Mallory Erin Makes

Holding on to God, my Hubs, Kiddo and Hot Glue Gun

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  • Mallory


When I chose "voice" for my word for 2020, I knew immediately that I would need to tell this story. One that has been forming for over a decade. I wasn't sure what it would look like to pour out the words of this story without melting into a blubbering puddle in the first syllables. A few weeks ago on the beach with my husband, I began with these words, "I have dreamed of a moment like this my entire life, but the past 10 years of our marriage have exceeded anything I could have ever dreamed up or asked for..." He has always been the person I pictured, but our wedding day 10 years ago, was not what I had ever pictured.


During our wedding ceremony I passed out and headed with my new husband to the ER while our wedding continued. I was entering marriage at 21 and found myself facing grief head on. That one day has triggered a long road of healing. Not in the ways you may imagine either. I didn't miss the cake, the dancing, the toasts. Throughout the years people have expressed feeling sorry for me over missing those experiences, but those weren't the real issue. All I wanted was for people to forget. Forget the whole day entirely. See, my core desire my whole life had been to not look weak in front of anyone, ever. It has guided basically everything I've done. Yet, in this moment I felt like the vision I had of myself and the one that I had created for people, was shattered into a million pieces at that altar, even though it was something completely out of my control. This was too memorable to ever be repaired. I had taught myself to forget hard experiences, but I knew I couldn't make 250 of our closest friends and family forget.



I didn't feel angry with God. I was just always confused on how this story was going to weave into our lives in a purposeful way. I couldn't see it. In no way do I believe that this was the day God planned for us. I also know that He is the best story spinner to ever be and that He can make anything speak to glorify him. I have written here before that I struggled with anxiety and depression as a kid and teen. Going into marriage at 21, I thought that period of my life was done. I didn't know it at the time, but this event triggered things that had been growing inside of me for years. Now, in my early 20's anxiety came back head on with panic attacks along with it. I would manage the best that I could, with help from my amazing husband, and then it would pass. I cycled through periods like this for years on and off. In the spring of 2015 after my Grandma died, the anxiety and panic attacks I was experiencing were starting to show signs of becoming debilitating. I knew I needed external help. I started therapy, and God used it to shift my life. It only took the first 15 minutes of my session for me to mention my wedding experience. Much of my panic attacks and anxiety were triggered at public/social events. Quick breathing, shallow breaths, my hands would go numb and I felt like I just needed to bolt out of the room. Always afraid to look weak again or to ruin someone else's day. As therapy progressed I could tell that the healing was about so much more than this one event, as almost everything is. I started to get many strategies from my therapist, and God did so much heart work in this time. I slowly decreased the amount of time I saw her over two years as I was learning how to manage better on my own.



Fastforward to a few months ago. We had just celebrated 10 years of marriage and have an incredible two year old son. It hadn't been the most amazing year for me personally, but thankfully for the hard heart work from counseling I was doing surprisingly well and managing in situations that would have used to sent me spiraling. I was reorganizing our bedroom when I came across a framed wedding picture that we have kept out on and off in our home depending on how I'm feeling about it. I immediately started bawling. After all of this time I thought that I would have an epiphany day where I would be brave enough to display these pictures throughout my home for people to see. It had been 10 years and I still didn't feel that way. In that moment with God I let down my guard and allowed myself to be okay with it not being okay. I didn't want to see a daily reminder of what that day looked like, even though I adore the person that was with me in it. God immediately showed me a new dream of us on a beach doing this again. He began speaking to me about the healing he was bringing, and my word for the year "Voice" was born out of this moment.


My sweet husband was all in, and we planned to have this be in the first month of 2020 to start our year. An amazing woman from our church did photography for us, and was the perfect peaceful presence. That day on the beach I didn't experience any of the looming feelings that I thought I would. We laughed, danced, listened to our son play his guitar, and ran into the water together.




So this is me breaking the silence and exposing the shattered pieces of my life to an even larger group. Why? Because this is what God does, taking the broken pieces of life and building something better than we could ever plan on our own. I don't know what life would have looked like if the first day had gone perfectly. I do know that it caused enough anxiety in my heart and mind to finally make the choice to seek help with things I had been trying to manage my whole life. Then I added counseling tools (my husband and I still agree that counseling is some of the best money we've ever spent #plug) and was able to manage at a higher level. I was not being brought down by things that would used to have thrown me. The theme of all of this being managing. Then comes God, meeting me right where I'm at, cleaning in my bedroom and giving me a gift that brings me beyond managing and into thriving. He is true transformation. The only one that knows me well enough to offer the exact healing my heart needs. I find myself already growing in appreciation for details of our first wedding day. I appreciate our incredible families that support us every day, our amazing friends who we still love doing life with, even the photos that remind us of the sweet person who took them who is now with Jesus, and for the same person I'm standing next to in each one who dreams big and is willing to run into the waves with me.


