BEYOND THE PUMPKIN | A Few Simple Thanksgiving Tablescapes to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

I’m all for decorating my home and setting the table with things that I already have in my own home. Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE buying new things but when I AM buying those things, I typically try to purchase items that are basics and that I can use beyond just one season.

Insert the settings below that check just about every functional and perfect aesthetic for me. I know I am probably one of the few possibly who aren’t celebrating Christmas right now. I actually just love the fall and all it brings and how it evokes and calls to each of us to enter in to a season of rest and opening opportunity for others to enter into that alongside us—especially in our homes.

With that being said, here are a few non-traditional table settings I’ve rounded up to help get your juices flowing. Most of them I chose because they are simple and allow you to gather things around your home that you already have. Whether it’s mismatched flatware or plates, guaranteed you’ve got just what you need to get the party started.

Prepare yourselves, friends. These are pretty good and these ladies did not hold back on creating timeless tablescapes that would no doubt make anyone in the room linger just a little bit longer.

Up first are these two from Apartment 34. I love the '“collected over time” look and feel of these settings. Although I am sure they sourced from some pretty cool artisans, you could also easily duplicate this look by shopping your local thrift and other retailers. I absolutely adore the muted colors and the free flow of the arrangement of the table. Collectively, the setting is frill-free and offers those at the table the ability to be at ease. That’s a feeling I think just about any host would strive for. These (above and below) get the thumbs up from me, for sure.

via  Rip + Tan

Jenni Kayne (above) has been a fave of mine for a few years now and each season she consistently delivers loads of inspiration for home. This one’s from a couple of years back but because of the timeless style she offers, it’s still relevant

Always a fan of the the contrast that a darker bottom layer brings, this tablescape from Rose and Ivy surely delivers a very traditional punch with a twist. By simply placing the pear on the setting with the cloth napkin not only are you giving opportunity for a “one-stop shop” of sorts for those dining with you but you give the eye somewhere to go which makes guests feel more entertained (crazy how our brains work) and also adds visual interest to the table. This idea continues with the texture of the florals and the ornateness of the gold flatware, the scallop of the plates and even the texture of the bread board. That addition also breaks up the traditional feel and gives the table more of a modern feel. To see more, just click on the link the image caption.

Give me muted colors ALL day. I’m a happy girl. This table from House of Perez is surely on my short list of favorites. What I love about going with non-traditional colors and decor is that you don’t have to box yourself in to only using them during a specific time of year and, in this case, the fall. Choosing this option also allows you to save money in the long run as you’re not making seasonal purchases. For most of us, little things like saving money in places like this matter. So, in that case, I’ll consider that a win for us all.

Speaking of muted colors, this simple and minimal tablescape nearly stopped me dead in my tracks. And, these plates, guys. My goodness. There’s not one aspect of this table I’m not in love with. If I had to choose a favorite I think those rust orange cloth napkins may be my most favorite thing on this table. This one was pulled together for wedding inspirational purposes but I love that it can absolutely stretch far beyond that in usage.

So, not I wanna know…are you decorating your table for fall or do you save all of your energy for Christmas decor and entertaining? What’s your favorite tablescape above? I hope you’ve been inspired to think a little out of the box and past pumpkins if you are one of those who plans on setting a nice, fun table for Thanksgiving. Lemme know in the comments below and happy, happy decorating, friends!



WHEN THINGS GET TOUGH: how I’m getting through the hard times

I feel like that title is a little misleading. I guess you could say I feel that way because when I mention the word hard in the title it should actually read “really hard like can’t get outta the bed and you feel like you’re dying and you’ve lost it all…hard”. The past year was pretty rough for me.

It's been a year since I've written anything not related to my book. (which is set for a February release, BTW-hooray!) The blog and biz have gone through tremendous ups and down and our personal lives saw more change in 2017-18 than I even have room here to mention. I had so many plans for what I wanted to do with the blog, with life, with my family, with my husband, with friends and then it seemed life had it’s way with me. Admittedly, for a while, I wasn’t sure I’d survive it. From health issues to what I’d dub as nearly depression, I’ve survived my fair share of ups and downs that have done their best to kill me. By the grace of God, I stand. I press. I keep moving forward. Not out of obligation or responsibility but because I made a decision a long time ago that there is really just no other way to live.

I've questioned a lot over the year. "Have I lost my touch?" "What am I supposed to be doing right now?" "Is blogging still something that's meant for me or am I done?"

When it comes to my creativity I've learned over the years that life circumstances play a major role in just how inspired I may be on any given day or even from month-to-month. I've also learned to ride the wave because typically, when the tide of creativity goes out, it tends to come right back in if you ride it long enough.

