Thoughts on Home & The Creatives Who’ve Helped Me :: Contest Closed

this contest is closed winner announced here, but the first minute of November 1st we’ll have a fresh giveaway where one person will win over $1450 in prizes.

I hope I never stop learning and changing how I think, especially when it comes to our home.  I wanted to share with you six women–creatives, who have really helped shape how I think about home.

Tsh Oxenreider @Simple Mom and her book Organized Simplicity has challenged me to evaluate what and why I have certain items in my home.

Ann Voskamp @A Holy Experience and her book One Thousand Gifts taught me the art of thankfulness, contentment and how to learn to live slow.

Jen Hatmaker and her book 7 reminds me to consider excess, stuff and being purposeful.

Emily Freeman (my baby sister) @Chatting at the Sky and her book Grace for the Good Girl (& really just her whole life) shows us that we don’t have to pretend to be perfect.

Sandy Coughlin @The Reluctant Entertainer and her book The Reluctant Entertainer encouraged me to use our home as a place of connection, right now.

Lisa Leonard : everything about her bleeds creativity.  From her jewelry here and here, to her instagram and even what she wears.  Lisa’s life dares me to take that risk and create.

I’m giving away all of these books signed by the author (all but Jen’s she’s the only one I don’t know in real life and she so wanted to send me a signed book and I was going to remind her but after watching her schedule online and on her blog, I simply couldn’t bring myself to remind her to do one more thing, her book is just as powerful signature or no signature).  But Tsh, Ann, Emily, Sandy and Lisa are all dear friends. Emily and Tsh both signed this copy while visiting my house, Ann signed the copy at the beach back in September and special thanks to Sandy who signed and shipped a book to me from the west coast!

One winner will get all of these books and the necklace along with some special little gifts from my home.  I’m looking forward to packaging it up all cute and shipping it out to the winner, usually giveaways here are hosted by a third-party so I don’t get to put my hands on the actual prize.  But this one is straight from the nest and from these inspiring women and me to you.

Is there a book or movie or anything that has helped shape your thinking about home?  I’d love to read about it in the comments!  Your comment will count as your entry, even if you don’t have an answer to the question, just leave a comment to enter to win.

This post is part of a 31 Day Series Home. On Purpose. See all the posts here.


  1. This is my first time here. I followed a link from a link from Gussy Sews and am a new follower! I love your ideas and am in desperate need of inspiration!!!

  2. I don’t have a wise book that I have read- but I lived with a beautiful friend during grad school who taught me about hospitality, friendship, joy, and simplicity in not much at all- She is who i credit for really making me think about home.

  3. This looks like an amazing book kit and thanks for the giveaway! One author whose really changed my thinking about stuff is the Minimalist Mom. I love her ebooks on simple living.

  4. nice giveaway! all but two of those books is on my wishlist–one I could read and gift, and the other is now going on my list after hearing about it here, if I don’t win :)

  5. All of those look so wonderful! I love love love your blog and your pinterest boards!!

  6. I think Sink Reflections by the Flylady was one. She said “Housework done incorrectly still blesses your family.” Very close to another one of my favorite sayings, “It does’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” It encourages me to let go of my perfectionism.

  7. My biggest influence has been a neighbor who opened her home generously and trustingly.

  8. I’m so thankful for your tips and positive attitude about what you have gone through financially and maintaining a focus of creating a home on purpose. Your blog gives me hope as we go through a similar situation. Thank you for helping me look at downsizing differently!

  9. Jennifer Wallace says

    WOW!!! These look great! So excited at the possibility!

  10. Jen Van Hooser says

    Definitely Ann’s book – WOW!

  11. Well, God has used the Bible to shape my view of family and home, helping me to better discern what honors Him and what just serves as a distraction, or worse. But I’ve also been shaped by the Organized Simplicity and by One Thousand Gifts, along with wonderful counsel via the writings of Leslie Vernick. Thank you for the giveaway, and for your inspiring blog.

  12. Robin Hoffmann says

    Actually, most recently, it has been Ann VosKamp’s book that has affected me most. I have learned to see beauty in the mundane tasks of a stay-at-home mom. I am learning that this mothering thing is really a very high calling, and I am so glad to be doing it! I would love to read the other books–haven’t heard of them yet! Thank you!

  13. Your selection of books is inspirational! I have 2 of them, but have been drooling over the others, which have been on my wish list for some time now.
    Emilie Barnes’ book ‘If Teacups Could Talk’ made a huge impact on me years ago. It taught me much about hospitality. Hmmmm, I think I it is time to take it off the shelf and read it anew.
    Thank you for hosting this 31 days series. I gleaned so much from so many!

