A New Home (& a New Name) for Little House on the Circle

Well, today is the big day!

I have officially moved this blog to my new site: LittleHouseStudio.net!!!

I hope you’ll click over and continue joining me on this crazy adventure at my new little home on the web!  If you are already subscribed to the blog here, you will need to subscribe again on the new site in order to receive future updates. (I’m so sorry for any inconvenience this may cause! I never quite figured out how to transfer all my subscribers over there to the new site. Thank you for taking the time to re-subscribe, if that’s something you’d like to do!!) Some good news is that I’ll now be able to send out special goodies and free printables just for my subscribers! So hop on over and subscribe!

I also started a little Facebook Page, if you’d like to get updates that way. Just {click here} to go to the Little House Studio Facebook Page, then just “like” the page to get updates right in your news feed!

As a thank you for helping me celebrate this big move to my new “home sweet home” on the web, I’m giving away a little “Home Sweet Home” print in today’s blog post over on the new site! Just click on over to download yours today! 🙂

Thank you so much for following me here at my Little House on the Circle. I look forward to sharing lots more with you over at my new online home!

Tomorrow, tomorrow…it’s only a day away!!

Ok, people. Tomorrow is the big day! I’m going to be moving this blog over to my new website: http://www.littlehousestudio.net!! I’ll post a big link tomorrow, and I’ll be giving away a fun little printable to celebrate!! I sure hope you’ll stop by and continue to follow along with me over there!

In the meantime, enjoy this rendition of “Tomorrow” from the end of the newest Annie movie 🙂

When a leap of faith feels more like a free fall…

So there’s this sign in the front yard of our little house. Guess I can’t do this thing quietly and in secret any more 😉 …

So here it goes…I’m finally ready to share with you my big news: I’m officially starting my own little home-based graphic design business. (Or at least, I’m trying to anyway. In our city, in order to get an official business license for any kind of home-based business (even if it’s just an online shop), I have to go through a whole application process for approval by the planning and zoning committee…a process which includes them putting a not-so-inconspicuous sign in my front yard telling everyone in the world what I’m doing and that they can come and object to my application at the meeting. For an insecure introvert, it’s quite a nerve-racking experience…and more than once it has caused me to doubt this whole thing altogether. 😉 But alas, I am setting my fears aside and pushing forward…)

This is something I’ve been mulling around and working on for over a year and a half now…it’s something I have talked myself into and out of countless times…something that scares me to death, but that I’m finally ready to fully embrace and go for…even if it means I fall on my face and utterly fail.

But even as I type these words, my hands are shaking. Why is this so scary to me? Why does this leap of faith feel more like a free-fall through thick fog?  Maybe because I have no idea what I’m doing here. I am honestly scared to death. But I’m also really excited…and amazed at how God has already opened doors and patiently guided me into this new direction. Graphic design, at least as a career of any kind, wasn’t even remotely on my radar even two or three years ago. I was an elementary school teacher, and then a preschool ministry director. I think part of me always saw myself as someday going back into teaching, or always working with children in some way. And who knows, maybe someday I will…I’ve learned that this journey is unpredictable and the path rarely goes the way I think it will end up going. But I trust the One I’m following, and I’m (ever so slowly) learning to listen to Him as He leads, even if the way doesn’t make sense to me or things happen that I don’t understand. So even though this new path scares me, I trust Him. I don’t know where it will lead, but I can already see His hand so clearly leading me here…I know I can trust Him with whatever is still to come.

I’ve always liked making things…and I’ve always loved playing around on my computer and on various apps with fonts and graphics…but I never saw it as anything more than just a hobby, something to help me do the other things that I was really doing, whether for school or church or our home.

But over the last couple of years, that little hobby has grown. I’ve taken online courses and read lots of articles and blogs to help me learn more about graphic design and to better use programs like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I did it because it was just fun to me…it’s something I can do sitting in my pajamas at home (that’s always a plus 😉 )…but becoming a “graphic designer” was not really my goal, it wasn’t even remotely on my radar. Probably because I seriously doubted my own abilities. I have constantly been telling myself (and others who would ask for my help with graphics) that I’m not a professional, that I don’t really know what I’m doing…that I didn’t go to school for this, I don’t have a degree for this…I’m not the best and I’m probably doing it all wrong.

