The One Place That Has Taken Me the Longest to Call Home

the truth about home

I had a revelation as I was driving to the grocery store earlier this week thinking about my 3rd born. His 10th birthday was a few days ago and we moved to Lemont when I was 8 months pregnant with him. That means we have lived in Lemont for 8 years {I know what you’re thinking, that my math is off. We moved away for 2 years but we still owned the house so it all adds up to 10 in the end}.

8 years in one place. That’s a record for me. 42 years old & I’ve never lived anywhere longer than 5 years – until now.

If you would ask me today, “Where are you from?” my answer would include a pause, followed by a smile and “Well, it’s a long story but I live in Lemont, Illinois now.” After 8 years, you would think that I would call Lemont home, right?

My entire life has been in a place of transition. From birth until today, I have moved 23 times. Half of those moves happened before I got married & the rest have been with my adventurous husband. Looking at my past, it’s no wonder that it has taken me a while to call Lemont home, even though I have lived here the longest that I have ever lived anywhere!

When I pulled into the grocery store parking lot I immediately grabbed my phone to text Greg & shared with him my revelation. I had to apologize to him because it has taken me too long time to call Lemont home. I felt guilty and selfish.

I spent the next 3o minutes filling up my grocery cart, lost in my thoughts for a while. As I was driving home, the guilt & selfishness slowly melted away as I realized this truth: Lemont isn’t home.

Home isn’t about the name of a town. Home isn’t about your mailing address. Home is about the people.

Every time we have moved, Greg & I have always said “it’s not about the place, it’s about the people.” Everywhere we have lived, we have met some incredible people. People that we now call family. Lemont is the same.

You put in roots where you are planted. Some places require a little more work to prepare the ground for the seeds that will be sowed. Sometimes you have to clear out the weeds first.

Moving back to Lemont after being away for 2 years has had it’s challenges. Friendships we had before weren’t the same. We were not embraced by some and that was hard. More for me than for Greg. For the first time in the three years we’ve been back, I finally realized that I needed to let that go.

Thankfully, God didn’t wait for me to get my act together before bringing new people into our lives & giving us a renewed sense to embrace the ones that stuck by us.

Want to know the bigger truth?

I hope that our home, whether it’s Lemont or the place that will be #24, will be a small glimpse of the place that I will gladly call home one day – Heaven.

home haven


What I Learned in 2014 ~ It’s OK

its ok

A year ago this week, I heard some life changing news. Sometimes, life changing news can be a good thing. This was not one of those times. The reality is that life as we knew it would never be the same. Life changing news has a way of doing that. Good or bad, you know life will never be the same.

The Whoa’s of life will continue. I cannot change that. Maybe I don’t want that to change. What I needed to learn this year {and for the rest of my years} was when the Whoa’s of life come, when all I want to do is scream, “This is not OK!” – I have to put my trust in something bigger than me. Someone who understands the big picture. Someone who reminds me everyday, if I just listen, that it will be OK.

Looking back at 2014, here are a few things that fit in the category of “It’s OK”:

clear_the_funk_1It’s ok to admit when you need help to fight a funk.


inconvenienceIt’s ok to choose the inconvenience.


when_words_fail_listenIt’s ok to be quiet.


idhtbptbb_1It’s more than ok to be a dream cheerleader.


hashtag whoaIt’s ok to do something you never thought you would do when surrounded by a bunch of strangers.


embarrassed2It’s ok to share your embarrassing moments.

Wonder what 2015 will bring?

Link up with Emily and share what you’ve learned in 2014!

When All is Calm Isn’t

sunset tree breathing room

This post may surprise you.

It surprises me to admit it. Out loud, at least.

I am an anxious person.

I have been pushing that down deep inside of me for a long time now. I would pass the blame on other things or people. When it hits me, it’s out of the blue. Through the years, I’ve found the things that normally calm me down: writing, going for a walk, listening to music, taking deep breaths, reciting verses or song lyrics. Eventually, all is calm & all is bright again.

This year, the anxiety began to s e e p instead of being sudden. Regaining the calm & suppressing the anxiety became more difficult. It has even caused health & relationship problems.

Did you know that our word of the year has been Whoa?  {What were we thinking?} The Whoa’s have varied between incredibly exciting WHOA’s all the way down to exhaling breaths of exasperating w h o a ‘ s. It has been a year that has been extremely rough for someone like me that has been doing everything in her power to suppress her anxiety.


Here’s the truth:

I hate to admit that I have anxiety.

It makes me feel weak.


My mind is screaming “keep that curtain closed!”

I hate for people to know that my husband is married to an anxious wife.

I hate for people to know that my kids have an anxious mom.

I hate for my friends to know that they have an anxious friend.

Here’s the hard truth:

The only way I can breathe freely, is to admit the truth that I am an anxious person, that I do not have to suppress my anxiety & face it alone.

o christmas tree 2

Therefore, this Christmas season, when those exasperating w h o a ‘s threaten to seep in, when All is Calm Isn’t, when the Silent Night is Loud, I will face those anxious moments by:

~ trusting in God’s promises.

