Lists (Learned, Loved, Liked)

What I Learned and Loved in August (And September’s Goals)

What I Learned and Loved in August {}

I skipped a month of what I learned and loved, but I figured this post served as a good wrap up of where I was in July. So here’s what I learned and loved in August…

I learned that nothing really depends on me. When I chose to follow Jesus into less, it was because I didn’t have anything left, and I knew that even if I couldn’t get everything right, I could say no a whole lot more. Honestly, nothing really changed except that I got the first hint of emotional and mental space that I’d had in years, and I learned who can and can’t handle hearing the word no in my life. I also saw God carry me in ways only He can do. It reminded me for the millionth time that I am not my provider and also that I don’t need to have answers to anything in life, I just need to rest in Him.

The names that God chooses to call us say a lot about His feelings for us. I’ve said it a bunch, and I’m honestly not done saying it that I think if we all really believed we’re chosen, loved, blessed, belong, gifted, forgiven, known, and secure our lives would look so much different (and less busy!). I’m preaching to the choir on this one, because it’s something that I know but fail to live out when I’m wrapped up in the day to day demands of an especially demanding city.

I also learned that Holland built a system that would allow the nation to flood low-lying areas of the country with water that was too shallow for boats but too deep for troops to cross in case of war. From my understanding, the system was never used, but that didn’t stop them from building a series of forts throughout the country that are now used as public parks or bed and breakfasts. Interesting, right?

I fell in love with Maine during our anniversary / birthday trip last weekend. We spent the weekend in Portland with a stop in Kennebunkport on the way home. I’ll probably be sharing more about it soon, but it’s hard to say which town I liked more. Coming home has been both easier and harder in some ways, but overall seeing how people live outside of NYC and getting to experience a slower pace of life was so good for us and it gave us both a lot of hope for whatever God has in store.

And lastly, I’m re-learning how to use my voice. In the past, I was a pretty outspoken person. But somewhere along the last three years I toned it down, because there were bills to pay and people to please to make that happen. Honestly, if there’s anything I’m learning right now it’s that people who need to be pleased aren’t really worth the time. My biggest priority for this month is continuing to ask God to come in and bring His best and give us confidence to not mind the fall out along the way. Which leads me to September’s goals!

September’s Goals

Say no even more. There are still a lot of areas where I’m working on this, and some of them are harder than others (i.e. they involve upsetting a lot more people). So it’s staying on the agenda.

Host a movie night. Heshan and I used to host monthly movie nights as an opportunity to get together with everyone we know, break bread, and have a fun night together. It’s been a few years since we’ve had one and we’ve done a really good job of being anti-social over the past month, so we’re hoping to get a new movie night on the schedule for this month.

That’s it’s for me. What did you learn and love in August and what are your goals for this month?


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Fave Finds: Affordable Cards

7 adorable greeting cards by super talented artists #floral #tribal

L-R from Top to Bottom

triangle thank you cards by penandpaper

1. | Triangle Thank You Set | penandpaper | 24 for $10

set of 4 folded note cards by penandpaper

2. | Set of Four Folded Note Cards | penandpaper | 4 for $8.50

Be Filled with Joy Note Card Set by thewheatfield

3. | Be Filled With Joy Notecard Set | The Wheatfield | 10 for $12

midnight garden thank you card by rifle paper co

4. | Midnight Garden Thank You Card | Rifle Paper Co. | 8 for $16

arrow hellow mini cards by penandpaper

5. | Arrow Hello Mini Cards | penandpaint | 24 for $10

You are So Loved Floral Folded Note Card by penandpaper

6. | You Are So Loved Floral Folded Note Card | penandpaint | 4 for $8.50

hello dear note cards by eastwestdesignco

7. | Hello Dear Greeting Cards | eastwestdesignco | 5 for $8.00

Kim from

Collage by Stephanie Oh

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The List: August 2014

a collection of blog posts about saying yes (or no!) for less stress and more joy. Love these! Definitely worth a read!