But I do know that I enjoy making things…I love drawing and doodling and I love seeing what I can create when I merge those drawings with fonts and graphics on the computer. And God has been so good to me…He has placed people in my life over the past couple of years that have had faith in me even when I didn’t…people who have trusted me to help them create things, to make graphics and design things for them. And what I’ve discovered as I’ve worked with these people, as I’ve learned more and practiced more, is that I really LOVE doing graphic design. I’m not the best…not by a long shot…but I’m not terrible either.

And so a seed was planted in my heart…a desire to somehow do good and help others through this thing that I love to do. And that seed grew into an idea, an idea to transform and grow this little blog into something a little more…a little more helpful, a little more intentional, a little more purposeful.

And so was born the Little House Studio.

Over the next couple of months, this blog will be undergoing a complete overhaul, including a whole new website, a new name, and a new purpose. Next week, on July 15th, I will officially move this blog over to my new Little House Studio website at www.littlehousestudio.net. If you’d like to follow me over there, I’d LOVE for you to jump over and join me! I know I don’t have a ton of followers here, but I want you to know that I am SO thankful for each and every one of you who takes the time to read what I write and who have followed me along on this journey. I’ll let you know when I’m officially moved over there so you can go check it out 🙂 I’d truly LOVE for you to continue the journey with me at my new online home!

And then on August 15th, one month after moving the blog over to the new site (if that meeting next week goes well and everything goes as planned), I will open a new little online shop as part of that website. My goal with the shop is not to make a ton of money (which probably goes against every business strategy out there…but to that I say, oh well. Because making money has never been the driving force behind anything that I do…to me, besides helping provide for our family, money is merely a means to be able to bless others…the more I have just means the more that I can give away. 😉 ) So even if I don’t make a penny with this new shop, my purpose will not change…because the goal of the shop, as well as my entire little website, will be simply this: to inspire and encourage you as you create a home that intentionally celebrates the gift of every day, the joy of family, and the love of Jesus.

I just want to help you…help you celebrate the special days and the every-day kind of days…help you create intentional moments with your family…help you celebrate Jesus and help your home reflect His great love for you. To do this, I’ll offer printable birthday and celebration kits to help you celebrate special days…I’m also putting together family night kits to help you create intentional fun memories with your family…I’ll also offer a variety of digital prints for your home, with meaningful words and verses to inspire and encourage you. I’m also considering offering some limited custom design work…so if you are in need of a logo or a personalized print of some kind, I’d love to create something special for you!

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the designs I’ve been working on:

And there’s so much more I can’t wait to share with you!

And everything will be super-affordable, with fast and easy downloads that you can then immediately print at home. I’ll also offer free printables every week for those who follow the blog, so even if you can’t or don’t want to buy anything, over time you can have a whole collection of beautiful and helpful printables for your home! 🙂

So there you have it…my big scary exciting news! I sure do hope you’ll continue along with me…I’ll be sharing more updates and exciting things in the coming days and weeks (including some free prints and graphics along the way!)

And if you have any thoughts or ideas…any prints you’d like to see, words that particularly inspire you, verses that you love, or party themes that you’d like to have…just leave a comment and let me know! I’d love to help create something beautiful for you! 🙂

The better to see with…

I got some new glasses today.

I’ve been wearing glasses ever since I was assigned a desk in the very back of the class in 9th grade and discovered that I couldn’t see the board at the front of the room. At first I didn’t like wearing glasses. It didn’t help that kids already were calling me names like “nerd” and “freckle face”…add glasses to my shy, insecure, freckled self and I was just the definition of a nerdy nobody. (High School was hard 😉 ) When I was finally able to get contact lenses, I jumped on the opportunity and put away the glasses for many years.  Since then, my eyes have been slowly getting worse, and contacts have been increasingly annoying and painful to wear. A few years ago I made a slow transition from always wearing contacts and rarely wearing glasses to always wearing glasses and rarely wearing contacts. In fact, this last time I had an eye exam I didn’t even get the contact lens exam…I’m an all-glasses all-the-time girl now. 😉 And I’m ok with that. I’ve become a LOT more secure in my own skin and have (finally) fully embraced my poor eyesight and my need for glasses. I actually even like them now. 🙂

I get an eye exam every year or two, which then usually requires new prescription lenses so I can see my best every day.

