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15 things that make me so happy [part 2]

15 things that make me so happy //

In November I shared a list of 15 things that make me so happy. For awhile I never thought I could experience happiness again because I was really hurt and confused. but storms eventually die down, and I’ve been so incredibly aware of the things that make me so happy that I just want to share them. I’m not going to repeat ones from my previous list, though my love of Chipotle only grows by the day.


My friend Ernie did this awesome Kickstarter campaign where he did an album of 90s R&B acoustic covers. They’re done SO WELL and I had the joy of seeing much of the project develop from the front row. The album finally released and he sent his pledge rewards and tucked away into mine was this little drawing by Layla, keeper of my heart FOREVER.

Layla Halter doodle //

Today I got Starbucks and the lady in the drive thru said “I have that same car! Same color, too!” so we talked about how AWESOME our cars are… and today when I drove 2 hours to camp and had barely used up 1/4th of my tank of gas I was like “YEAH THIS PRIUS IS SO AWESOME!” Also yesterday morning Toyota gave me a $5 Starbucks card… just for having a Prius.

It weirds me out how many people aren’t really hip to Shirley Temples. 7-up and cherry flavor… and if you’re lucky, a cherry or two. If you’re SUPER LUCKY the people at Buffalo Wild Wings will make you a Shirley Temple to-go with FIVE cherries on top. yes please and thank you!

Shirley Temples //


All summer long I’ve gone on walks around Camp Arnold scoping out the various patches of blackberry bushes and a few weeks ago THEY WERE FINALLY RIPE! I’ve found a few really great patches of them and we have a decent patch down the road from my house so I’m even more excited to go down there and get BUCKETS FULL OF BLACKBERRIES! I don’t know if I even like EATING blackberries (I mean, I do when I’m picking them) I just love the whole experience.

Okay I’ve discovered recently how much I’ve enjoyed making little things for my blogs, like tweaking my header and working on the various little elements. Sooo I decided.. you know what I’m just going to start an etsy shop and sell digital prints. I only have 6 prints available, but I’m SO EXCITED to keep making things. Even if it’s mostly just for myself. In honor of how happy I am about this, if you use the code HOORAY when you purchase a print, you’ll get 50% off. Do it.

justalittlebitlouder etsy store //

I  am SO INCREDIBLY HAPPY to be able to look over at my dresser and see an uncluttered space where the stuff I see has purpose and intention. I’m really excited to tackle bigger tasks like my desk drawers and DUN DUN DUN under my bed when I have more time, but for now I keep looking at my dresser and sighing a big sigh of relief.

I love the little prints from my Instax. I am really careful about what and when I take pictures with it since the film costs money and isn’t always the most convenient to get my hands on, but I LOVE having little tangible treasures from memories with people I love more than anything in the world. Lately I’ve been thinking back to a day last summer when we went on a walk picking blackberries and Ellen took the picture that changed my life. An instant camera really takes the fun to a whole new level.

blackberry picking //


My friend Cassie (HI CASSIE!) was reading my blog (I LOVE when my ‘real life’ friends read my blog, by the way. It keeps me humble because I can’t pretend to be cooler than I am) and she was looking at my 101 in 1001 list and decided she wanted to take on the task of helping me watch all of the Star Wars movies. We’ve watched the original trilogy and now we’re on to the new ones! She is ultra brave, if I can brag on her for a minute. She’s a single foster mom and she is CHANGING LIVES. She’s opening her heart and home to children in deep need, and she’s doing it all on her own. That said, anytime I can support her in the littlest ways… I’ve got her back, 100%. So when we watch Star Wars, I provide the Slurpees. Coke for her, Banana for me.

slurpee run //


Okay everyone I’m officially late to the succulent party but Found on Fremont had a bunch of little succulents and I kept looking at them and FINALLY I was like.. I MUST HAVE ONE! So I bought one…. and then I went back and bought another one. I love how full of character they are.

succulents //


I don’t upload Facebook pictures in real time. Every so often, I’ll upload 40-50 pictures to an album titled 2015 (last year’s was 2014) and I LOVE watching people like or comment on the pictures. It makes me happy and I always wish I took even more pictures than I already do. Pictures are my absolute favorite, and I LOVE when my notifications blow up because people are interacting with them. Even my humble little phone pictures!