1. | “Worry is a horrible tenant. It lives rent-free in your soul, and furthermore, it demands to be paid — with the deposit of your precious thought life.” – A Prescription for Worry by Jennifer Dukes Lee.

2. |”When we really and truly trust God with the little details of life—even the important ones, like money and housing—we are free to do both the wild and the small, however He leads. If we’re daring enough to let go of our stuff, then we can pack light…knowing there’s a net below us, held by Christ himself, who said He’d never leave us.” –  The Wild and the Small by Tsh Oxenreider via (in)courage.

3. | “In her book, Lysa says, “The decisions you make determine the schedule you keep.  The schedule you keep determines the life you live.  And how you live your life determines how you spend your soul.” – Saying Yes to What Is Best Allume

4. | “… It’s fun to say yes. That word makes people happy. Yes I will do that. Yes I will be there. Yes I will work on it. But sometimes, we don’t understand that when we say yes, we are saying no to the things that really matter.” – 5 Ways to Say No by Jon Acuff

5.| “..The movers and shakers would have us thinking that a platform is what elevates your visibility above the crowd so your message finds its audience. But there’s a deeper current of Truth running through the cosmos: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” – 3 Truths About Platform and What Your Soul Was Never Made For by Ann Voskamp

6. | “It’s becoming clearer every day that the price I pay for trying to attend to even just all the good things is my joy and creativity. Everything cannot be done. Or addressed. Or even acknowledged. This is a new thing from me as a person. It’s crept up slowly but now it slapped me in the face.” –  The World Needs Makers to Say No Boldy by The Nester

7.| “You, the one without time or talent, you are the one. Write, paint, dance as a public service to our human family. Be a servant with your art. Don’t use it to say “Here I am!” Use it to say “Here we are. We are okay, you know.” Forget talent and just use your hands.” – You Don’t Need More Talent or Time by Glennon Doyle Melton

8. | “Sometimes, you need to ask yourself really tough questions and then be ready to accept the answers. As I sat still, I asked myself, “what is causing my noise?” Then, in the deep, deep well of my spirit came the answer. My noise was three things – the desire to please, the desire to succeed, and the desire to have things as perfect as possible.” – Freedom Because of Christ by Leann Burda

image in header from Lysa TerKeurst’s new book The Best Yes

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What I Learned and Loved in June (and July’s Goals)

June was one of the best months I’ve had in years. I don’t know how else to say it other than that it was just so covered in grace, even during the rough parts. I shared a little bit more in depth with last week’s update and post on Ruth, and there’s still more to share about what I’m actually doing with my time when the time is right. But all that to say, in the last month I was aware of God’s presence and love in my life in a way I haven’t been in a long time. And it feels awesome.

So as always let’s look back at a few things I learned and loved in June and look forward to what I’m hoping to see unfold this month, if the Lord’s willing. And if not, we’ll wrap it up again next month, right?

What I Learned and Loved in June: Treat Cards {}

Treat yo’ self: I could make all sorts of excuses about why I’m sometimes bad at sending cards in the mail (sometimes I’m really good at it), like how I stand up on at least part of my commute and walk down 8 flights of stairs at the end of the day because waiting for the elevator in my office building is like waiting for the rapture – that is to say with great expectation and longing but with no confirmation of the day or hour – but the fact is it’s just hard to get to the store sometimes and even harder to find the right card. So I’m resolving to send any cards I have to send this month through Treat, which lets you order online and still mail to their address. I’ll let you know how it goes, but I’m convinced I’ll love it more than trying to find the last un-bent card at Rite Aid with the right sized envelope.

What I Leaned and Loved in June: Pocket {}

Pocket. My boss turned me on to this app / website that makes it incredibly easy to save anything online for later. You guys, I love it. I’ve been putting everything into my “pocket” for later, and I love that I can tag the items so I know why I wanted to read it. It’s great for saving blog posts I need to read later. (Notice, I did use the word “need“…) And also for important things. How is it different than Pinterest? It’s not so much about saving pretty things to look at as it is a great way to save reading for a time when you can come back to it.

