Sometimes life needs to pause

Sometimes life needs to pause

I feel like this past year I have had more explanations to you all about why I took a blogging break. I know you are here for home decor inspiration and I hope to get back into it full time. I am human and life takes you on unexpected rides. Life has a way of reminding you just how precious it is and how out of control of it you actually are. Sometimes life needs to pause to deal with the tough parts.

A few weeks ago, just as I was getting back into my blogging groove my Grandma passed away. She was THE most important person in my life growing up. My parents were teenagers when they had me and my Grandma helped raise me with my Mom. My Grandma was there from the very beginning, helping me take those first steps and continuing to cheer me on as I took bigger and bigger steps in life.

This strong woman had 12 kids and then raised a handful of her many, MANY grandchildren that is well around 35 (I lost count), another 25-ish great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild. Myself and my younger brother were one of the lucky ones to call her house our home. She was a young 94 when she passed and it will never feel like I had enough time with her.

I have been struggling; to be honest this pain hurts so much. I am working through it, but knowing I will be walking this life without her calm voice, wise words, loving arms and kind smile feels near impossible. The finality of her loss causes an ache I have never known before.

Other than her being the person that made me into who I am and the strongest influence of what a Mom should be she also influenced my love of decorating. Her house, our home was on a hill about 20 miles from the beach in Southern California. On a clear day you could see the ocean. She would sit on our back deck very early in the morning with a warm cup of black coffee listening to the birds chirping. Spending most evenings watching the sunset from the same deck, probably also a cup of coffee in hand. She loved her coffee. She spent her days always busy, she hated being idle except for her quiet start and end to the day. She decorated our home in blues and white with shells, much like my home is now. With me living in Wisconsin as an adult going full on coastal decor felt weird initially, but my home never felt like home being anything else but a blue and beach style. All because of her.

My Grandma would go on morning walks ever since I could remember. Many times coming home dragging or carrying on her back a chair or end table discarded on the side of the road with plans to redo it. She also would make one of my Uncles or Aunts get in their car and help her load a bigger piece of furniture into the car for her to bring home. She was upcycling furniture before it was even a thing. Magically just knowing how to strip paint, refinish or the right type of paint to use. All without Google, Pinterest or home decor blogs to reference.

She was the tiniest woman, standing at just 5 feet tall and weighing about 95 pounds, but she lived life big with love and enjoying the little things in life. She found beauty in the simplicity of life and always expressed her peace and thanks for what she had. The biggest part of that being her family.

The one peace I have is knowing that we let each other know how we felt, nothing went unsaid. She was beautifully loving, if you got too close to her she pulled you in for a hug. Just because. She told you she loved you, appreciates you, is proud of you. She said everything she ever needed to say, spoke her mind with sweet sentiments but also if you were out of line she let you know it. She was wonderfully comforting, strong, smart, funny (with a really witty sense of humor), stubborn and so giving.

With her being that way encouraged me to also express myself. Tell her and those I love just how much they mean to me. Say it when you are able, make it count now. She was the epitome of living in the moment and enjoying every ounce of life, the small moments should be celebrated just as much as the big ones. She went through a lot, fought hard to be this lovely lady living on a hill in her Grandma-like cottage with beach decor.

When I had my babies she told me “Enjoy your little one, hug them close, fill them up with love, take in their sweet baby smell. It goes so fast. I would give anything to have my children be little again. My arms ache to hold them as babies and my ears crane to hear their giggles and little feet running in the house.” Her advice stopped me in my new Mom, sleep deprived tracks and has stayed with me ever since. I am blessed she told me this, she gave me that encouragement to always be present. To live for the days you have and live for the people that make your life important.

She was my knowledge on my many questions of raising kids, she was a pro with having raised over a dozen kids. One that sticks out from my new Mom trenches of life, she was with me on the phone at 2 in the morning when I had my middle son Caleb who was about 1 years old. He had pneumonia and struggling to relax between his breathing treatments. She told me to turn on the shower faucet all the way up and sit with him in the bathroom breathing in the hot steam, holding him close and massaging his back. I sat in there for hours and she sat with me on the phone for those same hours, calming me while I calmed my baby. She got me through it just as she did for every other hard time in my life. She was my constant strength. We may have been over 2,000 miles apart but she had a way of making that distance not matter, she was there through everything with me. I hope that same feeling follows me now with even more distance between us.

