Rocking Chair Refresh

When I discovered I was pregnant with a baby girl, I knew my childhood rocking chair would be the perfect addition to her nursery.


That baby is now a 3-year-old and my childhood rocking chair is no longer strictly decor. It is where she rocks her babies to sleep, pages through countless books, and leads story hour to her stuffed animals. 


Ava loves this chair as much as I do. But all that loving has resulted in this sweet chair being in desperate need of a refresh. Plus, I wanted it to match the rest of her cozy room. 


Here is the process…

Step 1: Paint

This isn’t a true “before picture” because my rocking chair was originally brown. However, I forgot to take a picture of it before I painted it white. Oops! I guess I was too excited to get started on this project!


Step 2: Decide on Stencil Design


I ordered my stencil from Amazon. I chose this one because I knew I wanted the rocking chair to consist of a big flower with little flowers placed strategically around it. This pack includes FOUR stencils. With one flower being larger than the rest, I knew I had my winner!

Step 3: Get Materials


The only materials you need for this project is your stencil, some paint, and a sponge.


I used English Rose Fusion Mineral Paint. Any paint you have laying around the house will work. However, I have fallen in love with fusion. Plus, my dear friends over at ReStyle are thee sweetest and most helpful women you will ever meet. I can’t say enough good things about these ladies or the products they sell!


Step 4: Decide on Stencil Placement


I love that this stencil is adhesive! All I had to do was decide where I wanted the flowers to be on the rocking chair. Then, I placed the stencil on the chair like a sticker. 

Step 5: Deep Breath and Paint!

I used a paintbrush and swiped paint directly over the stencil. However, this led to paint bleeding when removing the stencil (As you can see in the picture below!)


So, I put my paintbrush away and used a sponge instead.


Dipping my sponge in paint and dabbing the excess off on a paper towel before applying was key in my flowers looking nice. 

Step 6: Release and Admire

Did this project turn out perfectly? No. There are spots where I could use a teeny paintbrush to fix all the little errors. But, I am choosing to release the imperfections. My daughter doesn’t see the little flaws and unless I’m analyzing it closely, I don’t either. 


Then, stand back and admire the project that YOU did! 


I absolutely LOVE how this refresh turned out! And I look forward to continuing to watch Ava’s imagination grow as she rocks in this special chair. 

P.S. The teddy sitting on the chair was my childhood bear too. This picture gives me all the feels!

Little Spaces. Happy Faces.

Whether you know me personally or follow me online, you have probably picked up on the fact that I love to read. Want to know another passion of mine? Projects!


From putzing on a homemade card to working on a full room makeover, I can’t help but have at least three projects going on at all times. The thrill of a good before and after picture motivates me to keep dreaming up creative ideas. Anyone else?!


On Saturday I was itching to transform a space that I could start and finish in a day. I chose to tackle the space under my kitchen sink. Yes, I know I will be the only one that sees that space. And yes, I know I’m crazy. But every time I open the cupboard to grab a garbage bag or reach for the dishwasher detergent, I see the floor and smile!


Here is the process…

Step 1: Clean the Area

I cleaned first with water and dish soap followed by Krud Kutter.

Step 2: Paint

I painted the area with two coats of Fusion Paint Raw Silk.

Step 3: Decide on Design

I loved the current design, so I simply dabbed Fusion Paint Coal Black over the space. However, you can cut your sponge to make whatever design you want. If you're not feeling creative, check out sponge paint ideas on Pinterest. Sooo many fun ideas!

Step 4: Decide on Pressure

I wanted a light black, so I made sure I dabbed my sponge on a paper towel a number of times before applying it to the floor's surface.

Step 5: Cut Sponge to Size...Again

This step may or may not be necessary depending on the area you're working on. However, I needed to cut my sponge a few times to get around poles and the edges of the space.

Step 6: Enjoy!

Put your space back together, step back and enjoy the beautiful space that YOU did! And yes...decor under the sink isn't necessary, but... it's cuuute!

My Husband is Worse than Your Husband

Want to play the game, My Husband is Worse than your Husband?


The game is simple. To play you need two or more married women. Decide who will go first. Player one will say something negative about her husband. The other women will then take turns saying something negative about their husbands. The game ends when it’s obvious whose man is the worst.


For Example:


Player 1: My husband won’t even try my cooking if it’s a new recipe.


Player 2: Girl, I can make my husband’s favorite dish and he won’t even acknowledge it. I get no thanks and certainly no help with dishes.