    • Linda Bolt says

      Oh, yes, that’s another great book! And I just thought of another one: Open Heart, Open Home by Karen Mains. Taught me years ago of the need to just open the door and welcome people in.

    • Katie Lancaster says

      Ah, yes…Emilie Barnes…another good resource. I have a couple of her books that I should dust off!

  14. My husband grew up in South America and visiting his old stomping grounds puts a new perspective on what I think my American home needs. So many people live without things that I consider basic necessities to life (read: fresh clean water) and yet, they find something to give me and it humbles me. What does this have to do with decor? It has to do with the fact that if I feel an urge to create a magazine-like space, and just “need” to buy the one piece to complete the look, I stop and consider that I already have all I need…and then some. Usually just being grateful for the blessings piled up around me and sharing what I do have makes my home just simply glow!

  15. I think bloggers like yourself have made a tremendous impact on the way I view my home and possessions! Thank you for your insight :) I also subscribe to Ann Voskamp and am so challenged to live in joy and contentment. I’d LOVE to win her book!!!

  16. Angela Alsup says

    I read “The Family, God’s Weapon for Victory” years ago and the truths are just as applicable today as they were when the book came out. I highly recommend it.

  17. Kristina M. says

    Nester YOU have changed the way I view my home. I used to think home was just a place you lay your head at night. You see my parents divorced when I was 14, a few years later I was off to college so for about seven whole years I had at least two and up to 4 different bedrooms. Honestly I didn’t have the energy or the money to make all of them feel like home so NONE of them felt like home. Right around my last year of college, about one and 1/2 years ago I discovered your blog. I love it! Now I’m 22 and I’m renting my first house and it feels like its really mine, partially because I sleep in the same bed every night no matter what and partially because I’ve followed some great advise from you. I’ve learned to embrace imperfection (or try to), work with what I’ve got, and be very purposeful about what I bring into my home. THANKS NESTER!!

  18. Heather Marie says

    Although I (still) haven’t bought the reluctant entertainers book, her blog has influenced my home a great deal.

  19. Melinda Jo says

    The thing that shaped my thoughts on home the most was a mission trip to India. It was there that I learned that stuff doesn’t equate joy or happiness rather it is relationship. I got to live in relationship with two pastors, their two families, three other missionaries, and twenty orphans they became my family that is what made it; home. We served one another, spoke into each others lives and laughed a lot together. They are my brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, and kids. They showed me how to live and has become my home away from home.

  20. Several years ago I read Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. What has stuck with me has been her ideas about creativity and caring for others. She calls housework a House Blessing. It changed how I viewed my role as a mother and wife.

  21. I followed this link from Ann Voskamp’s emails I receive..would love all these books..I have read Ann’s…and have heard of all the others..very inspiring and who with young children, in our sleep deprived state, couldn’t use a little inspiration?? LOL. I’m sure I need a little bit of each of these in my life right now..thank you for sharing..I’ll be visiting again!

  22. Your blog and many others !
    I could use some inspiration too!

  23. Little house books!

  24. I would love to win that necklace!
    Charlotte Mason’s books on a philosophy of education has been an inspiration and encouragement to me.
    I definitely enjoyed Ann Voskamp’s book.
    Organized Simplicity is a gem too!

  25. Thanks for the post and the chance to win some great books. I know the contest is closed, but I wanted to thank you for the list of books. I am very familiar with Ann’s Book but I haven’t read the others…even though I have heard of a few. Now, I know what should be on my wish list:-)


  26. I have been the most influenced lately by the Bible study I am currently in. We finished studying James and now I am in a new study of Genesis. I am finding out what it means to live free from my perfectionism tendencies and the message of “as soon as my family has it together then we’ll have them over” thinking. I am learning to rest in who God has made me in Christ and is making me as His dearly loved daughter. I love to create and be with people but I was letting the fear of not measuring up keep me from having people in my home. Now I am taking steps to be known and loving others right where God has me:) Thanks for your creative posts!

  27. Pam Brouillard says

    The Year of the Magical Thinking by Joan Didion was a book I read shortly after our 26 year old passed away. It was as if Ms. Didion was reading my mind during my grieving. It is a story about the year she lost both her 26 y.o. daughter and her husband. (I didn’t know what type of book I had picked out) It taught me it is ok to grieve and Life does go on.Great book. Thank you for the chance to win these books. I have some of these on my wish list and would love to read them. How nice that they are signed copies!