I am so fortunate to have had so much time with her. I do not see my childhood situation as anything other than blessed because I was raised by many loving family members, my Grandma being the biggest part of that. My daughter Nora’s middle name is my Grandma’s name. My kids have so many wonderful memories of her to cherish. She loved them, cuddled them, smelled their sweet baby-ness, and passed on that perfect love only she could give. I hold those moments close and so do they.

I sat down to write a quick explanation on this blog of where I have been. But words just came out as I type this. This blog is about me opening up my home to you. But when life becomes too much a more personal touch and just me reaching out feels authentic and what I need right now. I know none of you knew her, but she was amazing and deserved every ounce of love and words spoken about her.

I know I will be ok, my Grandma would not have it any other way. She raised me to be strong and hold my head high. For now, I am easing back into life, I know she would be frustrated with even this amount of time I have taken to process this. She would remind me we were blessed to have all those years I had with her. My love for her and her love me for me and my children were expressed daily. Nothing was left unsaid and she would remind me of that. She might also give me some tough love and tell me to snap out of it and be sensible. Nothing I can do to change it so better just dust myself off and get on with it.

That is what I plan to do, ease back into living this life that I have in part because of her. She raised me, taught me, loved me and encouraged me. If I am half the woman she was I know I succeeded, I will always reach for that goal. My Grandma towards the end struggled with dementia, it was a long and tough road to watch her slowly slip away. She was both strong and kind to the very end, always saying I love you even if she questioned who you were. She knew she loved you regardless, she felt it. I did find comfort in hearing her talk about her daughter Emily, telling nurses she had an Emily Anne as one of her children. She claimed me as hers, just as it always has been. She adored my children and husband. She was so proud of the life I have and I know she would not want me to waste any of that.

To all of my wonderful readers, thank you so much for being here, following along and encouraging me during this time. I have an amazing and supportive group of friends and my husband that have helped me navigate this difficult time. My kids are my sweet refuge. I know this pain is not unique. The fact that I hurt this much losing my Grandma means I loved her fiercely and strongly just as she did me. I hold tight to that knowledge on the tough days.

“Grief is the price we pay for love”

My Grandma; she was beauty, strength, happiness, unwavering love, quiet support, celebrator of life and always slowed down to smell the roses, or in her case the jasmine by the front door. She was my home, my safety, my calm, my advice, my inspiration for what a woman and Mom should be. To put it simply; she was everything to me and our very large extended family. The world lost a great one.

So take that time to tell the ones in your life just what they mean to you. Hug them close, love them fiercely, enjoy the mundane moments of life. Watch the sunset, take a long walk, enjoy a good cup of coffee and be truly thankful for the biggest parts of life. The people in it, just as my Grandma did every day. Soak it in, we only get to do this one time. Make it count.



  1. I’m so sorry to learn of the passing of your grandma, Emily. Sending my deepest condolences to you and your family during this difficult time. This is a beautiful tribute to her. I recall reading previous entries on how close you were with your grandma. Sending hugs your way.

    • Thank you so much! She has always been a big decorating inspiration to me and I did mention her on my blog before. I appreciate your kind words so much!

  2. Emily, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your Grandma. She was one special lady, and yes, the world lost a great one. So many of us could use her wisdom and love. As I was reading your post, tears rolled down my cheeks. May you find peace knowing she lived each day to the fullest:)
    Thinking of you all as you celebrate your grandmother’s remarkable life.

    • Thank you, your sweet words and support are very appreciated. This has been difficult to deal with, but having support near and far makes me feel like this experience is not just mine alone. She deserved to be celebrated by all!

  3. I lost my Grandma in 1973 and she was the most important person in my life. Still is. My wish is always to be just half as great a Grandma as she was. Seems like my grandchildren thinks so, so maybe I am. She loved my husband and knew he would take of me and our 3 boys which they benefitted from her love. Now I get to tell stories about her to my grandchildren and pass on her love to them. I am so sorry about your Grandmother. Just know she will always be with you in spirit.

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