March 2019 Goals

Where did March go? Things felt so well managed the first part of the month and then wham, it was over! The girls are outside running around in the rain and snow (rain from the sky, snow all over the yard yet). Oh, how I long for warmer temperatures. Hello, we live in Minnesota, so one should not be expecting warm temperatures and flowers blooming yet. So Minnesotan of me to discuss the weather *sigh*

How about those goals?


Big Magic took me (mostly) by surprise. There was one or two small sections where I wanted to throw the book out of boredom, but the rest of it spoke to my heart 100%. It made me laugh, smile and cry.

Big Magic and Encouragement

Big Magic and Enchantment

Big Magic and Permission

Big Magic and Persistence

Big Magic and Trust

The goal was to read one additional book. Rachel Hollis’ 2nd book, Girl, Stop Apologizing came out and showed up in my mailbox. I wanted to pick it up and start reading right away, but the fact that I had not finished reading Dare to Lead by Brene Brown was hanging over my head. *guilt, go away* I gently put Mrs. Hollis back, and picked up Mrs. Brown. One of the best personal development books I have yet to read. It was heavier compared to some, but in a heartwarming way. A way that wanted me to take it slow. The reflection process is a gentle one too. Her words are causing me to evaluate myself as a leader at work and in a personal sense with my family.

I tell you though, this girl needs a fictional book, like ASAP, like stat.


Page 4 of 4 this month was forced and unpleasantly weak. The beginning of the month presented 3 drawings that were fun and relaxed. My Daemon of Creativity (read Big Magic) was fun to sketch out and dream about. I continue to see her floating around my brain when I need a pick me up.


Well, I did it! I moved 5 days out of each week. The documentation provides me with warm fuzzies. Like a completed checklist, seeing the fact that I moved my body 5 days each week beyond running around my home or work like a chicken with it’s head cut off is a healthy accomplishment. A work trip to NYC provided me with opportunities to workout in the hotel gym. There is something about working out in a gym that brings on a sense of competitiveness. Not against the others in the gym, which was pretty scarce, but against the machine. The days were jam packed with work related business so it was the machine and me for 30 minutes. HIIT running and ramped up speeds that I can not push myself to do on the open dirt roads in Minnesota.

7 Challenge

No comparing here. Jen Hatmaker disposed of A LOT of things during her month titled Possessions. Me, not so much, a box (largish, kind of, maybe?) sits on my floor with items to be donated. Could I find more? Probably. Listen, during the month February we disposed many garbage bags filled with clothes and toys. If I took any more of my kids’ toys they would still have plenty, but, I would be called out on the fact that I “cleaned house”. We have stuff, do not get me wrong, we could get rid of things that hold little value to our hearts and souls, but we do not have an extreme abundance of things. I think Marie Kondo will have to visit my house during a less chaotic month. One of the biggest take always I read in 7 was a quote Jen Hatmaker included on page 86 “Obedience isn’t a lack of fear. It’s just doing it scared”.

I pray that April Showers bring us some Flowers. Happy April everyone!

2019 Book List

Here I will list the books that I read in 2019. Most of them I will provide a link to my book review. Beware, if you read the review, it may give away what happens in the book. Read with caution *smile*

Three Wishes, Liane Moriarty

Coffee Pines & Designs Book Review Here

Still Alice, Lisa Genova

Coffee Pines & Designs book review here

Of Mess and Moxie, Jen Hatmaker

Coffee Pines & Designs has many posts referencing this book.

Friendly Deceit, L.V. Hope

Coffee Pines & Designs book review here

The Fringe Hours, Jessica N. Turner

Coffee Pines & Designs book review here

Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert

Coffee Pines & Designs book reviews:

Big Magic and Encouragement

Big Magic and Enchantment

Big Magic and Permission

Big Magic and Persistence

Big Magic and Trust

Big Magic and Courage

Creative was recently listed as one of my top 5 values. It was the first word that tugged at my heart and I didn’t have to think twice about putting it on my list.

