Tag Archives: Creativity

Capital Gaines {a Review}

Capital Gaines a review

Capital Gaines a review

For those who may not know it, Matthew and I own a handful of small businesses. Neither of us have a degree in business, or any business know how. It’s just something we’ve always grown up in (both of our parents’ own their own businesses). If we were smart we would have taken at least a couple of business classes in college, but we didn’t, so we’re always learning by trial-by-fire.

When Chip Gaines’ new book, Capital Gaines, popped up as being available for review I didn’t even hesitate. We need all the help we can get, plus he’s really funny, AND he and Joanna have managed to create quite the empire. While we have no aspirations to create a business that has over 500 employees (I’d be happy with 5 employees), they must be doing something right.

I read Magnolia Story last summer and flew through it, this was the same. It’s just entertaining listening to Chip go on about the things he’s messed up. I can truly appreciate his humor and stories. This was the same, I finished the book in 2 days. Entertaining and informative.

I wrote last month about doing things scared, and not letting fear keep you from living. Chapter after chapter these were the things that Chip was telling me over and over. Don’t let fear keep you from doing what you’ve been called to do. God has got it.

Whether you own a business, want to start a business, or just love the Gaines family…READ THIS BOOK! And FYI, if you have the chance to take some business classes, do it, don’t even think twice.

*I received this book for free from the BookLookBloggers program. However, the opinions are my own. Read my disclosure policy here.


Do it Scared: Choosing to Not Live Life in Fear

This past summer I claimed the saying, “Do it scared!” because I realized I have allowed myself to NOT do many things, because I was scared. Scared of what people would say or think, scared of whether I would succeed or fail.

It is infinitely easier to live in the dream of “someday” than it is to step out and do the thing you fear.

I turned 35 this past summer. I’ve realized something over the last few years…that I’ve lived most of my life in fear, or should I say I’ve existed in fear, because not doing things you want to do because you’re afraid isn’t living. The biggest thing I did was I finally got a tattoo.

For the past 20 years I’ve talked about it, but I finally did it. Believe me, all that day, waiting for my appointment, I kept telling myself this was the stupidest thing to do and more than once I picked up my phone to cancel the appointment, but I didn’t. I did it scared.

I did it knowing that I may regret it or that people may look down on me for it, but I did it. I didn’t let all my fears of “if” and “maybe” keep me from doing something.

You see, the thing about our fears are that they’re usually unfounded. Of course, there are those fears that are healthy fears, that keep us safe, but by and large they’re non-existent.

Fears are things we’ve put in place to keep ourselves in our comfort zone.  It’s an excuse we use to give ourselves permission to not even try.

This fall, I brandished my perfectionism as an excuse to not do something. I realized it was actually my fear of failing, of not meeting expectations (mine and other’s). It’s ridiculous! I had a vision in my head of what I wanted my Halloween costume to look like, but I was scared of messing it up.

I’ve never considered myself much of a perfectionist. Yes, I like things to be just-so, but for the most part I can let things slide, but I’ve realized something, my perfectionism manifests itself in fear. I let me fear of things not being just-so, keep me from even trying.  After 6 weeks of procrastinating I did it scared.  I made the first cut, stitched the first seam, and it came out awesome!

Fear is not from God. We are not meant to live in a constant state of fear. We are meant to live in the knowledge that we are marked as Christ’s own, that we are to live our lives to His glory, and if we are living in fear, we’re not doing that.

When I was younger I would always tell myself, “I can do all things through Jesus Christ who gives me strength”, and it always helped me to move forward in spite of fear. Did I always use it the way the verse was meant to be used, no probably not, but it certainly helped me to act even when I was afraid.

Do not let fear keep you from living your life to it’s fullest. You will mess up. You will be disappointed at how things turn out.  But those mess ups and disappointments will be nothing compared to the regret you will feel when you have lived your life and, at the end, think of all the “I should haves…” that you never did.

Live the life God has given you. Trust in Him and who He created you to be, the life He planned for you to live. Don’t let fear keep you from being who you are. Don’t let what other people might think or say keep you from living your one and only life. Be BRAVE (my word for 2018).

***And FYI getting my tattoo was awesome, and yes I will be getting another ;-)

What I’ve Been Reading – August 2017

What I've Been Reading August 2017

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I’ve been on a roll again the past few months. Our book club took a break for the summer, as did the mom group that I lead, which freed up quite a bit of time in the evenings. I had several books that I received last year for my birthday that I still hadn’t read, so I made it a point to finish some of them.

