A dear friend asked me a few weeks ago “So, Em where do you see yourself in 5 years?” I stumbled over my answer, because honestly I never thought I would be entering into my 30’s as a single woman. I’ve always imagined that a husband, kids and the “white picket fence” was right around the corner. The desire to be a wife & mamma has been near and dear to my heart for as long as I can remember, but for now that is not apart of my story or season.


Planning for the future is good (ya’ll know my love for Powersheets right??) However, I’ve learned that when my heart gets too focused on that what the next five years could bring, I miss on the gifts of today.


I may have not met my Mr. Right, but God has blessed me with time to deepen my relationships with friends and family.


I may not chasing my kiddos around the house, but instead I’m chasing precious kids around the strawberry patch at work or around the baseball field at the local YMCA.


I’m not meal planning and cooking for my own family, but that doesn’t have to stop me from canning fresh peaches and gifting them to family & friends!


This season is longer than I expected and so different from how I ever imagined. But, through His grace, it’s full of beautiful and unexpected gifts.


My sweet friends Bailey from Brave Love Blog and Katie from A Place To Dwell are hosting a series called An Inspired Season over the next few weeks. The series is all about taking joy and delight in your current season. This week they encouraged us to create a visual collage of our season & write a “bucket list”.




I had so much fun pouring over and selecting photos for this collage, it was such a great reminder of the full, vibrant life I’m living. Highlights of this season include: farm fresh veggies & a new found love of gardening, gathering friends around the table, quiet mornings filled with truth, chasing my dreams, adventures with friends and the opportunity to use my gifts exactly where I am.



As I’m turning the big 3-0 in less than a month I thought it would be appropriate to make a list of things I want to do in this next decade of MY life. I’ve heard from so many people that the 30’s are some of the best years and I can’t wait to see what God will do over this next season! I desire my 30’s to be marked with beauty & bravery. So here is my list folks…


30 Brave & Beautiful Things in my 30’s


  1. Travel to Africa or China with Visiting Orphans
  2. Plant a fig tree!
  3. Learn the art of hand lettering.
  4. Get a tattoo 😀
  5. Be completely debt free!
  6. Host “An evening to Bloom”
  7. Weekend adventure to Nashville with girlfriends!
  8. Attend a farm to table dinner.
  9. Write an e-book (Bloom where you are planted)
  10. Go blueberry picking.
  11. Finally visit the Country Living Fair!!
  12. Send a special care package to my sponsor kiddo in Haiti
  13. Take an art class and let go of perfection! (pottery, calligraphy, painting..)
  14. Speak at women’s conference.
  15. Complete the Bravado (run/walk, bike, kayak).
  16. Go to concerts on the square with a picnic dinner!
  17. Take a cooking class at Sur la Table.
  18. Own my own home.
  19. Complete whole30 challenge.
  20. Gather farm fresh eggs!
  21. Try Stitch Fix for a special occasion outfit!
  22. Visit a fresh lavender farm.
  23. Host a girls weekend at the cottage.
  24. Visit APT for outdoor theater experience!
  25. Purchase a really comfy, squishy reading chair.
  26. Learn to flip a pancake (seriously people, it’s BAD!)
  27. Have a day at the spa.
  28. Attend a weekend craft retreat.
  29. Make lemon-basil gelato with my lemons and basil.
  30. Attend Making Things Happen Conference again and be encouraged to live on purpose and make what matters happen.




A few years ago I was over at a friends home and I noticed that above every doorway there was a different scripture. Penned above the bedroom door was Jeremiah 29:11 and above her mantle a large barn wood sign proudly displayed, Micah 6:8, their family’s favorite verse. The passage from Deuteronomy six came to my mind…

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. I Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

I left inspired and encouraged. That very afternoon, I broke out my modge poge and created a simple, humble scripture plaque.  During a particularly tough season, this little plaque was a reminder that true joy comes from the Lord.

My friend’s commitment to God’s promises and commands, continues to inspire me today. When someone walks into my cozy little cottage they are bound to stumble upon an inspiring verse, print or scribbled out scripture. My hope and desire is that everyone who enters my home is pointed back to the hope and truth we find in Christ. I want every area of my life to reflect my love for the Lord, especially my home.


One way we can actively be a woman of the word is by letting our homes reflect God’s heart. Hang a scripture print above your bed so it’s the first thing you see when you wake up, tape a favorite verse in the bathroom mirror to meditate on while you are brushing your teeth, or tuck a much needed promise in your planner to think upon during the day.

