Light in the Darkness


Dear Friends,

Have you heard the starfish story? The one where the two guys are walking on the beach and they round a corner only to see thousands of starfish, drying out on the sand? The one guy starts throwing them back into the ocean while his friend laments how pointless it is because saving them all is impossible.

“It means something to this one,” the guy says, hurling another starfish back to the safety of the sea.

I know I am not alone in wanting to be the first guy, but wrestling with having the defeatist attitude of the second.

Watching terrified Syrian children run for their lives on the news completely and totally upends me. Again, I know I’m not alone. But what can we realistically do?

That question led me to my new friend Bernie. Bernie works for an organization called World Relief. It is the boots on the ground that many of us cannot be. I asked Bernie if maybe I could adopt a bajillion of these terrified children and his answer both surprised and educated me.

“No, we are trying to reunite families. We need money.”

Let me say up front that it has taken my heart a while to be okay with simply writing a check for something like this. It doesn’t feel like enough.

And yet. for one person, a small amount of money could be life changing.

For example, it only costs $150 to give one woman trauma therapy for a year. A YEAR! It only costs $200 to give a child a safe place to play and heal for a year. One Syrian refugee woman in Jordan described her weekly session in this way “One day a week, I walk into this place and I can breathe.”

Y’all. Why wouldn’t we move heaven and earth to make that possible for a mother who has literally been to hell and back? For a precious child?

So, I designed and lettered a print. It isn’t much. But, it is a verse that needs to be ever before us. It needs to hang on the walls of our homes and offices to remind us of why we are here. How can we light the darkness?

IMG_9930 copy

Micah 6:8 “To act justly…love mercy…walk humbly  with your God.”

These prints are $20. They are gold foil on white and will look stunning on any wall color, in any room. Every penny of profit from the sale of this piece is headed straight to World Relief. To as many mamas and children as we can. Give them as teacher’s gifts. Christmas gifts. For your kiddos. For your grandma. We all need this reminder.

You can find them in my etsy shop. If you are in Greenville, SC, they will also be available at Vino and Van Gogh’s holiday sale on Saturday, November 21.

MWstands with refugees-blog

If this particular print isn’t your speed or taste, please consider visiting the World Relief website and donating there. Or search #wewantrefugees on social media to see what other products are out there giving to this desperate need.

Image credits: Jessica Barley

Thank you, friends.


Down in the Valley

MissWyolene-ValleyFear has pretty much always been just below the surface of my personality.

If I’m having a great day, it doesn’t take much to roll my stomach into the familiar knots of anxiety. Sometimes I feel the physical symptoms of that fear before I can even pinpoint its source.
I’ve mentioned it here before, maybe even joked about it out loud.

But it’s no joke.

I don’t mean to suggest that my anxiety is somehow more valid than anyone else’s. Or that I feel things more than the next person. Because, in the throes of my own anxious thoughts, it Is very easy to make myself the victim.

But the truth of the matter is, fear is a sin. Plain and simple.

It’s a lack of faith in my Father.

It’s my desire to control when I have none.

It distracts me from seeing God’s good provision all around me.

Recently, one of my biggest fears came to pass: the loss of a child. I miscarried very early in my third pregnancy. I quickly found myself in the exact place I feared the most: the valley of the shadow of death.

The atmosphere during our little one’s passing has threatened to suffocate at times. Loud voices tell me that I wasn’t really in THAT valley. I must just be in another, sorta sad, but very common valley and it wasn’t really life yet, anyway. But what we have walked through is a death in our family. Just because this happens to so many hopeful mamas doesn’t make the loss any lighter. Just because I never saw our sweet baby’s face doesn’t mean he didn’t matter. The deep ache in my soul tells me everything I need to know about the legitimacy of this little life.

Just when I think I’ve scaled the walls a little bit on my own, fear and grief slam me right back to the valley’s cold, dark floor. What in the hell am I supposed to do?

Nothing. I can’t do a thing unless Jesus shows up.

And He has.

Because of Him, I have not been alone. His rod and His staff have tangibly comforted me. He has been with me in ways that are nothing short of miraculous and precious. This has not been a season I can self-talk or B-complex vitamin my way out of. This is me saying I’m broken. I can’t fix myself. I have to face the fear that this could happen again. This world is a fallen one, after all.

But, Jesus.

He knew about this precious life before He flung the stars out into the black. And He chose to create me even though He knew I’d really screw up trusting Him as Abba Father. He paid the highest price for my lack of faith. For my prideful attempts to say “It’s cool, I got this, Jesus” only to realize that my broken body couldn’t keep this child safe.