On the list of random things I learned (and this one was technically July 1st) is that raccoon’s only have a lifespan of two to three years in the wild. Who knew?

Here’s how things shook out with June’s goals… 

I set one major goal for June, and that was Just Say No June. Overall, I think we did pretty well with asking ourselves, do we need to say yes or is this something we should say no to? And we found ourselves with more time and more peace, even if June wasn’t perfect. (It never really is, right?)

But the best thing I picked up in June was joining along with She Reads Truth’s study of Ruth. I literally cannot get enough of it. After months of wanting more Bible study in my day, I’m loving being able to pull up the daily study on my phone every morning on my way to work, and I love that it’s a community of women doing it together. We just started a new series on the Sermon on the Mount this week, and I’m already a day behind but I can’t wait to catch up.

July’s Goals

Other than sticking with the good things that we already have going (like going to bed earlier, enjoying my daily Bible study routine, walking with Jesus and not outpacing Him), here are a few “light” goals if you will for this month.

Relabel and reorganize my Pinterest boards. I want to put all the DIY cleaning products onto a board called “Clean,” and I want to reorganize them in general.

Pick a few pins and try them out. I also want to go through my boards and remind myself why I pinned certain things. Sometimes it’s for me, sometimes it’s for other people, sometimes it’s just because I like to curate a cool board on a certain topic. But I want to pick out a few things that I already pinned and try them out.

Get back into menu planning. When I was menu planning it changed our lives, but I got way off track when I was working two jobs and going through the general commotion of life change. I want to pick that habit back up again and see if it is as great this time around.

So that’s it over here. What about you guys? What are you learning and loving, and what are you looking forward to in July?


What I Learned and Loved in May (and June’s Goals)

What I Learned and Loved in May {}

May was the month in which nothing went according to plan. And even though people usually say this about April, last month was the one that came in like a lion and out like a lamb in our world. So here’s a quick list of things I learned and loved. Most of all I learned that sometimes setbacks happen, and that’s OK. Our God still uses them for good. 

Heshan and I took two small getaways to the Hudson River Valley last month – one to Bear Mountain, where we drove up to the peak and watched the sun set over dinner, and the second to a little town called Cold Spring, where we took photos over the waterfront, ate the best Texas BBQ ever at a small roadside spot in the middle of nowhere, and chased it down with some serious ice cream at Moo Moo’s Creamery. You guys… I have never had a better sugar-free chocolate in my life and I’ve never seen a bigger “one scoop” cup in my three+ decades of existence. Amazing.

Rhinestone Jesus. I won’t go into this again, since I’ve already raved about it with you before, but I loved it and couldn’t have read it at a better time.

Fernando Fotography. I shared this with you earlier, too, but it was a big part of what this month held for us as a family. Heshan and I officially launched our photography side project, and it’s grown us and stretched us in ways I’m super grateful for. Also, it’s been a great excuse to get out of town and find some scenery. Also, my husband is a way better photographer than me, but that’s neither here nor there.

I’ve learned over the last six years that when God wants my attention He finds a way to make me be still, and May was no exception. After taking on a few too many tasks and visiting a friend in the hospital a few times, I contracted a nasty infection that kept me sidelined for almost a full week. The amazing part is that the rest was totally needed, and it helped Heshan and me completely revise our sleep and wake schedule and take on one of this month’s goals – Just say No June. More on that below.

Our Follow Frame is actually working. In a miracle of all miracles, my husband is actually referring to this thing regularly in his decision making process, without me saying a word or drawing his attention to it at all. If you are praying for him, thank you. If you’re praying for us, keep it coming. If you’re the praying type, add us to your prayers. Big things are happening in our household and I’m not above calling them miraculous or from the heavens above.

Kobeyaki New York {} #eat #NYC #placestogo

This place was our new fave date spot all month when we discovered they have Japanese style burgers, tempura sweet potato fries, and cooked sushi with real crab. Basically what I’m saying is I learned I’ll eat anything with spicy mayo.