Each summer I usually pick a Madeleine L’Engle book to read. This year I picked up a book I’ve been wanting to read for awhile – Penguins + Golden Calves, all about icons and idols. It’s crazy how over the years Madeleine L’Engle (through her writing) has become one of my closest friends. She just GETS me. One day I’ll (maybe) write ALL about penguins and vulnerability and how I”m learning to stay soft even through hurt. Today is not that day, but one day I might.

Penguins + Golden Calves // Madeleine L'Engle //

Some days I am overwhelmed by the magic of technology. I can be texting four people about the same situation, sharing information and opinion and feeling… and none of those four people are anywhere near each other, but we are all mutually connected by experience and thought and the ability to communicate with each other immediately. Yesterday was one of those days as my phone blew up and I couldn’t respond fast enough.

Today I saw my friend Michael from across a field. I walked up to him and threw my arms around him and hugged him with all of my might. A little bit later I was standing around, drinking a cup of water, wondering where I fit in with this big crowd. Michael was driving by in a truck. As he slowed down, I walked over and got in. I didn’t know where he was going or what he was doing, all I know is that being near him makes me feel safe. I try really hard to keep my platonic friendships very platonic, and part of the joy in having firm boundaries is the freedom to move about within them.

I’m at Kuratli for the week for Family Camp. and I love knowing that I packed everything. There’s not this feeling of “NOOO I FORGOT CLEAN UNDERWEAR!” (I’ve done that) or “I DIDN’T BRING A HOODIE!” (it was so chilly) or “I HAVE NO APPROPRIATE FOOTWEAR!” (flip flopsssss!!!). It’s a really great feeling to not be second guessing that.

A few years ago, I discovered my bravery for the first time. It was bedtime and we were on campouts at the campsite called Arrowhead. A norovirus swept through the camp, and even though everyone else in the cabin I supported got sick.. I didn’t. and I was able to step up and lead and help in ways I NEVER imagined I was capable of. For some reason, this summer I’ve been drawn to Arrowhead over and over again. It’s nothing super beautiful to look at – just a clearing with a fire pit in a place that used to have an archery range. but that little field holds some pretty powerful memories.

Once, I had a really great talk with the Lord. I think it was in 2005. I went walking down the driveway at camp and I picked blackberries and poured my heart out to the Lord. Maybe that’s why I love blackberries so much – I always remember that super fond memory. This summer I’ve done a lot of heart-pouring at Arrowhead. I admitted some pretty liberating truths and I surrendered a lot of silly expectations, and I can’t wait to one day drag a sleeping bag to Arrowhead and sleep under the stars there again.


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5 on Friday.

Happy last day of my 20’s, everyone.

Did you hear that?

Today is my last day of my 20s.


Can we all agree that after today, I’m officially no longer an age? Nobody believes my age anyway.  I mean, at church this lady who knew me when I was little asked my dad if I was driving yet. He laughed and said I was almost 30 and she said I looked like a teenager. And then a few days ago, Kristen texted me this lovely picture of my 3 favorite Halter girls. Lucy loves her Duck Face.

fave halter girls <3 //

Naturally, I had to send them a response. How much do you love my really big forehead? Channeling my inner Tyra.

Processed with VSCOcam with c2 preset

Anyway. Lucy said I look like a teenager. I don’t really know what that means, but I’ll take it. I think I look kind of alien-ish.


Moving on. Today is my last day of my 20s. That’s the big point of that.This is a very special 5 on Friday.

5 Things I wish I could tell “today is my last day of my teens” Stephanie:


ONE //

There are children you’ll meet who will become your best friends. But they’ll start as children. Invest everything into them, because someday they will be the ones who see you at your very worst and somehow still love you despite that. Never underestimate what God is going to do in your relationships with children.

church of starbucks //

TWO //

Look at your MySpace Top 8. See that Ernie Halter guy? As of now, you’ve never met him. One day you’ll meet him. and you’ll become friends with him. and you’ll stay by his side through a lot of stuff, and he’ll stay by yours. When boys break your heart, you’ll turn to his voice – on the phone and through speakers. He’s going to marry an amazing girl, and she’s going to become one of your close friends. Together they’re going to create the most wonderful twins you’ve ever met and one day he’ll say “did you ever imagine you’d be sitting here at my house in Nashville with my twin daughters running around?” and the answer is a firm no.