Now, here is the most important part. It doesn’t have to be pretty to be a perfect truth! I’m all for beautiful hand lettering or gorgeous printed paper, but God’s promises and commands rings true whether they are scripted in beautiful golf foil or scribbled on the back of a napkin.

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Imperfect picture, perfect truth


Friends, I want to encourage you to not only hang scripture in our homes but to live it out. When you are choosing verses, pick the ones that make you a little uncomfortable or call you to lean into God’s grace. Let’s become women who are not only hearers of God’s words but who choose to obey it!


Grace Notes:

Stop right now and grab a piece of paper and pen. Write down THIS powerful verse and hang it up somewhere you will see it daily.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9 

Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful or true.


Scripture Serving Tray by Burly Chic

Scripture Serving Tray by Burly Chic


A few of my favorite places to grab scripture art and support some amazing women!



Gracelaced by Ruth Simmons

Ruth’s beautiful watercolor prints are simply stunning. I love how she intertwines God’s truth with His beautiful creation.


Scripture Cards by Lara Casey

I use these as tags for gifts, tuck them into cards or clip them to the inside of my planner when I need an extra dose of encouragement. Lara’s shop also has some amazing scripture prints!


Holly Holt Designs

Gorgeous hand lettered truths by one of the sweetest gal’s you’ll ever meet. Holly’s designs are beautiful, classic, and rooted in purpose!


Burly Chic

Dana is truly gifted at combining rustic with elegant chic. Her rustic crosses and scripture plaques are truly statement pieces for your home. Also be sure to check out her amazing wrist truths for truth you can wear!


Naptime Diaries

I love Jess’s work and it’s been fun to see her style evolve over the past few years. I’ve gifted her vibrant prints to many newly married friends or as a house warming gift!

IMG_4513A few years ago I read “Kisses from Katie” by Katie Davis who is an missionary in Uganda and mamma to several beautiful orphans. I read her story right before a mission trip to Haiti and her example of complete trust in God transformed my heart. Years later, the one line I can’t get out of my head is “All I need is a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus”. The slogan has popped up on Pinterest, Etsy shops, mugs, embroidery hoops and prints everywhere. As trendy as the phrase may be, the truth is that nothing will transform your day like starting it off with coffee and Jesus.

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life”. Psalm 143


The scriptures are filled with reminders to be relationship with the Lord any time of day, I can’t shake the part of this verse that says “Let the MORNING bring me word of your unfailing love…” In college I remember being so frustrated when I was told you needed to get up at least one hours earlier to study the bible every day. I have always jokingly called myself a “mid-morning person”. I don’t enjoy getting up particularly early and I’m in no way a night owl. Maybe I just like my sleep, but I’ve always functioned best mid morning.


Over the past two years I’ve made a priority to start my days reading God’s word, praying and being still.   There are days when I can wake up and head right to the coffee maker and enjoy a morning soaking up the scriptures. My heart is quieted with His truth and I begin the day with a focused and intentional heart. Then there are days (many more than I care to admit) that before my feet hit the ground I reach for my phone to check e-mail or scroll through Instagram, and before I realize what is happening my thoughts are filled with comparison, discontentment, envy and the endless to-do list.


Starting my day with truth has lead to such a transformation in my heart. I think it has more to do with consistency than time of day, but I’ve like it says in Psalm 143 starting my day with truth (whether 5 or 50 minutes) reflects that my trust is in the Lord.   When my first thoughts are in line with HIS thoughts and truth, my priorities shift from my own agenda to God’s. I’ve been learning lately that instead of praying “Lord, bless my work today” the bigger (and faith-filled) prayer is “Lord, what do YOU want me to accomplish today?” Beginning my day with scripture and being in his word daily give me the strength and grace to accomplish exactly what he has for me that day.


How and when you choose to get in the word is entirely up to you but I encourage you to make commitment to get in God’s word daily and allow him to guide the way you should go.


Grace Notes:

Do it daily!

Block off time in your planner or iCal. Set an alarm on your phone every day to read God’s word! The She Reads Truth App has a built in reminder you can set to remind you to get in God’s word daily! Give yourself grace here, some days a worship song on repeat can be more powerful than reading three chapters.


Find a plan that works for YOU!

There are 100’s of daily reading plans from She Reads Truth (my favorite online community of women committed to being in the word daily), to First 5 with Proverbs 31 Ministries, Hello Mornings, Read the Bible in a Year plans or devotionals on the YouVersion Bible app.


