July 19, 2020

beloved, you are enough

right as quarantine was beginning in march, I was wrapping up my first children's book, DAVEY, and gosh, what a mix of big emotions. (I'm obviously very rusty at the blogging thing, seeing as it's been three months since I've released my book and only now blogging about it. ha!) 
I'm very excited to put this work out into the world, because I think it's a message that everyone can connect to - not just kids, but adults too. inside each of us, there's a kid who longs to feel special and seen and heard, to feel validated and valued. I'm a firm believer that no matter how many years we've been on this earth, we never outgrow the need for the reassurance that we are, in fact, enough. I hope and pray this book touches the heart of whoever holds and reads it.

to go along with the book, I painted an image for our phones, based on the color scheme and feel of the story. I'm also selling a very similar 5x7 print in my shop if you'd like a daily reminder in your home. :)

and for the next week, anyone who purchases DAVEY will also receive a kids' bookmark for free! 

thanks for all the love and support so many of you have already shown! 

sending big hugs to all of you!

June 5, 2020

"...in diversity, there is beauty and there is strength."
- Maya Angelou

January 2, 2020

here comes the sun

if I had to choose one big takeaway from 2019, it's that fire and trials are inevitably followed by healing and growth. that darkness is followed by light. that the sun always rises. even if weeping endures all through the night, joy comes in the morning, painting the sky with all its color and warmth.

i've borrowed some lyrics from one of my favorite little songs and made a wallpaper for our phones as a simple, daily reminder to think on hope and remember that truth.

may 2020 be a year colored with light, warm with hope, marked by time spent with the ones we love.

happy new year!

May 11, 2018

a season of new...

Oh winter, where is your sting? For faithful comes the face of Spring!

Having lived in Montana for 5ish years - through rain and ice and months on end of snow snow SNOW - the season of spring became a glowing beacon of hope. Hope that the walls of snow and sleet would eventually melt and give way to new growth. Hope that winter wouldn’t last forever. Thankfully, whether it felt true or not on those dark days, winter never wins. Even though it always seemed to last a little bit longer than I wanted it to, winter would eventually, inevitably surrender to spring. Year after year, new life would awaken from below that frozen surface, blooming and growing where all seemed dead and lost.

That yearly experience and now memory of faithful Spring triumphing over winter has become an unexpected pillar of faith for me. Trials threaten to leave us in a cold, bitter state of winter... but God uses that very snow of hardship to soften the soil our hearts, so that we might grow and bloom in ways that wouldn’t be possible in any other ‘easy’ climate. 

Montana was a journey of seasons [quite literally and figuratively]. A journey of snow and sunshine, of valleys and mountaintops. Of learning to let go, of forging friendships in fires. Of experiencing God’s grace in the wilderness. It wasn’t easy, but now looking back, I see it as a pivotal chapter in my story, one that was maybe prophetically titled “Thorn + Sparrow”.... a chapter of some of my hardest trials, but also a chapter of God’s unconditional care and love.

In 2011, I kind of stumbled into creating this little business. It wasn’t something I was actively seeking to do, I had just picked up my rusty paintbrush and started making things for people. Invitations and logo projects trickled in and I found myself saying, “Why not? Why not start a business? It wasn’t an intentional goal I had set, but I liked the idea so I went for it. And I loved it! Loved working with people, loved bringing commissions to life, loved painting and creating all day long. What a gift! It was amazing and I don’t ever regret going down that path... 

But sometimes good things can get in the way of the best things. That has been a whisper in my ear for almost a year now... knowing that this Thorn + Sparrow thing was a good thing... but realizing it’s no longer the best thing. Because when I look at it, the name itself reminds me of my time in Montana. That chapter was beautiful in so many ways for which I’m thankful - my husband and I met some of our best friends there, we bought our first house there, we had our Indie girl there. I see so many good things, yes, but at the same time I see my trials, my winters. Winters that represent things I’m ready to put behind me. I don’t want to keep looking at those past hurts and hurdles. I want to focus on what God has set before me, not behind me. 

Who I am today as an artist/wife/mom/believer is quite different than who I was when I started this thing.... and I know who I am today is different than who I’ll be in five years, and so on... so I wanted this new name to be something that could represent me in whatever state and season I’m in...


