coffee with two hands


We were sitting on a gym floor watching our youngest daughters during their gymnastics class. Running around the gym, our other kids stayed happily busy. I was multi-tasking. Watching one flip with her class, keep my ears attentive to others playing basketball and diy-ing some business cards for Hope Spoken. As we sat there just catching up, my dear friend told me about how someone challenged her to drink her coffee with two hands.

Two hands.

The idea was simple – when we drink coffee (or tea or Dandy Blend or whatever you choose) with two hands we are usually moving slow and soaking it in a bit more. Usually we are really enjoying that cup of coffee, that moment. When I think about two handed coffee drinking, I think of camping trips, Craft Weekends, Saturday mornings…basically, I think of slow. Most days I pour a cup of coffee and drink it with one hand. The other hand is busy doing a host of other things. Sometimes the cup sits on the counter and is never finished.

Drink my coffee with two hands. So simple, but shockingly hard on many days.

I’ve been thinking about it constantly. I’ve been drinking my coffee with two hands this week and let me tell you – there is so much wisdom in that simple challenge. When my hands aren’t busy doing other things, my mind is more attentive to what is happening around me. Two handed coffee drinking – I think it needs to become all the rage in this house.

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  • Bambi and Birdy - I guess, it is normal to drink a coffee with one hand, if you have five kids running around! But I really think to breath everything in for a moment, and of course with coffee everything is better, is the best part of the day! And maybe you realize that drinking coffee with two hands means also that your kids grow up a little everyday …
    Enjoy your time! And lots of love From Germany, I have so much fun, laughs and just a good time when I read your Blog! Thanks so much and have a wonderful weekend!
    Birdy from fatcatconnection

  • Erica Baker - So simple but so challenging. Thanks for sharing!

  • Molly - such a good reminder. such a simple way to help mommas slow down. i have really been trying to cut down on the multitasking i mean i used to pride myself on my multitasking but now i am really trying to do just one thing at a time. it has brought me a whole new sense of calm and joy. i mean i am not always the best at it, but when i do it just feels good. i really get to soak my girls up. good stuff. i am going to drink my coffee two handed more.

  • Sarah Jones - Amen – thank you for the inspiration and challenge to drink my coffee – with two hands. :)

  • Meg - Such a great reminder! As I was reading this I had my coffee in one hand. Ha! Savor the moment more!

  • Brooke - This is such a fantastic idea! Two handed coffee drinking makes me think of slow and relaxing cottage weekends. two hands it is from now on!

  • kimberly oyler - so bummed i didn’t get one of those diy-ed business cards. bet they were cute!

  • angie webb - Betting your sister can make a cute print with that saying for her etsy shop!

  • Eva - I’m up for this challenge. I don’t do it near enough!

  • Maelle - What a great and yet so simple idea :) I love it! I’m definitely going to try doing it next week.
    Have a beautiful weekend!

  • Emily O. - What a simple and rewarding challenge!

  • Emily - I love this. I read this after I watched the book trailer for Karen Maezen Miller’s new book (Paradise in Plain Sight) and it marries so well together. I’m going to go take my mug of coffee and sit on my back stoop and watch the bees in my pomegranate tree…holding my mug with two hands. <3 Have a lovely weekend.

  • Hannah - My tea most commonly gets forgotten, reheated, and then forgotten again! I love this challenge… there is so much wisdom in making time to pause and just ‘be’ in a moment. I’ve been using the ‘one thousand gifts’ devotional by Ann Voskamp and I’ve definitely felt challenged whilst reading it to stop hurrying through life. Thanks for sharing!

  • Aubrey - Love this! Just yesterday I sat on my couch holding my favorite mug with my favorite tea…’with two hands. You see, to say there was a lot to do is an understatement. We just moved our family of six out to the country on two acres last week. The house was full of things that had to be done, but I needed that time in a quiet/kidless home to just rest and be thankful. I enjoyed every last minute of it.

  • Sherry - I LOVE this challenge. Mornings aren’t always my calmest-they are hurried. I was convicted on the more love, less hustle…and not so much in the afternoon and at night-but those mornings. Two hands on my coffee-warms my heart and my head. Something about breathing it all in, and soaking up my people.

