a picnic – yes
    18. get our fence built – huge thanks to my father-in-law and my brother
    19. say “no” more – yes!
    20. help my grandma organize her photos – no, but I offered and she doesn’t want them organized any more so I’m counting that as done
    21. create 2010, 2011 and 2012 photo books – yes, I went with Blurb, love the how they turned out!
    22. potty train Raeca – done
    23. go on a date with Jared (one that doesn’t involve grocery shopping) – yup!
    24. complete some of the DIY projects on my list – a few
    25. give a presentation on our trip to Uganda – done!
    26. learn some French (it is the official language of the DRC) – had a few words down, but now I don’t really need to know it, but if you ever find yourself in a French country and need some butter or a pen, give me a call, I know those words.

    Wow, 21/26 completed?! That’s more than I expected! Now it’s time to start on my list for 27!!! (I love making lists . . .) Any suggestions for items to add? You can bet that returning to Africa will be on there!

    For those of you that have annual lists for yourself, how are they going? My friend Alison has an awesome list with all these crazy adventures -and she’s been able to do most of them!

    with love,


    my word // serve

    I hope everyone is having a great 2013 so far! I’m lying in bed sick today but can’t complain cause I’ve got an amazing husband who is taking care of the kiddo (she has been such a Daddy’s girl the last few days) and I’ve also been watching mixed media/art journal videos on YouTube. If I can’t create at least I can get inspiration, right?

    So anyway, since today is the first day of the new year (which I am SOOO excited about!) I thought I would share my one little word for the year with you.

    For the past two years I haven’t been able to pick “one little word”, it has always been two. In 2011 my words were move and pray, and 2012 was create and celebrate (create was a huge success, celebrate not so much).

    For 2013 I have had just one word stick out to me: serve (though I do find it slightly ironic that I chose that word and then ended up sick and having to be served . . .).

    In 2013 I want to serve:

    * my husband and strive each day to be a better wife
    * my daughter – she really is a blessing to have and I think this word will be a great one on days/times when I am feeling frustrated with her
    * my friends and family
    * my community
    * people across the world

    I have a feeling this word will be showing up in various forms through my art through the next 12 months.

    Did you choose a word or two for 2013? I would love to hear what they are!

    And randomly, here’s a canvas I made yesterday:

    I hope your 2013 is starting out well!

    with love,


    26 things before 27

    Lists of things to do before one’s next birthday are all the rage these days. I’ve been making them for years but have always been afraid to make them public for fear of the humiliation I will feel when I fail to check off each item on my list. But I today I am facing my fears and sharing with you my list of things to complete before I turn 27.
    ** side note: I keep thinking I’m 27 right now so I think I’m just going with it and then I’ll be pleasantly surprised in May.

    1. get our referral (oh boy do I hope this happens before my birthday)
    2. read 10 books (any suggestions?)
    3. travel somewhere new (this probably won’t happen)
    4. start a missional living community (anyone want to join me??) or maybe just start living missional myself
    5. start or join an orphan ministry
    6. learn to wrap pretty gifts
    7. help someone begin the adoption process (if you have questions, I’ll answer them!)
    8. photograph my everyday life
    9. dare to dream (probably the easiest item on the list)
    10. bake a cake from scratch (doubtful this will actually happen)
    11. watch a play
    12. learn a new art form
    13. become a mentor
    14. find a mentor
    15. develop the rolls of film I have sitting in my desk drawer
    16. go thrifting with a friend
    17. have a picnic
    18. get our fence built
    19. say “no” more
    20. help my grandma organize her photos (I’ve been promising her this for years, it’s about time I did it)
    21. create 2010, 2011 and 2012 photo books (any companies you would recommend?)
    22. potty train Raeca
    23. go on a date with Jared (one that doesn’t involve grocery shopping)
    24. complete some of the DIY projects on my list
    25. give a presentation on our trip to Uganda
    26. learn some French (it is the official language of the DRC)

    I am doubtful that I will complete everything on this list but even if I just do half I know it will be an awesome year. If you can help me complete any of these items let me know!

    Do you make lists every year? (mental lists are lists too!) What’s on your list?

    with love,

    P.S. One of the items on my list is actually almost done already:


    words for 2012

    Each year I pick two words for the year. For 2011 my words were move & pray. I wanted prayer to be a first response instead of a last resort (I have a friend who has been such a good example in this area, I really admire her for it). I also wanted to stop just dreaming about doing things but to move and actually do them. Looking back on 2011 I think those words were perfect for the year, I’m pretty sure I prayed more this year than I have in my entire life and I finally started to take some action. While I have picked different words for 2012 I want 2011’s words to continue in my life as well.

    The words I chose for 2012 are celebrate & create.

    So often I am trying to be reserved and to contain my excitement -why? I want to be like King David, “skipping about and laughing with joy” (1 Chronicles 15:25-29), after all, he was a man after God’s own heart. It’s time for me to start celebrating. I want to celebrate holidays, birthdays, my family and friends, my marriage and second chances.

    I enjoy creative outlets and for 2012 I want to exercise my creative muscles. I serve a creative God -the CREATOR, I know He can help me create beautiful works.

    Do you have any words or resolutions for 2012?

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