Player 3: My husband doesn’t do dishes either. Or the laundry. Or help put the kids to bed. He is of zero help to me!


This example makes me cringe for two reasons.


  1. This was a conversation I overheard—at church.
  2. I realized I have played this game. More than once.

While the game caused me to cringe, it was Scripture that caused the conviction. Romans 8:31b says, “God is for us.” Wow!


GOD is for me. The God of the universe is fighting for me and cheering me on!

God IS for me–today, every day, no matter what!

God is FOR me–even when everything feels against me.

God is for ME–even when I’m critical of others, He’s still for me!


GOD IS FOR YOU! And God is for your husband too. 


If you’re married, maybe you want to join me in asking these hard questions:


  • Do I compliment him? Or criticize?
  • Do I encourage him? Or embarrass?
  • Do I respect him? Or shame?
  • Do I support him? Or undermine?
  • Do I forgive him? Or hold grudges?

The next time you find yourself in a circle of women playing, My Husband is Worse than your Husband, let’s make it a gamechanger and choose to say something uplifting about our men.


How about we start today. Do you want to go first? Please comment below!

Birthdays Are Meant to Be Celebrated

Parked at Hobby Lobby, I turned to my almost two-year-old daughter and said, We’re here! Would you like to pick out party hats for your birthday party?


Party hats! She screamed as she double fisted her hands in the air and begged me to take her out of her car seat, right now!


Placing my daughter in front of the cart, I sped to the party aisle. Five items were on my list and I wanted to be in, out, and on our way home in record time. Ava, on the other hand, had a different agenda. Her agenda was to socialize. And socialize she did. I promise you that not one person left Hobby Lobby that morning without knowing that it was her birthday, she was turning two, and party hats would be worn at her birthday party.


I thought about hushing her, apologizing to the people who seemed annoyed at her enthusiasm, or simply grabbing only the party hats and bee lining it to the checkout line. But instead, I got my five items and then proceeded to walk down every single aisle just for fun. Why? Because birthdays are meant to be celebrated.


The book, I Want Two Birthdays, by Tony Ross, is one all kids can relate to because the main character, Little Princess, longs to have more than one birthday. The prime minister allows her to have one birthday put on the calendar but Little Princess keeps asking for more and more until it is her birthday every day! Through this hilarious read, kids come to understand that only having one birthday a year is what makes the day of your birth special.


As adults, we don’t look forward to birthdays like we did in our youth. In fact, we often dread them. Birthdays mean being another year older and being older means wrinkles, sore knees, loss of metabolism, and gray hair.


 I am knocking on the door of the 30-year-milestone. However, I’m not dreading it. In fact, like Ava, (except, maybe not to that degree) I am looking forward to it. Let me tell you why:


  • A birthday means I have had one more year to be a wife to my husband, Nicholas
  • A birthday means I have had one more year to be a mom to my daughter, Ava
  • A birthday means I have had one more year to be a daughter, granddaughter, auntie, and above all, a follower of Christ.

Birthdays are not only a time to reflect on all we have been given. They are also a time to ponder what we want the following year to look like. What if instead of sighing when our birthday approached we smiled knowing that we have been given another year.


  • Another year to apologize to someone we have wronged.
  • Another year to love our neighbors.
  • Another year to join that Bible study, register for that online course, or attempt that heirloom recipe.
  • Another year to write that book, make that phone call, or sign up to volunteer.
  • Another year to love on our families and another year to be the hands and feet of Jesus here on earth.

Why are we dreading a day that is such a gift from God? Together, Let’s encourage each other to wear that party hat because birthdays are meant to be celebrated.

What Lies Do You Believe?

For years I have been making New Year’s resolutions and for years I have failed. What starts out as I got this turns into a cycle of tomorrow, next week, next month, and finally, forget it!


Desperately wanting a successful year, I decided to take a different approach in January of 2018. I ditched my New Year’s Resolutions and chose one word to focus on for 365 days. My Word of the Year was TRUTH.  


I was no longer going to allow lies to steal me of my joy. I was going to replace those lies with truth. For example, if the lie was, I’m the worst Mom ever, I would replace that thought by saying (often out loud) something like, I am not the worst Mom ever. All Moms make mistakes. Or if the lie was, I’m a loser. I would say, I am not a loser. Peeing in my pants as a grown woman doesn’t define me as a loser. (Praise Jesus!)