Being creative takes courage. Prior to starting the Big Magic book this month I added “being courageously creative” under the title Coffee Pines & Designs. A tag line if you will. It seems to be a theme of my life lately. Being creative brings happiness. It brings fulfillment. It is not easy though. Writing words for people to read. Releasing thoughts and opinions into the world for people to view. Sketching and drawing after years of being removed from any art medium (minus Crayola crayons and children’s coloring books) takes time and practice.

My kiddos are at an age where they look at their mom and do as she does. Being creative forces me to leap into the clouds. Being creative makes me follow my dreams. They see me struggling with the oil pastels. They see me struggle with finding the perfect words. They learn that I can work through the struggles to find the missing stroke of color or the meshing of words to paint the picture in my head. They get to see the successful outcomes of time dedicated to one’s passions.

Luke Perry

Luke Perry passed away today. It seems odd to not write a post about him. Besides Zach from Saved by the Bell and Joey from NKOTB, Dylan and Brandon were my introduction to 90’s heart throbs. I remember visiting my cousins house while they were watching 90210 on their TV. Due to age I probably missed the first season or two, but it quickly became a show that I set the VCR recorder for if I wasn’t home. Brandon Walsh was the one that made me blush, he was, after all the good boy. I was the good girl so why wouldn’t I be drawn to the good boy? Little did I know, the good girl could desire the bad boy. This scenario became fairly standard in many of the romance novels read over the years. Dylan McKay, you ended up being the favorite.

Last week I heard they were planning on a reboot of sorts for 90210. This time to include the original lineup of characters. Luke Perry was tied up due to other obligations is what the radio said so he wouldn’t be joining the project . Today I received the text from my sister saying he died. Maybe it’s because Dylan and 90210 was the beginning of an era for me. Maybe it was because Luke was 52 years old- too young to have a heart attack, too young to die, and how the heck is he 52 when I am still 23? Oh! What? I am not? Ok. I guess time is not standing still. I am not certain the reasons of this post. Maybe it brings back memories of a really good tv show. Maybe it brings back memories of being a teenager and feeling “free”. Maybe it is a realization that things can happen just like that. Rest In Peace Luke Perry. You made an impact on many.

Friendly Deceit: Book Review

If 50 Shades of Grey and Love Jones were to have a baby, Friendly Deceit would be their love child. This novel by L.V. Hope would not be a normal pick for me, however, the author is married to my husband’s cousin, I felt the desire to support her and read it. Friendly Deceit combines the rough sexiness of the 50 Shades trilogy with the poetic romance of Love Jones.

What L.V. Hope excels in is describing things in heightened detail. She brings Journey, Seth and Cheyenne to life, as if you were sitting across Atticus watching their interaction over a glass of wine. The setting of Minneapolis, Minnesota is described in such a detail that it draws my heart to want to experience it more, and, in a way I have never done so before. This Romantic Thriller will draw you in and make you wonder what will happen next. This is book one of her series and I look forward to the next layer of Friendly Deceit.

The 50 Shades Trilogy and Love Jones both provide excellent soundtracks to their books/movies. Perhaps, the soundtracks for 50 Shades are better than the acting in the movies, sorry Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan. As I was reading Friendly Deceit I was taking screen shots of the songs and artists L.V. Hope brought into the novel to help set the mood. Little did I know she provided a complete playlist at the end of the book. If I could go back, I would download the playlist and have it playing in the background as I dove into the character’s story. L.V. Hope, well done on the song selections!

*Please note, if 50 Shades of Grey was “too sexy” for you this may not be the book for you.

Work Out Music To My Ears

Coming home tonight I found myself easily agitated. Maybe it was having missed Monday at work (putting me behind), or having been at work since 6:30 AM (trying to play catch up), or coming up on a full moon or maybe, just maybe, it was our 6 year old going on a complete emotional rollercoaster the minute I walked in the door (again, I question the full moon). Dinner made it better, bed was calling my name, yet a workout loomed in the back of my brain.

Kids to bed. Check.

Workout pants on. Check.

Head phones plugged in. Check.

Spotify on shuffle. Check.

Music makes it all better.

Dancing makes it all better.

Of course I bypassed some songs that floated through the playlist, but some made me smile, move and sweat.

