What to do when you feel like you’re lacking (Haven 2014 recap)

For the past three years, I’ve had the amazing privilege of attending the Haven Conference in Atlanta. It’s an event mainly targeted at bloggers in the DIY/home niche. Every year I connect with friends that I so badly wish lived down the street from me so we could have coffee regularly.


Traci from Beneath My Heart and I enjoyed the chocolate fountain (a little too much) that Home Depot and Ryobi provided for the Haven Mavens on the last night of the conference. The food at that event was, in a word, epic!


My friend, Gail, from My Repurposed Life is one of the sweetest and most genuine ladies you’ll ever meet. She is also a repurposing rockstar with a crazy huge Facebook fan club.


 (Photo courtesy of My Breezy Room)

My roommate this year was Kala from My Breezy Room. She is as cute as a button and I love her style! She is also a bit, ahem, younger than me so she’s helping me navigate all the social media stuff I’m still not up to speed on. ;)


These lovely ladies made me laugh until I (almost) peed my pants every.single.night. On the left is Karah from The Space Between and on the right is Sabrina from Plantation Relics.


I also the privilege of catching up with one of my favorite blogging ladies, Carrie from Making Lemonade. She’s a fellow Pa. girl, which makes her extra special. ;)

In addition to kickin’ it with my blogging sisters at Haven, I got the chance to meet with representatives from brands I’d like to work with in the future. And I took away a ton of information about how I can grow my blog and DIY skills. This conference is priceless!

But despite all the wonderful friendships forged and tips and strategies absorbed, I seem to also come home from Haven each year with a self-inflicted icky feeling that I’m somehow lacking … lacking in style, beauty, business success, notoriety, accomplishment, friends, youthfulness … blah, blah, blah, the list goes on.

I can’t really put my finger on why I feel this way other than, when I see all the amazing things these ladies around me are accomplishing, I guess my default reaction is to feel like I’m somehow missing out. And this makes me sad because I know deep down that what I’m really missing is the clarity to see how abundant my life right now truly is.

I recently read a post by Michael Hyatt that explored the roots of this icky feeling. What I discovered after reading his post was that this comparison trap that often has me in its clutches is a common one.

The tendency for us to focus on what we should go after rather than expressing gratitude for what we already have is a by-product of what researcher Brené Brown calls our “culture of ‘never enough.’”

Speaking from experience, I can say that falling into this trap leaves me discouraged and even sometimes debilitated, and it masks the tremendous gifts and blessings I’m currently experiencing in my life.

So, in an effort to take the great from Haven but leave the feeling of inadequacy behind, I’ve decided to look at my experience through a different lens, the lens of gratitude. This lens has the power to focus my view on all the awesome things happening to me right now, and there are honestly too many of them to count.

If you’re like me and you sometimes feel like you are lacking, here are some tips to help change your focus and view your circumstances in a more flattering light:

  1. Start each day with praise. For me, this means that after I wake up and get my bearings, I set aside a short (but highly effective) quiet time where I begin by thanking God for all the blessings in my life.
  2. Embrace a “to-don’t” list. One of my biggest weaknesses is saying yes to too many things. Recently, however, I’ve gotten better at the “to don’ts” (i.e. saying no to the wrong activities and avoiding low-priority tasks). This practice helps me accomplish my top priorities. It also allows me to feel OK with the fact that I will never be able to do it all, but I can do the right things for me and my family at this moment.
  3. Lend a helping hand. The easiest way I’ve found to get out of the “why me” slump is to reach out and help others in need. Volunteering time for a cause greater than myself always has the profound ability to completely change my focus - in nearly an instant. The shift in my attitude and outlook that I experience after I participate in a mission trip, worship practice or nursing home visit is a blessing far greater than my contribution to the cause.

I’ll leave you today with this wise quote from Michael Hyatt:

“We will never have more of what we truly desire until we become fully thankful for what we have.”

What I’m wearing to Haven

I am so incredibly pumped to be flying to Atlanta tomorrow to attend my third Haven Conference. This conference is geared primarily toward DIY bloggers. Topics at the event center around DIY and design instruction as well as blogging and social media strategies.

Like a bird who needs pushed out of its nest to learn how to fly, conferences like Haven push me out of my comfort zone in so many ways. I have to take a really deep breath when I embark on trips like this (I can be a bit of an introvert). But the experience always turns out to be extremely positive, teaching me to be a more skilled DIYer, blogger and all-around-better human being. So I’m grateful for and blessed to have the opportunity to go. 

