frameworthy designs


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Okay guys, so I've lived in NYC for over a year now, and haven't kept up with this blog very well at all. Sorryyyyy. I was going through some draft posts and found these little blurbs from when I first moved to The City. It's interesting to look back and read what I was thinking and feeling when I first arrived in NYC. It's kind of sweet to get reminisce on all the unknowns. Little did I know how this year would unfold -- that I'd get engaged and then married; I'd move into a shoebox apartment in Harlem and have no furniture again. And yes, the move to NYC did and continues to impact Frameworthy Designs (more about that later). All this to say that while these little thoughts are kind of random, and the second one actually isn't really "finished," they serve as a good reminder of how things have changed in my life. God is good and life is good. Blessings abound, y'all.

Written January 17, 2016

I don't think I'd make a very good missionary. I don't really enjoy being dirty, and I'm kind of a cryer. I'm sometimes prone to discouragement. So anyway, I'm not sure I'd be good at it.

...only thinking of this because of the missionary priest that spoke at Mass today... 

But I do think I'm pretty good at making due. I can get by in life with things that are less than perfect, less than ideal. I can make it work and work with what I have.

I moved to NYC a little over a week ago, and I've been thinking about my little apartment on Classen Boulevard in Norman, OK. I remember moving in and having pretty much nothing. No furniture, no curtains, minimal kitchen things...mostly just me. I slept on an air mattress until it started to leak and id end up in an air mattress taco on the floor. My mom eventually came to the rescue and bought me a bed. I acquired a hodgepodge of chairs from my church that I eventually replaced with a real couch, and a cuter chair, and a bookshelf, and an end table. I had a desk and a big shelf for all my products. Shoot, I even got curtains. By the time I moved out of 1010 Classen Boulevard, I had what seemed like a lot of things. 

And when I was packing it away, it really felt like a lot of stuff...Way. Too. Much. Stuff... I wanted to just toss it all.

Part of me wishes I had. But I didn't. Most of it is still in Norman. In storage.

A storage unit full of stuff, halfway across the country...sort of useless... I'm not angry about it, but it really highlights how much I am sort of back to where I was in my first place.

Im moving into a little place in north Bronx on Saturday. I ordered a twin bed and a bed frame from Amazon. I ordered some towels and some tupperware to take my lunch to work. I managed to fit my desk and most of my products and my scanner in my car. I have the bare necessities of what I need. But I find myself missing my things. I miss my real couch and my grandma's old writing desk  and my Target bookshelf that I carried through the store and put together all by myself. I miss my things, mostly, I think, because for me, they were tangible reminders that I am quite capable...

I'm enjoying NYC. I am. Much more than I ever expected actually. I like my job and I love that Mark is around. I don't mind the commute too much, and I'm starting to fall for the city in a romantic sort of way.

But at the same time, it's a little daunting. It's not mine. Yet. Instead of my cozy real couch, I'll have a cheap-ass Amazon bed.  

I'm not sure I would make a very good missionary but if I needed to, I could. And I'm not sure i make a very good New Yorker. But I'm going to do my best. And that's enough.

Written January 24, 2016

So I live in New York City now. Can you believe it?!? I've been quiet about it all, mostly because it happened so quickly...I had about two and a half weeks notice to pack up and move to the Big Apple. Yowza. I've also been quiet, because I'm not sure exactly how this move will impact Frameworthy Designs.

As I walk through the avenues and watch the strangers hustle to and from work and listen to the subway singers and hunker down to ride out #jonasblizzard, I often find myself a little bit in awe that this is my real life. I honestly haven't felt overwhelmed or scared or out of place (except for one time when I took the wrong line and ended up in a rougher-than-I'd-like neighborhood...but no big deal, really).

I've only been here a couple weeks, but I have learned a few things:

  • You don't pump your own gas in New Jersey.
  • If a restaurant has a coat check, be prepared to dish out some cash.
  • NYC has an impressive amount of squash (like the sport) enthusiasts.
  • It only takes the addition of a few extra blocks in my daily routine to crush my Okie co-workers at our FitBit challenge.
  • Conversely, I hardly move on weekends.
  • There are pretty much a million bakeries here.
  • The city doesn't even smell too bad in the winter.

The optimist in me wants to hold onto the hope that I'll be able to just keep truckin' along with custom work and workshops and creating new things and really becoming an artist...but in reality, I think things will have to slow down a bit, at least at first.

The Little Things

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I missed my bus by about 40 seconds this morning after I went back home to get my phone. It reminded me of this moment from the other night: 

"I'll be there...mumble mumble...don't you know baby! Yeah YEAH I'll be theeeerrrree....."

An older woman - headphones in, foot tapping - sings 'quietly' to to me as I wait for the bus stop.

The Mariah Carey rendition of I'll Be There happens to be one of my all time favorites. So naturally, I sing along. I turn my head so she doesn't see...I don't want to embarrass her...Im not sure she knows she's not actually singing quietly.

But I hope she can see me mouthing the words. I hope she knows she totally took me back to 7th grade. I hope she knows that she totally made my day.

Honestly, I wish she'd start from the top so we could actually sing it together.

Instead, she gets on the bus. The 28 to Co-op City.

It's not my bus. That would be too convenient. New York isn't a convenient place, usually. Getting around can guessed

Bahaha. I kid. But really though, it can get exhausting.

Then there's a moment like that, and it's all worth it.

It's the little things, y'all.

Want to bless someone with a little kindness today? Head on over to my shop at to shop greeting cards, art prints (and a few Year of Yesses calendars). Use code FWDBLOG for 15% off your purchase.

Oh yeah, and here's the jam. Go ahead, sing along. You know you want to. ..

Making It

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"If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere."      - Everyone in New York

I've noticed there's this strange reality with people here in New York — a paradox—they have both high and low expectations of others. At work, for instance, the expectations are high: There’s no hand-holding; people are sharp, poised, to-the-point. Likewise, on the street or on the train, people walk with purpose. There’s no time for moseying, no use in dawdling. New Yorkers expect you to keep going. To keep moving. To keep trying.

People expect you to be confident, self-sufficient, they don't doubt that you can 'make it'.

At the same time, they're not surprised that some people don't 'make it' or when, frankly, they’ve lost it all together. They aren't taken aback when people ask for money on the subway or come on the train to see if anyone will spot them a ticket to Harrison for the night. They're not surprised when they see a legless man with a cardboard sign or a group of nomads and their dogs hunkered down in an alley for the night.

They're not surprised. But they're not unmoved.

There's a humanity about this place that I haven't experienced before. It's just this simple understanding that we're all just people trying to get by. We're all trying to do a good job -- make a little more money, keep our heads up and shoulders back, not step in dog pee (yeah, probably dog pee...) on the sidewalk -- just trying to do our best.

Sure, we’re different -- some of us are super weird (and I mean super weird) and kind of smelly and maybe a little scary. But we're all just people. The kicker is that there are a lot of people in this city. A lot of people trying. So it's not surprising, I guess, that some people...a lot of people...aren't keeping it together as well. It's not surprising that Jim is down on his luck, or that Jose needs to ask perfect strangers for pocket change so he can feed his kids, or that Nicole and Lamar have to sing on the subway to earn a few bucks. It's not surprising. It's just life.

You’d have to really make an effort to experience this ‘togetherness’ back home. You're rarely all mixed in (at least not in such close quarters) with people who are different from you. You don’t have to share your morning commute with a subway car full of strangers. Back home, you rarely have to sit next to a smelly homeless guy. You don’t even have to see him if you don't want to. Sometimes, in New York, you have to. You have to see him and look at him and say hello to him. And help him, if you can. In New York (and in other places, I'm sure), you frequently come eye-to-eye with with well...your own humanity. Beyond the confident, self-sufficient attitude, there’s a frailty that’s just as present, just as real.

I don’t want to sound like I’m coming from a self-righteous, sort of preachy place, because honestly, I have nothing to preach. It’s just something that is SO constant here -- this juxtaposition and mingling of different types of people. Different incomes, different wardrobes, different jobs, different perspectives, this mishmash of humanity…it’s mind-boggling. It’s awe inspiring. And sometimes, it’s really really challenging.

When you can’t look away from the harsher realities and less-than-instagrammable parts of our existence, your priorities start to change. It’s no longer as satisfying to pursue things for only your own success, your own profit. At least for me, it makes me want to live life in a way that matters to more than just little old me. It makes me start to reevaluate how I’m helping people in big and small ways.

In November, I started donating a portion of each Frameworthy Designs sale to Unbound. I’m donating quarterly, and just made my first contribution to their micro-funding programs that give people the financing to create a path out of poverty (Learn more here). For me, this marks a turning point in my little business. It demonstrates that even relatively small sales can add up and impact the lives of others.

I’m proud to continue that effort, but I want to do more in the lives of my customers as well. I want to serve YOU by making products that inspire you, motivate you, and encourage you. I want to empower you to be your best, so that you can, in turn, help others.

So, if you have a minute, I’d love to know more about you. Will you tell me about yourself? What are you struggling with? What are you hopeful for? Who do you want to connect with? How do you connect with others? How do you connect with yourself? How do you connect with God?

These are big questions, and vague, I know, but I think that if I knew you better, I could serve you better. I could inspire you to think big, dream bigger, pray deeply, and live a generous, joyful life.

If you want to share, please email me at

I really do hope to hear from you soon.