Have you heard Judah & The Lion’s Folk-Hop Sound? It is the perfect blend of my past love of hip hop and my current love of folk. If you see me leave the school parking lot this week bumping some base you can be guaranteed it is this song! Who knew the banjo could be paired with such sweet base?

The randomness of MC Lyte made me laugh. Bradley Cooper rips on the guitar in Out of Time. This simply made me smile, the movie left me feeling like I had been at a concert, this song brings me back to the theater.

Damien Rice is a definite softer tune, but a more recent love thanks to So You Think You Can Dance. Darius danced to it with Sieve Taylor this last season. I could watch this dance on repeat all day long. The choreography is simply beautiful, sad and powerful. It just may leave you feeling a bit angry. Dance is such a strong art. This song can’t simply be passed by if it comes on.

Leon Bridges is sugar to my ears and my soul. My Shot, oh my goodness, can I see Hamilton yet? Really, my NYC trip is soon approaching and may have to fork over the bucks to see it. Regrets may be bad if I don’t.

Of Mess & Moxie • Week 3

How would you make room at the table of faith for someone who was being marginalized? Do you have someone in mind?

I have re-written this answer three times now. It is a very broad question in a way. Is this question asking about someone that is literally being marginalized at that very moment? Is it a person who was being marginalized outside of the group prior to sitting down at the table? Is this person feeling this way internally, but the people around really do not have these feelings? When I sit at the various tables throughout my life, I hope that I am trying to make a connection with each person that sits there. I want to create a spark of belonging and acceptance. The world is large. There are opportunities to belong all around us. Yet, there are so many times people feel belittled and I welcomed. That is not what we are put here for. Like Jen Hatmaker said on page 126, “Sanctuary means all are safe, equally valued, everyone ministered to and included”. I am not certain which God you believe in, but we are put on this earth to value one another and be kind. It is pretty simple, do you not think?

Do you enjoy or dread exercise? Why?

Jen Hatmaker’s chapter on exercise made me laugh. I mean, hello, biker shorts and leotards? I understand her thoughts on how eating chips and salsa and sitting on the couch sound much more inviting than crunches and squats. I like exercise. I really do. At times I love it even. I love the feeling of sweating and feeling strong. I hit walls though, and popcorn and a chick flick sound so much nicer. Maybe even many nights in a row. Exercise makes me healthy, it calms my brain, it is a way to push my emotions to a breaking point. Have you ever cried during a yoga session? Have you ever balled during a run? It is simply an amazing feeling. It is such a release.

When you find yourself in a funk, what do you do to lift yourself up?

I hug my kids, exercise, read a chick flick, do yoga, talk to my family/friends, look at pretty pictures- art, interior designs, watch a movie, go to sleep. Walk through Target.

In what ways do your girlfriends make you a better Friend? Mom? Wife? Person?

To make me my healthiest person I could use some girlfriend time weekly. Now, this is not possible in my current season of life. I take it when I can get it, though *smile*. It might be an hour long walk every other week to quickly get caught up, it could be a quick lunch date (this is a new thing a few of us are going to try each month), monthly meetings with book club, or a well deserved weekend away. I may not always feel quite rejuvenated after these times with friends, but I feel lighter on my feet. I feel like I get to relax in a way that I can’t with other people. I have one friend, that I have said many times to “I am sorry I am not talking, it just feels so good to just be around you” and she gets that! I have one friend that we get together and we talk as many words as we do steps during our power walking sessions. I get together with book club peeps and I leave with a headache from laughing and smiling. I have friends that feel like family. I am so blessed in the friends department. I hope they feel half as good about me being a part of their life. I would do anything for those girls!

Three Wishes, Book Review

Beware, if you read the review, it may give away what happens in the book. Read with caution *smile*

Three Wishes by Liana Moriarty

Excerpt From

Three Wishes

Liane Moriarty

This material may be protected by copyright.

Told from the perspective of spectators, the prologue begins with a fight between the sisters that ends with a fork protruding from the pregnant sister’s belly. How does this event as the opening affect the way in which you read the rest of the novel? How does hearing the story from a variety of viewpoints affect you?

