November 16th

Friday, November 16th, 2018

We’re ready for tomorrow’s show, and so mini Minnesotas made their appearance this morning.

If you’re coming to the show, you’ll see them in action; they may just have something to do with the wood discs Paul cut for me yesterday.

Interested in coming out tomorrow? I’ll be at the St. Michael Albertville High School between 9am and 4pm! I’m in booth N 5, so stop by and say hi!

Also, I previously mentioned that my second show was on small business Saturday, but I misspoke! It is actually next Sunday, the 25th. So for you interested, take note.

November 4th

Sunday, November 4th, 2018

I’ve found the black background spot in my house.

It’s excellent; the best part is, it’s a super easy space to work in and around. Large and open.

Anyway, that’s not why you clicked on this post. I’m sure you clicked on this post to learn about next year’s calendar themes.

So, without further ado:

Oahu 2019
Fall Year Round 2019

Last year, I stuck with broad themes: Travel and Wildlife. I also had a Floral one, but only carried a limited supply. My Travel and Wildlife calendars both followed the seasons (spring, summer, fall, winter), which I liked, but this year I wanted to offer calendars that gave you a vacation from the real world and whatever season we may be in (I’m looking at you, winter).

So, option number 1: Take a year-long vacation to Oahu. Hike to waterfalls, sit on the beach, view the sea turtles. Take in the moody North Shore vibes, or head down to Waikiki and soak in that sunshine. If you’re a Hawaii dreamer, each page states where the image was taken, so save it away with that vacation savings fund and visit there one day!

Option number two: Live in the vibrancy of fall for not just one month, but revel in it all year long. This is the ultimate calendar for all of my fellow fall lovers out there! I’m pretty darn excited about both calendars, but I’m especially proud of this one.

I did have some great feedback from last year’s calendars, so I took those to heart moving forward this year. The monthly layout is more clear; the grid pattern is still clean, but provides more structure for those who were frustrated with that last year. The second big change is that there are holidays listed this year! I don’t know that I need to elaborate further on that. The third is that both the previous month and future month is located on the current month’s page. A great tool for reference.

So much fun stuff happening at ABL right now! Calendars, throw pillows, coffee mugs, I’m working out a coaster idea…I feel on fire!

Calendars will go live on my website soon (still working out some website kinks), but I also will be at two shows this month, perfect if you want to do some shopping in person. The first is Saturday, November 17th from 9am-4pm at the St. Michael Albertville High School for the STMA Women of Today Fall Show. I’m in spot N5 which is the fifth one in from the main door (I scored a great spot this year!). The second is the follow Saturday, the 25th from 1pm-5pm at a friend’s home in Buffalo (see event on Facebook for address and complete information). A fierce friend and Boss Babe herself is opening her home for a fall vendor’s fair for Small Business Saturday (all vendors are local ladies!), and she’s got some really fun things planned (door prizes, ultimate goody bag, etc.). I’m looking forward to the fellowship, and holiday cheer.

Let’s do this! xoxo

October 30th

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

A certain super cute visitor stopped by with her mama for the afternoon today!

My family is pretty close. My dad has four brothers, and all of us cousins are very similar ages. My cousin, Clayton, is only three days younger than me in fact.

We used to all go camping as a big extended family for two weeks every summer, and it was always my favorite time of the year. My cousins were essentially my siblings, and even as we’ve grown, gone off to college, and gotten married, we’ve stayed close.

Clayton and his wife, Amy, got married just a month or so after Paul and me, and they had their daughter, Bonnie, this March. (The baby shower I helped plan this February was for Amy, if you wanted to look back.)

Anyway, it was an awesome surprise when Amy texted me this morning asking if they could swing over and visit for the afternoon. They both brought lots of light and laughter 🙂


October 14th

Sunday, October 14th, 2018

Despite the snow, I’m smiling today.

The gloomy skies brought out my anxiety and depression battle last week. But I’m choosing to smile.

Challenging life decisions seem to constantly hover. But I’m choosing to smile.

Relational tensions stifle feelings of safety and peace. But I’m choosing to smile.

Pumpkins are flying out of the field into joyful homes ready to celebrate the season, so I’m wanting to smile.

Kitty snuggles during the football game make me feel like there’s no place I need to be other than here. So I can’t help but smile.

Worship at church today brought tears to my eyes. So I am smiling; I am thankful.

Cory Asbury speaks to my heart in his song Reckless Love:

There’s no shadow You won’t light up,
Mountain You won’t climb up, coming after me.

There’s no wall You won’t kick down,
Lie You won’t tear down, coming after me.

There’s no shadow You won’t light up,
Mountain You won’t climb up, coming after me.

There’s no wall You won’t kick down,
Lie You won’t tear down, coming after me.

October 10th

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

So much soul food today. First with a much needed breakfast catch-up with a dear friend, and a rainy afternoon snuggled under a blanket (with a cat), deep in a book.