I’m actually going to pass my Reading Challenge on GoodReads this year! I figured picking 35 was crazy-sauce, but as of right now I’m at 31! I even managed to read a healthy mix of fiction and non-fiction.What I've Been Reading August 2017

Favorite Fiction Book

I want to say The Nightingale, but I’m not sure if that’s because I just finished it. And yes, I read a lot of WW2 fiction. I have to say though, that The Nightingale was the one that moved me the most emotionally. The Secret Keeper was very good, but it didn’t have me crying at the end.

I had also never read anything before about France during WW2, which was eye opening, even if it was fiction. I’ve had Suite Francaise on my list for a while, and just watched it on Amazon a few weeks ago. I think that will be getting bumped to my list soon.

Favorite Non-Fiction Book

Again, so hard to choose! All of the non-fiction that I read were ones that have been sitting in my pile for a while. They were all pertinent to some area of my life. I’d have to say it was a tie between Different and Life Creative. Different was so fantastic for this momma’s heart.

I loved reading about Sally Clarkson and her son, Nathan’s struggle with his being an out of the box child. While I’m not dealing with anything as extreme as they do, it was such a hope-filled book about being the mom that YOUR child needs, regardless of what other’s think your child needs.

Life Creative was another side of my momma-heart, with being creative. So often people will make disparaging comments about how moms’ should put aside themselves and their creative BECAUSE they’re a mom. Kelli and Wendy show you why it’s important that you don’t do that, but also that you invite your children INTO your creative.

The Book I Didn’t like

I’m going to say Give Your Child the World, and not because it wasn’t a good book. It was a good book, but I think I was looking for something more than a reference book with lists of suggestions. It’s a fantastic resource, but I was hoping it was going to go more into how to use the books to explore the world with your children. Granted, I think I can figure that out on my own, but still it would’ve been nice to have some suggestions.  I will say, that we’ve gotten a slew of books from the library that were suggested in this one and they were all top notch!

What have you been reading?

(I’m trying something new: I’ve notated books I’ve read for my book club * and F or NF for Fiction and Non-Fiction).

The Year I Found Me

The Year I found Me: Daughter of the King

My birthday is this week, Friday to be precise. I turn 35. Goodness that sounds so old, 35. I remember when my mom was 35, I was 13…I think I planned a birthday party for her. I was always planning parties for people, still do. It’s taken me a few years to be OK with this new age…fortunately, it’s just in time. I feel like at 35 I’m finally willing to live my life on my terms, that I’ve finally found myself.

The Year I found Me: Daughter of the King

So much, too much, of my life has been lived in fear. I never really lived my teens or early 20s, I was too responsible. Too scared of pissing off my parents. And I did nothing. Now, I sit and think about all the things I didn’t do, all the things I wish I had done. The girl I wish I would’ve been, rather than the girl who was too scared to do anything.

Those few risks I took, the limbs I went out on, all turned out pretty good…and yes, Matthew was one of them.

A couple of years ago I realized something: That while I am a wife and mother, I am first myself.

I existed as Me, long before any of those other titles came to be. I was created as a Daughter of the King; Only to Him do I owe any explanation. That moment, that realization, has set me on the course of living my life with less fear. I had to STOP ignoring who I was or in 20 years I was going to wake up to an empty house and wonder what I was supposed to do with my life now.

The only title I have had for all eternity is Daughter of the King, and it is only to Him and for Him, that I am bound to live my life.

Can I tell you what a freeing concept that is?! That I don’t have to sacrifice who I am for what other people think I should be. God created me just as He wanted and needed me to be; the talents, the interests, all of it. All that is me was created solely for the purpose of bring Him glory.

What does that even mean?! It means I can stop stuffing down who I am and what I like and what my interests are. It means that I am free to be WHO I AM in my roles as a wife and mother. It means that I am not JUST A MOM, but an individual, created uniquely to live this life for him.

A friend was recently chided for writing a book, that somehow as a wife and mother it was not “good” for her to take time away from her husband and children to write a book, and I loved her response:

I smiled and told them that way back when, God reached in and tugged at my heart. I chose to live my life for Jesus and not for my children. Any legacy left here for them, is because He has my heart and gives me my focus. My children are just living in my surrender. Wholly and completely given to God.
When my children leave, God is still my first love.September McC.