I was curious throughout the whole book to find out what triplet was pregnant with the fork in her stomach. It took awhile to remember which triplet belonged to each storyline, once I had that figured out I couldn’t put the book down.

Short vignettes of people who have observed the triplets throughout their lives are interspersed throughout the novel. What was the author trying to achieve with this technique? Was it successful? How does it remind you of the film It’s a Wonderful Life?

I have not seen the Wonderful Life to answer that question. I know, I know, I should have seen it. It is a classic, right? I thought it was unique to bring in those observations from their past lives. I imagine it was quite a site from others around the Kettle family. Three kids all the same age, 2 that looked the same. I loved how the stories gave a little insight into Gemma, Lyn and Cat’s personalities.

Why did Gemma never tell her sisters, with whom she shared everything, about the abuse from her fiancé? What would her sisters have done had they known? Why didn’t Lyn and Cat notice the abuse? We don’t learn of the abuse until well into the novel. How does this affect your understanding of why Gemma lives her life the way she does?

I think many people have not shared their story of abuse as they are afraid of what will happen. Will it get back to the abuser and will it make the abuse more prominent? I think they doubt themselves, they wonder if they are good enough or 2nd guess themselves. When you look at the three sisters it seems that Gemma is always in the middle, trying to smooth over the emotions that come from Cat or Lyn. I think she had a hard time finding her place. I think if Cat and Lyn knew about the divorce they would have said words that would fuel into Gemma’s personal uncertainty. Not that they would have intentionally done that, but it seems to some extent that they doubt her abilities. The abuse appeared to be all emotional. Lyn and Cat seemed to be a bit self centered and I feel that is why they didn’t notice the abuse, along with the fact that Gemma tended to worry about others and not bring a lot of attention to herself. Until we found out about the abuse I wondered what was off about Gemma and Marcus. I had a feeling there was some tension between the couple, and then when she said she hoped he had died, I had to know what was “up” with the two of them.

Ultra-organized and efficient, Lyn begins to experience panic attacks. Why does she hide them from her sisters and her husband? How are the panic attacks a message to Lyn about changes she needs to make?

I feel that I relate the most to Lyn. I am a type A personality and INFJ in the Myers Briggs personality world. If things are not organized, it causes a lot of stress on me and how I function. Her ultra-organized skills are a large part of who she is. If she lets them know about the panic attacks it will appear to others that she can not hold her stuff together any longer. It is hit to her ego. I think her panic attacks are a sure sign to her that she needs to re-evaluate her life and delegate to others. These attacks appear in her life when her close family members are going through a lot of personal trials. I think this sub-consciously can trigger ones own life to be evaluated.

Cat learns that her perfect marriage to the perfect husband is not so perfect after all. She believed that she and Dan had great communication and love, but Dan has an affair. How could her understanding of their relationship be so wrong? How does Lyn and Dan’s secret relationship prior to Cat and Dan’s affect Cat’s relationship with her husband and her sister.

I think it is easy for one half of a relationship to be unaware of an affair happening by the other half. Maybe it isn’t an affair, but a different big secret. I think this happens to couples that are healthy together and unhealthy. I think it takes a lot of energy to be truthful and faithful to one another for such a long period of time. I have not been unfaithful, but have been on the other side of it in past relationships. I had no idea. In that particular relationship things were not healthy, but I felt they were healthy “enough”. I have seen couples work through secrets that affected them in the past. They altered their communication with one another, saw counselors, worked on themselves and they made it past the secrets. They forgave. Forgiveness is huge in resurrecting a bad relationship.

Coincidentally, the woman Dan has an affair with is also the sister of Gemma’s new boyfriend, Charlie. How does this affect the tension of the story?

I had a hunch that this was going to be the story line with these characters. When it all played out at Christmas I literally held my breath. How disheartening for Gemma. She was the sister you just wanted something to work out for as she seemed to have hit it hard in the love department. I hoped throughout the story that they could make it work. I am so glad they could.