Here’s how things worked out with May’s goals… 

You guys… how could I forget to tell you this first? In April, Heshan and I paid off all my credit card debt! Which really means we paid off all of my medical bills + one stupid designer  hat decision I’d made in my mid-twenties that haunted me for the next six years when my plan to “pay it off in one week” was totally turned upside down by a $3,500 medical bill I never expected. This was a big deal. We’re funneling our funds to his debt now and asking God to guide us through a whole bunch of financial things, and we’re expecting results if only because we serve a big God.

– Rest. This one was a mixed bag. After struggling with sleeplessness for the first half of the month, I went on rest overload and slept eleven hours a night through most of my time at home sick.

– Bible Study. I’m singing progress on this one. I told you guys for the last two months that I’m trying to schedule 30 minutes a day of serious study, and even though I didn’t get a full 30 minutes everyday, it’s been great to get back into the Word and learn again. Right now I’m just studying based on stuff I’m reading in books (I picked up Chip Ingram’s The Invisible War again to finish the last few chapters) or devotionals, and Heshan and I are picking out a new Bible study for our small group for this month.

– Invest in myself. Doing it. Going to keep getting better at this. This verse is my fave right now:

When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—
    the moon and the stars you set in place—
what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
    human beings that you should care for them?
Yet you made them only a little lower than God
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
– Psalm 8:3-5

– Remember that I don’t need Jesus and a job, I need Jesus. Check and double check. Turns out God is serious about those fears becoming smaller than our faith.

And here are my goals for this month… 

I’m not a big formal goal-setter, so as I’m writing this I’m thinking about how funny it is that I’m actually setting these goals. But what I love about this whole process is no one’s holding the goal’s over my head. I’m just setting a few areas to be intentional in and doing my best to live each day with intention.

One of our biggest goals this month is Just say no June. We tried this a year ago and didn’t really rock it, but this time we’re in it to win it. Heshan is already leading the way by saying no to a whole bunch of things in order to stay on track with the right things. Starting with getting into bed 2-3 hours earlier now that we’re both starting new jobs and waking up earlier, too. Our new schedule = our fave.

What about you? What are your goals? What did you learn and love this month? Lay it on me…

joining the communities at Jack of All Trades, the Tiny Twig, and Chatting at the Sky.

The Tiny Twig

The List: May 2014

Let’s wrap up this week with another list of stuff worth clicking on, being inspired by, thinking about, and sharing. Here’s hoping this weekend brings you rest to feel God’s presence, belief that you are cherished, and creative energy to be yourself. (And hopefully lots of warm weather!)


via Chicks in Hats

1. | Chicks in Hats. Too much. Seriously. If these came in 5×7 I’d hang this in my house.

2. | Katie’s Office Essentials. Not just because she’s hanging one of Steph’s printables (which makes my heart so happy and which I hang in my office, too) but because I vote for any space that includes lots of books, lots of photos, and a chalkboard wall.

3. | Jenna’s Currently link up at A Mama’s Collective. I’m not a mama, but this blog is fantastic. And if you are a mama, it’s for you!



via Purlbee

4. | I’ve seen these on a couple blogs, but I’m going to put them here anyway. Purlbee’s instructions for how to make pillowcases for every bed are so good, I might just give it a shot. Plus I love the color and pattern selection and how pretty these final products are.

Style for Justice Noonday and IJM

5. | Noonday and International Justice Mission are teaming up for Style for Justice and sending nine bloggers on a trip to Rwanda. That means Jen HatmakerJennie Allen, Kelle Hampton, Raechel Myers of She Reads Truth, Emily Lex of Jones Design Company, Jessica Honnegar from Noonday, Paige Knudsen, Wynne Elder, and one of 261 other candidates are going to meet the women who make Noonday’s amazing jewelry (we’ve talked about this before) and tell their stories with the aim of sharing how “when we use our purchasing power for good and pursue the cause of justice, hope for the poor is possible.” You guys know I get smitten all over with this stuff, so my first reaction was all “I’m throwing my hat in the ring!” But in reality, I’m throwing my vote behind one of the other 261 women who are competing for that ninth spot even though I have no idea which one it’ll be yet.  


via BHG

6. | When I told Caitlin at The Siren’s Tale that I wanted to grow a garden in my kitchen windowsill, she sent me these three links. So it looks like it’s on! Any ideas where I should start? Throw them in the comments. I might use my week off in between blogs to read through this stuff and put a plan of action into place.


via SAS Interiors

7. | Lastly, this living room shares a few similarities to our still in the works living room (like paint color, wood floors, pendant lamp, coffee table, big windows, etc.) so I’m mining this post for further inspiration.

