Anything Could Happen

Hey there!

haven buttonI’m getting excited about the blog conference I’m attending in Atlanta next week called Haven.  Last night there was a twitter party for attendees.  I was tweeting away with the best of them, only to realize nobody could read my tweets because my twitter account is “private.”  I used to have my twitter open to the public and received all kinds of SPAM so I decided to privatize it.  It was kind of a let down since the whole idea of having the party was to get to know some of the bloggers before attending the conference.

So I was visiting the Haven Link Up…

haven link up photo


I’m wondering if I’m going to a modeling conference instead of a home bloggers conference.  Holy cow…if you want to see more of the beautiful bloggers click here.  If you are not sure what a link up is…it’s where you link up your blog so conference attendees can get to know each other by visiting their blogs.  Most bloggers inserted a photo of themselves instead of using their blog’s logo like I did.  Honestly, it’s probably a good idea to add a photo so people can put a name with a face.  However, I don’t really have a professional updated {with my new pixie cut} photo to share.  I need to do that.

Anyway, all of these bloggers look beautiful.  There’s nothing to say that they shouldn’t be beautiful.  Everyone is beautiful to God since we are all His children.  I guess it’s just a little intimidating.  I’m not sure what that says about me.  I’ve had friends tell me they used to think I was intimidating before they got to know me.  {I’m pretty sure it’s not because they thought I was model worthy.}  I’m completely and utterly shocked when this information was explained to me.  The LAST thing I would want would be for someone to be intimidated by me.  I love people and strive to be as friendly as possible to everyone I meet.

Shan at Blissdom

Blissdom 2012

Here’s what I have learned about myself after attending 2 Blissdom blog conferences.  Even though I am secure in who I am as a person…even though I am content in knowing I’m not the top blogger on the block…even though I’m a people person…I still struggle socializing at conferences.  I am the girl who always wants everyone to feel accepted.  In high school I struggled with being friends with just one group of people.  For me, it was better to be friends with people from all the different “groups” than to ostracize people who weren’t in my group of friends.  This can be a little difficult because then I don’t feel like I belong anywhere.

before Blissdom cocktail party

Me before Blissdom cocktail party

Let’s face it, when a bunch of women get together {sorry I know there are men bloggers too} invariably cliques form.  It’s like a law of nature or something.  This part makes me uncomfortable.  It’s not necessarily the workshops I have a problem with, it’s the “cocktail” parties and formal occasions.  You walk in and everyone is dressed up.  I like to dress up.  It’s fun when most days I wear t shirts and jeans.  After I walk into the party, and since I don’t know many people…well, it’s awkward.  Where do I go?  Who do I stand by?  Who do I talk to?  Then I feel as though people around me are noticing I’m alone.  I begin to think, “they must think I’m a real loser since I don’t have friends to come to the party with.”  The last conference I went to had a scenario like this:  I walked up to a table with 2 younger woman.  I asked if the spot at the table was taken… if I could join them.  They politely said I could join them.  We began to talk small talk and exchanged our business cards with our blogs on them.  I don’t remember exact words these girls said (thankfully), however I do remember how they made me feel.  I felt small…less than.  This is the exact feeling I never want people to have around me.  Nobody, I don’t care how many visitors come to your blog a day, is better than another person.  We all have problems.  We all have talents.  There is a quote that says “comparison is the thief of joy.”  I completely agree.  Once we begin to compare ourselves to another person we become insecure with who we are.  That feels dark and lonely.  Joy is filled with light and unity.

Roomspiration Blog Hop & Link Party


After sharing the preceding story you might wonder why I even want to go to these conferences.  Well, fortunately, those “cocktail” parties are few and far between in the grand scheme of the conference.  The majority of the time you are in workshops learning more about the world of blogging and in this particular conference, home blogging.  The last 2 conferences I attended were for all types of bloggers, open to all.  But do you know who were the most genuine and friendly bloggers I met there were?  Yep, it was the home bloggers.  These are the women who focus primarily on inspiring others with things they do in their home by way of design and DIY.  After Blissdom, and later in the year, I had the amazing opportunity to be invited to participate in a blog hop with many influential home bloggers.  Do you remember what it was called…Roomspiration.  The other participants welcomed me warmly and helped whenever I had questions about anything.  I have never been able to meet any of these sweet ladies in person.  At least not yet, because I will next week at Haven!  A teensy part of me is nervous they won’t remember me.  It’s been a while since Roomspiration and I haven’t posted as often as I did then.

Whether those girls remember me or not, whether I make any new friends or not, I still want to go.  Going to the conference gives me something to look forward to.  I get away for a little bit from my normal routine and I am Shan the blogger.  I’m not so and so’s mom or so and so’s wife, I’m just me.  I enjoy being around other women who share in my passion for blogging.  I’m not going to let my uncomfortableness of certain social settings keep me from attending.  We have to take risks in life to grow and learn.  It’s not always pleasant, but wisdom and experience are the fruits yielded.