When Cat learns that Charlie’s sister is Dan’s “other woman,” she demands that Gemma break up with Charlie. Why did Cat think she had the right to ask this of Gemma? Describe the sisters’ relationships with men. How are they manifestations of their personalities? How does sibling rivalry affect the decisions they make about their lives, including the men they choose?

Cat and Dan’s relationship came first. They were married, I think it was naturally thought that Gemma and Charlie’s would have to be the one sacrificed; even though it wasn’t fair to ask. I say this and within the same breath I didn’t want to. You want Gemma to work out with Charlie. Like I stated in number 6, you want to route for Gemma as she seemed to be the “underdog” in the love department. She seemed to be the peacekeeper through her life and she deserved something for herself. I think the author did a good job shadowing their personalities with their significant others. There are a lot of layers to sisterhood. They can get complicated. Love and dislike can happen so quickly between sisters.

Of Mess & Moxie•Week 2

If you could decorate your home in your favorite style what would it be? On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your hospitality skills? Why?

What a fun question to answer and ponder. With my education in interior design I have an appreciation for almost any form of interior design.

What is my favorite though?

If I could decorate my spaces in any form? There are a few words that come to my mind. Bohemian. Vintage. Modern. Eclectic. Colorful. Retro. Colorful. Jewel toned.

Think Millie’s home in Because I Said So. The vibrant exterior of Frida Kahlo’s home. Walk into an Anthropologie store. That is my style. That is where I find comfort. Surrounded by color and simple lines. Pick up a Dwell magazine. That is what makes my heart sore. I walk into the KD Floral shop in Bemidji and I want the old wood floors that creek. I want the high ceilings that are covered in tin. I want the loft in a downtown city. I want the flat roofed dwelling in the middle of nowhere with repetitive glass windows that overlooks the ocean.

Thankfully, I am creative enough to make any house feel like home. I often fall asleep dreaming of other homes I could have. Not that I don’t love our home, but I have a vision of a simple home I would love to build someday. I practically know every detail down to the floor, the tiled backsplash, the placement of yoga area with floor to ceiling bookshelves. I can see it. I can feel it. Some day. Some day I pray it will be mine.

When was the last time you felt judged? How did you react?

Is being questioned/accused and judged the same thing? I choose to not talk too much about the situation where I was last put in this type of position. I will say that it hurt. It was one of the most painful times I have been judged. The thoughts and words by this person was false and that is why it ripped me apart like it did. I know, my blog is my place to be honest and open but there are some subjects off limits. I read other blogs for openness and honesty. I read other blogs for suggestions on how to be a better person. I can leave you with this though. Read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. His four suggestions on how to live life have stuck with me. I have them posted at work so I can see them whenever I feel defeated or stuck. I think it is one of the top 10 books I have read. A bonus? It’s short! What others think of you is a projection of their reality. That can hurt, but do your best and be truthful, that’s all you can do. Chin up!

Do you binge watch TV? What are your favor shows?

Oh, TV…I live in a home where we do not have cable or WiFi. I am ok with no cable and my brain probably says it’s ok to not have WiFi, wait. What did I just write? No, I mean I wish I had WiFi for a list of reasons a mile long. What my brain meant was, one of the reasons why I am ok not having WiFi is that I would then have Netflix all the time! I would most likely binge watch shows rather than workout or read. With that being said, I have binged on some shows when I have had the opportunity. Let’s rewind about 10 years. I binge watched Gilmore Girls. From episode one to the final one. Amazing! How did I miss that show? Rewind even father. Let’s say, back to 2003? This is when I came across reruns of Dawson’s Creek on TBS as well as the final episodes that were running on the WB. I would record what I could on my VCR. I broke down eventually and bought seasons 1-4 on dvd to get completely caught up. Each season got me through late nights finishing up interior design projects to get me in the last 2 years of the program at NDSU. Were you team Dawson or Pacey? Team Pacey all the way! Some day, I will buy the rest of the seasons to complete my collection. I would download songs off of the episodes and dream of moving to Wilmington, NC where it was filmed. I rented Big Little Lies from Redbox and binged on that one weekend sans kids. I felt like I wasted away that precious mommy break, but boy was it worth it! I also binged on 13 Reasons last month. I am still debating writing a post on my thoughts. That show tug at some heart strings and emotions! I prefer books and movies over TV shows, but a little R&R is good for the soul! I am enjoying God Friended Me on CBS, Sunday evenings. It comes in great with our large antenna!