I took some time to rest. Okay, so maybe I was forced into it but I digress. Sometimes forced rest is just what we need which is why I guess it has to be forced. I'd like to think God has a way of reminding us of what we need. Albeit gently, He relentlessly and passionately gives us just what we need to ensure we are just where we need to be when we need to be there. 


Sometimes I'd like to arrive faster. I'm sure I'm not alone in that. Most of us live our lives searching for the meaning of life and running after what we believe to be our purpose. 

I'd say this past year looked less like a search and more like a peace in knowing that my purpose, regardless of what it may look like or how I may be fulfilling it, is and always will be found in Him. In an effort to not sound like a motivational speaker or a “got it all together” guru, I’d like to couple the aforementioned truth with, well, more truth. Knowing that your purpose is found in Him and KNOWING your purpose is found in Him are two completely different things and sometimes (read: 99.9% of the time) easier said than actually done.


I'm not sure what life looks like for you right now but if you're reading this and nodding your head as you scroll, this is for you. I'd like to offer you bit of encouragement as I ride this wave of certain uncertainty and take hold of hope right along with you: you're gonna make it through. I will go even further to say that not only will we make it through, friend, but we will choose to thrive in this season of the

uncertainty in what we see. 

The one thing that will remain is the hope that we have in a Creator who relentlessly pursues us and captures us daily with His grace, His mercy, His love and His peace and in only the way He can, guide us in the uneasy and our unsteady waves of life. 


proverbs 3:5-6

trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths. 

This verse may or may not be familiar to you but it's one that guides me in and out of days that become weeks and weeks that become months of what quickly transform to the equivalent of the Israelites roaming for 40 years. And while I've never felt lost for that long, I'm human and I lean toward emotional responses so, for me, that means that sometimes months feel 40 years. Just me? 

If you're a little like me, keep reading. Below you'll find a few ways I've found to help me thrive and grow when things seem as stagnant as ever in my own life. 



I listed this one first 'cause, for me, it's the most important. And don't get me wrong, I love people. But that's not why it's first either. As I've gotten older, I have found that my social circles get smaller and smaller and the smaller those circles become, the more introverted I become. I love my alone time even in the best of seasons and when things get tough, I want to be alone even more. This is not the time to retreat to yourself and your favorite playlists for quiet time. Granted, those times are important but there is a difference between occasional alone time and avoiding relationships, conversations and people altogether. Keep the close ones closer. The ones you can trust will be the ones that will help pull you out of the miry clay and help propel you into a your thriving season. 



One of the easiest things for me to do when I am having a hard time is to stop doing what I love. In my life it looks like what you're looking at right now: writing. This essentially equates to  anything creative in my life. One thing I have found, however, is that many times creating is just the thing that brings me out of my funk or lull and helps me feel the closest to MY creator. What does creating look like for you? What do you love? What are you passionate about or what moves you? KEEP. ON. DOING. THAT. Fight for it with all that's in you. You have been created to create. Whether it's words of encouragement and building the lives of others as a speaker or whether it's actually creating something tangible that you can see or touch, there is nothing more real than connecting with your purpose and what you have been created to do and being reminded that you have purpose than when you are walking in that with full confidence. 



Be patient with yourself. I'm a recovering perfectionist. I mean, I know I say that like it's some diagnosis that my doc gave me. It's not. And, to be honest, I don't love saying it but for the sake of this story and for helping you understand why this is so important, it's a label I will use. What I've been completely convicted by in using this term is the freedom that comes when I realize that I don't have to be perfect because I am forever in the process of being perfected by God. It frees me up to be just who I am and that, in and of itself, is a thought simple enough to set the world free. Ideally. Unfortunately hearing that and actually acting on it are two completely separate things. I know. Trust me. When we remember that we don't need to be perfect and that life isn't, nor will it ever be perfect, we release waves of freedom and allow God to work in us in His time instead of our own. If I'm honest, many times, this mindset is what lands me in this crazy circle of confusion where I am left trying to understand how I got there in the first place. Most of the time, it's because I attempted to take matters into my own hands or decided God wasn't moving FAST enough. ("Meh, it's ok God. You've done a good job *insert proverbial pat on the head* but I've got this now. Thanks.") 

Give it time. Keep your people close. Do what you love. Watch God move in your life and heart in ways you'd never imagined. You've got a friend in me. Come back here for virtual hugs as often as you'd like. Guaranteed, most days, I’ll be in need of one too.





I'm not even sure how to start this one off.