On my journey of TRUTH, I picked up the book, Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets them Free. In her book, author Nancy Leigh DeMoss, zones in on five areas of deception that Christian women often believe:


  • Lies about themselves
  • Lies about sin
  • Lies about their marriage
  • Lies about their emotions
  • Lies about their circumstances

This book did not replace the lies I was believing with feel-good truth. This book replaced the lies I was believing with God’s truth. And knowing what God’s Word says about me changed everything!


I recently shared my 2018 Truth Journey with a group of ladies, including my mentor. This friend pulled me aside after my speaking engagement to thank me for sharing but also to challenge me further. She said, “Stephanie, next time a lie fills your brain, don’t just replace the lie with truth. Replace the lie with positive truth.


Using my own examples, she said, “Instead of saying, ‘I am NOT the worst Mom ever,’ say, ‘I am the BEST mom for my kids.’ Instead of saying, ‘I am NOT a loser’ say, ‘I am a WINNER because I remained positive after peeing myself.’”


This shift from truth to God-centered, life-giving truth is powerful. Because when you say I am NOT a bad mom, your brain is still hearing, bad mom, bad mom, bad mom. But when you say I am the BEST mom for my kids, your brain is hearing best mom, best mom, best mom.


This same exercise can be put into practice with our spouses, children, co-workers, and neighbors near and far. The key is to remember that just because something is true doesn’t make it truth.


  • It’s true that my husband forgot to pick up milk in town. But the truth is, he is reliable.
  • It’s true that my kids fought all day. But the truth is, they love each other.
  • It’s true that my neighbor complains about my kids playing in her yard. But the truth is, she loves spending time with them indoors where they can’t harm her flowerbeds!

What we believe shapes our behavior and determines our actions.


Knowing this, let’s replace the lies we’re believing with truth. God centered, life-giving truth.

Someone Who is Present

Do you love making and crossing things off your to-do list? I do.


I enjoy sipping my first cup of coffee while I scan my sticky note titled, Today’s Agenda. As I sip, I prioritize my plan of action.


One evening I was quite proud of myself because I finished everything on my list AND more! Floors were mopped, laundry was finished, I had a fun outing with my daughter, and the new recipe I attempted was a success. Turning to my husband, I held up my finished to-do list and dramatically asked, “What more could you possibly want in a wife?”


Someone who is present.


Gulp. I had asked that generic question expecting a response of praise. Maybe a How do you do it all, honey? Or a I am the luckiest guy in the world. Someone who is present? What?!


Seeing my speechless response, Nicholas gently went on to explain. Babe, you do it all. I never have to wonder if you have a plan for lunch. I never run out of clean underwear. And if I misplace something, you always know where I left it. You even put a new tube of toothpaste in my bathroom without me telling you my current one is almost gone. I appreciate all you do. I really do. But sometimes I want to write, “Sit on the couch with your husband” on your list. Maybe then you would spend quality time with me.


My husband’s words stung. Not because he was mean, but because he was right. I was excelling in my role as mom and homemaker, but was neglecting my role as wife.


In the book Present Over Perfect, author Shauna Niequist writes, “Being present over perfect is about rejecting the myth that every day is a new opportunity to prove our worth, and about the truth that our worth is inherent, given by God, not earned by our hustling.”


My goal-oriented self was viewing my day’s success by how much I accomplished. But not even the to-do list cares if I get it crossed off. My husband would choose sticky floors, an unorganized pantry, and wearing the same underwear two days in a row if it meant evenings spent with him. My worth is in Jesus. Not my productivity. And I’m pretty sure Jesus would prefer I invest in my marriage over mopped floors and caught up laundry too!


Can you relate? Do you go, go, go all day only stopping to mutter a goodnight to your husband before crawling under the covers exhausted? I’m not here to cast judgment. I’m simply wondering if I’m the only one. If you do too, you’re not alone.


Let’s encourage one another in our role as wives. Comment below. Share what you do to grow in your relationship with your spouse. Do you have weekly date nights? Ask each other your highs and lows of the day? Give evening backrubs while watching your favorite show together?


Let’s motivate each other with ideas and encouragement. I look forward to hearing from you!

What’s Your Hurry?

Running errands is not fun for me. So, I glance at my list of the places I need to go and set a goal. How quickly can I get to town, complete my errands, and be back home? If I don’t stop for a coffee, I think I can do it in three hours. Ready, set timer, GO!