  • Crista at Hands and Hearts More Than Full - I LOVE this post! I have been following your BEAUTIFUL blog for some time now (I don’t remember but someone had linked to you and I fell in love). ANYWAY drinking coffee with two hands is absolutely on the top of my favorite little things in life! Thanks for highlighting such a beautiful, simple joy! (As you often do) ;) xo Crista

  • mama joe - I read this post while drinking coffee — perfect timing, especially since most mornings I act like I’m practically chugging it down like medicine. Thanks for the reminder to slow down!

  • kate - I love this! Of course, as I was reading I had a cup of coffee in one hand and I don’t even remember drinking half of it :P It is a great reminder to take things slow and to pay attention to the world around me.

  • Taylor - It seems like such a silly concept, yet I couldn’t tell you the last time that I sat down and drank my coffee quietly.


  • Jenny B. - I love your blog. That is all.

  • Tiffany - Going to adopt this here, too~ :) *Have a WondeRfuL weekend!

  • Nicole C - Easy way to make that happen, buy a bigger cup. I’m not trying to sound sarcastic but I gravitate toward big tea cups. I LOVE this simple idea and I thought about this idea a couple weeks ago. My cup was too big to hold, two hands were needed. It makes sense in so many ways, not just drinking coffee/tea.

  • Katelyn - This is so great! People always joke with me about drinking coffee with two hands, but it really does make you enjoy it more! :)

  • Denise Leavens - HEAR! HEAR!
    Wise and wonderful words you type here. I add to the chorus of “Thank you for the reminder, Ashley and dear-friend!”

  • kim - what a beautiful challenge.
    even for me, to put the phone, ipad, remote, whatever down, and enjoy the moments.

    vacations, friends houses, coffee shops.
    good places.
    time to make two handed coffee a thing more often. :)

  • Kirstin - I am sitting here holding my tea cup in one hand and scrolling with the other… hmmm… maybe time to walk away from the screen and really take a break!
    Thank you!

  • christina - two hands…uhh…who would have…I bet if I used two hands i might be able to even drink it hot :)

  • Cassie - I LOVE this! I’ve never thought about it before, but it totally makes sense. It would be great for my husband and I to do this together (since we don’t have kids yet) on our days off. Thank you!

  • Katie - I read this post at work today and felt such excitement and anticipation in drinking my coffee with two hands tomorrow morning. Thank you for that simple reminder and thank you for your beautiful blog.

  • Angela - I love this. Putting it into practice tomorrow and sharing it later tonight on my Friday Favorites post.

  • Chrystal - Love this idea. I’m going to take the two-handed challenge… Starting now (setting the phone aside) :)

  • The Happiness Report #27 Hedgehogs, Focus and Scandal - […] totally going to take this coffee drinking challenge… join me? I think we’ll all be calmer because of […]

  • Katie - This post is all kinds of good.

  • Renee - Two handed tea drinking is going to start happening at my house. Recently I read that even the hardworking, constant heart-muscle rests perceptibly after each beat. I have been looking for ways to encourage myself to do just that. I might even start having two handed meals. Keep sending out the good ideas you collect — I truly enjoy your blog and your heart!

  • Denise - Interestingly, I read years ago (Mental Floss? NPR?) that when we hold a warm mug in our hands we feel more connected to others, serene, and happy. Researchers were unsure why, but theorized that perhaps the warmth from the mug triggers the brain in the way the warmth from a hug does. :) So ever since I read that, I always order my coffee in a ceramic mug and drink it there (two hands) instead of a paper mug to go.

  • Denise - This is not the exact article I read those years ago (about the a warm mug affecting our emotions and receptivity/connectivity to others), but this references it:

  • Paige - Love it! Thank you for sharing these awesome tidbits. Gets a girl to thinkin.

  • Brittney - Aw, I love this!!!

  • Kelly D - Oh my! I have so much to say about this challenge.

    With two little ones at home, I often crave a cup of coffee around 2pm. I finally realized that it was not so much the caffeine I needed, but that I was craving that two handed moment that you are describing. Two hands while I listen to my best friend talk about her kids, two hands while I stare at the falling rain, two hands at my mother’s kitchen table. Basically I am just wanting that slowed down time.