What about you guys? What are you reading / listening to / clicking on this week? 

Kim from


The List: May 2014

This week has been full to say the least. I’m transitioning out of one job and into another job, and the whole thing has been a big practice in letting go and taking a big leap of faith and remembering (usually on a second by second basis) who holds me in His hand. Because it’s exciting and fun and totally impossible all at the same time.

Even with all this activity going on – wrapping things up, meeting with my new boss on top of my current job, and taking over a small group with our church – things have been really good and peaceful. God’s teaching Heshan and me how to rest in it all and trust He’s got it all laid out. We’re still hitting snooze and cuddling in. I’m using my slow mornings to jot in my gratitude journal. And we’re investing in each other like never before and taking this time to shake up our routine and fall in love all over again.

Last weekend when I got home from a Beth Moore conference that I attended with my friend Karyn, I walked in to find a huge bouquet of lilies and roses waiting for me. I must have asked Heshan ten times if they were really for me, and it was one of the best surprises I’ve ever received. This week he’s already taken me on two date nights, and I’m not going to lie – I’ll take it. Especially when one of them was to a Japanese fusion restaurant with me-friendly sushi!

The one thing I’ve missed during all this has been checking in here with you guys, checking in with my friends’ blogs (new ones and old ones) and linking up with my favorite blogging communities. I’m dying to get back in the swing of things here as I finally transition out of my job later this month and take a little time for myself, but until then I’m taking it one step at a time and really enjoying this new path God is laying out before us and how peaceful our routine is even with all the changes.

As I’m typing this, Heshan is at Target picking up new kitchen rugs for us. I can’t wait to show them to you guys, but until then I’m rounding up a few of a quick list of what we’re loving right now. Tell us what you’re loving in the comments so we can check that out, too.

1. | My friend Krystle’s quest to have a gold flamingo. Seriously, I love this so much it’s not even funny and she keeps me on my design toes every single day.

2. | Kristen’s post on why she shares about her broken marriage in her new book. Truth.

I can promise you–whatever brokenness that your story contains –don’t let it define you. Don’t let it imprison you. And please, don’t let it make you feel alone. Something miraculous happens when we release the brokenness: it sets us free. – Kristen Welch of We are THAT Family


free kitchen art printable from I Heart Naptime 

3. | This free kitchen art printable from I Heart Naptime. I’m craving new art for my kitchen, and this one is so fun.

tocotocomagfreebie2as found on Creature Comforts

4. |  Also these free charming animal notesheets are too cute to pass up. I can’t find the original when I click through from Creature Comforts, but since it was originally distributed as a free printable from a Japanese website I saved the image from Creature Comforts and am printing for cute reminders.

5. | Shaun Groves post on A Tale of Two Zip Codes and the relationship between how much we have and how much we give is worth a read. He compares one of the wealthiest cities in America to one of the poorest and shares how much each community gives to those in need. It’s not meant to be condemning, but it’s definitely convicting and something worth giving thought to.

6. | Kelly’s post on being a duck. Seriously. Love this. Also, she’s hilarious.

7. | I’m also loving everything about A Harvest of Blessing and everything Caitlin’s writing about at The Siren’s Tale.

FREE PRINTABLE: Psalm 126:3 (8x10)


get ’em in 8×10 here

8. | And lastly, I’m going to take some time this month to print out Steph’s free Psalm 126:3 printables and use them to flank the mirror above our mantle and officially usher spring into our living room. Find the full post and both options here.

That’s it from me. What about you? Tell us your faves from this week. And happy spring-is-finally-here!

Kim from