So, I guess I will take it back to almost a year ago when I was spending some time with a friend. 

styling | kennesha buycks  photography |  tiarra sorte

styling | kennesha buycks

photography | tiarra sorte

Our kids were in and out of the house, up and down the stairs, on and off the potty yet, for some reason that day, we didn't seem to mind at all.  Our conversation was full of good nuggets and lots of yummy coffee. Coffee is always a good thing to add to conversations around here. Just makes things better. 

Anyhow, just as we'd realized our precious time was coming to a close, I took a deep breath and said, "We are so rich.". 

I honestly don't know where it came from. Can I be completely candid with you? Until a few months back I would never have even thought to let something like this come out of my mouth. 

I mean, I've had moments here and there where I've been thankful for things but most of the time I lived my life so caught up in the little details that really didn't matter I couldn't ever really focus on the big picture. 

The kids need this. I serve all day. We're pulled in 50 different directions. I am so tired. I don't feel like doing that. Can I get a break? Can someone do something for me? 

Blah. Blah. Blah. 

We don't mean to do it but we all, at some point in our day to day lives, respond in this way.  


While some of these thoughts may never make it to our mouths, we can sometimes rehearse them over and over again in our hearts. 

Luke 6:45

A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. 

Whoa. That's heavy. Right? 

Well, while the thought of knowing that the things we say can be directly related to the state of our hearts, it brings great delight to know that God is in the business of giving us new ones. 

I tend to believe that my thoughts often line up with my heart as well. 


When thinking of what we have and what we do not have it really is a matter of perspective, a change of heart and what we allow our minds to focus on that will lead us down an unhealthy path of discontentment or allow us to focus on the many amazing people and circumstances God has given to us or placed us in. 

I'm not saying it's the easiest thing in the world, especially when we've practiced the opposite for so long. However, just like any other muscle in our bodies the heart can be strengthened and become stronger when we put qualities like gratitude and thanksgiving to practice. 



Can I just say, BTW...I'm not just preaching this at you. I'm right here in the middle of this thing with you. We bombard ourselves with media and images and fill our minds and hearts with the desires of others' ultimately unknowingly becoming numb and rejecting the desires and plan of our Creator. This is just an opportunity for us to serve notice to oursSELVES that we are ready to live a more fulfilled life and use the gifts that God has given us to live in freedom and call purpose out in others. This heart check, if you will,  is just another step to living in THAT freedom. 

With that being said, here are a few ways I am learning to live in the moments and begin to foster an environment where, from the inside-out. 




And I don't just mean the way you think about things.  I know it sounds pretty blunt and straight forward but it's true. How many times have you left the comfort of your home or neighborhood to volunteer with or give your time to those living in situations or have lifestyles culturally perceived as less fortunate to return to yours with a new lease on life? I get it, we all want to provide good things, safe homes and neighborhoods and an amazing life for our kids but what's any of that really mean if  we don't give them a worldview of just how amazing God is in not just our lives but others' and how He wants to us ALL of us to better one another? It's so much easier to focus on what you don't have when you stay in your own little bubble. 



Just as the scripture says, what our hearts store, our mouths speak. Many times the heart and the head are one in the same. I want to practice, in my mind, being thankful. I want to rehearse the goodness of God in my life over and over again. I want my children to hear me saying how amazed I am at the goodness of God in our lives and not just hear me say it but feel me mean it. 

Psalm 27:13 I remain confident in this, I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 

It's a promise. His goodness surrounds us, we need only open our eyes, our minds, our hearts to seeing it around us. 

Take some time daily, weekly, whenever...but be purposeful about tuning your heart and mind to rehearsing gratitude in the margins of your bible or in a journal on your bedside. Keep it in your car when the moment hits you. The more we exercise the muscle of thankfulness, the more it becomes our knee-jerk reaction to situations and thoughts that come our way. 



I guess number two and three kind of go hand in hand but how amazing is life when we open it up to those around us? I don't think I can really say it any better than Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:11-13 (MSG):

Dear, dear Corinthians, I can't tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn't fence you in.  The smallness you feel comes from within you.  Your lives aren't small, but you're living them in a small way.  I'm speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!

This is honestly one of my most favorite scriptures. I don't know about you when you read it but I almost take it as a challenge. A "taste and see that the Lord is good" kind of challenge. 

We are not called to live the small lives that are many times a result of unhealthy thought patterns. These thought patterns develop many times as a result of negative thinking about who we are but where we are in our careers, families, relationships, etc. We fence ourselves in with every single negative thought that we allow to control us.

We are rich, indeed: 

Our lives are full of His goodness, His grace, His mercy.

Our hearts are full of His praise.

Our moments are filled with laughter and our time and thoughts filled not with the mundane but with the overwhelming sense of not just the richness of our lives but the fullness and richness that living a life in Him and with Him brings.