A friend once said this about me, “what you see is what you get.”  He is exactly right.  I don’t hide behind my feelings.  Many times I say the things I’m thinking when I probably shouldn’t because it sometimes is taken the wrong way.  I like to be unique and creative in the way I dress.  I absolutely despise gossip, which I know for a fact has kept me from having more friends.  I just try to treat others the way I would like to be treated.  Therefore, if I don’t want to be gossiped about, then I don’t gossip.  I have a big heart and only want the very best for people.  I have sincerely enjoyed writing and posting photos about our family’s home.  I’m grateful for the countless people I have gleaned inspiration from to make our home a haven.

Front of our home

If you are attending Haven next week, I hope to meet you.  Please use my comments section as a sort of guestbook to let me know you stopped by.  I would love to visit your blog as well.  BTW, thank you for visiting my small abode. 😉  Only 5 more days…

Home Brings Joy,

Jonas Brother for Wordless Wednesday

Awesome Family Cards

Excited to share my business cards today! 🙂

Unique Business Stationary

Off to BlissDom,

Making a Lasting Impression

I have been going over different creative possibilities for my business cards.

YES, bloggers need business cards too!

As a matter of fact, I came home with MANY business cards from Blissdom last year.

Since I am going back, I wanted to do something a little different with mine this year.

Last Years Card:

I used Vista Print for these and they were “free.”  I use quotations because I still had to pay shipping which came to about $25.

Last year there were 2 cards that really stood out above the others.  Guess what I did…“Where did you get your cards from?”  This is when I was introduced to MOO Business Cards – $21.99 for 50 unique, customized Business Cards, each one with a different design.

This company’s products are superior to most I’ve seen, but not only that, there are endless possibilities, even beyond business cards.

Okay, before I get caught up in telling you all about, which by the way, has nothing to do with cows, I want to introduce the real ‘meat’ {no pun intended} of this post.  Instead of spending time telling you all about how I ended up with this idea, I’m just going to spill it.  It might be a somewhat boring story to you anyway.  So this is it…

I want to feature photos of your family on the back of my business cards.  Now before you freak out on me & think I’m super weird, not every single card will have your family on it.  Besides, this is completely on a volunteer basis.  You see, Moo has this way cool option called printfinity.

  • With Printfinity you can print up to 50 different designs on the back side of your business card!

Now, if you are anything like me you are thinking, “Yowza {love that word}, those are going to be some expensive business cards!”

  • 50 cards on premium paper cost ONLY $21.99!

That’s a pretty good price if you ask me!  Course I’ve been browsing around and know that business cards can range from “free” to $500.  Thing is, unless you use Moo, you will pay a LOT more to have something on the back of your card and that’s just ONE graphic or photo.

SHOW OFF! Design a portfolio in your pocket!

Anyway, back to YOU!  Do you have a family photo you love?  If you do, please send me a copy (familybringsjoy{at}gmail{dot}com) and I will consider it to add to my business card collection of photos.  IMPORTANT: if you are wanting to send in a photo that a professional has taken, you will need to get their permission first before sending it to me.  So far I have 19 photos {that I personally captured myself} in my business card collection:

  • 9 photos of my friends families
  • 3 photos of objects relating to my posts
  • 7 photos of my own family

Screenshot of backside of business cards so far

You see, this has been the dilemma.  Even though I began this blog journaling about my family, it’s not just about my family anymore.  Family Brings Joy is about helping you in your family as well.  This is why I didn’t want all the photos to be about my family.  I thought it would be really cool to have some of Family Brings Joy’s readers families represented as well.

If for some reason not one of my beloved readers decides to participate {which would be silly} then Moo will print some of the photos I have included in the collection more than once for a pack of 50 cards.  If you do want to participate, I promise your names will not be printed on the card or revealed at any time.  I’m basically using your family as ‘models.’  After the cards are printed I will be happy to send you the one with your family on the back.  All you need to do is include your address in the email with your photo.’s website is very user friendly.  It uploaded my photos quickly and creating the rest of my card was a breeze.  Basically, as usual, it was my creative thinking process that took the longest.  Plus, for the price of my one sided business card from last year I will receive a way cool 2 sided business card sure to make a lasting impression.  Win Win 😀

I’m excited to finish up these business cards with your family represented and see them printed!

Disclaimer: While writing this post I wondered if Moo had an affiliate program.  They do!  So by telling your friends and family about your awesome cards, you can make a small percentage.  Otherwise, I will not receive a penny from Moo for the writing of this post.  However, Family Brings Joy will benefit from leaving a lasting impression with’s cards! 😉

Unique Business Stationary

P.S.: I realize that by sharing this that other people might catch the JOY of this idea.  This means I am risking not having the card that stands out in a crowd if everyone does this.  Please credit this idea to Family Brings Joy if you write about it.  Thank you.  In this case, it might be good to be the small blog on the block 😉

Join me,

I heart Young Love

Mat KearneyDo you remember the first album you purchased or were given?

I think I was about 8 when I received my first album.  For as long as I can remember, music has been a passion of mine.  I know I don’t thank my creator enough for the blessing of hearing.  The ability to hear {for people who have this sense} is something most of us take for granted.  I can’t imagine my life without music nor do I want to.