  28. Jennifer Volpe says

    I love your daily tidbits. Keep the inspiration coming!!

  29. Edith Schaeffer’s The Hidden Art of Homemaking was the first book I read that started my evaluation process, then her daughter’s book For the Children’s Sake. helped get rid of the guilt of my less than perfectly cleaned home, since “housework imperfectly done is better than not at all.”

  30. That warmth of space and place that we call home. That hallowed arena of living and loving and laying down life. And I think this little corner of the web world and these gifts piled high in grace…I think they help us in all that “how”. How to have home and die that we might live in home? So, thank you. Thank you for this nudge forward and these bits of wisdom, filled with grace…

  31. I’m new to this site. Hello! I toggle between trying to get organized, to ranting at myself that I have too much stuff in my life, and lastly to seeking God’s direction to utilize WISELY what HE has blessed me with…then around again to trying to get organized! Do you see how cyclier (sp) my thinking is??? I need help!

  32. tia bennett says

    Thanks so much, you’re site is quite inspirational for me!

  33. I have wanted to read Jen Hatmaker’s book “7”… the excerpts I have read are very powerful. I have read Organized Simplicity and Grace for the Good Girl – two books that are very inspiring and have helped me on many levels!! :)

  34. I love Ann’s book, and would love to own the others! Thanks!

  35. is a great website that talks about living in a Christ centered home. She is a lovely woman. I also second the notion that Ann Voskamp is simply an inspiration in so many ways. God used her to change my life. God Bless!

  36. Kathy G in WA says

    Ann Voskamp’s book and blog, have profoundly influenced how I view my world (which includes my home) and my Lord. <

  37. I would say that in the last 10 years the books that have changed me the most have been Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth, Thick Naht Han’s Miracle of mindfulness. But Ann Voskamp’s 1,000 Gifts has by far been the book that made the most change. I have depression and anxiety and 2 daughters with them also. We have been through so much, all 3 of us, that I had turned away from God. I still had my belief, but my faith had dwindled to the point where I was unable to pray or read the bible or go to church. I was also angry with God, but unable to express even that. I had numbed completely. Her book has helped me to start the journey out of my self imposed prison of numbness and I am now able to pray some and read verses. I now have my faith back that God is indeed on my side. I just haven’t been seeing all he does for me, every minute of everyday.

  38. Debbie Wilker says

    I linked up to this site through Ann Voskamp’s Holy Experience site and love all that you are sharing with other women about making our homes places of beauty that reflect the love we have for our families that share them with us without having to over focus on the “perfect” home at the expense of relationships with those we are ministering to within those domains. Keep up the good work in connecting with sisters in Christ who also need to be reminded of these truths.

  39. I really loved Ann Voskamp’s book! She opened my eyes to the blessings I was missing in all the little moments, things I was easily looking past or taking for granted. As well as Crazy Love and the Forgotten God by Frances Chan. All of them were very powerful in my life.

  40. i love these books! i have read 7, organized simplicity and 1000 gifts. they are all great challenging reads. i would love the opportunity to read the others!
    thanks for the chance!

  41. I found your blog through Ann Voskamp. I love what you’re sharing here! Called to be a Keeper, a Bible study by Lori Merrill, has greatly influenced my view on the family and home.

  42. I read and loved One Thousand Gifts! I would love to win these books…reading about home and faith is my favorite type of reading! Thank you for the opportunity!

  43. Jennifer N. says

    I would love the opportunity to win one of these books!

  44. Looks like a great stack of good reads :) Thanks for the giveaway!

  45. I came here from Ann Voskamps website. God has used her book to inspire me to a life of gratitude. I also love your blog.

  46. Kathryn Kopka says

    I too found you throught Ann Vosamp. The iseas here are stimulating and encouraging. Thank you.

  47. Χanthi D. says

    a link to another link “linked” me here and I just dont want to find the sign that says EXIT….keep up the great job you do,inspiring yourself and all your readers, many thanks for that

  48. I love Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff!

  49. Wow! What a great and very personal giveaway! I would love to read all of these lovely books and wear that gorgeous piece of jewelry!

  50. I know I’m late to the show, here. But I just love this so much, and since you asked (and therefore you must long for my opinion) something that has shaped my vision for my home is this quote from The Fellowship of the Ring by Tolkien, where he says about Rivendell (aka “The Last Homely House”), “‘a perfect house, whether you like food or sleep, or story-telling or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all’. Merely to be there was a cure for weariness, fear, and sadness.”

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