My apologies if you’ve seen me in the grocery store looking like someone who swallowed a bottle of hot sauce. I’m not running sprints. There is no family emergency. And I don’t mean to be unsocial. I’m simply racing against my self-set timer.


One more stop. JOANN Fabrics for a box of photo splits. I park close to the entrance and speed past those who have a head start on me.


What’s your hurry?


Glancing back to see if the question was addressed to me, an elderly man held my gaze and repeated the question. What’s your hurry?


If I’m honest, I wanted to either pretend I didn’t hear him and keep walking or brush him off with a lots to do today. Instead, I found myself saying, you know, I have no reason to rush. Where are you headed?




Me too. I will walk with you.


Shuffling my feet to slow myself to his pace, we discussed the weather, our past and current occupations, and what was on the supper menu. Once in the store, I showed my new friend the aisle with the buttons and helped him narrow down which one most closely resembled the missing button from his coat.


He thanked me for my help and fought tears as he explained that his wife passed away just three months prior, his grown children lived far away, and he hadn’t had a nice conversation with anyone since the funeral.


Squeezing my arm, he thanked me for slowing down.




How many times have I forged past the hurting because I am eyes straight ahead, focused on me? Or worse, noticed someone who could use assistance and walked by anyway?


I recently read a book to my toddler called Jared and the Ordinary, Handy-dandy, Excellent, Extraordinary, Plain Brown String by Dana Webb. When Jared’s Mom challenges him to find value in a plain brown string, he goes for a walk in hopes of coming up with an idea. On his stroll he notices a runner with a broken shoe lace, a cat stuck in a tree, a gardener who is trying to make his rows straight, and an elderly woman who want her vine to grow up the post of her home. In all these scenarios, Jared stops to help, using his string to solve their problems. When Jared has no more string to share, he realized his plain brown string was valuable because others were blessed by it.


How I long to live like Jared. You too?


What if we all chose to live each day with intention? Intention to see and hear the hurting around us.


The truth is, being a world-changer doesn’t require big platforms or fancy titles. Most often God uses plain, ordinary people. People who are willing to slow down and notice what He is doing and where they can step in.


Are you willing? Same here.

Crabby People Need Grace

Why are you crabby? You told me all you wanted for Christmas was a card. What could you possibly be crabby about?


Of course, I’m crabby! Nicholas, it’s February. This is a combined Valentine’s Day/Christmas card. Excuse me if I’m not jumping up and down with gratitude. And don’t tell me I’m crabby. Pointing out that I’m crabby only makes me crabbier!


I hate being told I’m crabby. Maybe that’s why my heart goes out to Mr. Fish.


Mr. Fish is the main character in the children’s book, The Pout-Pout Fish. His days are spent spreading dreary wearies all over the place. He knows he is crabby and admits it to everyone on the ocean floor. And how do the sea creatures respond? They point out his crabbiness, call him names, and demand he change his attitude.


I recently wheeled a cart full of groceries to the checkout only to discover I had an expired card, no checkbook, and not enough cash. Embarrassed, I told the cashier that I couldn’t pay for my groceries. She could have been annoyed, angry, or sarcastic. Instead, she extended empathy, assured me that this scenario has happened before and encouraged me to choose to laugh about it.


This is the reaction I need from others when crabbiness begins to surface.


This is the reaction I need to extend to my daughter.


When my little girl is crabby, I am quick to say, turn your frown upside down, put a smile on your face, change your attitude, stop pouting and stop being a crab! I forget she needs grace extended to her too.


Can you relate?


Crabby kids don’t need to be told they are crabby. Crabby kids need to know they are seen, heard, and loved.


  • Acknowledge that you see your son/daughter looking frustrated, angry, or annoyed.
  • Ask your son/daughter if he/she wants to share why they are feeling this way. If so, listen. If they don’t want to talk, let them know you’re available if they change their mind.
  • Tell your son/daughter that you love them. Nothing they tell you could make you love them less.

Thankfully, The Pout-Pout Fish story doesn’t end there. A fish named Miss Shimmer spots Mr. Fish and without saying a word, she plants a kiss upon his pout and swims away. This simple act results in Mr. Fish replacing his dreary-wearies with cheery-cheeries.


I long to be a Miss Shimmer to my kiddo. I also desire to be a Miss Shimmer (minus the kissing part) to my co-workers, neighbors, friends, and even the lady ahead of me in Target who is making 100+ returns.


There are pout-pout fish all around us. Which means there may be more opportunities to extend God’s love and grace than there are fish in the sea. And though crabby begets crabby, cheery-cheeries replace dreary-wearies every single time.