It’s just me and my crew through it all. :)
My family, my friends, my creative community, my literary characters that have been stirring around in my heart for years... this is where I feel the most creative freedom and fulfillment. This is where I feel truest to my calling, my belonging.

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported T+S throughout the years - whether we’ve collaborated on a project or you’ve downloaded a wallpaper or purchased a print... in whatever capacity we’ve connected - thank you!! I’m so excited to share this new chapter and all the new things with you!

So much love to you guys, my friends, my crew. :)

p.s. here’s a little peek at one of those literary characters [from a children’s book I hope to release later this year!] ... yay!

January 15, 2018

great expectations

most days, i wake up with some idea of how my morning will go - how my husband will interact with me, how great my coffee will taste, how my daughter will behave, etc - and unfortunately, if something feels subpar to that ideal, i'm bummed.

bummed that the morning felt rushed and stressful and i left the house makeup-less. bummed that my husband didn't wake up sooner to help me. bummed that my coffee now tastes cold and burnt because i made it myself [and it always tastes better when the husband makes it]...oh and now that cold/burnt coffee is spilling all over me because i'm carrying a toddler in one arm and my keys/phone/purse/coffee in the other. and now said adorable toddler is throwing a fit the size of mount doom because she doesn't have a book to read in her carseat.

"just one of those days" i mumble, annoyed and frustrated......
but what if i didn't place my expectations on the variables? what if i placed my expectations on the Constant? so that when the variables do change [because they will], my mood becomes immovable.

right before i got engaged, a friend of mine gave me some very poignant advice for my future marriage: "don't place your expectations on your husband. God is the only one who can take care of your expectations, only expect from Him. your husband is human, just like you, and if you place high expectations on him, he will inevitably disappoint you."

a light bulb clicked on. the concept of unmet expectations was absolutely enlightening. i had never heard anything like that! from childhood, i think most americans [and most christians] are taught to expect great things, even entitled to great things. great things as in that perfect house you found on pinterest, that luxurious european vacation, that perfectly curated closet... etc etc etc. i don't think there's anything wrong with having great expectations [or 'great' things for that matter] they're not inherently bad, but if those impossible expectations are continually aimed at someone or something that just doesn't have the power to meet or exceed them, then we will find ourselves feeling shorthanded, disappointed, and discouraged way more often than we find ourselves feeling happy, content, and fulfilled.

whether or not we realize or admit it, expectations tend to billow up and gravitate towards whatever we have our eyes on... and if you're married, your spouse is most likely the target, because he's tangible. but expectations can even be aimed at sibling/friend/parent relationships or anything else; and if our expectations are set to the highest bar for any of these, disappointment will inevitably grab hold of us, steal our joy and maybe even plant some seeds of bitterness in our hearts. only the steadfast Source of all faithfulness, encouragement, contentment, love and all the good things, can deliver perfection in everything... and our great expectations are already met, fulfilled, and exceeded in Him. God has already gone far beyond what any relationship, any person, and any thing can offer us.

"My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us." 
Psalm 62:5-8

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and He will give you the desires of your heart." 
Psalm 37:4

"If our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts and knows all things."
1 John 3:20

He alone is fully aware and capable of handling my expectations, my desires, and all the other immense longings of my heart... and when i give Him all that's in my heart, i'm able to truly have healthy relationships with the people around me.

when i stop expecting seeable perfection from my husband/parents/friends/kids/situations, then i can start enjoying the present, then i can let go of my ideals and cut my relationships, my home, my life some slack and actually cherish how they are, right here right now. when i stop expecting everything to look and be a certain idealistic way, then i can whole-heartedly experience contentment and thankfulness, because only then will i see that my imperfect life is already full of greatness.....
because the lovely mess of reality is much, much better than some imaginary picture of perfection.

let's strive to live in the now.... present over perfect [as shauna niequist quite perfectly said]. :)


......aaaaand this should go without saying, but with all that's happening right now, i feel like i need put a little disclaimer here: there's a certain level of behavior that should always be expected in our relationships - like mutual love, respect, honesty, and effort.... those are things that are vital to any relationship, SO no amount of verbal or physical abuse or manipulation should ever, EVER be tolerated. this post is in no way referring to toxic relationships, because that's a completely different issue. this post is more for the idealists like me - who are just expecting a little too much from the people and things around us.... and i hope that comes across. :)