If you’ve read any of Brene Brown’s books, you may know what I mean.

Brene is a social psychologist who has spent her entire career studying shame and the effect it has not only a personal level, but a cultural one. Very simplified: The challenge of true belonging in a culture that fears authenticity. She explores how shame shapes us as a society and in turn effects our behavior and connections with one another…or I suppose you could argue the reverse. How shame-shaped behavior and connections impact society.

Either way, I was introduced to her through her book The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be, and Embrace Who You Are. It pulled me in in a way no other book (based on research) ever had. I couldn’t put it down. I wanted to learn more about how I can live in true vibrant delight.

So then I went to the library and placed holds on all of her other books, hungry (maybe even a tad desperate) for more.

The fact that I was numbers 13, 24, and 18 in the que for her books should tell you how popular they are. It was a bit of a wait, but it was worth it.

Three weeks ago, it was finally my turn, and I read Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. It was the book I brought with when I followed Paul to work a couple of weeks ago, and within 5 hours I had read it from cover to cover. I journaled while I read this book, writing down particularly strong messages that I wanted to remember. While taken out of context, and maybe not meaningful to those who haven’t read the book, here are a couple:

“We’ve come to the point where, rather than respecting and appreciating the courage and daring behind vulnerability, we let our fear, shame, and discomfort become judgement and criticism.”

“If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”

“Vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them.”

“We love seeing raw truth and openness in other people, but we’re afraid to let them see it in us. […] I want to experience your vulnerability, but I don’t want to be vulnerable.”

There were so many challenges posed in this book; it made me uncomfortable at the same time that it set me on fire. I felt understood, but also felt the challenge of owning my own feelings and experiences. She put out the call to set healthy boundaries, and set aside the shame calls of “Dare not! You’re not good enough,” or “Don’t you dare get too big for your britches!” Shame becomes fear. Fear leads to risk aversion. Risk aversion kills innovation.

I returned that book, and was happy to see that her newest book Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone was being held for my pickup. That is the book I didn’t surface from this afternoon. This book spoke to my biggest weakness: my inability to trust my own mind. If you know me well, you know that I tend to take the “Decision By Committee” approach. I like hearing other people’s input to reassure myself that I’m doing the right thing, making the right choice.

I think a small part of why I do that is because I want to “fit in” and make the choice other people would make. Nothing too radical for me. Got to blend in, can’t make waves.

So if we’re talking about issuing a call to action, this book was it. However, it spoke to the very core of why I don’t engage in debates or heated discussions. This line was wholly encapsulating for me: “The looming threat of blowback should we voice an opinion or idea that challenges our bunker mates keeps us anxious.” Or even this one had me doing some deep breathing: “Human approval is one of our most treasured idols, and the offering we must lay at its hungry feet is keeping others comfortable […] I am convinced that discomfort is the great deterrent of our generation.”

But this reaction and mentality is starving us of true connection.

“Of course we’re a social species. That’s why connection matters. It’s why shame is so painful and debilitating. It’s why we’re wired for belonging […] the biological machinery of our brains warns us when our ability to thrive and prosper is threatened. Hunger is a warning our blood sugar is low and we need to eat. Thirst warns us that we need to drink to avoid dehydration. Pain alerts us to potential tissue damage. And loneliness tells us we need social connection – something as critical to our well being as food or water. Denying you feel lonely makes no more sense than denying you feel hunger.”

Woah baby.

On one of the last pages, Brene had this paragraph, which I have two stars next to in my journal, and I think it’s so important, so I’m ending with this:

“Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong. You will always find it because you’re made that your mission. Stop scouring people’s faces for evidence that you’re not enough. You will always find it because you’ve made that your goal. True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don’t negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you.

(Picture of Colt’s toes because I looked up from my book at one point to him sitting in the window. And I love the way his tail tends to curl around his toes when he sits.)

October 2nd

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

This is your follow-up post from Sunday.

According to the price of Honeycrisp Apples at the grocery store, Paul and I have over $50 worth of apples in our kitchen right now. We filled this entire basket, plus the overflow scattered across our counters.

So Stephanie and I got to work this evening.

We had an assembly line going; she cored, peeled, and sliced the apples as I simmered the sauce on the stove. We packed 6 quart sized jars with 8 pounds of apples, poured in the sauce, and water bath canned. Voila! Canned apple pie filling.

We still had more apples, so we kept peeling and coring. Another batch went into the Instant Pot for applesauce. Toss in some extra water, cinnamon, ghee, and honey, set on “Manual” for three minutes, and Voila! Four pint-sized jars of homemade applesauce.

Still more leftover apples, but after 3 hours of work, we were pooped. We’ll work on more another day.

August 11th

Saturday, August 11th, 2018

Soap-making is beginning to rock my world.