Luckily Ernie is going to take a picture of you two within the first five minutes of meeting so you’ll be able to look at this picture and smile because neither of you could have ever dreamed up or imagined going from this moment to where your friendship is at now.

Me and Ernie //



God is so much more concerned with you than you could ever imagine. Right now you’re going through the motions. You’re playing the church game. It’ll take you awhile to become completely surrendered to God, and I don’t think you need to rush the process… but when you let go, when you step out of the boat… you are going to be shaken to the core of your being. You won’t understand it or be able to explain it, but you’ll feel the freedom and peace of a life surrendered to your Creator. It’ll happen in its own time, but it is going to be the best thing you currently have ahead of you.



Camp Arnold //

You love Camp Arnold, but you are about to be a camp counselor for the first time… and your life is going to change. Your love for Camp is going to blossom into something that is so much deeper and wider than the word “love.” Over the next 10 years, you’ll work at camp for 6 of those summers and God is going to use those summers to completely rewire you. The hallowed ground of Camp Arnold will hold a lot of your tears. You’ll convince them to name an iced espresso beverage after you. During the off season, you’ll crave camp more than any other place. And spoiler alert: they’re going to tear down the a-frames, and it’s going to be okay. The new cabins are awesome.



In the next 10 years, you’ll be sitting at Dave Yaden’s house, eating a meal with him. Before he serves it up, he’ll ask you if you’ve ever had tofu. You’ll say no, and he’ll give you some words of wisdom about eating tofu that will carry over into so many areas of your life. “If you eat this and expect it to be like meat, you’ll be disappointed. So just eat it with no expectations.” Don’t get in the habit of building high expectations for everything within moments of the idea, the meeting, the conversation. Give things space and time and try to see things for all they are – the mess of the masterpiece.


19 & 29 //

Happy Golden Birthday, myself 🙂

Linking up with:
Bright on a BudgetThat Friday Blog HopThe Diary of a Real Housewife

Five on Friday, Five things Friday

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California Adventure – Day 2 & the Halters

The best April 2nd of my life, hands down.

We started by going out for breakfast. I was sandwiched in-between Lucy and Layla, which is my all time favorite place to be. We started a synchronized eating team, taking bites of food at the same time to help them focus on eating.

My left-hand(ed) girl, Lucy:

lucy //

and my right-hand(ed) girl, Layla:

layla //

It was so much fun to spend the day with them – it was kind of surreal to drive to where they’re staying, hang out, and sleep away from them. I’m so used to falling asleep and waking up at their house. But this whole trip was so I could see these beautiful little faces and I am so grateful I got to see them for a little bit.

The whole day was really relaxed – we spent a lot of time sitting in the warmth of the backyard, sometimes talking and sometimes just sitting and watching the kids play football.

april 2 // stephanieorefice.netLucy especially loves my Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Film Camera, so before I left I made sure to stock up on film so that we could add to their collection of pictures we’ve taken together. Usually I end up keeping the not-so-great pictures but this time I felt really sentimental (and apparently really selfish) and I kept the super cute ones, like the one of Layla and her cup and Jackson and Lucy.

It’s actually stupid how much I love these two little twins. I am already scheming and dreaming up a longer trip to visit them in Nashville, hopefully no later than August. Since September of 2013, I’ve seen them once every 3-4 months, and as long as I’m in a season of my life where that’s possible, I’m determined to make it happen.

In case you want to get caught up on these two:

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Five random things on Friday.

Hold on. Never forget:

Rebecca Black // Friday //

ONE button //
Remember how I’m basically in love with GroopDealz? Now I’m officially in love with ELEVENTH AVENUE, because GroopDealz has changed its name! In the past month, I’ve purchased a keyboard skin for my MacBook, the shiny halo ring I wrote about in my other post, a cute craft that I’ll write more about later, and I’m waiting to get the polka dot wallpaper decals I’d written about. Go spend all your money and tell me what you got so I can live vicariously through you. I’m trying this whole budgeting thing again.

TWO button //
As in… Frozen 2! Kristen Bell is THE CUTEST… seriously, my friends LOST THEIR MINDS when they saw her talking about the sloth incident on Ellen. “If I’m not between a 3 and a 7, I’m crying” describes me PERFECTLY. She is my SPIRIT ANIMAL, I SWEAR! So HOW CUTE is this announcement over Frozen 2?