Each year, I’ve approached the Haven Conference a little differently, which I think shows my growth as a DIY blogger and also shows how helpful this conference is for folks at any level.

For example, my first year I focused on learning some basic DIY tricks, like painting, using small power tools, etc. Last year, I focused on learning more advanced interior design techniques and how to build stuff from scratch. 

This year, I’m approaching the event even more intentionally. I plan to focus primarily on learning about the business of blogging. Hopefully, I’ll have the opportunity to connect with some of the brands I love and, most importantly, network with fellow bloggers that I can build more long-term collaborative relationships with.

But, of course, I must put first things first … what to wear to the conference. ;)

I actually haven’t done much shopping at all for this event. (We’re trying to live rich on less around here, you know?) So I mostly relied on my trusty Fashion board on Pinterest to help me put together a few outfits out of stuff I already had in my closet.

Tomorrow is a travel day, so I’m doing comfortable. I typically like to wear layers when I fly because the air conditioning in the plane is often chilly, while the airport waiting areas can be warm and stuffy.


Tomorrow evening is the welcome reception, which has been a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres event in the past. Here’s what I think I’ll wear:


  • Dress – Ann Taylor from Gabe’s
  • Necklace – New York & Company from Gabe’s
  • Shoes – Shoe Dept.
  • Purse – New York & Company

Friday is a conference day. Here’s the outfit I have planned:


  • Jacket – Gap Outlet
  • Shirt – Sam’s Club
  • Necklace – Claire’s
  • Shorts – Gap Outlet
  • Shoes – Target

If I need to kick things up a notch for dinner, this is my go-to dress:


  • Dress – New York & Company

Saturday is the final conference day. Here’s what I think I’ll wear:


  • Shirt – New York & Company
  • Pants – Express

I may throw in a maxi dress and another outfit that can go from day to night. But the pieces pictured will make up my basic wardrobe. One thing I’ve learned: I’ve got to keep that suitcase as light as possible to fit the swag bag without going over the allowed weight on the way home!

What do you think of my outfit selections? Do you have any travel or wardrobe advice for me before I head south? I’d love to read your feedback.

Also, before I begin packing, I wanted to share a fun board I recently curated on Hometalk. It’s a collection of ideas for DIY swings for the summer. Yes, there’s still time for you to make a swing this summer. And you’ll definitely want to after you see all the inspiration.


Special thanks to Duluth Trading Company for providing, at no cost to me, the shirt and skinny jeans I’ll be wearing as I travel to Haven this year. 

How to get organized for real

Do you feel like your finances, schedule and even sometimes your thoughts are out of control?

Does the clutter and chaos in your home give you anxiety and stress when what you really long for is joy, peace and rest?

Do you feel like your family’s health and well-being are suffering due to your lack of organization?

Then you need to read this e-book:

Book-cover-low-resFor many years – heck, for most of my life – I tried desperately to keep my home and life organized. I’d do well for awhile then “fall off the wagon.” Things would pile up and my schedule would get out of control. I’d vow to do better next time. I would embark on another epic cleaning and organizing binge, and the cycle of struggling would begin all over again.

I finally decided there had to be a better, more consistent and less stressful way to live. So I got serious about finding organizing solutions that worked for chronically messy and busy moms like me.

I discovered that if I regularly practiced a few basic strategies in five key areas of organization, everything else in my life seemed to fall into relatively good order. I began to experience lasting joy and peace and I even started noticing that my home seemed more comfortable and my family was way happier, too.

I started sharing my tips with friends and family members and they encouraged me to write a book about them. So in an effort to help other people out there struggling like me to keep their crazy busy lives organized, I wrote “Organized for Real: How to Conquer Life’s Top 5 Chaos Hotspots.”

This super affordable e-book is jam-packed with helpful (and easily doable!) information. It will be available this summer through my website and on Amazon. I wanted to give y’all a heads up before it launches because I am so excited about the book and I really believe it will be helpful for many of you. The principles in this book have changed my own life dramatically!

I’ll be sharing more about the book release soon, so stay tuned for details.

In the meantime, do you have an area in your life that you wish could be more organized? Would you like some advice on how to get organized for real? Leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to answer your questions or concerns.