My house smells soooooo good right now! Peppermint Tingle soap earlier this afternoon, then Vanilla Sundae (pictured), and currently, Caffe Latte is cooling in the molds. So many delicious smells. Peppermint Tingle made me think of Christmas, while Vanilla Sundae made me think of a yummy bowl of ice cream. But warm. Not sure how that works, but trust me, it’s wonderful. I think Caffe Latte speaks for itself – coffee soap may just be perfection. We’ll find out when it comes out of the molds.

All three of these soaps are mixed soaps. This means I started with two different mixtures, poured them together in the molds, and lightly swirled them for color and texture. This also helps achieve layers in the soap, as seen in my picture of Vanilla Sundae. The dark color was actually achieved through cocoa powder!

Not only was I excited that the layers worked, but look at that awesome texture on the top of the bars! I have no idea how that happened, but I find it to be absolutely beautiful. Here’s a close-up:


The challenge is that I’m loving making these, and I have so many recipes that I want to try, that I have way more soap than I need. And while I have been trying to give some away to people willing to test them out for me, I’d also like this hobby to be somewhat self sustaining so I can keep making them without draining my bank account.

I know this seems like a silly question, but does one sell handcrafted soaps? The obvious answer is yes, but my deeper question in that is how. Online is fine, yes, through social media, I get it, but soap is so much about smell and feel. Would you buy homemade soap without smelling/feeling it first? Can one ship soap? Would I have to find little soap boxes that are mail-able? And how the heck much do people pay for homemade soap? Is it weird to add soap to my photo booth for art fairs (haha). These are the questions I ask myself.

August 5th

Sunday, August 5th, 2018

One of my best friends, Britt, is a high school English teacher.

We were roommates in college, and while some people have trouble with their roommates, God knew what He was doing when He put us together. Not to say that Britt and I didn’t have our disagreements (read: fights with tears) or rough times, but she is my person. She knows my quirks, my annoyances, my loves and my fears. We laughed and cried through every Grey’s Anatomy episode there was, pretty sure we talked to each other in our sleep (sleep talkers, unite!), shared more than one bottle of wine as we sweat out July summers in our apartment when we refused to turn on the AC (because we didn’t want to pay for it), tried to car pool to class until we realized it was better for our friendship if we didn’t (because Courtney likes to be early, and Britt prefers to run to class and enjoy a few extra minutes in bed – I say that with love, B!), she supported me through my long distance relationship with Paul (and drove me back and forth to Grand Forks more than once), and I watched her and her now-husband, Matt, fall in love. The least judgmental person I have ever met, she finds your light, and helps you learn how to shine it.

That’s what makes her an EXCELLENT teacher, and an even better friend.

So tonight, when I was in bed and realized that I hadn’t taken a picture today, I looked down at the stack of books on my nightstand, and thought of Britt, and her passion//teacher hashtag #currentlyreading.

She loves to show her students the joy and love of reading, so she is constantly sharing her recent reads. So friends, here is what I am #currentlyreading:

-The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown (Yay for authenticity!)
-The Path Between Us by Suzanne Stabile (An Enneagram guide to healthy relationships)
-Jesus Calling by Sarah Young (My daily devotional),
and mixed in there are also four different books about soap-making.


July 28th

Saturday, July 28th, 2018

Paul and I both had great rides yesterday.

Buck did beautiful walk-lope transitions for me in both directions, and Junior and Paul worked on their long trotting. Both boys were relaxed and just as  happy about the great weather as we were.

Today we were hoping to squeeze in another ride, but we spent the day helping friends install flooring in their new townhome, so we got home too late.

But Paul and Junior got a good snuggle session in after we fed grain, and my heart was a puddle as I watched them.

These two love each other, there’s no doubt about that.

July 8th

Sunday, July 8th, 2018

This man of mine is quite the treasure.

A few days ago, he was outside working on something when he poked his head back in the house.

“Court? Can you come here a minute?”

I put down whatever I was doing and walked over to our entryway to Paul’s face lit up with discovery.

He held out this tiny little feather between his fingertips: “Look what I found. It’s so small, it must be from one of the baby birds around our house.”

And then he handed it to me as a gift, turned around, and walked back outside to finish his project.

While you may be thinking “Ok, great. So what are you going to do with a feather?” Well let me let you in on a little something. Paul rarely buys me flowers or brings home a bottle of wine. He doesn’t write me love songs or pen poems, but I’ll tell you what he does do – he’s constantly gifting me with thoughtful gestures. This man looks for the little details he knows I’ll love, holds onto them, and shares them with me. And that means so much more to me than all of those other things ever could.

That feather is the equivalent of a bouquet of flowers for me. As a matter of fact, it’s been sitting on the centerpiece on our kitchen table ever since that day, and each time I see it it makes me smile. So today, I wanted to photograph it, as a reminder to myself that life isn’t always the big things, but the small things.

On a side note, I also loved the contrast between Paul’s rough fingertips and the delicate feather’s wispy features in this image.