January 7, 2018

kicking off 2018

whew! 2018 flew right in, didn't it?! i feel like i'm still catching my breath from christmas! hope you all had a lovely holiday season - even if it went by a little too fast!

last year was a full one, as most years tend to be... but last year felt especially full with both of my sisters getting married [which means twice the showers and parties and celebrations! and not to mention, invites!] and my lifelong bestie also getting hitched, then throw in a month long bout of pneumonia for all three of us [makes me sad to even think of little indie with that terrible cough, ugh]... well, you can maybe understand why i really didn't post much, or take on many outside projects at all during those twelve months. i'm hopeful that i'll have a little more creative time this year, even if it's just during nap times and in the late hours after indie's bedtime [it's after midnight as i write this]. :)

one of the first things i've had the pleasure of working on this year, is a portrait for this adorable family! what an honor to capture a family right where they are in life - with a love between them, three beautiful girls, and perfect new baby to hold; just magical! so happy and thankful savannah entrusted me with this sweet project. :)

September 27, 2017

grace fills in the gap (and picks up the books)

after leaving the grocery store the other day, a homeless man approached me. groceries had been loaded in the car, indie in her car seat. i saw him slowly walk towards us and my first thought wasn't "how can i help him?"
far from it. my first few thoughts were more along the lines of: "ok, is this a threat to my daughter? how can i protect her if something sketchy happens?"
i had my mama-bear dukes up. so with that in mind, picture my demeanor. it wasn't calm or welcoming or happy. it was serious and defensive, fight or flight.

"excuse me, do you have 50 cents you could spare?" he asked with his head down.

i was caught off guard by how little he asked for... and how he carried himself as he asked. it was humble, almost embarrassed, maybe even shameful. i was so caught off guard that i couldn't even find the words to respond. reaching into the bottom of my purse, i grabbed a handful of change, then quickly looked it over hoping it was enough. 75 cents. i stuck out my hand and dropped it into his.
"oh wow, thank you!" he said, counting it quietly.
i didn't even say you're welcome. just silence.

as he walked away dressed in his weathered clothes, i sat in my car. my air conditioned, comfortable car with bags full of food, while he carried a few coins in his poor, dirty hand. guilt flooded my heart. tears filled my eyes. i was the one feeling embarrassed and shameful now.

i had not uttered a word of kindness [or anything for that matter]. i hadn't even made eye contact or smiled. i had offered him nothing in the way of human connection and love, only meaningless money - and not even much of that! where was that example of Jesus i should be displaying? where was the loving power of the Spirit that should be pouring onto everyone i meet? where was that cheerful, giving heart that i thought i had? because, in the comfort of my own home, i'm usually pretty cheerful when i give online to organizations of my choosing... so where was that now? now, when i'm caught off guard and inconvenienced - where was that giving heart?

as i questioned and pondered and confessed my shortcoming to the Lord, a familiar name floated to the forefront of my mind.....
peter, who was called by Jesus Himself.
peter, who witnessed Christ's supernatural transfiguration.
peter, who cut off the ear of a threatening roman guard, in an attempt to protect Jesus.
peter, who loved Jesus.
peter, who denied Jesus. not once, but three times.

but peter, whom Jesus still loved and called and filled with His Spirit even after denial and betrayal.

that's the amazing, incomprehensible beauty of Jesus and knowing Him. Love itself, incarnate in Christ, has covered every misstep, every mistake, every weakness, every single thing, every single day....
grace replaces guilt. for peter, for me, for you.

when i include indie in a task, like putting books away for example, do i scold her when she misses a few or puts them in backwards? do i threaten her that i'll take all the books away forever if she doesn't put them away perfectly? do i treat her differently if she puts only one back on the shelf? heck no!
instead, i tell her that she's such a good helper regardless of the amount or how they look, because i know that i'll put them all back, neatly on the shelf, whether she put one or five away. i don't include her because i think she'll do it perfectly... i include her just because i want to, even if it's messy, because i love her..... i believe the same is true when God includes us in His work.

even when we mess up [because we will], Jesus still loves us as His children, still calls us His friends, still chooses to use us as His vessels for His good. He doesn't need or expect us to be perfect, because HE is perfect. He covers and redeems all of our shortcomings and inefficiencies, not because we've earned it but because He desires to do so.