Kristen Bell Frozen 2 Twitter announcement //

I immediately texted my favorite Kristen and made sure she told Lucy and Layla. Because we’re all about that Frozen, in  our Frozen shirts with tulle skirts, leggings and fuzzy socks. #tripleting

frozen fans //

THREE button //
Okay speaking of the Halters, In 19 DAYS we will be in California, at Disneyland with Jess and Andy… who recently got hitched and I am so stoked to hear all about it and see them again. We’re going to see some of my best friends… including the twins and their parents, since they’ll be there visiting family. The whole trip is to see that family for a few hours, and it’s worth it. Plus… we’re going with my Southwest Rapid Rewards.. so for the two of us to go, it cost the $24 airline fee. Not a bad deal, right?

FOUR button //
Just making sure – have you picked up your free tampon/pad samples from U by Kotex? ? If you’re not all about free stuff, how about you sign up for the samples and then give them to me, because I’m all about free stuff and my period doesn’t seem to be leaving me anytime soon. #thestruggle

FIVE button //
Let’s talk about The Bachelor. Sorry I kinda lost steam about posting about it. I think that I’ll make posts JUST about The Bachelor/ette. OKAY BUT SPEAKING OF. TWO Bachelorettes? How will that work? I’m guessing that since The Bachelorette doesn’t do as well as The Bachelor, it’s just trying to get more viewers. Ugh. But I will definitely be watching.

Okay back to Prince Farming and PRINCESS WHITNEY. I’ve been on #TeamWhitney since their wedding crashing date. Let me say, though, that I LOVE Becca. She seems like SUCH a sweet girl. But Whitney seems like such a loving, confident woman. She didn’t play games or start drama. She was kind to the other girls but was all about Chris. I can’t wait for them to get married and have cute little babies. And if she’s not going to be working maybe the blogging community can somehow convince her to become a blogger. What do you think?


Anyway. Random things this week. Have a happy, safe weekend, blog friends!

Linking up with:
Bright on a BudgetThat Friday Blog HopThe Diary of a Real Housewife

Five on Friday, Five things Friday

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When I’m with you….

It’s hard to believe that I’m back home from visiting the Halters. Sometimes when I’m in Nashville I actually forget that there is a world outside of what I’m currently experiencing. It’s like I get so caught up in the right here, right now… that I forget there’s anything else. I’m super okay with that.

These two little girls won’t ever know how much I love them. I keep trying to tell them. I tell them they’re the silliest, cutest, funniest, most wonderful Lucy and Layla that I have ever met in my entire life… but they don’t get it. There’s a Ben Rector song that sums it up perfectly:

When I’m with you, I’m no longer wandering.
When I’m with you, I can finally breathe.
When I’m with you, I know who I am and who I want to be.

girls //

  • Lucy & Layla
  • Layla & I
  • Layla’s drawing of us. We’re walking and holding our purses.

It’s so strange to think that Lucy used to want to have nothing to do with me, and for awhile I was really nervous about picking them up or anything. Now there’s a lot of hugging and cuddling and dancing and throwing in the air and running start hugs and hand holding.

loves //

  • my drawings of the girls & I. #skills
  • Lucy and I watching Cinderella
  • #icanteven

There’s a surface selfishness that comes with loving children. They’re pretty trusting and so open to love and it feels freaking great to have one of them crawl up on the couch next to you and wrap their tiny body around your arm or put their heads on your shoulder. When they say things like “my toenails love you, Stephnee” it’s so hard not to fall on the floor and roll around with heart-constipation.

But then there are moments when you say “LAYLA PLEASE SIT DOWN,” very firmly as she is stretched from table to chair and the chair is sliding back and all you can think of is her bashing her head on the table or floor and she runs away crying because you hurt her feelings. Or Lucy, who gets hurt feelings because she asked you to tickle her and you did and she can’t remember why that hurt her feelings but it did. and in those moments I realize the weight of their little love, the responsibility that comes in those moments and the urgency to kneel down and hold them close and reassure them of my love.

Today the girls said I could tell everyone that they are my best friends. So there you have it. My teeny tiny best friends.

I probably should have named this post “#icanteven” because… well, I can’t even. How could anyone?

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