~ embracing the simple.

~ clinging to the man that God put in my life.

~ cherishing the joy I see in the eyes of our children.

~ listening to the words of encouragement from family & friends.

isaiah 9

If you are facing an anxious moment {or moments} this Christmas & feel the need to breathe freely, will you join me in the trusting, embracing, clinging, cherishing & listening? {Well, not my husband – he’s mine to cling to!}

Finger Knitted Wreath

finger knitted wreath

I’m joining the Nester’s “Wreath Party” today – where a bunch of us will be sharing our DIY wreaths.

A few years ago, I made a Magazine Wreath for this wreath party – I still love it & it has been hanging on the wall in our hallway for a few years now. Don’t let the name “wreath party” fool you – us wreath makers know how to have fun!

Confession time – a few years ago, I was invited to a wreath making party around this time of year & I asked dragged my friend Karrie to come along with me. We decided to make it more fun with a little game – that whenever one of the leaders of the group said the word “wreath”, we would bark or meow, quietly. Karrie would bark. I would meow. Well, it was silly when it was a bunch of us standing around the table making a lovely wreath {meow} but it got a little out of hand when it was the time of the night when the leader of the group got up to share the meaning of the advent wreath {bark}. Everyone in the room was diligently listening & so were we until she said “wreath” then we obediently & quietly barked or meowed – we couldn’t stop! We had to finish the game. That was the last wreath {meow} party I was invited to, until today. Told ya – wreath {bark} makers know how to have fun!

When Nester issued the challenge again this year, I knew I wanted to participate but I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to make.

I “shopped the house” & found some chunky yarn that I bought a few months ago just because I loved the color & it’s chunkiness and decided I was going to finger knit that lovely chunky yarn and then figure out how to make it into a wreath {meow}.

Have you tried finger knitting before? I learned how to do it from this tutorial that my friend Maggie wrote a few years ago.

It is the perfect thing to do while you’re hanging out with family watching a football game or even a movie. This time, I had my kindle app open, re-reading Mockingjay and finger knitted that chunky yarn & I was done way before Peeta gets maniacal & tries to choke Katniss.

The chunky yarn was now a beautiful knitted rope ready to be transformed into a wreath {bark}. All I needed was something to wrap it around. I didn’t have any cardboard in the house so I grabbed a paper plate, cut out the center & started wrapping it around the paper plate.

finger knitted wreath paper plate

The fun thing about this being just wrapped around the paper plate is if I want to take it apart & use the yarn for something else, all I have to do is untie the knots.

finger knitted wreath 2

Isn’t she cute? I secured the ends together by just making a loop & wrapping them together with the extra yarn at the end of the rope. So easy.

finger knitted wreath 3

The best part? The only cost for this project was the yarn, which was around $5.

Be sure to hop over to Nester’s to see all the other wreath {meow} creations!

finger knitted wreath 3

We Thank Thee

thankful 2014

Happy Thanksgiving to you & your family.

We have so much to be thankful for this year, don’t we?

Favorite Gifts

favorite gifts 2014

This is a collection of a combination of some gifts on my wish list & some I have purchased for gifts this year. Enjoy!

1) JessicaNDesigns

2) Fawnsberg

3) Kelly Moore

4) CocoandBubbles – they have Campfire & Grass candles!

5) Lindsay Letters

6) Evy’s Tree - follow them on Instagram for sale updates…there’s a HUGE sale that starts tonight!

7) Red Letter Words

8) Urban Decay Smoked Eyeshadow

9) Urban Decay Glitter Eyeliner – these are SO FUN! I have Midnight Cowboy!

10) Happy Little Lovelies – follow her on Instagram for 6 Days of Christmas this week!

11) Grace Laced

Happy Shopping!!

Follow Caroline’s board shop // gifts on Pinterest.

The Clay Necklace That Could

the clay necklace that couldBefore you get too excited, this is not a tutorial. This is a tutorial flop. Or as I like to call it, The Clay Necklace That Could.

This project started with great potential & enthusiasm. Isn’t that how it goes with most new projects?

I was determined to make this necklace:

6a00d8358081ff69e201bb07951a22970d-800wiread the tutorial here via A Beautiful Mess

Cute, right? I wanted to make a few of them as gifts this year.

While Eden was at a birthday party a few weeks ago, I headed to a nearby Hobby Lobby and gathered all my supplies.

The next day I set aside some time to make the necklace. Everything was going great until I grabbed my carving tool & tried to carve the geometric shapes into the hardened clay. Um, I was expecting it to be a little softer. Silly Caroline. It was baked clay. But as I told you before, I was determined. My enthusiasm still in tact.

clay carving

I sat at our dining room table & carved those little suckers for over an hour. Maybe longer. I lost count. My butt was numb & I developed a blister on my right middle finger & almost threw it all in the trash when my x-acto knife slipped through my fingers & I cut through the chain! The enthusiasm was gone. But I had to finish. I wasn’t going to quit.

And my end result:

the clay necklace that could not

Yep. Almost looks like our carrot crop that we harvested last week.

carrot harvest

Maybe I should have just poked holes through our carrots, painted them with metallic paint & strung them through the necklace string? Hmm. What do you think?

