Tuesday, August 30

Please Pray

On Friday, my sister called to tell me my aunt was diagnosed with brain cancer. Aunt Joy has four children, ages 15 and under. This isn't the first time tragedy has touched their family; one of my cousins was born with a heart defect and died only a few days after he was born. My uncle Rod was in a severe car accident. But through all of that, they still praised God. This trial is no different.

Yesterday, she was scheduled to have a biopsy. Before we heard anything about that, Brian and I got a text from my father-in-law. He had taken my mother-in-law to the ER at 2:30 am. She was having extreme pain in her abdomen and could barely move her legs. After a CAT scan and x-rays, they couldn't find anything. They sent her to Des Moines for an MRI and meeting with a neurologist.

My FIL didn't respond to Brian's or my phone calls or texts, but in the early afternoon, I got a phone call from my dad. He said that the biopsy determined that the tumor was not cancer, after all. However, it was a very aggressive type of tumor, that had tentacles reaching into the back of her brain. It was already being to reproduce. The doctors said that she would need radiation for the rest of her life....which might not be very long. They said that the best case scenario is five years, the worst, one and a half.

My dad was very calm. He is a chaplain in the national guard, and he has been the bearer of bad news many, many times. "A year will give us a few more holidays where we can all be together," he said, and his voice caught a little.
My Aunt Joy

I called Brian and told him the news between sobs. "I'm coming home. I'll be there in half an hour."

We sat on the couch with our arms around each other for awhile. Part of me wondered, why Aunt Joy? Of all the people in the world, why someone so compassionate, so loving, so focused on serving God and reaching the lost? Why a family that has already suffered so much?

Brian said, "Because He knows they can handle it." And he's right. While many people would throw up their hands, curse God and die, God knows that this family will respond like Job:
20Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped21And he said, "Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."
And even though Aunt Joy is young, she has touched so many lives. She hasn't wasted her life or lived selfishly. Even if she is not with us for many more years, she will have accomplished more for God's glory than many people who live to be eighty.

On the caring bridge page for my aunt, my uncle Rod said this:
"God can still do a miracle in and through Joy, and we will pray that way. We will also pray for HIS will for our family. We know that God is good. He is always good. We know that He is mighty, and we just know that He is going to do mighty things through this. We want to be very, very clear...we are giving God ALL of the glory and honor...we are still praising Him...we are still loving Him. What we want more than anything is to be used to bring HIM glory."
It wasn't until late afternoon that we got an update on Brian's mom. She was going to spend the night at the hospital and have an MRI in the morning. My FIL was discouraged; her case had baffled four doctors already.
Us with Brian's parents

Our senior pastor invited us over to his house last night, and shared some scripture and encouragement with us. He reminded us that God protects His children, and that no matter what the doctors say, nothing can harm them until God is finished using them on earth. They are held in His hands, sheltered under His wings. We read Psalms 91:
14"Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;   I will protect him, because he knows my name.15When he calls to me, I will answer him;   I will be with him in trouble;   I will rescue him and honor him.16With long life I will satisfy him   and show him my salvation."
Today I still have tears, but I also have peace.

Our senior pastor gets free plane tickets from a pilot who goes to our church. He gave us a free plane ticket that he wasn't going to use, since it expires in October, and called the pilot. "Captain Mike" was able to get us another free ticket, so that Brian and I can fly standby home to Iowa on Thursday.

Would you pray with us? Please pray for...

  • My cousins, Lydia, James, Ellie, and Anna, and my uncle, Rod. 
  • My dad and uncle Duke, Aunt Joy's siblings.
  • My Nana and Papa, my grandparents. 
  • All of my extended family
  • Safe travel for Brian and me
  • That we will be a blessing to our family
  • Healing for Aunt Joy, if it is God's will
  • Healing for my MIL, if it's God's will
  • Peace for both of them
  • Wisdom for the doctors
Could you say a prayer for them in the comments here? It would be such a blessing to me. Click on "links to this post" to leave a comment. 

