April 6, 2016


We went to the zoo in Indianapolis with some awesome friends a week or two ago. It was so fun, and cold, and the flamingoes were my favorite, and bears are so fuzzy it hurts to not snuggle them. But when I got home, I realized that most of my pictures were of my kids, haha. Nothing is cuter than those little beasts, and they are definitely the wildest of animals. :o)

Just feeling grateful today. :0)
Love you,

March 28, 2016


This seems amazing to me now, but up until, probably my early twenties, I had no idea that people were born with different temperaments.
I know. It's crazy. I also thought Alaska was an island until I was 17, so it's not that surprising. When my husband was in preaching school we were required to do some counseling and take temperament analysis tests, and it pretty much blew my little mind. I have always been a pretty introspective person, but no matter how much I tried to figure myself out, I just seemed like one giant paradox. It left me feeling half crazy, and a little like an alien. My temperament test said that I am a sanguine-melancholy-supine. Sanguine and melancholy, not surprisingly, are very opposite temperaments, and I tested compulsive in both areas. Lucky me. :) In the Myers Briggs personality test, that translates into an ENFP. ENFPs are Extraverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Perceivers. We're basically unicorns, and everyone thinks we're bipolar, but really we just feel all the things and have killer intuition. And let me tell you, being an intuitive feeler is no walk in the park. It's like going through a lifelong gauntlet of other people's emotions and intentions.

But actually, this post isn't really about me. It's about you. And, my sister.

After Nissa died, I developed a full blown obsession with knowing what her personality type was, and what she needed and what I should have said and done for her. I spent hours upon hours studying different types and comparing them with everything she ever did or said. I always came back to the same one: she was an INFJ. INFJs are the unicorns of the unicorn world. They are the rarest of all personality types (about 1% of population) and are the most fascinating and misunderstood people out there. They're introverts that people sometimes confuse as extroverts, have almost psychic intuition, are very deep feeling and compassionate, and have a great desire to fix people and the world. As confused as I was about myself growing up, I was always a little more confused by my sister. There was something...different about her. Something I couldn't name. It was like I could feel her *specialness* but I couldn't verbalize it to anyone. And oh, I desperately wanted to, because from as early as I can remember, people called her weird. Over and over again they treated her like an outsider and took her for granted because of that little nameless something. And the funny thing is, the STUPID thing is, I thought it didn't bother her much. I thought she "wasn't very emotional". I could not have been more wrong. And in the end, I took her for granted, just like everyone else did.

The reason I wanted to write about this, is because...if you feel weird, or like an alien, or misunderstood...I just want you to know that you're actually so perfect. I mean, in your weirdness. Your uniqueness is exactly how you're meant to be. And it is wonderful. And we really need you. I love learning about temperaments and personality types, because it reminds me of how we're all made in God's image. INFJs can read people, like how God knows everyone's hearts. ESTJs, like Paige, are authoritative, like the Author of Life. ISFPs are artistic, like the Painter of the heavens. And we don't need four letters to understand that we're all different and special, but we do need to know that we're made the way we are on purpose, and we need each other to balance out, and to develop into more well-rounded individuals. And yes, it hurts and feels so lonely to be misunderstood by everyone, but don't give up and kill yourself, because you'll miss out on what that lonely feeling is supposed to bring you to: a relationship with your Creator. He's the only one who will truly ever 100% "get you".

Oh. Also, if you're not the "weird one", please be nice to those who are. And be nice to the mean one, and the bossy one, and the clueless one, and the selfish one. Chances are, they don't even know that's how they come off. Some people just don't understand feelings very well, they don't mean to be rude. Some people are just forgetful, they don't mean to be inconsiderate. Have mercy on people, you might just save a life.

Thanks. :O)
Love you,

P.S. You can take the Myers Briggs test here, if you're curious about it. It really helps some people understand themselves better. 

February 10, 2016

Girl of the Year: Lea Clark!

Squeee! Isn't she beautiful?? I instagramed my excitement last month when American Girl sent me and Paige their gorgeous new Girl of the Year, Lea Clark, and told you that we had exciting plans for her. Finally today we can post about her!
Lea is ten year old who loves animals, adventure, and photography. She takes a life changing trip to Brazil with her family where she learns to overcome fears and see life through a new lens. Her collection is ADORABLE!!
When I first saw the pictures of Lea I immediately thought of our sweet neighbor girl, Nora, who looks just like her!! The same unique hair and eye color, and even Nora's summer tan looks like Lea's. I thought: "Oh, wouldn't it be a fun surprise to give it to her!", but I had already told Paige about us getting Lea and I knew she'd be so disappointed if we gave her away. And frankly, the more I looked at pictures of Lea, the more I was like: "Who's Nora??" But. As excited as I was about this beautiful new doll, I was even a little more excited about the opportunity to show Paige the fun of being generous and helping God bless other people. So when I talked to Nora's mom later and found out that not only had Nora been wanting Lea, but her birthday was coming up in a few weeks! I was like: "Oh we are so doing this." Besides, it seemed kind of like the American Girl thing to do. They really are a sweet and generous company, I really like them. And that's not me advertising for them. Paige wasn't quite sure about the idea at first (I waited until she was fully on board) but after some consideration, she was really excited to share the doll with her friend. It was like torture to wait until her birthday party, but it was totally worth it to watch her unwrap it and get a huge monster hug afterward. Such a fun experience!! I'm so grateful to American Girl for giving us the blessing of being able to bless others.
And I can't promise that I won't turn around and buy her after I'm done saving up for these plane tickets. :o) :o) :o) I mean, her hair.

Talk to you soon! Love you!!

February 2, 2016

Now Offering Mini Sessions Locally!

Hello, guys!!
I wanted to quickly let any local readers know that I'll be offering mini photography sessions for kids' Valentine's photos this weekend! I'm shooting right here in my home, so if you live in or near Kokomo, IN I'd love to work with you! I am open to scheduling later dates, too, if you need.
Since you guys are my blog readers, and I always overshare with you, I'm going to say that I normally HATE charging for photos, and this idea actually terrifies me. Shooting for friends is no big deal because if you mess up, they still love you. But for the public?  **faints** However! Paige and I are trying to earn some money to fly back to see my mom in a couple of months, so we thought this might be a good way. :O) It's so weird to think that I haven't seen my mom in almost a year. That's never happened in my life! I know I'm spoiled, people go that long (and much longer!) without seeing family all of the time, but with all the heartache my mom has been through this last year, I just really need to hug her in real life. That's actually the whole reason we launched Joy Medley a little earlier than we planned. So thanks also to everyone for supporting us that way!

So! Yes! Photos. Since Valentine's day is coming up on us fairly soon, I'll do my best to get all your edited images sent to you within 48 hours, so that you can get them printed right away!

Thank you!!
Have a good day!! Love you!

January 30, 2016

DIY: No-Sew Felt Heart Garlands

It's Valentine's Day soon! Yay! Pink day!! I whipped up these little felt garlands for a project I'm working on at home, and I thought I would just share the how-to while I'm at it! So here ya go!

Scalloped Heart Garland
  • Print heart patterns at full size
  • Cut out heart patterns, pin to felt, and cut out.
  • Hot glue twine or other sturdy string to the top third of the scalloped heart.
  • Glue smaller heart on top. 
  • Continue until all your hearts are glued, about 3" apart.

Puffy Heart Garland

  •  Print small heart pattern and cut out two felt hearts per puffy heart.
  • Hot glue string to top third of one felt heart. 
  • Glue a small ball of stuffing in the middle of the heart.
  • Carefully glue the second felt heart on top.
  • Tie a knot on the side of the heart, add a pony bead, then tie another knot on the other side of the bead. Add another bead about 2.5"-3" away from the first heart. 
  • Repeat for as many hearts as you'd like!

I had originally planned on sharing an edible tutorial that I've had in my head for like a year, but I can't find the ingredient that I was going to use over here in the midwest. Besides, who am I kidding, I'm so not a food blogger. haha. And like I said in a previous post, it's tough to do a dessert tutorial when you're eating no sugar.

Oh! Guys! Update on that? Eating no sugar is literally the best thing in the world. It's been a month now, and my energy level is through the roof! I'm not playing, I feel like a completely different person. Actually, I feel like I'm...me. Like the person I used to be, had always been, until I wasn't. You know what I'm saying? I had originally planned to go two months without sugar, but after feeling this difference, there is no way I'm going back after February. (I feel like I'm trying to sell a diet pill right now, but seriously!!) I can definitely see God working in this, because the timing is just magical. I don't think I would have been able to find the motivation or endurance to start Joy Medley without this change in my health.
Speaking of that, thank you so much for your support so far! You guys are giving us the strength and encouragement we need to make this work, and I am so, so grateful to you. You've always been so kind, I just really like you a lot. I'm pretty sure I have the best blog readers of any blog out there, but don't tell the others!  Anyways, I have a feeling in my gut that this business is going to be successful, and you guys will always have a special place in my heart as our first customers and supporters. :) And shoutout to Lindsay, who was our first customer ever!!! She'll be a celebrity at our "headquarters" (ok craft room, but someday it'll be a headquarters!) forever.

Ok, I have to go, but I love you! See you soon.

January 25, 2016

Introducing: Joy Medley!!

 It's here!!! It's finally the day! I can't believe we're really doing this. Eep! I told you that my mom and I were working on a little business, and I can finally say that we're open!!! Joy Medley is our brand new line of unique, fun, and completely handmade necklaces for girls ages 7-14. I'm so excited I could cry. I have been dreaming of this for so long! Paige and I have noticed a shocking lack of unique, fashionable, on-point jewelry out there for younger girls. She loves to raid my statement necklace stash to accessorize, but my necklaces are always too long, and sometimes lack that youthful style that she wants. Then my mom and I were like: "Hey. We could fix that." And we did! And we've had such a blast!!

A little bit about our brand:
Joy Medley is named after my late sister, Nissa Joy ("Joy" for most of her adult life) who taught us everything we know about jewelry making. Beading and making jewelry was one of her greatest passions in life, and she was extraordinarily talented at it. Not a single piece in this collection was created without thoughts and memories of her. The second half of our name, "Medley", represents our fun and eclectic mix of designs and styles, aimed at girls with all kinds of tastes.

"For Girls With Heart"
Our tagline, "For Girls With Heart" expresses our brand's love of charity and generosity. (A value we know also resides in the hearts of our young customers!) That is why all profits from the sales of our very special "HOPE" bow necklace are donated to the Orphan's Lifeline, Int'l, a beautiful charity organization that reaches out to help orphaned children all over the world. This is just the beginning of our focus on giving back, and we look forward to expanding that in the future, with your help!

Each necklace is lovingly and carefully made by hand in my craft room or my mom's. Paige is our secret intel specialist, who helps us create designs that girls her age will love. She even occasionally helps string some beads, so it is really a three-generation effort. :O) Our focus is on quality over quantity, so make sure you snatch up your favorites before someone else gets them!

Free US Shipping!
We want our brand to be synonymous with generosity, and since free shipping always makes our heart skip a beat, we want to pass that on to all our dear friends and customers. Because we love you!! So happy birthday to you!

We are working on getting our own website (it's gonna be awesome, you guys!) but for now you can shop the spring collection on Esty at JoyMedleyShop. So have fun browsing our spring lookbook (at the top of this post-dont forget to make it fullscreen!), and our Etsy store! You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter (@shopjoymedley) and Instagram (@joymedley) Please feel free to spread the word to any friends who might be interested! Your support means the world to us.

Love you so much, lovelies!! Have an awesome day!!
Disney + Brenda (Mom)


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