My most recent eye exam was actually over a year ago. I got a new prescription and everything, and really needed to get some new glasses. But in my typical procrastinator fashion, I kept putting off making the investment in a new set of frames and lenses. I made do with what I had, kept wearing those old lenses with my old prescription, even though I knew I needed new ones.

So finally, a year later, I broke down and ordered a new pair. I even mustered up enough courage to try a different shaped frame…they are much larger than the glasses I usually tend to get. They’re going to take some getting used to, but I think I really like them. 🙂 But the frames are not really what surprised me the most…when I put them on, I was actually kinda surprised by how much clearer I could see! I guess my eyes were getting worse than I realized. 😉 For a full year I’ve been using glasses with an outdated prescription, and evidently seeing everything more blurry and unfocused than I realized. I could have been seeing better this whole year…I had the doctor’s prescription tucked away in my purse this whole time…but it did me no good until I used that prescription to change my lenses.

That’s kinda how it can be when I read my Bible. Often God will reveal something that I need to change…He’ll even write me out a “prescription”…and I might even copy it down and tuck it away. But it doesn’t do me any good until I take those words and DO something with them…until I allow His Words to change my lenses, to change how I see.

It’s amazing what you can see when you change the way you see.

Kinda like how you can always find beauty in every day…if you look for it.  Kinda like how you can always find something to be thankful for…if you start giving thanks for ALL things.

So in honor of my new glasses and in celebration of being able to see clearly, I’m sharing this little “Eye Chart” printable today. It says: “Look for beauty in every day and every day becomes beauty-full”  If you intentionally look for beauty, if you hunt for joy, if you give thanks for it all…you’ll soon find that your days are actually full of beauty…even the hard and the crazy days can become beautiful in spite of, and sometimes even because of, the hard and the crazy in the days. It’s all about what kind of lenses you are looking through…it’s about how you see.

Look For Beauty Eye Chart


Enjoy! And have a BEAUTY-FULL weekend!!

Hip Hip HOORAY! It’s Summer Vacay!

Today is the last day of the school year here!! Woo Hoo!! (We survived the first year of middle school!! Now THAT’s something worth celebrating! 😉 )

We’re gonna kick off this summer with a splash! When the girls get home, I’ll have this crate full of water fun waiting for them! I picked up a new slip-n-slide, a bucket full of water balloons, and some water guns…then I blew up a few balloons and made a little “Hip Hip Hooray! It’s Summer Vacay!” sign to finish it off.  Super easy, but lots of fun!

Later this evening we’ll sit down as a family and fill up our Summer Bucket List. We do this every year, and it is always a blast to see how much fun we can cram into our summer together. Plus, making a list and having a loose plan helps me make sure the days don’t just fly by without us taking time to be a bit intentional with our time together. Most of the things on our list won’t cost much money and won’t take a ton of time…we’re not going on any grand vacations this year…but it’s not so much about what we do as much as it’s just that we do some intentional things together.

Want to celebrate summer with us and plan your own summer of family fun? I’m sharing the Summer Vacay print with you, as well as an updated version of our Summer Bucket List. Feel free to print and plan for your own summer fun!

"Hip Hip Hooray! It's Summer Vacay!" LittleHousePrintable_8x10Click here for the Summer Vacay Printable

Summer Bucket List_LittleHousePrintableClick here for the Summer Bucket List Printable

(Looking for ideas for your Summer Bucket List? Check out my post from last year…I listed some ideas to help get you started. 🙂 )

Our Not-So-Perfect Family Story…

I’m so honored to get to share a little of my heart over at my friend Dena’s blog today.  I’m talking about perfectionism and motherhood and embracing our family story.  Hop on over there and check it out! (There’s even a free printable at the end!!) 🙂

EmbraceYourStory_Printable by Little House On The Circle

A Pretty Little Meal Plan & Grocery List

At the beginning of last year, I made myself some lists and plans to help me stay organized and on top of housework and home stuff. I still like those little lists and I use them quite a bit. But I’ve been updating them a bit lately (partly because I just love playing around with making new graphics, and partly because I needed to tweak the lists to make them work a little better for me 😉 ).