Thursday, August 25


I am slowly but surely working on a new blog! Don't worry, Scribbles From Emily won't go anywhere. I plan to keep Scribbles as my personal blog, and the new blog, while still somewhat personal, will be more informational in nature.

What do I mean by that? My new blog will focus on newlyweds and young marrieds: inspiring, educating, and assisting wives adjusting to marriage. It seems to me that there are loads of wedding planning blogs, but very few newlywed blogs. After all, isn't planning for marriage more important than planning for a wedding?

 I hope to fit in this niche by writing posts to strengthen marriages by giving suggestions for loving your spouse, healthy conflict resolution, getting along with in-laws and other family members and friends,  putting meals on the table after a day of working or school, simplifying home life with organization tips, and decorating a new home.

I'm looking for regular contributors for the new blog: two or three people who can write for it once a week. If you are 1.young and married, and 2. interested in writing for that audience, and 3. have strong writing skills, send me an email. I'm especially looking for someone with specialized experience in one or more of the topic I mentioned above, such as cooking.  I'll be looking for guest posts too, so if you'd like to write something for newlyweds but aren't sure about doing it on a weekly basis, keep that in mind!

In other news, perhaps you've noticed that my posting has become more sporadic (If you haven't, that's good). Since school has started up, I'm finding it really difficult to keep posting three times a week. I'm not sure how I did it last year! At least until I get into a routine, I plan to cut down my posting to twice a week.

I could use your help with coming up with some ideas for future blog posts! What do you wish someone had told you as a newlywed? What do you wish you had done differently, or what are you glad you did? What were/are your biggest challenges? If you aren't married, what would anticipate wanting to know more about?

Tuesday, August 23

29 Decorating and Organizing Ideas for Your Dorm Room Part 2

Welcome to part two of our decorating series. As I mentioned in part one, even if you don't have a dorm room to deck out, many of these ideas are adaptable for an apartment office, bedroom, child's room, or other small spaces. For those of us decorating on a budget, I've included wallet-friendly options with Pottery Barn style.

Planners and Calendars

Fail to plan =  plan to fail. Lucky for you, there are lots of tools available to help you manage your time well, and keep track of your assignments and social life.

1. Splurge: All the heart eye emojis for this gold foil pineapple planner ($58.00) from Emily Ley!

2. Budget: You're almost guaranteed a lovely day with this floral ban.do planner from Papersource ($20.00). It comes with stickers!

3. Splurge: Set up a command central with one of these! $229.99 – $337 at Pottery Barn.

4. Budget: This chalkboard is peel and stick! $5.24 for four 9 x 12 sheets. Add four cork board tiles for $7.99 - you can always cover them with fabric if you'd like.

Whiteboards and Message Boards. 

Make it easy for someone to let you know they stopped by, or just say hi.

5. Splurge: Make a great first impression with the Victorian Frame Dry-Erase Message Board Decal from Pottery Barn Teen for $59.00.

6. Budget: Buy a picture frame from a thrift store, and instead of a photo, put fabric or pretty paper on the inside. Or, cover the glass with a whiteboard sticker.

    Hang out Space.

    Most likely, our favorite memories after four years of school will be the times you spent with friends. So make your space comfortable, and memorable!

    Deck the walls with some decals!
    7. Splurge: Apartment Therapy has this post on decals and removable wallpaper, with lots of options.

    8. Splurge: When I went to college, I really liked the look of the blue and green bubble decals from PB Teen. But I didn't have $50 to spend on them.

    9. Budget: I got the same look for just pennies. I traced around cups and a plate to create three different sized circles... on tissue paper! Then I taped them to the walls in a bubble pattern. I loved it, and visitors always complimented it!

