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A Holy Experience


I read a handful of places every day, and always over at The Nester‘s — because she brilliantly, humbly, writes about the imperfect in life… translation: grace.  Myquillyn Smith sees the world through house-colored glasses. She’s a creative homebody armed with hot glue, paint and second hand furniture. She believes every home has a silver lining and that beauty can be found in the lived-in, loved-on and used-just-about-up. She shares how she learned to love her imperfect home in The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect to be Beautiful, a battle cry for women everywhere to love the home they’re with because houses are for living not perfecting.  Her winsome honesty, sense of humour and down-to-earth creativity makes her one of the most endearing voices in the blogosphere. I am entirely smitten with this woman’s perspective on life: It’s a grace to welcome The Nester to the farm’s front porch today…

photos and text by Myquillyn Smith aka The Nester

Hello. Nice to meet you!

What do I do? Oh, I’m a Stuff Manager.

No, I don’t really like it but, isn’t that what everyone does?

My daily routine involves looking through my stuff, putting stuff away, organizing stuff, feeling guilty because I haven’t organized other stuff, fussing at my kids because their stuff isn’t put away, wading through misplaced stuff in our garage, piling up stuff I’m tired of so we can sell it, packing away stuff I’m really tired of to give it away, asking my husband where he put his stuff, sorting, washing, and drying our stuff —

And then dreaming about more stuff that I want and the bigger house I “need” because my precious stuff won’t fit in our current house–I guess it’s too small.

I never planned on being a stuff manager, it just kind of happened and now that’s my job.

Oh, no, I don’t get paid for it. I just do it because I think I have no other choice.

I have a whole other job that I get paid for and I use most of that money to buy more stuff. I’m training my kids to be stuff managers too.

What? Why are you looking at me like that?



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our days

“that’s all your house is, is a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff…”

–George Carlin


America spends more on garbage bags than 90% of the world’s 210 countries do on everything.”

~Dr. Wess Stafford in Too Small to Ignore

I’m a creative. I pretend to be a designer.

My entire job is to encourage women that they can create a beautiful, meaningful home.

I’ve done it all wrong but I’m learning that it’s really not about the stuff at all, even when making a home.

If I want my home to be a place of connection, I’ll ask genuine questions and get to know the people in my home.

If I want my home to be a safe place to make a mistake, I’ll lower my standards for myself first, be forgiving of my own mistakes, laugh at myself–and allow others to see that.

If I want my home to be inspiring, I’ll pay attention to what inspires me.

If I want my home to be real, I’ll learn to embrace the imperfect, find the beauty in the undone, the broken, the unkempt, the everydayness and the mess.

If I want my home to be comfortable, I’ll first stop apologizing and focus on others instead of myself.

If I want my home to be a place of rest, I’ll consider my attitude and the tone I set when I am home. I’ll allow and plan for restful spaces.

This is the kind of home and beauty we have to fight for.

Anyone can put pretty stuff in a room.

It takes intention to furnish a home with grace and rest and acceptance. I’m up for the challenge. I want to see past the worst and focus on the better. I want to search for the real beauty just waiting to be recognized. I want to make a home on purpose — with purpose.

I’m making home a safe, inspiring and life-giving place so we can go out and be what who we were created to be.

The Joneses don’t need to be kept up with — and secretly, they are tired of setting the mythical standard.

Homes are there to serve people, not the other way around.

May your home serve you and others so fully that it’s worn thin and beautiful in all the right places.




Myquillyn Smith, known as The Nester on her blog, recently bought a fixer upper on 12 acres outside Charlotte, NC with her husband Chad and their three teenage boys.

Her last house, an imperfect rental, was featured in Better Homes & Gardens Christmas Ideas, Do It Yourself Magazine, Ladies’ Home Journal and Cottages and Bungalows and is the subject of The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect to be Beautiful, a #1 bestseller in design, and for very good reason. 

These pages will have you making more than the home you dreamed of. They will have you receiving the life you always dreamed of. Anyone who has a home, dreams of a home, wants to enjoy where they are right now — I cannot recommend The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect to be Beautiful highly enough. Really, she’s brilliant…and about grace.

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 | Guest posts | Visit Post


Happy September!

September 1st is the new January 1st!

Fresh slates and bouquets of sharpened yellow pencils blooming new possibilities.

And Happy Labor Day! Traditionally, school always begins in Canada the day after Labor Day… so quieter in this web corner today,  enjoying the day as the symbolic end of the summer, as we get older boys off to university and youngers prepare for another year of homeschooling.

So just 3 Free Tools for a deeply, soulful productive September:

1. Free Printable Sandwich Wrappers:

Print out a stack and wrap their food in the Living Bread to feed their deepest places.