Before I belonged to anyone, I belonged to Him. When everyone is gone, I will still belong to Him.

God is the only one who has the final word on who and what I am. No one else in this world has any right to tell me that they think my energies are better spent a certain way, that I’m not permitted to be who He created me to be. If I am right with God, that is all that matters. If I am following His lead, that is all that matters.

That weekend trip to Dublin…it was something I desperately wanted (and needed). It was crazy, I knew people would think I was crazy, irresponsible even, but I knew it was a GOOD THING. I knew it was something that God had put together just for me, to learn that I was His, and the He had freed me to live the life that He planned for me.

So, these next few years, I’m hoping you don’t think I’ve gone off the deep-end or that I must’ve lost my mind. I haven’t. I am just living the life God has for me, pursuing the interests and paths He has laid out, and BOY! do I have a lot of time to make up for.

Sewing Room Reveal

For a while now I’ve really struggled with my creative needs. The triplets stopped napping soon after Peter was born, and, try as I might, I just haven’t had the time or energy to sit down and write or sew or anything. It sucked; it still sucks. Plain and simple.

One of the big struggles was every time I went to go in our unused dining room to sew, it was a project just to unearth everything. Not to mention that I was using a folding table for my cutting and a gate-leg table for my machine. Less than desired. It made creativity an impossibility.

This past winter we’ve tried to be really intentional about finishing some of the home projects that were put on the back burner after our major renovations. The two major ones were our basement and setting up a sewing room. The basement is still a work in progress, but the sewing room is  done (other than it’s been taken over by plants for the garden).

The Sewing Room Reveal

What I love most about my sewing room is the amount of light it has! Doesn’t matter the time of day, it’s always bright (probably because 3 of the 4 walls have windows). It’s a peaceful and enjoyable room to be in.

So let’s break it down…shall we?

really wanted a peg board in this room. I was so tired of things being in drawers and boxes and never where I could find them. I really wanted it to have a shelf above it too, so that I could store some baskets (that’s my grandmother’s sewing basket up there) and some jars with notions in them.

The peg board gives me a ton of storage for all of my scissors, rulers, tape measures and everything else that I need while sewing.I was all set to buy a counter top at Ikea, but then we found a piece of laminated particle board that we had saved from our old kitchen that was 9′ x 3’…it was perfect!


Heavy and strong enough to support the weight of two machines. Matt ripped the board town to 24″ wide and it fits both my serger and my sewing machine perfectly. Now when I’m working on garments I can roll from one machine to the other without having to stop and set things up.


I ended up taking some cheap pine edge molding to finish it, so that fabrics don’t snag. We mounted the board to the wall and then built a frame underneath so that it has two legs (we bought them at Lowe’s), so it looks more like a table. The best part was that other than the legs, we had all the materials, even the paint.

My spool holder became a nightmare. I got this as a gift several years ago and just never used it, because there was no place to put it. I ripped the stand off the back of it an hung it on the wall, only to find out that NONE of my spools of thread fit on the dowels. Ahhh!

I had two choices…toss it or cut all the dowels off and re-drill the holes for smaller dowels. I opted for the later.  It took me quite a bit of time, but I managed to fix 81 of the dowels to fit the new spool sizes. It was tedious. But, I’m pleased with how it came out.

The other big project we had in the room was creating me a cutting table. Try as I might a plastic folding table just wasn’t….wait for it…cutting it. My in-laws had a teak table they were looking to get rid of, so we built a base for the top (which was the perfect size, and has a side that I can lift up when I’m working with yards of fabric).

I think we spent about $40 on the wood for the base. We went with the stain-grade pine boards that they sell at Lowe’s. Now I have a place to store the projects I’m working on, as well as the fabrics that I have plans for. I also put one of those magnet strips above, so that I can put my rotary cutter and scissors right were I need them and away from little hands.

The other big obstacle in the room was my ironing board. I had always kept it up, but it was usually in the way. I ended up getting some hooks for the wall and hiding it behind the door. The iron sits on a shelf on my peg board and when I need it I pull them both out.

It’s such a nice space to work in now. I have all the things I need at hand and space to spread out when I’m working on projects. Now I just have to find the time to actually get in there.