    10. Splurge: Along the same lines, today Pottery Barn has gold circle decals for $45. 

    11. Budget: If you can't find gold tissue paper, I mentioned in part one of decorating ideas for your dorm room that you can buy a roll of gold or copper contact paper that will stick to the wall for around $10.00 a roll, then just cut out or punch your own circles or triangles. 


    These round chairs might be the best reading chairs you'll ever sit in. They are SO comfortable.

    12. Splurge: these chairs from PB Teen cost over $100 each.

    13. Budget: They might be a little smaller, but the price difference is enough to convince me they're worth it. $50 for Dish Chairs on Amazon.


    When living in a small space, making the most of storage space is crucial. Let's start with your closet:

    14. Splurge: This classy shoe rack holds 18 pairs ($40.65).

    15. Budget: I used one of these for my shoes, but you could use it for extra drawer space, storing books, towels, or whatever fits in the compartments ($14.99 on Amazon).

    This one from Target costs a little more, but it adds space just for shoes ($21.99). And if that's not enough room for your shoes, Carrie Bradshaw, this might do the trick: 30 Pair Shoe Rack ($23.79).

    16. Double your hanging space with a closet doubler ($6.95)!

    17. Make the most of your closet shelves with these dividers. I think these are pretty much genius! Use them to maximize your vertical shelf space in any closet.

    18. Splurge: Canvas storage boxes with lids allow for easy stacking. This set of three is $33.39.

    19. Budget: For literally just a few cents more, you can buy TWELVE of these plastic shoe boxes. I can't seem to have enough of these: they're the perfect size for holding everything from craft supplies to all the cords to and chargers to various electronics to school supplies. And of course, actual shoes.

    20. Here's a tip I wish I'd known earlier: make use of your door space! You can always hang a shoe organizer over it. Apartment Therapy has 10 ideas for ways to use an over the door shoe organizer.

    21. But what about an over the door ironing board ($36.00)? 

    22. Or an over the door pantry for all your ramen? 

    24. A clothes hamper?

    26. Or a towel rack for your bath towels?

    Bet you wish you had more doors.

    If you don't have a loft bed, you can also make the most of the space underneath your bed.

    27. Get more space underneath by putting your bed on risers, like these 6-inch black bed risers from Amazon.com, a set of four for $9.95.
    If you don't have much closet space, underneath your bed is a great place to store out of season clothes, extra bedding, or towels. Or, you could store art supplies, books you aren't using, or anything you don't want out in the open.

    28. Splurge: Underbed storage boxes with hinges, a set of two for $51.90.

    29. Budget: Underbed storage bag, for $5.99.

    What are your storage or decor ideas? Share them in the comments below!

    This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

    Wednesday, August 17

    18 Decorating and Storage Ideas For Your Dorm Room (and other small spaces)

    In addition to new school supplies, something else that makes going back to school exciting is getting to move into a new space and redecorate. My little sister is going to college for the first time, and I thought that perhaps some of you readers might be in a similar situation. Then I realized that many of these ideas work for decorating other small spaces, so even if you don't have a dorm room to decorate, you might be inspired by these ideas for decorating your apartment, office, bedroom, or child's room.*

    Walls and Windows

    Hanging Lights. Let's start with some ambiance.

    Via Modcloth
    I hung Christmas lights around my loft bed to decorate for the holidays, and ended up loving it so much, they stayed up for the rest of the year! Hang under your loft bed for a nice glow over your desk, drape around your windows, doorways, or ceiling.

    1. Splurge Option: Globe cafe lights like the ones above are around $25 for a string of 25 lights.

    2. Budget Option: Another option is to just use Christmas lights and ping-pong balls! Cut a hole in ping-pong balls and attach to the light to look like fancy globe lights - check out the tutorial from Say Yes.

    3. Splurge Option: This pretty paper string of lights is on sale at Pottery Barn for $19.99. The 12-19 inch paper lanterns from Pottery Barn in the picture below are $12 to $19 each. They come in a mirad of colors and patterns, so you shouldn't have trouble matching the rest of your room.  The kit to hang them is sold separately for $15.