"But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Jesus."
ephesians 2:4-7

i know i messed up that day, i know missed an opportunity with that homeless man... but God is bigger than my mess-ups, He is gracious and kind, He is rich in mercy. He will still extend love and connection to that man some other way, because He loves him, and He loves me too.
because Grace fills in the gap... (and picks up alllllll the books) :)

G R A C E and love [and a little wallpaper reminder below!] to all of you!! xo!

March 8, 2017

this one's for the girls

"the righteous shall flourish like a palm tree..."
psalm 92:12

flourish: to grow luxuriantly, to thrive.

when i think about trees, i think of these beautiful pieces of creation, peacefully standing there, sharing fruit and giving shade to anyone in need. they're majestic yet approachable. their voice is not audible yet they speak of rest, tranquility, strength, and the brilliance of their Creator. their leaves and colors and branches and trunks and blossoms and fruit are all so beautifully unique in their appearance and purpose. like all of creation, they flourish because of His faithfulness.
just like His daughters.

we've all been given gifts and talents and eye colors and body types and strengths and dreams. each woman being just as beautiful and just as valid as the next. we tend be so hard on ourselves [and others!], don't we? we carry guilt like it's ours to bear. we compare and nitpick our exteriors like it's just normal, second nature. we feel like we have something to prove as wives/moms/daughters/sisters/dreamers/artists/humans, but the truth is- we are enough, just as we are - marvelous trees who stand tall in peaceful confidence knowing we are growing just as He intends.

and like trees, we complement each other in our differences. what palm tree compares and competes with an olive tree? where the palm tree can't shade, the olive tree covers. where the olive tree can't reach to the sky, the palm tree points our eyes upward. we are just meant to BE. BE confident in our own skin, in our weaknesses and in our strengths. BE ourselves in His presence. BE who He's claimed us to be - His beloved daughters, His joint heirs.

He loves us as we are, as He's created us... because it's not about who we think we need to be, it's about who HE already is - always faithful, always loving, always forgiving, always perfect and patient.

and as our roots dig into this rich, unwavering Goodness, we experience the freedom to fan out our leaves, unfettered by comparison or expectations or perfection. flourishing, because of His faithfulness.

xo!! also, sharing a little lock screen love below.... pink palms for all the gals, because being feminine still means being fierce. happy international women's day!!

February 15, 2017

he is able

this little phrase has been stirring around in my heart so much lately... it's a reminder i need daily for the big and small things, because there is so much power and peace and letting go in those words...

sometimes there's an attitude that i think we, believers, can easily slip into - "how much can WE do for God?!" "look at ALL we're doing for God!" "God is blessing us because we are DOING, DOING, DOING THINGS!"... an attitude that places more focus on our works than His. it's certainly not bad to do good things, but from beginning to end, the Bible is chock full of accounts where He does crazy things to help His people not because of anything they really did, but because He loved them and they [maybe] mustered a little faith that He would do what He said he could do.
He still does those crazy things for us, today... but sometimes i think we shy away from asking for those things... because we think we can do it on our own, because we've got our own marketing plan in place, we have our savings account, our connections, our branding, our work ethic.... we might be too busy hustling and worrying to stand still and trust.

when i was pregnant with indie, we weren't sure how her birth would be covered, financially speaking. we didn't have health insurance at the time, because we weren't planning on having kids anytime soon and we had just missed the insurance cutoff when i found out i was pregnant - ugh! we didn't have a ton of money saved either, so debt seemed to be the answer - we'll just figure out a way to pay off $18,000 over the next few years, we said. [childbirth in a hospital is expensive, amiright?]

around that same time, i had a conversation with a dear pal that i'll never forget... one where she told me about her "elephant" prayer list. at first i thought - "elephant-in-the-room prayer list?" ha. i don't know what that prayer list would look like, but it might be a good thing to have too!! ;)
no, the elephant prayer list was threefold - a list for you/your family, a list for your friends/community, and a list for all the impossible things - elephants that just seemed much too big and maybe even too random for God. too big for reality, too much for God. 
big, impossible prayers? i instantly loved it. i was in need of that kind of perspective - one that places all hope and faith in the One who makes possible the impossible.