So today I’m sharing my new Meal Plan & Grocery List:

Meal Plan & Grocery List Printable

Little House on the Circle: Meal Plan & Grocery List Printable

Little House on the Circle: Meal Plan & Grocery List Printable

I made it a full page this time, which I like a lot better. (Gives me more space to fit all our groceries on there 😉 ).

I usually do my meal planning on the weekends so that I can start each week knowing what our dinners are going to be and what I need to make them. I know there are lots of people who meal plan months ahead at a time…and I wish I could say that I am like that…but I honestly do good to keep up with just one week at a time.  But even just planning one week ahead, it has helped me SO MUCH just knowing what our meals will be and making sure we have all the groceries we need for those meals at the very beginning of the week. It’s not exactly my favorite thing in the world to do…but when my list looks pretty, it makes the task a little more bearable ;).

So if you’d like a pretty meal planning & grocery list too, I’m sharing my PDF printable for you to use! Feel free to download and make as many copies as you need!

Little House on the Circle: Meal Plan & Grocery List Printable

Click HERE to download and/or print the Free PDF Printable

I’m still working on some other home organization lists, and will share those soon!  So stay tuned!

Have a super happy Monday, everyone!!!

It’s a war out there…

“Christianity doesn’t advance through killing, it advances through dying.”

I heard these words in a sermon at my sister’s church several weeks ago (said by their pastor, David King), and they have been mulling around in my head and my heart ever since.  

In a world where the headlines tell us stories of children being raped, of Christians being killed and beheaded, of slavery still stealing the freedom and childhoods of too many…in a world that wages war on faith, and in a culture that glorifies selfishness and greed…the Good News of Jesus still brings life, still gives hope, still rescues and saves and redeems.

Because Christianity doesn’t advance through killing, it advances through dying.

It’s a great paradox of our faith – that death is really what brings life, that the thing that seems to be utter defeat, is actually ultimate victory, that what seems like the end of it all is really only the beginning.

Worldly wars are fought and won by killing the enemy.  Battles are won by destroying the opposition. Doesn’t that seem to be how it works?

The world’s way to advance and to win is to fight your way to the top. But God’s way is a cross…sacrifice.

The world’s way is the kind of killing that brings death. But God’s way is the kind of death that brings life.

To win the war with Satan, the ultimate war over sin and death, Jesus gave His life.  To advance the Cause of Christ, we lay down our lives.

Killing Christ did not stop His plan – it fulfilled it. And killing Christians will not stop Christianity – it advances it.

Christians throughout the centuries have been persecuted and killed for their faith.  But that did not stop the spread of the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ. And it won’t stop it today. Those 21 Coptic Christians who were beheaded for their faith, martyred for Jesus? They made the ultimate sacrifice…a sacrifice that does not make Christians shrink back in fear, but that has spurred countless Christians to be bold and brave in their faith.  Their death did not weaken Christianity…if anything, it strengthened it. Their death was not a defeat, it was not the end…it was actually only their glorious beginning.  While others may try to weaken the message of Jesus or defeat the cause of Christ by killing Christians or attacking the message of the Bible, Christianity continues to advance not through attacking back or returning killing for killing, but through selfless sacrifice, through sacrificial love…through dying.

You see, I don’t believe that we advance the cause of Christ by trying to kill all the people and ideas and the groups who are opposed to Christ. We advance the cause of Christ by giving up our lives, by dying to ourselves, by laying down our lives for the sake of reaching souls who don’t know the love and forgiveness and salvation of Jesus.  

We won’t advance the cause of Christ by picking fights, but by picking up our cross…by laying down our lives, by reaching out in love, through humble obedience to the call that Jesus has given us.