Be in community!

Find an accountability partner to remind and encourage you. Find a daily what you are learning. Gather a group of girl friends and go through a study together. We are created to grow together and encourage one another on this adventure of life.


Our family’s cottage in Michigan is a place of rest, rejuvenation and great conversation. When we are on cottage time it seems like everyone has extra time to chat with a cup of coffee or glass of wine on the porch.  I remember a particular conversation with my mom about two years ago.  We were sharing about what God was teaching us and what we were reading in the bible.  I remember sharing that although I knew the bible had studied it and was familiar with many of the stories. But that day I realized I had a deeper desire to learn more and develop a greater understanding of truth.

I’ve had a personal quiet time (a set-apart time to pray, read the bible and talk to God) since I was a teen, but if I’m being honest with you, it was never very consistent.  There would be times, especially right after summer camp, where I would come home fired up and with a renewed interest to get up and read my bible.  In college I made getting up early to read a habit but I found myself reaching for a devotional book or topical study instead of God’s word.  Devotionals are wonderful ways to enhance a quiet time (I particularly love Jesus Calling by Sarah Young or Savor by Shauna Neiquest) but nothing can substitute the truth found in the New and Old Testament.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that “All scripture is God-breathed & profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and training for righteousness.”  We have everything we need in God’s word.  There is wisdom to be uncovered in Proverbs, stories of redemption and love found through the prophets and the most miraculous and grace-filled story of them all found through the gospels as we discover more about our God and savior.

Friends, we are called to be women of the word.  To not just read scripture for five minutes every day and check it off our list but to study it, wrestle with it, hide it in our hearts and apply it to our daily lives.  To live out James 1: 27 and care for orphans and windows or Philippians 4 when it say to let go and bring your troubles and lay them at His feet and trust.

The bible has truth and wisdom about a variety of topics, from hospitality, to finances or work but we miss the most important truth of all if we only focus on what the bible has to say about us.   A dear friend shared with me several years ago that “The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed”, each chapter you read and book you study points back to Christ.  If we are called to be women of the word let’s begin by opening our bible not to see what we should do, but to know God more.

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Last September on one of those beautiful last days of Fall I planted a small flower garden including 44 double tulip bulbs.   This winter on the frigid below zero days I imagined the small bulbs nestled below the snow, deepening their roots and waiting to bloom.  After a long 6 months they have finally begun to poke through the ground and soon they will be blooming in stunning purple, pink and white ruffled petal, adorning my kitchen table or left on the doorstep of a treasured friend or neighbor.  After a cold, seemingly endless winter, Spring and fresh tulips are a wonderful gift.

A season of waiting can feel like an endless winter.  On the surface it can appear like nothing is changing, but just like those little tulip bulbs, God is working through every season. What God does in the waiting is just as important than what we are waiting for.  Ecclesiasties 3 remind us, there is a purpose and time for everything.  Every season holds beauty meant to be savored.


To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born and a time to die
A time to plant and a time to uproot
A time to destroy and a time to heal
A time to tear down and a time to rebuild
A time to weep and a time to laugh
A time to mourn and a time to dance…
And he has made EVERYTHING beautiful in its time

The season I am in right now is a gift. Quiet mornings filled with truth and grace, last minute road trips to visit friends, long and unhurried conversations over coffee (or wine), and the joy of pouring your heart and soul into serving the least of these are all precious gifts of my single years. This time is building a firm foundation and preparing me for whatever will be next.   I am growing and changing in the waiting.

There are days my heart aches for a house full of kiddos and a best friend & love to share this adventure of life with.  As much as I desire that life, it’s not where God has me right now. I don’t know if my future will include marriage and mamma-hood but I trust that each new season will be filled with beautiful gifts.  I am choosing to savor this season and to be fully content where He has me.


I have a simple & darling little DIY project in store for you that will get you in the mood for spring.  This past weekend our family gathered to celebrate Easter and I was in charge of a simple craft.  If you know me at all you’ll know I’ve been bitten by the gardening bug pretty bad so I combined my love for crafts and gardening into one simple little project: Herb Garden in a box.



Peat Pots

*You can purchase them at a local garden supply store or target)

Cardboard egg cartons

Seed packets

*Make sure you grab ones that do well with transplanting.  I used Dark Opal Basil, Sweet Basil, Lavender, Oregano, Nasturtiums, and Parsley.