If you had all weekend to be creative what would you create?

Such another great question to ponder! A whole weekend to be creative? No laundry? No cleaning toilets? No cooking meals?

Here are a few creative projects I would like to tackle:

Update/organize the look of my blog.

Draw in my sketchbook.

Draw out my dream house on paper. I have it all in my head. Yoga/meditation room with a long window and floor to ceiling bookshelves. A kitchen with aqua glass subway tiles and white counters.

Create Spotify playlists. My friend, Catherine, has amazing lists that you can tell she spent tons of time and love on!

Of Mess and Moxie- an introduction

I found a study guide online to follow along with as I read Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker:

In what ways are you able to find Moxie in the midst of a Mess?

Moxie means to be full of energy or determination. I feel like every day I have to dig deep to find a little Moxie to get me through the days. I don’t mean that every day is a mess as the question proposes, but each day it takes energy to fuel the list of to-dos that need to be done. Believe me, there are plenty of messes in my life of being a wife, mother and manager, not to mention the other roles I play in life. What life doesn’t have messes though, right? I find time to do things that bring me joy: watch my kids grow, read empowering books, workout, write, create etc. All of these things bring me energy. They give me the purpose to live life each day.

How are you different from one year ago? 5 years ago? 10 years ago?

A year ago I was doubting myself, my feelings, my desires and my ways of living. I was right on the verge of taking the steps to believe in myself again (thank you counseling, self help books and tuning into the things that have always made me feel full). Today I am much more sure of who I am. I know that I am a kind hearted person who gives her all to everything and everyone around her. I am not perfect, I make mistakes and I am ok with that. I am not any different than the kid I used to be, the young adult I merged into and the human being I was right before I got married and had kids. Of course, I am different, but the core of me is the same.

5 years ago I was a new mother. I had Stella who was 1.5 and was expecting Emery within a couple of months. I loved having really little kiddos around. I loved the snuggles and the coos of babies. Even though they are full of tattles and sass now, I thoroughly enjoy this stage much more. 5 years ago I was a full on mother. Exhausted from having Stella and giving Emery a home to grown in, I had lost a whole lot of “me”. I was happy to be a wife, blessed to have the girls, but didn’t have time to find myself. I didn’t have time to be Kirsten. I felt truly lost. Most moms will understand this. Dads try, but will never fully understand.

10 years ago I was 26. I was single, just meeting my husband to be. I worked in the world of Interior Design, one of my creative passions. I worked out at a phenomenal gym each day. I lived in the same town as my parents and some of my best friends. Life was pretty comfortable and carefree. I could read when I wanted to, create art if I desired and be lazy if I wished. There are days that I long to be that 26 year old again. If just for a day or two every now and again.

As a parent what do I take seriously? What do I take less seriously?

This is a hard question. Being a parent is the hardest job/role I have ever had. Some days I succeed and some days I darn near fail- or at least feel like I do. The girls are still alive, healthy and happy (most of the time) so I must be doing something right as a mom. I want my kids to be kind. That is by far my biggest fear. The first thing I ask at conferences is are they nice to other kids? Do they have good manners? Are they respectable? I would say I also ensure that they are hardworking. I want to make sure they are challenged and understand things are not just handed to them. They will not always be the best, things will not always come easy for them. They have heard the phrase “life is not always fair” to the point where Emmy recites it to her sister often *laughing*

What am I more relaxed on? Goodness, I don’t even know. They know relaxed is not a word often found in my vocabulary. We are a clean family, messes and clutter make me anxious, but I also don’t mind if they have projects out in certain areas of the house because I know they are being creative. If they are being imaginative I am less apt to hound them to clean up their mess. I am less serious about putting laundry away- maybe because I don’t like laundry. I would rather clean a toilet *laughing* By nature, I am a pretty serious person. I wish I could be less serious at parenting,