This does not mean we don’t stand up for what we believe in, or that we are weak or that we don’t speak out for justice and righteousness. Quite the opposite.  It is in dying to ourselves and trusting in the power of God in us that we are able to stand up and stand firm and have courage to do the hard, dangerous work that God calls us to do. But we fight differently than the world fights, because we recognize that the battle we are fighting is not against flesh and blood – it is a battle for souls. “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12, NLT)

And we arm ourselves, not with swords or guns to kill, but with the Armor of God: 

We arm ourselves with truth, with righteousness, with peace, with faith, with salvation, with the Word of God…and with prayer, persistent prayer at all times in everything, which gives us the courage to die – die to self, die to selfishness, die to our own agendas and our own expectations, die to all that isn’t Christ so that we can really live, though we may die. 
We don’t advance the cause of Christ by picking up the sword of our own personal opinions and slashing another down with personal attacks. We advance the cause of Christ by picking up the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God and sharing the truth in love.
And when the enemy doesn’t fight fair, when he strikes to wound and to harm and to destroy…we stand firm, and we count it all joy. Because what the enemy intends as harm, God intends it all for good. Jesus said, “Blessed are you, when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my acccount. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)

There’s a war being waged for the souls of mankind…a real and dangerous battle that goes beyond what we can see.  It’s easy to see the headlines and become angry or disheartened or overwhelmed. My heart aches and breaks for the children who are raped and abused, for the families who have lost fathers, for the communities that have been destroyed, for the bitter fighting and the untold horrors of this world.  But I must not turn away or put on blinders and pretend that the suffering of those on the other side of the world (or even on the other side of the street) have nothing to do with me…not when the Bible tells me to “Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” 

This world is a mess, full of evil and pain and killing and sorrow. But Jesus. Jesus is life and hope and peace, even in the middle of the mess of this world. And the Good News of Jesus is too good to keep to ourselves. And though it may cost us our plans or our comfort or even our lives, reaching out in love to share the truth of Jesus and the Good News of salvation through His death and resurrection…that is always worth the cost.

Will you pray with me today for the persecuted Christians around the world? We may not be able to hop on a plane and physically go to them to hold their hands and wrap our arms around them in love, but we can all wrap them in fervent and persistent prayer. We may not know their names, but God counts every hair on their heads, He knows them each intimately and He hears our prayers. And He will be glorified, whatever may come.

Where there are no oxen…

"Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox" Proverbs 14:4

“Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.” Proverbs 14:4

I read this verse this morning in my quiet time and it struck me. I know I’ve read it several times before, but for some reason it really stood out today. Maybe because I’ve been a bit overwhelmed with the “messy” side of life lately. Whether it’s scrubbing toilets or working in the garden or organizing paperwork or washing dishes or vacuuming up dog hair or picking up a trail of toys for the millionth time…life is full of messy chores, unpleasant tasks, downright dirty work.  Work that no one really sees, tasks that aren’t fun and seem to never end…life is full of manger-cleaning “stable” work.

“Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean”

I almost rephrased that in my journal to say “Where there are no children, the house is clean” lol. Or “where there are no husbands…” or “where there are no wives who randomly begin projects that are left unfinished all over the dining room table to the point that the family can’t even eat at the table and dinner must be served in the living room…” (Not that I know any wives like that… 😉 )

(and I’m pretty sure these versions don’t have quite the same meaning and inference as the verse intended…but still 😉 )

If you want abundant crops…if you want success at whatever it is you are doing, as a homemaker or a mother or an employee or a boss or whatever it is you do…chances are there will be some “mangers” to clean, some messy tasks to do, some nitty gritty downright dirty work involved.

Sure, the stable would be sparkling clean and smell great if you had no oxen in there.  But without the ox, you can’t plow the fields. “Abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.” Oxen are messy. They require a whole set of chores and care. But they are strong. And they are part of the “abundant crops” package.

I don’t have any actual oxen in my life. I don’t farm. At all. I am barely able to grow a little tomato in my tiny backyard garden, let alone harvest an abundant crop of any sort. I don’t even know if modern-day farmers even use oxen to plow their fields anymore. But I think everyone has some kind of “ox” in their life…some kind of necessary (though sometimes messy) thing that adds strength and helps you plow whatever kind of field you are plowing.