    4. Budget Option: This Turquoise Blue Chinese/Japanese Paper Lantern/Lamp 12" Diameter - Just Artifacts Brand from Amazon.com is $2.99. It also comes in light green and orange, and the price for all three is $7.74.

    5. The Electric Cord for Paper Lanterns, which enables hanging them from the ceiling, is $8.47, and Amazon also has many inexpensive options for paper lantern string lights, ranging from $4.50-$19.99.

    Curtains. Hanging curtains instantly adds a homey feel! All you'll need are a couple panels (be sure to read the package, the picture on the front may show two panels but only contain one) and suspension rods.

    6. And don't think windows are the only place your curtains can go: hide your clothes and shoes from view by hanging one over your closet, or create a private study space by hanging one around your desk, under your loft, or to cover up blank white walls.

    Via Residence Style
    Via Babble
    7. Splurge: Curtains at Walmart are about $15 a panel, and suspension rods are around $10.

    8. Budget: You can make your own curtains for much less out of sheets! With some craft paint and a simple stamp, you're in business! Minimal crafting skill necessary.

    Frame It. Because dorms and many apartments don't allow nails in the wall, you'll have to get creative.

    Cool Kids Rooms.com
    9. For this look, attach these clear adhesive key hooks to the wall. Cut and tie ribbons to your picture frames, alternating the length, and hang from the hooks. For a different look, alternate colors with the ribbon to match your decor, or use twine for a rustic/vintage feel.

    10. Splurge: Get one (or a few) of these wire letters to hold photos and memorabilia. $15.50 each from Pottery Barn.

    11. Budget: With cardboard letters and Mod Podge, you can make your own letter art! Mod Podge photos, scrapbook paper, or fabric to the letter for a one of a kind collage. For a step by step tutorial, follow along with Katie in this tutorial for making Mod Podged Paper Mache Letters
    Wallcoverings. You can't leave any trace, so you'll have to get creative.

    12. Splurge: There is such a thing as removable wall paper! How cute is this speckled wall paper from Chasing Paper for $35 a roll?

    Or this arrow removable wall paper from Kate Zaremba on Etsy for $27?

    13. Budget: Add some accents to your wall, like gold dots or gold triangles. Or for even less, buy metallic contact paper and cut out your own shapes! Then you'll have enough left over for some of the other projects mentioned later in this post.

    Vinyl Wall Stickers from Urban Walls

    Study Space

    Having cute desk supplies may help you get better grades...well, that might be wishful thinking, but having a well-organized desk will help you manage your time better and study more efficiently.

    Desktop Accessories. What's your style? Modern, whimsical, chic?

    14. Splurge: These accessories add a little class to your work space. $12 - $29, per piece from Pottery Barn.

    15. Budget: This entire 6 piece black mesh set from Amazon is only $19.99. At that price, you could afford to spray paint it metallic gold!

    16. And you could always accessorize it with some of the Kate Spade folders. $32 for a set of six on Amazon.

    17. Splurge: I have a major crush on the Kate Spade office supplies. Don't we all? The investment might be worth it: on Amazon, this four piece set as a bundle is $112.92. 

    18. Budget: Get this clear 5 compartment organizer ($10) and these clear interlocking drawer organizers ($15), and add some copper or gold contact paper to the bottom to achieve the Kate Spade look!

    Since I've simply got too many ideas to fit in one post, on Friday next week I'll share with you ideas and options for planning for assignments and keeping track of important social life details, as well as decor for your dorm hang out (lounge/ kitchen) area, and storage solutions for making the most of your closet space. Update: Here's Part Two!

    *Note: this post was originally written in 2011! Since many of the products were no longer available, I updated it in 2015 and added some fresh ideas.

    Do you have some great dorm or small space decor ideas? Share them with us in the comments!