There are certainly days and weeks when He seems far. And maybe it’s because I’m up to my old tricks: staying busy to numb the sadness in my heart and pretending like I’ve got all of it dangling on my own strings. Or maybe I’ve been listening to the critical voices too long. I can only pray that grace floods in and shows me where I am so very forgiven. His voice is always the sweet, confident one. Oh, how I want to know what it means to walk around in that grace. Kinda like when a breeze picks up the dead leaves and dances with them for a moment.

He tells me things like:

He is a he.
He is happy and whole.
He has a name.
You will meet him one day, but I get to hug you first.

If your heart is crushed in this way, ask Jesus to show up. He wants to carry you through the valley.

Though He brings grief, He will show compassion. -Lamentations 3:32

….and then it was October

Dear Friends,

Yep. It’s been FEBRUARY since I last blogged. However, I refuse to apologize for that. A LOT of life has happened in the months since and some day soon, I will write about those things.

In the meantime, the holidays are fast approaching. (How?! HOW is this even possible? Where is my crying emoji? WHY can’t my baby girl’s thighs stay fat forever?! #allthetears).

To ease my own anxiety (and I assume yours, too), I do have a treat for you, dear reader. I’m running a holiday card promotion right now and it really is a sweet deal. You have access to Miss Wyolene’s hand-lettering on 50, full color cards with envelopes for $100! Ya’ll, that’s cheaper than those giant websites I probably can’t legally name here…just sayin’. I even made a spiffy little ad for the whole deal!


If you’re interested in meaningful, unique designs that a bajillion other people won’t be using, look no further. Drop me a line or head to my shop to order! Just think: you can get way out in front of this whole thing and get back to what really matters this holiday season: Christmas Tree Cakes.





P.S. I do fully realize that having to buy Christmas cards in October is absolutely a first world problem. I have some projects in the works that really get at the pieces that my whole heart desires to make. Stay tuned because those are headed your way very soon!

A Kiddo Valentine | Free Printable

Dear Friends,

This creative idea grew from the same place many of my creative ideas currently come: necessity.

I know, boring boring. I haven’t been brooding in a coffee shop (though I’d like to some days) having fabulous creative ideas just come forth from nowhere. Nope, not right now. Necessity is the mother of invention, they say. Around our house, my limited energy has taken a very practical turn. How can I store my brooms and mops with no pantry? (Still working on that.) How can I label all of this food I’m freezing? And maybe, could it also be cute? (Blog post forthcoming! In the form of free printables, btw.) This week, I think I said “Oh SHOOT next week is Valentine’s Day and WHAT THE HECK am I gonna do for little dude’s classmates?”

More specifically, what are some of my little’s man’s favorite things?

Yogurt pops? Too messy.

Construction equipment? Nah, there are girls in his class.

Treats? Some that aren’t filled with sugar? Because I’ve been fighting the snots and losing all week. I don’t wish that upon other moms in the class.

Then it hit me.



Cute? Check.
Not sugar? Check.
And, I already had everything on hand? DOUBLE CHECK.

Naturally, I took to Pinterest to see if there were any super cute printables…

There weren’t. So, I made some. And I want to share them with you because I love all you busy mamas out there who really want to do something cute for your little buddies’ friends.

School-o-Fish Valentines

You’ll need:
this printable!
• white cardstock
• a good color printer (I actually sent these to Kinkos because my home printer isn’t so great for color)
• exacto knife
• straightedge
• A2 size cello bags without flap (I order mine here)
• scissors
• goldfish
• (optional) a pair of little (germ free) helping hands! (I did not have these readily available at the time of this post.)

1. Print out this printable onto the white cardstock. Copy as many times as there are children in the class. (Don’t leave anyone out! That’s the worst.) (This printable is laid out two Valentines per page. So keep that in mind if you’re ordering from Kinkos, Staples or wherever.)
2. Using a straightedge and your exacto, trim along the crop marks. (Design school hint: don’t cut all the way to the edge of the page so that your crops stay intact for reference!) #allthefreetips
3. Fill the cello bags with the fish.
4. Eat a fish.
5. Eat a few more fish.
6. Give your little buddy some fish.
7. Wash your hands in between filling the bags so that you don’t leave fingerprints on them!
8. Fold the trimmed printable in half, lengthwise, and place over the opening of the cello bag.
9. Staple each end down.
10. Hand out to all the friends!

MissWyolene-fishy4 MissWyolene-fish1MissWyolene-fishy5

Want more Miss Wyolene-y Valenteen-y treats? Check out this post for another super cute DIY! (Just a friendly reminder not to sell this or any other project you see here in Miss Wyolene, since it’s all under my copyright.)

Share the love, y’all!