2. Free September Joy Dare:

Dare the kids to joy  this month? Print out September’s Joy Dare and hang on the fridge, tape it to a lunch box, frame by the table — and use the prompts to scavenger hunt for glimpses of God’s glory. Then share the finds of the gift hunt at dinner each evening.
Recent research guarantees that writing a gratitude list leads to one being a full 25% happier  – and proves that kids who keep gratitude lists achieve better grades and are kinder to peers. Who doesn’t want all that happening as we find new fall rhythms?}

3.Free Sanity Plan:

Mine is printed out and hanging by my mirror and on the side of the fridge.

Game on:  A Life Plan When You are Overwhelmed: The Sanity Manifesto.







A habit is what we wear: A habit is the way we wear our days.

Wear new habits and your life gets a makeover.

Consistently do things at the same time everyday and find yourself a new person.

Joy is a habit: Wear it. 

And September comes in like hope.

Click here for access to all of these free printable downloads & more:

10 Point Manifest for Joyful Parenting
Sandwich verse wrappers
3 Ways to Really Start New Habits {with Free Printables including The Day’s Draft &the 100 Days Calendar}
Verse Cards for Mamas
10 Helps for Really Busy Moms

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Simply fill in your email here to access the whole library of free printables and tools:

Subscribe/Sign-up here for immediate access to the whole library of free printables, framables & free tools!


Related: A Life Plan When You are Overwhelmed: Sanity Manifesto Printable

Monday, September 1st, 2014 | Uncategorized | Visit Post


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Exhale? you need this 5 minute virtual vacation of small towns all around our world

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When one mama of ten picks up her camera — this happens:

How this doctor welcomes newborns into the world? Glory be.

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So how about a coffee shop operating on the honour system? Yes please!

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only God does stuff like this

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When love finds its way back to you — 60 years later

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back to school — and the most unique bus stops all around the world -

who was expecting the joys of this?

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26 dogs loving through their hugs [p.s. we are now looking at getting a puppy]

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What an idea!

Pre-fab shipping containers used as homes, hotels, and studios – a little dreaming must see!

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what amazing thing happens when we carry each other’s load just a bit?

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so what does 200 Calories looks like?

this one got stuck in my head all week

so an experiment. A guy says he’s hungry and asks folks for a slice of pizza. Who really cares enough to help him?

It’s not who you think. I never want to forget this — ever.

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 just because I don’t want the gardening to end

15 free downloadable labels for your canning jars

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Athlete with cerebral palsy is first to complete Ironman contest – crossing line with his twin

the questions that we ask… shape the path we take.

Go adventure this weekend… really.

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when a Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor Marries Nurse Who Brought Him Back To Health

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why you must never, ever ever give up


Many of you were asking if there was a way to have some of the graphics posted here as free prints? You know, for the fridge, the mirror, or my personal preference — #TapedToMyForehead (Sorry, I have chronic soul amnesia & need to tape these things up so I can keep #PreachingGospeltoMyself )

So yep, we’d love nothing more than to bless you with free printables, or hey — a whole library of free printables & tools: Welcome to the blessed quiet of the The Library — just for you – Maybe your weekend needs some free happy & soul courage? 

Simply fill in your email here to access the whole library of free printables and tools:

Subscribe/Sign-up here for immediate access to the whole library of free printables, framables & free tools!






Pick of Best Bibles – 7 of the Best Bibles for you, your kids, your family: 

Back to School, Back to the Best Book, Back to the Best Read Ever

Amena Brown …. and honest, What you Need Right Now

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a hick’s Catalyst Podcast interview:

Hearing God’s Call & How to Model Christ with Your Kids  


Post of the week here – 

What Every Hard Week Really Needs

guess there’s a whole lot of us that feel this way

I never want to forget this one — it’s the boy at the very end that got me

okay, so this makes me a mess

Come as you are — empty handed


(free printable available here)

Hey Soul? Today? Keep looking for things to be grateful for.
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving” — and feel how in His “presence there is fullness of joy” Ps100:4, Ps.16:11 

There are three small keys to open the door to joy: “Thank. You. God.”

Joy is always possible — as long as thanks is possible.

And there is always, always, always something to be thankful for! 
Deep breath– we’ll be brave & look for some good to give thanks for & make it a pretty amazing day:
At least in some ways — Everyone gets to decide how joyFUL they want to be –
because everyone gets to decide how grateFUL they are willing to be.

[excerpted from our morning devotions in our little Facebook community come join us?]

That’s all for this weekend, friends. 

Go slow. Be God-struck. Grant grace. Live Truth.

Give Thanks. Love well. Re - joy, re- joy, ‘re- joys’ again

Share Whatever Is Good. 