Oh, and my necklaces were HEAVY. Probably a few pounds. I was somewhat defeated but still about 75% determined to make something work & I had all this extra clay…so…

Scratch that project & onto ROUND TWO!

After a few Pinterest searches, my enthusiasm returned & I just knew that I could make something like this:

hh-diy-clay-gumballHello Natural

Roll the clay. Poke holes through them with a toothpick. Bake them. Put 2 coats of paint on them. Let them dry. String them. Gift them. Wear them. Toss them on the ground & let your cats play with them. Victory!

clay beads process


blue & white

asterisk gold

The point of all of this was to try something new. Sometimes you need to learn something new, work hard at it, fail, do it again but better & then you will know whether or not you want to continue.

The Clay Necklace that Could.

No Talk November

Monday Fall SunriseGreg and I write everyday in October and then silence…

It felt strange waking up on November 1 to realize we were done with 31 Days. But at the same time it was nice to turn the brain off for a few days.

Greg and I joked that November would be “No Talk November”. Or maybe “No Think November”. Sometimes your brain needs to rest.

All kidding aside, I will take some time this month to accept the challenge of my technology dare. Maybe during the week of Thanksgiving?

Also, during the month of November I am going to read. Maybe November will be “November Reads”. Ok. I’m done with giving November a name.

Here are a few of the books I want to read this month:

November Reads

Breathing Room by Leeana Tankersly – I received this book at Allume & it is so good! Hear from the author during this month’s Hope*ologie podcast {you can listen to it in iTunes!}.

A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sara E. Ladd – When Modern Mrs. Darcy mentioned this new release in one of her posts, I knew I would love it & well, I finished it in a day.

Running on Empty by Jill Briscoe – this book was a gift from my mother, it is one of her favorite books

Longing for More by Timothy Willard – a gift from Allume.

Tables in the Wilderness by Phillip Yancey – another gift from Allume. This conference is very generous with their gift of books!

I think I sense a theme…maybe I need to catch my breath & sit & read & listen & ponder & pray. So, it will be a quiet November around here. That’s okay with you, right?

I have always done my best to make this space a place of encouragement, allowing my photography & meager words to bring you hope & joy. Since I am going to be more quiet than usual, I would love to hear from you – those of you who faithfully read my blog & those that joined us during 31 Days – what would you like to read about here?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below or send me an email {carolineteselle at gmail dot com}

We Dare You to Be Truthful

rock & roll teselle thanks

We loved writing together again this year. Thanks again to The Nester and the Write 31 Days initiative. We hope you had a couple good laughs at our ridiculous truths… as well as challenged to be a little bit more daring.

On a serious note, let us explain why we chose the topic of Truth or Dare to write about for 31 Days this year.

One of the reasons we decided on this topic is because we love TRUTH.  The root meaning of truth is “to come out of hiding“. We want to live our lives in such a way that we don’t have to hide. Hiding is horrible. Truth has so many benefits…

Truth is the beginning of healing… physical, spiritual, and mental.
Truth builds integrity.
Truth begets trust and credibility.
Truth creates stronger relationships.

Every morning we should put on the belt of truth.  A belt encompasses the waist… and we need truth to encompass our lives. Truth should be written on our hearts and must reach beyond an outward show.

The other reason we decided to write on this topic is because we love to be DARING.  Maybe Greg likes it a bit more than Caroline, but we both understand deeply the value of taking risks.

Risk provides new experiences for you to learn, change, and share.
Risk allows you to discover new things about yourself and the world.
Risk allows you to conquer your fears.
Risk is exhilarating. It makes you come alive.

May our lives be about the TRUTH and the DARE.

And we DARE you to be TRUTHFUL.

On a far less serious note, can we share with you our TOP 5 FAVORITES from our Truth or Dare series:

1. Our Celebrity Crushes – don’t you love Greg’s new t-shirt? {wink!}

greg has a new tshirt

2. Greg lies to Caroline all the time.

3. Our million dollar dream.

4. A big fight with a honey bee.

5. Caroline wants to be a spy.

What were your favorites?

Thanks again for joining us this year!

truth or dare banner 2

One Big Dare ~ Coming Soon!

dare collage

Today was going to be the day we revealed our One Big Dare. Just like the season finale of your favorite show, we’ll be ending our 31 Days of Truth or Dare with a cliffhanger. Our One Big Dare will have to wait.


The truth is… October was a little ridiculous for our family.

Greg had knee surgery… again.
Gunnar had a few football injuries.
Eden had track camp.
Stone had band practice twice a week.
Tygar had 2 major school projects.
Caroline was in South Carolina for 4 days.
Gunnar had allergy testing for shellfish.
Oh, and writing everyday was no easy task but we LOVED it!

Even though we did establish a deadline for our One Big Dare to happen during 31 Days we didn’t want it to be forced & neither do you.

Obligatory dares are foolish.

Our dare didn’t happen yet… but it will… and we will tell you about it here… at … once it is completed.

truth or dare banner 2


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