    I know that that two handed time will come back to me again. Right now one hand is always holding a baby on my hip, pouring juice into a sippy cup, grabbing for legos or rolling play dough.
    So for now I’ll enjoy those stolen two handed moments when I can.

    Thanks for an intriguing challenge!

diy {hanging shelf v.2}

Several years back, I had the honor of being a DIY contributor to Design*Sponge. Other priorities came along and I stepped back from that, but I’ll always be a big fan of Design*Sponge. In 2011, I shared a tutorial for a hanging shelf. Click here for that old tutorial.

While Chris was out of the country, I decided to try to get his office close to finished. I wasn’t too excited about lots of trips to get supplies with 5 kids, so I tried to work mainly with what I had on hand. Thus, another hanging shelf project.4.14shelf-1

I couldn’t find any wood in the garage that would work, but I did find an extra shelf in the boys’ closet. It is supposed to go in the hallway, but I added a butterfly poster where it goes. So, the shelf got trimmed down and relocated to the office.


After I cut the board, I marked an inch in from the 4 corners to drill holes.4.14shelf-4

Next, I drilled the holes and tied rope to hang the shelf. I actually like the leather straps better, but I had tons of rope from all that macraming I was doing while he was gone. I think I’ll go buy some leather soon and replace the rope.4.14shelf-6

Nothing fancy, but it works for now…and it always feels good to finish a project in a couple of minutes!4.14shelf-84.14shelf-9

I’d give a tour of his office, but as soon as he got back he took it over with tax documents. Now the door is shut and I am going to stay out until after tax season!

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  • Anna French - I have an extra shelf at home and this is a great idea. Now I know what to do with it! Thank you!

  • kimberly oyler - ahhhhhh i can’t wait until i hang things on a wall without using command hooks!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh, I love this! And I love the rope – you know – for the record :)

  • Snow Lynn - I love this! Shelf looks great.. so simple, beautiful and functional! Doesn’t get much better than that, especially when it took no time to make! I am LOVING the cork board with your instagram pics and calendar.. are those 4×6 prints you cut down or did you order square prints? Is the cork board DIY? Simple and clean. Just beautiful!

  • Izzy - I really like the simplicity of that look with the rope. Having a hanging shelf looks really good!

  • Jamie - I love the shelf, but my favorite part of the post was actually the square pictures on the cork board, great idea!!!

  • Taylor - I love this! What kind of hooks did you use to hang it? I’m always a little wary because I never know what will hold a lot of weight.


  • AshleyAnn - Taylor – I just used little metal wall hooks, but I attached them to the wall studs with long wood screws.

  • Olivia - I love the hanging plants by the window…. yesssssss. So trying this! :)~

  • Karen - Ashley, I just pinned that cute original shelf the other day and had no idea it was yours. It is such a cute idea!

  • BeckyH in MA - Ashley — look on Amazon for books on Paracord fusion ties. You can also purchase many different colors of Paracord fairly cheap on Amazon. The boys would love doing this, too!

  • Holly Rook - Ashley, I love the office ideas and I would love to know where the art print from 2nd Corinthians came from. We are doing a bible study this summer and it is a perfect gift for the ladies that will be participating! I like the cork board too! It’s always great to get more photos up on the walls!

  • Denise Leavens - Good move, staying away from anyone doing taxes right now! I pray right now that Chris is availing himself of the offer Christ makes to him (and EVERYONE)in Corinthians 12:9! And all the glory goes to God. *Smile*

  • Mary - Please can I ask where the ‘my grace is sufficient’ print is from? It is a verse that I have been dwelling on this year and I would love a print of it. It looks like your sister’s work, but I haven’t noticed it in her shop. Thank you.

everybody jump, jump {trampoline picture tips}

So….some of you will NOT like these pictures. I’m warning you now, if you aren’t a fan of trampolines (and I know many are not), please just look away:)





I grew up on my trampoline. From hours of flipping to sleeping on it under the stars to sliding across it with a sprinkler underneath it. So many great childhood memories on that bouncy rectangle. I know there are many of you that probably enjoy time as a family on your trampoline too, so I thought I’d share a little bit about how I capture images on ours.