"And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat so that it was already filling. But Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And the disciples awoke Him and said to Him, 'Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?'
Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, 'Peace, be still!' And the wind ceased and there was a great calm."
mark 4:37-39

so, of course after hearing about the elephant prayer list, i wrote out prayers for my family, prayers for my friend community, and prayers that i hadn't really spent much time sharing with God because they just seemed too big - because they didn't involve me working towards them, because my 'boat' was already filling with water and it would be impossible to rescue myself. He would have to do the impossible - provide for indie's delivery out of nowhere.

prayers like these can be daunting. sometimes i think we're afraid to ask for something impossible because we're afraid to be let down or afraid that we're asking out of selfishness, or we're afraid that God doesn't like when we ask for things. i think the enemy uses fear and everything else to keep us from asking our Father for things [who by the way, loooooves to give], because when we ask, we are being obedient.

"'If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from your hand, O king...'

then he [king Nebuchadnezzar] said, 'look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like the Son of God!'
and the satraps, prefects, governors, and royal advisers crowded around them. they saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched and there was no smell of fire on them."
daniel 3:17,25,27

just weeks before indie was due, we somehow wound up in the hospital billing office, where they told us we were eligible for financial aid.... that we would only have to pay $240 for the entire delivery and hospital stay. [cue sobbing emoji] i couldn't believe it... i had asked God for His supernatural provision, He heard our elephant prayer and answered. the storm ceased because HE silenced it... making the impossible a reality. He provided for her birth with no logical explanation.
all we did was ask.

i believe the simplest way to obey God is to ask - ask for help, ask for guidance, ask for action, ask for impossible things. asking positions us to be the children that we are, because when we ask, we recognize that we can't do anything without our Father. asking reminds us that we don't know it all and we can't do it all. asking is humbling, because it places all our hope, faith, trust and expectation in Him, His answer, His action...

because only He is able.

He is able to hear and handle every prayer we offer. He may not audibly say "yes" to everything or grant our every request, but we can be sure that He is capable of anything, and He works so willingly to give us good things in every situation.

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? if you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" 
matthew 7:7-11

He is able.... there's so much possibility and power and glorious peace in those words.
we have nothing to lose by asking, only elephants to gain.
just ask, be still, and trust. :)

so much love to you guys! and a wallpaper for your phone... hope it encourages you in whatever you ask, whatever you face today! xo!

November 9, 2016

more than all the green things...

a fun new print just sprouted up in the shop! :) 

October 26, 2016

dwell in hope

"i will bless the Lord who has given me counsel; my heart also instructs me in the night seasons.
i have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand i shall not be moved.
therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will dwell in hope."
psalm 16:7-9

the amazing thing about this psalm is that it was written by david, a man who struggled with fear, who was promised the throne but instead chased by his father-in-law/ruthless king, escaping to wild mountains and dark caves... BUT he chose to write that his heart is glad and his dwelling place is hope. !!

where do i choose to dwell? does my heart dwell in the night seasons of fear and anxiety, insecurity and inadequacy, pride and selfishness.... or does it dwell in goodness and mercy, thankfulness and freedom, grace and hope?

maybe more times and days i'd care to admit have been spent abiding in discouragement and doubt rather than assurance and hope - hope that i'm justified by faith and not by works, hope that God not only forgives my sins but forgets my sins - never tallying them, only covering them - hope that i'm rooted in His good name, by which all things grow and flourish...

hope is a place of security and acceptance, where His love infuses our spirits, awakens us to our callings, gives us courage in spite of our weaknesses and circumstances, and turns every failure into triumph...

yes, david was right - happy is the heart that dwells in this glorious Hope!

so much love to you guys! xo! :)

p.s. the "dwell in hope" print is now in the shop! and for a limited time, you can get 15% off your total purchase with code DWELL

August 22, 2016

kira nicole branding!

after having a baby last fall, then moving across the country a few months ago, life has been in a constant state of upheaval, but now that i've settled into our new place, i'm finally/slowly making my way back into painting + design [yay!]... and i must say, i absolutely loved working on the first branding project of the year for kira nicole photography!!

it was an absolute delight from start to finish and everywhere in between! our visions aligned and nearly painted themselves on paper... i was merely the vessel for this branding, and i'm so honored and happy to have worked with kira on her fresh revamp!

brainstorming is always my favorite part of the design process, and it came so quickly and naturally with this collaboration! i thought i'd share the initial branding board i sent to kira, just in case you'd like to see a little behind-the-scenes of the creative process. :)