The “Stuff” That Really Makes Me Happy but I Rarely Ever Show You. . .

It’s so easy to get caught up in a pattern of grumbling about our homes. The floors are sticky, nobody puts anything away, there are handprints all over the walls, stains on the carpet, dishes piled on the kitchen counter, dirty socks on the coffee table. . . Can you tell I’m a grumbler? I try not to be, but some mornings, I get up and can only see the mounds of work that lie ahead of me. And, I get really discouraged.

But, as we all know, the mess will always be there. So, maybe it’s just a matter of choosing what we see. My friend Melissa from The Inspired Room just wrote her first book for people like me. It’s simply titled Love the Home You Have. And, it’s all about finding contentment—and joy—in the home around us instead of wishing for better, prettier or the next big thing.



Even though I love rearranging furniture, chopping pillows and shopping for new treasures, it’s the stuff that I rarely ever show you that makes me the happiest when I stop and really look around—you know, beyond the piles of laundry and toys on the floor. I took five minutes yesterday, and this is what I found when I was looking for it:


(Another) rock my sweet boy picked up on a walk and wouldn’t part ways with. . .



A kitchen table filled with homework, snacks and noisy people.



My favorite wall, with handprints and height marks from every birthday.



Our family’s March Madness bracket challenge, that I’ve yet to ever win.
(The winner gets to pick where we go out to eat.)



An orthodontic mold on the bookshelf, as a reminder of money well spent.



Framed art and handprints going up the stairs.



A person (who just need a little privacy) in my pantry.



Sunday school masterpieces hanging in the hallway—until next week.



A collage of framed baby faces that remind me of just how fast time is passing.

(And, an abundance of coats and bags on hooks, but mostly in the floor. Always.)


This was a good exercise in gratitude for me. I encourage you to look around your house with new eyes for a few minutes. I’d love to hear about what you “see.”



If you (and your home) could use a little more encouragement and some very practical decorating advice, Melissa’s book is officially in bookstores today (Mar. 31st) or you can order online here

Love Your Home Challenge Tour - from the new book Love the Home You Have by Melissa of The Inspired Room

(Thanks to Melissa for inviting me to take part in the #LoveYourHomeChallenge as part of her book launch. You can visit her blog for a full list of other bloggers who took the challenge, too. Hope you’ll join us!)

Taking Ownership Of Your Decorating

It’s a Monday morning pep talk, especially if you happen to be drowning in the sea of indecision when it comes to decorating your home. When I had my design business, I used to say that people hired me to be a decision maker as much as a decorator. I found that many of them knew what they liked—and actually had great taste—but they just didn’t trust themselves to make a decision.



So, why do we not trust our own instincts when making our homes our homes? There are so many people/experts, websites and TV shows telling us how to do it “right”—in a hundred different ways. But, it’s ultimately, your home, and you should be surrounded by what makes it feel that way for you.





Do you sweat bullets trying to make a decision about buying a new rug/lamp/chair/mirror/etc.? Do YOU like it? If you really don’t know, that’s one thing. (There are plenty of people willing to give you an opinion or advice.) But, if you know what you like and just aren’t sure if it’s right, then maybe you need to consider what’s making you second guess yourself.


Who are you thinking of when you buy something new or hang something on the wall? Your husband? (That’s not a bad thing.) Your friends? Your mom? Your blog readers? :) We’re all looking for approval from somebody. For years, I would do something in my house and wonder if my dad would like it. (I know that sounds strange, but he’s the strongly opinionated one of my two parents. . .) I finally realized that he doesn’t have to like it. As a matter of fact, we now have a standing rule that if he’s shopping and see’s something he likes for me, he should automatically assume “Emily would hate that” and not buy it. :)





And finally, are you surrounded by things that have meaning or special memories for you? Or, have you just bought things for the sake of filling space on a shelf or a wall? Does your home feel like “you” or more like your parents or your best friend? Do you LIKE what you see when you walk in the door? It may not be your ultimate dream home—just yet—but you should still feel happy about what you see when you look around.

The Saturday 6


#1 Thoughts on starting a self-taught design career.




#2 And, along the same lines. . . 5 talents who’ve made the jump from bloggers to designers.




#3 DIY botanical hanging prints.




#4 The good is in the normal.

(Encouragement, in case you’ve had one of those weeks.)





#5 A round-up of lamps from Walmart—under $60!




#6 And, finally. . .This girl was healed this week—and left the sweetest gift of words for her readers. I didn’t know her, but I’m so happy I knew about her.