1. I use a zoom lens (usually my 24-70mm). If I didn’t have a zoom lens, I would use a wide angle lens like a 28mm lens.

2. Fast shutter speed. I use around 1/500 or faster.

3. Lay down on the trampoline. I’ve tried shooting through the net, but I prefer how the shots come out when I am actually on the trampoline. Also, when you get low it adds a little more drama to the shot, making the kids look higher in the air than they actually are.

4. Brace yourself. All that bouncing can make you hit yourself in the face with your camera. Not that I have ever done that.

ISO 250, 1/500, f/4.5


ISO 250, 1/640, f/4.54.14tramp-2

ISO 250, 1/500, f/4.54.14tramp-3

ISO 250, 1/500, f/4.5

4.14tramp-4The kids voted the last shot as their favorite. The sun was coming in and out of the clouds, so I adjusted my shutter speed accordingly. There is a lot of weird cropping going on in these shots, but I can’t help smiling when I see them.  This crew, my crew, sure make me happy (and tired, but mainly happy).

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  • Southern Gal - Love trampoline fun with the family! My youngest lives on the trampoline when he’s outside. My favorite shots are the ones I took with the timer on my camera and I jumped with him. Hilarious. My settings were off, but they are still some of my favorites.

  • MarthaB - Such fun shots! A trampoline is on our to-buy list this spring, I have a feeling DD will live on it :)

  • Kimberly - I grew up with lawn darts/jarts. Trampolines don’t frighten me.

  • Anastasia - Thank you for the tips, great shots. Guess, what I’ll be doing tonight??? Trampoline here we come))))

  • Izzy - Aww looks like fun… I love trampolines! One of our favourite things to do with friends on the trampoline is make a human pyramid, and then someone bounces… and it falls!

  • Taylor - I agree with the kiddos: that last picture is the best. Too funny!


  • Bird and Bambi - Wow, they look awesome!
    I love to jump on trampolines… its just to sad that I don’t have the space for one…

    If you need a couple of minutes for your thoughts to fly away… here a few images about the middle east…

    have a wonderful Wednesday,
    Bird from the -fatcatconnection-

  • Dee - Love these! We love our trampoline, it is fun for the whole family and a great way to get out the wiggles when we are stuck at home.

  • Emily - Happy. Tired, but happy….that just about sums it up :-)

    Also – when we buy and have some land we’re totally getting a trampoline. Great shots!

  • Naomi - Gorgeous photos! I love the first one, your son looks close enough to kick your camera!

  • Meg - And now I’ll be singing that song all day! Ha! We’re getting our boys a trampoline this Christmas. I’m pretty excited about it! Our neighbors just got one so we’re gonna mooch off them for now and then take the plunge! Thanks for the photography tips! Especially the one about bracing the camera! ;)

  • Eva - These are just plain fun!!!!!

  • Abby - We spent many many happy hours on our trampoline. Jumping out of our tree house onto it, sprinklers under it every summer, practicing flips an handsprings.
    And while we might have jumped off and landed hard we never got hurt on it. We also had a 2 person limit if we were doing flips or tricks, though my cousins and I would pile on and see who could bounce someone else the highest. Happy happy times!
    It makes me miss our trampoline, that was wrapped around a tree like a taco after a tornado went through.
    Great photos!

  • Tracy VH - Wow, so perfectly timed! Just got our kids a trampoline for my son’s 5th birthday. They’ve been living on it for the past two weeks!

  • Carrie Taylor - We LOVE our trampoline!! My sister and I just LOVED ours as kids and now my boys just love theirs. So much fun!

  • haverlee - Seriously…we were destined to be friends. I fell in love with you the first time I read that post about your crazy ride in the airplane (still a dream of mine.) We finally got a trampoline for our wild boys a couple years ago and it was the best kid purchase we’ve ever made. (Plus, its the only time I ever get any exercise these days, is when I’m jumping with them ;)

  • Barny - Photo’s make me happy to. Great shots – I’ve started thinking about shooting from the ground with wide shots more too.

  • Kaitlyn - Ashley, you and I were cut from the same cloth! Some of my greatest memories as a kid include my beloved trampoline!