So today I’m thinking about what the “oxen” are in my life and I’m thanking God for them, and for the messes and the unpleasant chores and tasks and all the messy stuff that goes along with the work He has called me to do.  Because I know that my faithfulness in even the small, unnoticed, unpleasant tasks is important. It all matters. Even messy manger-cleaning stable work. 😉

Twelve years…

Today I am feeling all the feelings.

It’s Emma’s birthday today.  She is 12 years old.

I’m not really sure how that happened.  😉

Sometimes the day this photo was taken – the first day I wore the name “mom” and held this new little soul in my arms – seems like a lifetime ago. But sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday. Time is funny like that. All these moments, one after the other…and before you know it, you’re looking back at a lifetime that feels like just a breath.

Because somehow, it’s been 12 years.


Twelve years of days lie between those two photos. Twelve years of good days and hard days and days I didn’t think I would make it….days full of joy and laughter, tears and exhaustion, challenges and uncertainty, smiles and adventures…twelve years of days full of moments and memories I honestly wouldn’t trade for anything.

It’s been twelve years full of gifts. Twelve years full of grace.

I haven’t been perfect at this mom thing. Not by a long shot. Motherhood is so much harder, and more wonderful, than I had ever expected it to be. I had no idea what I was getting into when they put her in my arms for the first time. No. Idea. I have fumbled and stumbled my way through this thing…and this “tween” stage is stretching me and challenging me more than ever. There are so many days I feel so inadequate to do this great thing of growing another human, of leading this other soul through this crazy broken world.

Because I’m so broken myself. I’m so banged up and bruised up and messed up.

But I just keep leaning hard into Jesus…I just keep trusting His grace to fill in the gaps.

And somehow we’ve survived twelve years.

And with Jesus, we’ll make it twelve more. (Only by then, she could very well have a little one of her own…but oh my word, I can’t even begin to go there! At this point, we just gotta survive middle school 😉 )

But I know that day will be here before I know it…the days seem to be moving faster, the weeks are flying by.  Which is why I am more passionate than ever about making the most of every moment I can…seizing every opportunity to intentionally invest in our family and in our girls.  Because even though one single moment may not seem like much…it all adds up. One little conversation, one little family night, one little prayer before bedtime, one little heart-to-heart talk, one little snuggle or cuddle, one little game, one little devotion, one little act of kindness, one little hug, one little word of encouragement…one little moment by itself may not seem to make much of an impact…but together? Day after day, year after year? Each moment is like a little drop of water. One drop may not make much of a difference…but drop after drop after drop, over time…all together, those drops add up and become a raging river.  All those moments we have with our children have the potential to become a river of influence in their lives.

Even the moments when we mess up. Even the drops that are tainted and colored by our mistakes and our sin…those drops add to the influence too. I don’t know about you, but I am so not perfect. I don’t have it all together. Not every drop of influence I give my children is good. Sometimes they see me mess up, they see me fall apart, they see me fail. But I wonder if these moments – the not-so-pinterest-perfect-moments – may possibly have an even greater impact on them than all the “good” I do…because humbling myself and asking forgiveness, being forgiven and still being secure in God’s love for me, leaning into Him and trusting Him even in my brokenness, and finding joy and comfort in His grace…that’s a powerful thing for my children to see.

Our moments matter. What we do with our moments, what we do with our days…how we forgive and how we love and how we talk and how we act…it all matters…it is all making an impact, it is all adding up. The good, the bad, and the ugly…all weaving together into a beautiful tapestry that tells our children the story of God’s love and grace and redemption.

So today, on my “mom-iversary”, as we celebrate this sweet, precious, beautiful soul that is my Emma girl, I am recommitting myself to parent intentionally. Even though the days may be exhausting and the challenges are changing and I still don’t know what I’m doing half the time, now as much as ever my daughters need a mom who is leaning hard into Jesus and who is consistently and intentionally adding drops of influence into their lives, who is modeling for them what it is like to live for Jesus, and who is present with them in this moment (not afraid of the future or regretting the past, but fully here right now), finding joy in the middle of the crazy and grace in the middle of it all.  Because this life? It really is just a breath. A precious, fleeting breath. And I want my breath to breathe life and love and joy and grace into the lives of the people God has given me, for as long as He lets me have them.

morning fog

%d bloggers like this: