hey there, 2014

Dear friends,

We may be halfway through January, but the new year is still fresh in my mind, and I wanted to do a little check-in about what's been happening around here.  I mean life is good, and the shop is good, but here's a deeper look at what's been going on.

A look back: 2013 finished with a big huge bang, fondly known as the holiday season.  The Lord really blessed Lettered Life Shop beyond what I could have imagined, and it was a JOY to be able to help people make and choose things as gifts for their loved ones.  It was a season  full of personalized items, so lots of custom address stamps and stationery.  My heart was brimming with thankfulness for God's goodness and sweet customers as I packed up orders and headed to the the post office.

You may not know this, but I was sent an elf for the season and I owe him a huge thank you for his packaging and shipping assistance. He was cheerful all the time, and I'm actually also married to him, so basically, I'm the luckiest lady ever.  A hundred thousand thank yous for all your help, hubs.

Leading up to Christmas, we paused on the shop to focus on the reason for the season.  We bopped all around the midwest filling up on the greatness of the nativity, family time and of course, my aunt's caramel brownies.  My sister got engaged (YAY!) and I won some old colored pencils in our family white elephant game----the blessings truly overfloweth.  I met up with old friends while back home, and even had besties come for a visit at New Years, with their super-sweet 6 month old in hand.  So so good.

We got snowpocalypsed and were pretty much locked inside for a few days as the snow kept coming and the pipes started bursting.  (True story.)  While all that was happening, I worked on logo projects, read some great books, and used the Nike Training Plus app to burn off all the hot chocolate I was drinking.

Lately I've been doing all sorts of fun work, including some design projects that I can't reveal quite yet and setting up custom calligraphy orders.  If you know of anyone that's recently engaged and looking for someone to do calligraphy for their envelopes, placecards, escort cards, etc.... I know a girl that can help you out!  I'd be over the moon if you shared my shop link with them!

Looking forward... Last year I set a bunch of goals in January and pushed towards them monthly.  I did check-ins which were fantastic because making goals public is scary and gives you a little more reason to chase after them.  For the most part, I stuck with them and let them become new normals in my life.  Quiet morning time, business growing, and book reading are all in my routine now, and I'm so thankful for that! This year goals are going to change monthly to make sure I'm still stretching myself.   The big thing on my list for January: give this blog more love.   You should be able to track that one pretty easily, so hold me to it!

Cheers to you!  Hope your 2014 is packed with peace and love.



september check-in

Dear friends,
It's been awhile since there was a goal check-in, so that's happening right now.  Can't measure progress if you don't take time to measure progress, right?!  
Where I'm at in the goals department:
  • Reading 2 books a month. Yes!  What's been on my nightstand?  Where'd Ya Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. The Best of Us by Sarah Pekkanen.  Kisses from Katie by Katie J Davis.  Manuscript found in Accra by Paulo Coelho, which is where the above quote is from.  I'm a big fan of Paulo, who also wrote The Alchemist, and you should definitely pick up that one if you haven't before!  What's scary is that I know there was one more book that I read in the past few weeks, and I can't for the life of me remember what it was.  Does this happen to anyone else?!
  • SheReadsTruth. Join alongJoin alongJoin along!  I just love having this as part of my morning routine.  We recently moved through "Women of the Bible" and just finished up a Daniel plan.  Both gave me a deeper look at men and women who recognized the fullness of God's love and gave Him all the glory right on back in response.  So, so good.  (PS, if you haven't checked out the SheReadsTruth website in awhile, be sure to do so!  The new site is super beautiful and really easy to follow along with!)
  • Blog once a week.  Yikes.
  • Grow my Etsy shop.  Yes, so far some new canvases and journals, but more items are coming! For sneak peaks, be sure to follow along on Facebook and Instagram!

Mmk.  Thanks for holding me accountable!  Cheers to the weekend!

Hugs, Caitlin

the best is yet to come

Hiya Friends!

Not sure what you're up to today, but for me, I'm just typing and smiling because it is JULY and it is going to be a great month.  Some pretty spectacular travels are headed my way, and I'm so thankful for the season of summer!  But before it gets away from me, here's how I did with June goals!

  • Reading 2 books a month. Yes!  Go pick up Young House Love by Sherry & John Petersik! The subtitle says it all: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Love.  It will kinda make you want to tackle 100 projects, but it was so fun to read through!  Also check out Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron.  It's fiction read about a minister who goes on a pilgrimage after losing sight of his faith.  His pilgrimage involves a trip to Italy where he learns about St. Francis of Assisi...and I'll let you take it from there.
  • SheReadsTruth. We dove into 1 & 2 Peter, and are getting geared up for Women of the Bible!  SO pumped for this one.  Join along!
  • Blog once a week.  Let's not talk about it.  You can just scroll down and know that I have not put forth my A game.
  • Grow my Etsy shop.  No and yes, but it's all good!  No because there aren't any officially new items up, but yes because I've been taking on a bunch of custom projects through Etsy.  Some of my faves this month: lots of envelopes, a custom hymn canvas and a totally  hand-lettered wedding invitation suite on super-fun kraft paper! Exhibit A...
June was also chock-full of awesome weddings, friend hangouts, a brand new BABY born to two amazing hometown friends and an unforgettable roadtrip that involved jamming to JT and an unplanned stop at Niagara Falls.  So thankful for all the blessings!
Sending hugs your way! Caitlin


june = summer

Hiya friends!

I don't know about you, but I can't believe it is June.  With wedding showers, graduation parties, Mother's Day celebrations and family visits,  May was a super fun month that flew right past me, leaving me in disbelief that we are actually a week into June --- a SUMMER month.  And since summer is my all-time favorite season, I'm welcoming June into my life with a big smile and some lemonade...cheers to June!

I love that the sun isn't setting until after 9pm and that there's a new froyo place dangerously close by.  I love that we went strawberry picking for the second year in a row and came home with more strawberries than we know what to do with.  (Ideas welcome!)  I love that while I'm still too chicken to get into the pool because the water feels really cold, I can read right next to it and know that if I really wanted to, I could jump in.  (Maybe next week.)  Did I mention I love summer?

And before a May reflection gets away from me, here's how I did with last month's goals:

  • Reading 2 books a month. Yes!  I read "Girls in White Dresses" by Jennifer Close and "The Typewriter Girl" by Alison Atlee.  Both were fiction reads about women trying to navigate their early 20 somethings, though in totally different settings.  Neither were favorites, but that's ok.  "Girls in White Dresses"  followed a group of girls as they went through weddings/new jobs/relationships---but I couldn't really get into it.  "The Tyewriter Girl" told the story of a young lady in Victorian England trying to create a path of her own in a culture that strongly discouraged going against the grain.  The main character was a brassy little thang, and while I appreciated that she was true to herself, I wasn't crazy about the storyline.
  • SheReadsTruth.  We completed the Hosea and Nehemiah studies in May!  I can't say enough about starting my day with SheReadsTruth---it's such a blessing!  June started with 1 Peter, and if you'd like to join along, hop on over to the website!
  • Blog once a week.  Nope.  I had a week where I was really on top of it, then let it slide by.  Please don't be mad at me.
  • Grow my Etsy shop.  Yes!  You'll find a canvas print, iPhone cover, bridal shower invite, Matthew 6:21 print and a couple variations of hello notecards all in the Lettered Life Shop!  Woohoo!
Happy JUNE and FRIDAY!
xo, Caitlin

hello sunshine (and may goals)

Hiya friends (and May!),

I just wanted to say hello and check-in with my monthly goal progress!  Here we go...  

  • Reading 2 books a month. Yes!  I started with The End of Your Life Book club by Will Schwalbe---a true story about a mother and son who start their own "book club" after they receive the news that the mother has an advanced form of pancreatic cancer.  Knowing how aggressive this cancer moves, the two decide to focus on their favorite hobby: reading.  This book was moving and bittersweet, but the overall theme of choosing to live joyfully despite hard circumstances was so inspiring.  I felt like I was the third member of their club as I read, and I loved that.  And what bookworm doesn't love a story about people who also like to read?!   The second book I finished was Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist.   Shauna is one of my favorite authors, and I had been anticipating this release for months! (Exhibit A) I even recipe tested for the Gaia cookies back in October when she was still in the editing phase of the book---just look at page 284!  This book is a collection of short stories about Shauna's life and the importance of sharing meals with the people you love, with recipes sprinkled throughout.  It's like a memoir-cookbook-inspirational read all in one....and it is wonderful!
  • SheReadsTruth.  We're tackling the intense Hosea!  Hosea can be painful for me to read because Israel wanders from God about a thousand times and it's hard to see God so sad.  BUT God's love is so big that he redeems and redeems and redeems, so the moments of sadness are always replaced with feelings of gratitude for God's compassion, no matter how far we stray!
  • Blog 3 times a week.  Are you as tired of hearing me say I don't blog as much as I'd like to as I am?  It's ok if you are.  I don't blame you.  I'm going to be a little more realistic and adjust this to once a week for May.  Say a prayer for me?!
  • Grow my Etsy shop.   Like the little graphic above?  Want some notecards that say just that?  Good news---I have some up in the shop!  AND I just got some new items in this week that I'm going to take some photos of and add to the shop!!  Canvas prints, anyone?!  Super exciting!
  • Be in the sunshine.  That was a little goal I threw in for April, and yes!  I went for walks and spent more time outdoors, thanks to the fact that Indiana is finally showing signs of spring!  I needed some of that vitamin D.  Cheers to more of it!
I hope your May is off to the best start ever.
lots of love, Caitlin


Seizing the Day: Goal Check-In

Hiya friends!

April check-in time! A little late but better than never!  Here's a look at how March went and how well I stuck to some of my monthly goals...

  • Reading 2 books a month. Yes!  Have you read "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed or "The Art of Hearing Heartbeats" by Jan-Philipp Sendker? Both were on my list this month and both I enjoyed!  While they had completely opposite settings (mountainous trail that runs from Mexico to Canada vs.  small town, mid-twentieth-century Burma) they both had themes of finding something that was lost.  The first book told the true story of a woman's adventures on the PCT to find her true self, while the second read more like a fairy tale mystery where the narrator discovers the truth about her father's mysterious past.  Have I enticed you yet?   There's just something about reading a lost and found story that inspires you, right?  I just re-read the Prodigal Son in Luke earlier this week and MAN, how moving is it when we find our way back home to God after straying for a little while? Just a thought! Moving on to...
  • SheReadsTruth. The reflections through Holy Week were such a great way to get in the zone each morning, and made Easter that much sweeter! I started a new plan called Prayer in the Bible last week that will go on a for a few more, so be sure to join along if you're interested! 
  • Blog 3 times a week.  Ay yi yi.  Not so much.  Considering either adjusting this number or making myself make it happen.  Not quite sure what I will do, but next month's posting rate will tell.
  • Go crazy with my Etsy shop.  I haven't added anything new to the shop recently, but I've been doing a lot of custom orders and addressing of wedding envelopes which has kept my plate full!  Making Things Happen was such a great experience and I'm already learning so much about how to align the business to my core, which is a beautiful thing.  I was also introduced to a new printer that may allow me to extend the types of products sold...like this iPhone case  SO FUN!  Hopefully by next month I'll be able to introduce you to a few more offerings.
I'm adding this one to April's goals, so hold me to it!
  • Be outside.  Love the sunshine.  Soak up the new season!

Lots of love,


big dreams and making things happen

Hello hello hello!

I can't really believe it's been almost 2 weeks since I left for North Carolina, but it has, and March is just flying by!  As I mentioned before, I flew out to NC to visit my brother and soon-to-be sister-in-law and attended Making Things Happen!  It was a fantastic trip marked by awesome company, delicious food and a learning experience I will never forget.

While it's hard to share just one part of MTH because the whole experience was so illuminating, I definitely wanted to pass along the above quote.  It's one we talked about at MTH, and I just loved it....namely because it dared me to be honest about my dreams.  I think I underestimated the power of defining specific long-term goals, so actually putting everything down on paper was such an energizing activity.  One of my favorite questions asked to help us clarify our our long-term goals was "Where do you want to be when you are 80?" To be honest, I hadn't really ever thought that far ahead.  I have a vague idea of what I'm eating for lunch.  I've got a to-do list for the week going.  The weekend plans are penciled in, and I even have monthly goals that I've been shooting for.  But where do I want to be when I'm 80?  That question caught me off guard because it's a little out of the scope I typically think about.  But how powerful is that question?  What do you start to picture?  For me, I wanted to be serving God, loving my family, being creative, laughing with people with whom I've formed deep relationships.  And still of course dancing to Beyonce and making chocolate chip cookies for everybody.  And with this vision in mind, I have to think about how well I am currently preparing myself to live that life down the road.  I have to figure out what changes I can make today to get me closer to where I want to be when I'm 80.

If there's anything I can pass along from the weekend, it's to write down those dreams.  Give yourself a little gift of freedom and take ten minutes to think about what you really really want to do with your full-of-possibilities life.  And then think about one little thing you can do TODAY that's going to help you get a step closer, no matter how wild and crazy your dreams are.  Do something little that sets you on a path you're excited to follow!  (I get excited FOR YOU just thinking about it!)  Since being able to make great food for my family is one of my big-dream goals,  a little action step for me today is to find a recipe I can make for a family get-together this weekend, and I'm pretty pumped about it.

Let's do this!

xo, Caitlin


made to happen

Hi Friends!

So March has flown into action, and I'm here to give you the monthly update on my New Year's Resolutions! Those of you who read my January review might remember that I was pretty on top of it during the first month of the year.  February had a whole different pace and set of adventures, so my success rate between goals varies.  I'm ok with this, but would still like to keep up the goal setting and achieving.  And so without further ado, here's a look at how I did in February.

  • Reading 2 books a month.  Check.  As  I mentioned last month, I had started Those Who Save us by Jenna Blum in January and wrapped it up in early February.  Traveling Merices came second by Anne Lamott, and I liked it for a few reasons.  One:  It was a collection of short anecdotes that were easy to dive into as she painted the picture of her own life and faith.  Two: It was a great combo of honesty and humor. I thought Anne did a great job of sharing her bumpy, but refreshing road, and I plan to pick up some more Anne Lamott books in the future.
  • SheReadsTruth.  Check!  I Soul Detoxed and am now reflecting on those meditations for a week before #SheReadsTruth starts its next plan called "Songs of Ascent," covering Psalm 120-134.  I've continued to share verses and thoughts from the daily devotionals on Instagram and Twitter and have loved reading the responses of others!  (Here's a link back to a post about #SheReadsTruth if you are unfamiliar!)
  • Church involvement.  We've met some very sweet couples and have loved some of the Lenten activities at church!  For me, the highlight activity in February was attending two talks by Fr. Leo Patalinghug.  I could write 10 posts on Fr. Leo, but to give you a shorter idea of how great he was, I'll just give you a little information about his background. Prior to becoming a priest, Fr. Leo was a martial arts championship title holder and award-winning break dance choreographer.  He's a Cordon Bleu-trained chef who formed an apostolate called Grace Before Meals, a motion to strengthen families and communities around the dinner table.  And oh yeah, he took on Food Network star Bobby Flay in  Throwdown with Bobby Flay...and beat Bobby Flay.  Fr. Leo was a HOOT to listen to and if you've got some time, be sure to check out Grace Before Meals or this video to see how he's bringing joy to the table!  It's awesome.
  • Blog 3 times a week.  Nope.  But I did have an awesome time spending a few snow days with my cousins, participating in a shopping night for to raise funds for a mission trip through Horizon International fundraiser, and creating some custom designs that I'm excited to share in the near future...all of which I count as positive substitutes!
  • Go crazy with my Etsy shop.   Yes!  I've added some listings and am expanding my product horizons!  I still have a couple more items that I'd love to add and hope to have them up by the end of the week.  My most exciting news regarding the shop will be attending Making Things Happen in a week!!!!! It's a conference designed to "get you fired up and get you on a powerful path to making big things happen in life and in business."  Eeek!  The quote above is one by Lara Casey, a leader of the conference, and just reading it makes me excited!  I can't wait to go and soak up as much as I can, as well as spend some time in North Carolina with my brother and his fiancee!  I'll keep you posted as I prepare!

Sending you warmth and joy!


dreams into plans

Hi hi hi!

So, I mentioned some New Year's Resolutions awhile back, and today, I'm holding myself accountable.  To make sure I'm staying on top of my 2013 goals, I'm going to check in on those efforts monthly.  I've heard the first step to accomplishing your goals is to write them down and another is to share them with people to really seal the deal. Hopefully these efforts, along with my true desire to make 2013 super special, will help me accomplish the things I've been wanting to do.  Not all of my resolutions apply to this month, but a few of them do.  So here's where I'm at:

  • Reading 2 books a month.  Check.  I've read Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury, The Luminous Portrait by Elizabeth Messina, Claire de Lune by Jetta Carleton, and I'm halfway through Rediscovering Catholicism by Matthew Kelly and Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum.  This is wayyy more books than I thought I could read in one month, and I can promise you that I'm still a productive, social person even though I've had my nose in so many books!  The big thing is, reading gives me such peace.  Even if it's just reading a few pages.  I love being pulled into a good story (like Unlocked) or learning about a subject I need to work on (The Luminous Portrait) and diving deeper into the theology of my faith (Rediscovering Catholicism).  There are just so. many. things. to learn about out there, and books let you dip into them all.  Reading (like running) also helps calm my brain when I have 800 thoughts swirling in my head and I need to calm all that craziness down.  You know what I'm sayin? 
  • SheReadsTruth.  Check.  I was a little behind on the Advent plan, so I finished that up in January and hopped onto the Soul Detox plan when that started!  I've started sharing verses and thoughts from the daily devotional on Instagram and Twitter and love seeing other people's responses to the plan on social media.  (Here's a post about #SheReadsTruth if you are unfamiliar!)
  • Be involved in a ministry church.  Working on it!  Hopefully after tomorrow I'll have more to share about this one.  I'm super interested in getting involved with both the young adult and youth programs at church, and my husband and I are getting lunch with a church staff member tomorrow to see where we'd be a good fit!  So excited.  We are so glad to have this community nearby, and we are pumped to find ways to take on more of a leadership role!
  • Blog 3 times a week.  Just about.  I still need to make this a priority!  I'll get better!
  • Go crazy with my Etsy shop.   Yes!  I've added a bunch of listings and am continuously learning ways to make the shop look better and be more visible.  Each order makes me SO HAPPY because I love knowing that a little something that I made will help brighten someone's day.  Since I love letters, I especially love when cards or notecards are purchased because I know the customer will be sending love in the mail on the cards that I make!  So so cool.  I also received orders for 2 fun custom projects today that I can't wait to share soon.

What were your resolutions?!  How are they going?!  I'd love to hear them.  Let's hold each other accountable!

xoxo, Caitlin