Printable label, stickers and craft supplies for decorating


-Rehydrate the peat by soaking them in warm water (or use the directions on the box). It’s amazing to see these little discs turn into beautiful, fluffy soil. While you are waiting use a sharp scissors to cut your egg cartons in half.

-After your pots of expanded, place them into the carton and then it’s time to dig in the dirt!!   Using your finger or a toothpick create a well 1/4 ” deep in each pod and add your seeds.  For the larger seeds (beans, nasturtiums) add 1-2 and for smaller seeds (herbs) plant 3-4 per pod.


-We got a bit creative and made tiny flags (using this paper punch, toothpicks and washi tape) to make sure we didn’t forget was planted!  You can use stickers, colored pencils or other fun craft supplies to create your own plan maker masterpieces!



-Once your seeds are all planted give them another mist of water from a spray bottle and place them in a warm, dark spot.  Seeds don’t need light to sprout.

-After your seedlings begin to sprout and two tiny leaves appear, set them in a sunny window (south facing will make them the happiest) and keep them well hydrated and watch them grow.

-In a few weeks you’ll have beautiful little plants ready to be put in the ground.  Make sure you plant 2 weeks after the last potential frost (generally the week after Mother’s day in Wisconsin)


I’m already anticipating the pestos, lavender lemonade and other treats I’ll cook up this summer.  Happy planting friends!

Image-1 (6)Recently, I was at a coffee shop with a group of new people and one of them asked the seemingly innocent question: “Tell me about yourself?”


I don’t remember my exact answer but it probably when something like this “Hi, I’m Emily a single gal from Wisconsin. I work at a non-profit and absolutely love what I do. I like to kayak, garden, bake anything with chocolate and books are my love language.”


My job title, likes and where I am from are a part of my story but they aren’t the whole story. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I should have shared my innermost struggles and secrets with these new friends. In the chaos of that coffee shop, I was reminded that who I am is much more than what I’ve accomplished.


That morning in the coffee shop wasn’t my first encounter with a misplaced identity. Several years ago I experienced a season of waiting. I had recently left my dream job and moved back to my hometown. I began searching for a job, and it took a LOT longer than I expected. Weeks became months and months became almost two years of of volunteering, searching and waiting. My resume was full and it looked like I had everything employers were seeking. Yet, there I was without a full time job.


I can honestly look back and say that those years were not wasted. God’s plans and timing where better than I could have asked or imagine. In that season of serving I learned that my identity isn’t rooted in accomplishments, a job title, or degree.  These things are good gifts but they are all temporary and will one day fade away. Would your purpose change because you lost your job? I love what I do, but creating events for children with special needs is what I do, it’s not who I am.


True identity is more about whose you are then what you do.  


1 Peter 2:9 says that we are chosen, blessed, beloved, and created to share His light and love to those around us. Ephesians 1: 1-14 reminds us that in Christ and because of his lavish grace we are faithful, blessed, chosen, made blameless, adopted, redeemed and forgiven. He calls us, not because of what we have done but because what he has done for us. The freedom of the gospel is that our identity is made complete through Christ.


When you are lacking courage or confidence, have hope that the only title you need is daughter of the most High King.


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The past months have been a journey of contentment.  I’m learning to take delight right where I am, with what I have. God has been actively teaching me that happiness does not come from stuff or even from relationships, but from resting in Him.

To often I’ve logged onto Instagram (or Pinterest or Facebook) and held my life up to everyone’s highlight reel. Instead of rejoicing with them, I’ve logged off feeling unsettled and discontent. Social media is a wonderful thing. I’ve met some of my dearest friends through Influence Network , Make it Happen and She Reads Truth communities. But, it’s also revealed a part of my heart that desperately needs His grace.

“I have learned the secret to being content. I know what it is to be in need and to have plenty, whether well fed or hungry, living in plenty or in want. I can do all thing through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4: 12-13 

When I’m leaning on my own will instead of God’s grace, I look at a picture of a beautifully remodeled kitchen and wish that not only my kitchen but my whole home was bigger, better, and sparkling new. But, when I filter that same image through grace, it inspires me to break out the fancy dishes and invite a friend over for dinner. God’s strength allows me to have a heart of contentment, whatever the circumstance.

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I’ve been reading through a small devotional focused on contentment and this quote reminded me that choosing contentment begins with gratitude, taking account of the abundant gifts that he has blessed with us.


Contentment comes as we wait on God’s timetable and as we trust that what he provides in our lack is really all we need until he provides something else – Lydia Brownback


I’m learning that gratitude is woven closely with contentment. Contentment doesn’t just happen overnight, it’s a journey of gratitude. When I’m living out of a heart of comparison not contentment I over look all that I’ve been given in this season. A tight knit family. Fresh flowers. Meaningful work. A cozy home. Strong coffee. Worship. Time to invest in friendships. Cooking a healthy meal. Family. Road trips. Wildlife in Wisconsin. Seed catalogues. Laughter. Adventure.

Taking joy in the little things is true contentment. What little joys are you grateful for today?







I’ve been in a sweet season of renewal and reflection over the past few weeks.  It’s half way through the month of January, and yet I’m still reflecting on the past year. 2014 was a year of growth, faith, trust and stepping out into my calling.

I’m currently working through my goals for 2015 using my amazing friend Lara’s Powersheets and Goal Planning Posts–if you need some encouragement for the new year (or the new month) go linger for a few moments on her site.  You won’t regret it!


One of the exercises is writing a list of what worked and what didn’t work over the past year and then reflecting on the lessons you learned.  As I worked through the exercise, I was equally humbled and amazed.  2014 was a HARD year but His grace refined me.

I want to be honest share what God taught me in 2014.

Lessons I learned from what DIDN’T Work

-Comparison is not just the thief of joy–it is the thief of everything good.  When I compare my journey against another it shifts my eyes from what God has blessed me with.  I need to kick comparison in 2015.  STOP. PRAY. GIVE THANKS.

-Nothing on this earth can provide true contentment and satisfaction like a relationship with the Lord.  No frivolous spending, hallmark movie, new book, latest fashion or relationship can fill my heart with joy like his presence.  In his presence there is FULLNESS of JOY!

-My actions and words begin with my thoughts.  If I allow myself to dwell on untruth I become a bitter and discontent woman.  However, when I rely on God’s Grace to think on what is true, pure, and lovely my actions and words reflect His Glory and love to the world around me.

Lessons I learned from what DID Work

-I can be a women of discipline. God’s grace allows me to accomplish what I could NEVER do alone.  I was stretched physically and emotionally over the last year and am now seeing the fruit of this growth!

-We are created for community.  God created me uniquely to help build and deepen relationships.  I cannot invest deeply in everyone but I can follow Jesus’ example and use my influence to point other’s to my Father.

-Graceful leadership is service!!  Doing the hard things that nobody wants to do, serving joyfully and being consistent in the small things refines us and grows us to become more like Christ.  Like it says in Romans, perseverance shapes character, character turns into hope.

-There are days when you want to call it quit and become a barista or move to a different country.  But rest in His grace and press on. Those hard days are the classroom where God graciously shapes you into the women he created you to be.

Cheers to an intentional 2015!


Sharing more from my talk at Sister of Stone’s Fall Retreat on Encouragement.  Sisters, encouragement is a gift we all have been given. We are called to encourage other build each other up.  Each of us, not just those who have the gift of  God’s grace and presence is revealed through the encouragement of others.

When I was preparing for my talk and studying the topic of encouragement I began by opening up good old Webster’s dictionary and looking up the definition.

  1. the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.

And that is when it hit me, encouragement is not just saying pretty words or telling someone how wonderful they are.  True, authentic encouragement runs deeper then that-to builds up others towards Christ. If our ultimate hope is in Christ (Ps. 31:24), an encourager will point her sister or brother to christ with their words and actions.  A true friend won’t just tell you what you want to hear but gently and graciously direct you towards truth.

I have a darling friend and mentor who I go to when I need a bit of sound advice and encouragement. She is always ready with a cup of tea (or glass of wine) and some sound advice.  She will sit, listen and then speak truth into my life. It’s not always what I want to hear, but she ALWAYS points me back to my savior through prayer and scripture.

If we desire to be women that speak life and give hope, we need to begin by being rooted in truth yourself.  Spend time in the word, soaking up scripture and God will use you to point others towards him.

This morning in my devotional on hospitality and it shared the importance of preparing our hearts before we prepare our homes.  The author used the familiar story of Mary and Martha but had a new twist.

“…Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and was listening to His teaching”  Luke 10:39

Before we open our lives to people, before we give encouragement or speak truth it’s crucial that we sit and prepare our hearts before the Lord. Learn from him how to love those who are hard to love, cry out for wisdom to share and allow His on abundant grace to give true hope to all you meet.