Daughters Need Confidence Modeled

Left foot

       Left foot

              Left foot



Red feet, slow feet, clown feet and fuzzy fur feet are just a few of the many feet you meet when you turn the pages of the Dr. Seuss classic: The Foot Book.


Feet. The very word makes me cringe. In 6th grade I vividly remember a classmate gasping in disgust as she drew the recess crowd over to look at my grossly long toes. The rest of the school day I curled my toes and promised myself I would never wear flip flops again.


What started as hatred for my feet gradually turned into full blown self-consciousness. After my daughter was born, my clothes weren’t fitting, my stretch marks weren’t fading, and pimples were breaking out on my face like an extreme dot-to-dot. My hatred of mirrors was as intense as my love of motherhood.


Having heard one too many complaints about my appearance, my husband decided to stop reassuring me of my beauty and speak directly to the lie that held me captive. Placing our sleeping newborn in my arms he whispered, how do you expect our daughter to develop confidence if you’re always complaining about yourself?


This question has been on spin cycle on my mind ever since. We can tell our daughters they are beautiful every single day. We can write Psalm 139 on our daughter’s bedroom wall in bold letters. We can speak truth to our daughters when they claim they have nothing to wear because they look terrible in everything! But reality is, if we complain about our appearance, we’re giving our daughters permission to do the same.


Though The Foot Book was written to entertain, it now serves as a reminder to me to embrace the feet I have been given and ultimately, the person God created me to be.  I decided to turn my husband’s candid question into a personal call to action, vowing to reject, reflect, and replace the way I view myself.


  • Reject. I refuse to talk poorly about myself. When negative thoughts about my stretchmarks, pimples, and curves begin to surface, I hit the mental delete button, rejecting the temptation to feed the lies.
  • Reflect. I return to the truth of who God’s Word says I am. I also pray He would be my mirror, enabling me to see myself through His eyes.
  • Replace. I replace my negative thoughts with something positive. I am thankful these stretchmarks mean I’m a mom, that pimples don’t define me, and that my legs are strong.

Would you join me in the effort to model confidence to your daughter? A confidence so strong that she uncurls her toes and boldly walks


Left foot

       Left foot

              Left foot


What’s Your Brave?

We all have something we fear. Mine is acceptance.


In high school I desperately wanted to try out for the school play but didn’t for fear of how my athletic friends would react. I loved being on the court, but for fear of disappointing teammates and upsetting coaches, I quit. In college I wanted to travel oversees for short term mission trips but fear of the unknown kept me close to home. I loved to read and write but did so in my diary only for fear of being classified as a nerd or teacher’s pet.


I’m almost thirty and still have to tell myself to be confident, not apologize for who I am, and the cliché phrase, be myself.


Then I had a daughter. A now independent two-year old who is a walking definition of confidence. She thinks she can do anything from putting on her own shoes to riding a buffalo. She also changes her occupation daily. Some days she tells me she is a doctor, other days a teacher, vet, or princess. There is nothing that that girl doesn’t think she can do or isn’t willing to try.


I don’t want her to lose her brave. So every night I pray confidence for her. I long for Ava to know who she is in Christ and to be nothing but. I desire for her to be herself without fear of what her peers may say. In fact, I pray that her confidence will inspire the other girls in her class to embrace their own uniqueness too.


I hope when my daughter is thirty she is swimming in a pool of I tried it’s instead of drowning in could have been’s.


I recently read a devotional by Annie F. Downs titled 100 Days to Brave. I then had the opportunity to attend a Women’s Conference and hear Annie speak on the topic of Brave. I left that conference knowing what my word for 2019 would be: BRAVE.


How do I plan on being brave this year? By starting this blog. Honestly? I have sweaty armpits and smeared eye makeup thinking about launching this website today. I fear nobody will read what I have to say. I fear everyone will read it and no one will like it. I fear people will roll their eyes at my passion for reading. I fear I will be brushed off as either a know-it-all or unqualified. I fear not being accepted.


But today I am choosing to replace the word fear with brave. Today I am choosing to take a lesson from my two-year old in confidence. Today I am going to put on deodorant, wipe my eye makeup, and trust that God laid this blog on my heart for a reason.


I may not be able to redo my high school and college years, but I can intentionally choose today and every day to embrace who God created me to be. To be brave.


How about you? What brave thing are you doing in 2019?