It is extremely rare to find an album where I like every single song included.  I am always happy, being the practical person that I am, when I like at least HALF the songs on the album.  This way I feel like I am getting my money’s worth. {snicker}  It is a huge disappointment when I purchase an album {because I like one song & think I will like most of the group’s music} and only like the one song they play on the radio.  Fortunately, these days we don’t have to purchase the album without sampling it online.

This month, on August 2nd to be exact, Mat Kearney released his new album, Young Love.

Who is Mat Kearney?

Mat Kearney LiveOregon born Singer-Songwriter plays acoustic folk with a twist of hip hop attracting a wide range of fans.  Mat moved to Nashville after his junior year at California State University to pursue music.  It was also at this time when Mat picked up a guitar for the first time. Using a roommate’s guitar, he tried covering other songs. Realizing he was not too good at it, he began writing his own. Though things were going well for Mat at school, Chico caught up to him. At a school known for its partying, Mat fit right in. In an interview, Mat said, “I guess I lived it up and did what everyone said you should do in college. I discovered the depth of depravity, the bleakness of that lifestyle. It just wasn’t working. I finally started understanding there must be more to life.” Mat continued, “God found me when I was at my lowest point. That was the first time in my life when I really felt like I understood who Jesus was- it was more than knowing about Him, I felt like He met me in that time and place.”

You might recognize the song Nothing Left to Lose.  This was the first song of Mat’s I heard and instantly fell in love with.  Many other people did too as it has sold over 500,000 copies and won numerous BMI awards.  All I Need is one of my favorite songs on his album Nothing Left to Lose as well.  It was written about 2 of his friends in New Orleans and their experience during Hurricane Katrina.  He did a beautiful job bringing emotion into this song.  All I Need was also featured on Grey’s Anatomy and NCIS and began to chart on iTunes top 100 downloaded songs. It peaked at #94 on the Billboard Pop 100. {click on name of song to see music video of song}

Another song you probably know is the brilliant Closer to Love.  This song received airplay on both secular and Christian outlets.  However, one of my favorite songs from the same album, City of Black & White is Here We Go.

Mat’s songs have appeared on the following television series: 30 Rock, Dirty Sexy Money, Kyle XY, The Unit, Without A Trace, Laguna Beach, The Hills, Bones, Jericho, Friday Night Lights, Wildfire, What About Brian, South Beach, 8th & Ocean, One Tree Hill, Scrubs, The Closer, NCIS, Life Unexpected, Grey’s Anatomy and The Vampire Diaries. His song Runaway is featured on the Soul Surfer movie soundtrack.

Both Nothing Left to Lose and City of Black & White are what I consider very good albums.  I have listened to both countless times and they always make me feel good.  Mat’s music is easy on the ears, just as he is easy on the eyes. {But I LOVE my husband…don’t get jealous, honey ;)}  Both albums are well worth the purchase and then some.  You never have to worry about the language of the lyrics.  They are family friendly albums. 😀

Mat Kearney’s new album, Young Love is amazing!  I LOVE every single song!  I was uber excited to listen to his new album after seeing Mat in at Blissdom Blog Conference. {Maybe you remember me talking about it back in January?}  If you have the opportunity to see him live, do it!  He sounds just as good live as he does in his recordings.  I have to tell you little more about his show at Blissdom.

Photo taken by

Picture this, small venue at one of the Bar’s in the Opryland Hotel in Nashville.  {You can tell how small when you see my photos included in this post}  The only people allowed into this bar/show were the Blissdom attendees who consist of 99% women.  It was funny.  After Mat sang his first song he says, “This has to be every man’s dream, right here.”  Later in the show he remarked, “I am pretty sure this is the most documented show I’ve ever done.”  Seriously, every where you looked women were on their phones tweeting about the show.  Honestly, I thought it was kind of on the rude side.  Fortunately, he knew who his audience (social media, nature of the business) was and had a very good sense of humor about it.  He spelled his name for everyone so they could follow him on twitter.  Me, can you guess what I was doing?  Of course…I was there with my camera taking shot after shot {trying to contain my dancing feet since nobody was dancing.}

The first time I listened to Young Love I caught my 8 year old daughter dancing around the pool to it.  She gives two thumbs up, too. 😉  I have listened to this album almost every day since it was released.  The lyrics are about love, marriage and family.  Guess that’s to be expected from a newlywed.  Congratulations to Mat & Annie who were married in June of 2010.  If you want to learn more about the talented Mat Kearney, including concert tour dates, go to his website or check out the special interactive widget below.

Place your cursor over the widget {photo} to see dots. Click on the dots to be able to:

  • See the Hey Mama music video
  • Get the Lyrics
  • Join Mat Kearney’s Facebook Page
  • Get your concert tickets to see Mat
  • Listen to Hey Mama

Sources: Wikipedia and Rhapsody

This unpaid review was written because I am a fan of Mat Kearney’s music.  All opinions expressed are my own. I am grateful my friends at One2One Network are sending me Young Love as a gift. It will be in my car CD player from now on. 🙂 Thank you One2One Network.

Music Brings JOY,