Saturday, August 30th, 2014 | Link Wanderings | Visit Post


So Maggie Paulus heard how I had told our boy that his wooden spoon was perfect, and encouraged him to go carve a thousand of them. So, she grabbed her pen and did what I  was struggling to do — to not let anything keep me from “flinging out into the streets, eyes and mouth full of His wonder, to pant it in the marketplace, the back alleys, the front fields, across the crackling wires that I have seen Him.”
That’s what Maggie’s been doing — testifying to “the glory-sighting.” She opened her eyes wide to the reality of God’s Presence with us here, even in the grime. C.S. Lewis, he spoke of it too, when he wrote about finding patches of Godlight in the woods of our experience. That’s what Maggie’s Finding God at the Kitchen Sink: Search for Glory in the Everyday Grime  is all about —an invitation to hunt for His beauty and find God’s glory in an everyday humdrum life. A crazy, humbling grace to welcome Maggie Paulus to the farm’s front porch today…


by Maggie Paulus

Dear Children,

This momma of yours sometimes lies awake at night worrying about the world and about you and how you’ll grow up here.

There are these moments when I’ve read the latest headline on the news that I want to lock the doors and all the evil out and try my best to protect you from everything wicked and wild.






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I wish you could only know about blazing sunsets and fishing ponds and old barns down dirt roads and kitties and good people that call you friends and a society that’s safe to live in.

But things are broken here, and there’s some things I need to tell you to keep you soul-safe.

I want the light in your heart to stay on when the world around you gets dark.

There’s a God who is good, who does love you and who’s got this whole world in His hands. But there will be days when it won’t feel that way. You’ll look around and sit numb from the pointlessness of it all and grasp for answers, knowing full well sometimes there are things that happen here you will not understand.

Keep praying to the God I’ve told you about. Because when we pray, we reach out and grab hold of Someone real but who can’t be seen.

There will be aching nights when you will struggle along, feeling around in the dark, searching for some notion of grace in this fallen world.

And I want you to hear me—God is here. Right here. And when you run hard after Him, determined to find Him with a little speck of faith, He will show up. Every once in a while you’ll be able to feel Him— the warmth of His light-bearing face.

I know, my loves, you’ll have your doubts.

The voices around you and sometimes in you will try to reason God away.

Clouds of unbelief will hide from you what’s there.

Cynicism will come looking for you, to hunt you down.

You’ll have to do war, my loves. You’ll need to turn around and look at that sneering unbelief in the face and scream the truth you’ve got tucked down deep in your heart. You’ll have to kick doubt to the curb, babes, or it will cling to you.

Remember it’s sin, not God, that broke this whole place.

The ground groans. Stars catapult in revolt and trees travail like a woman in labor pain, bent over and gasping for her next breath. Creation reels for all that’s been lost and waits with this eager longing to be set free and restored to her rhythm of rest once again (Rom. 8:19–24).

You’ll wonder why you’re here.

Just keep running to your Maker and He’ll whisper it to you again, because it bears repeating. That you are light and couriers of His love, and this is how He chooses to help the world—through your actual hands.

Your very feet. He’ll shine out through your eyes and His joy will show up in your cheeks and in your smile. You, His kingdom children, will demonstrate to the world a different way.

And when you’re afraid about your life, remember God knows the number of your days (Ps. 139:16). He’s with you in every single one of them.

Don’t forget, you must never forget, there is a forever after this. One day light will split through all these cracks and God’s righteous kingdom will reign. Forever.

There will be no more sickness or dying, and all that’s sad will come to an end. You’ll hear it then—how the mountains will shout for the everlasting joy being born, the thorns in the thickets will no longer grow, and all the trees in the field will clap their hands (Isa. 55:12–13).

So long as I’ve got this breath in my lungs, I’ll remind you of these things.

And I’ll help you see that though the world is broken, still it’s good.

There’s beauty here and God-glory all around. I’ll take you by the hand and we’ll go hunting. We won’t stop looking until we find Him here. Together we’ll trace the outlines of His ways.

As long as you’re here with me, I’ll keep getting up and stumbling through the dark to check on you while you’re fast asleep.

And even when you’re grown and gone, I’ll still carry you around in my heart and chase you with my prayers.

You’ll always have your momma’s prayers, my loves.

Today, I’m praying for your peace.




Maggie Paulus is a God-seeker, a beauty hunter, and the author of Finding God at the Kitchen Sink: Search for Glory in the Everyday Grime .

She loves digging in the dirt, eating chocolate and playing barefoot in the yard with her bearded husband, three rambunctious kids and one cat. Maggie goes searching for God each day in His Word, in creation, in the people that He’s given her and she finds Him. In the painfulness of her past and the ordinariness of her present, she’s found that the God who calls Himself the Great I AM actually is. Right here. And though her life is mostly full of ordinary things, Maggie discovers again and again the realness of Him who has woven His narrative into her days.

Each page of full colour, vivid photographs and Maggie’s lyrical words, invite us into Finding God at the Kitchen Sink

Friday, August 29th, 2014 | Guest posts | Visit Post


Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 | Guest posts, Jesus Project | Visit Post


Monday, August 25th, 2014 | Uncategorized | Visit Post


Friday, August 22nd, 2014 | Guest posts | Visit Post


Monday, August 18th, 2014 | 1000Gifts, Doing Thanks, Eucharistic Living, Faith | Visit Post

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