Mallory Erin

  • Mallory

I LOVE drawing words! As a junior higher I would draw people's names for them and color them (usually with flames because.....the 90's). I've been obsessed ever since. I started dreaming up a cursive letter backdrop and pool noodles came to mind somehow. I for sure thought that this would already be a thing, but once again, my researcher brain kicked in and I couldn't find anything for them online. I came up with a gameplan, but in true DIY fashion, it dramatically shifted throughout the project. It wasn't until after I completed this, that I thought about how cool these would look actually floating in a pool! So I have some ideas for how to make that happen too! This project is inexpensive, super customizable and makes such a fun statement! Let's get into the details!


Supplies:

  • Pool Noodles (vary depending on the size and length of the word) I used 10. Found at Dollar Tree. Try to use thinner noodles so that it is easier to bend them. Target has slim ones for double the price at $2 a piece.

  • Floral Wire to secure the letters together. Also can find packages of these at Dollar Tree.

  • Duct Tape or Packaging Tape to connect the noodles together

  • Crepe Paper (optional) I used different colors to cover the noodles. It's inexpensive, and great for backdrop impact. If you actually wanted to use these in the water for a party photo-op, I would stick to picking out noodle colors that you actually like so that you don't have to cover them.

  • Light Thread or Fishing Wire to create bends in the letters.


Steps:


1) Connecting the Noodles

Decide on the word that you want to create and start bending the noodles to get an idea on how big you want the word to be. If you need some calligraphy inspiration, check out chalkfulloflove. I'm working through her calligraphy book right now and love it! I found that the more you can get the letters to connect, the easier it will be to hang. I ended up making my "h" separate to give some height dynamics to the word. This large scale "hope" took 10 full pool noodles. Once you map out size, start connecting some of the noodles together using duct tape or shipping tape (use shipping tape if you don't plan on covering the noodles).

Press both noodles together and securely wrap around multiple times with tape.


2) Loops

When you need to secure loops in the calligraphy, use the floral wire to connect the noodles. If you are going to cover the letter eventually with crepe paper, you don't need to worry as much about neatness at this step. If you want to leave the noodles uncovered, place the wire more discreetly. Poke the wire through the top noodle and secure underneath by twisting the wire tightly. You could even plan to use wire that is similar in color to the noodle, or paint the wire with a sharpie to hide more.

Pictured below is the back side of the "h" loop.


3) Bends

When making tight bends in the noodles, use floral to poke all the way through the bend and secure underneath with multiple twists.

Shown below is the bend for the "p"




4) Noodle Ends

When working with the ends of the noodles, try to map them out to connect in good spots. Even if you need to cut the noodles to achieve this. Use the floral wire to secure, pulling it through both noodles to connect.

Below is the end loop of the "p".


5) Arches

When you need to make arches like for "h" or the bottom of an "e", use light thread or fishing wire to wrap around the arch and tie a knot to secure in place. You can also use tape to keep the thread from slipping

Below, thread is used to secure the "h" arch.


6) Covering the letters

Below is how the letters looked before they were covered. Since it was always in the plans to cover them, I didn't worry too much about what the connections looked like. With use of only clear tape, same color noodles and more discreet wire work, these would work great uncovered.

I used alternating crepe paper colors to cover the letters in a color block pattern. To eliminate time, you can use one color crepe paper/ spray paint the letters/ or use colored duct tape. I secured the crepe paper to the noodles with a clear piece of tape on the back. Use double sided tape to make even quicker work of this step. Overlap by a 1/4 inch when using multiple colors.


7) Hanging the Letters

I used light thread to hang the letters from nails above my garage. Pick thread color that is similar to your backdrop and you won't notice it at all!




This probably is my first of many pool noodle word art projects. I had so much fun with this, and the result made me genuinely happy. I love the impact it makes!


I can't wait to see how you use this tutorial! Always tag me at mallory.erin.makes with your creations!


Keep Making!


Mallory Erin

  • Mallory

Updated: Jan 31, 2019

Does anyone else get really reflective in December? As an achiever, I start to take inventory of the year. What was accomplished? Or even more important to me, how have I changed and grown? At the beginning of each year, I ask God for a word for the year. One word. For 2018, the word was made clear to me in an instant, "Presence". If you've read my blog post "My Journey to Rest-Notes from an Achiever Heart", you can hear me audibly groaning at the word presence. I have always been very future driven, and have also struggled with anxiety and depression that keep me replaying events of the past. The present has never been my sweet spot. How do you make a goal to practice presence? I did what any researcher does, find the definition of presence: "the state or fact of existing, occurring, or being present in a place or thing.". So being alive...that's it? What kind of "resolution" is that? So I started the year in a way that I have never done. No goals. No deadlines. No plan. Just the word presence. Honestly, most of the year I forgot that this was my word for the year until my husband reminded me a few weeks ago as we sat and reflected on 2018. It has become a way of living for me this year, and has brought me more joy, contentment, creativity, power and peace than I could have ever dreamed possible. Is being present something that has been resonating in your heart? Read on to see how presence has impacted multiple areas of my life in 2018.





Creativity


At the beginning of the year, I had no intention of starting this blog. I had been applying for jobs in my field, and doing this in tandem just didn't make sense. The blog was something placed on my heart a few years ago, that I have put off time and again to "bad timing" (also translated to: I don't start something that isn't perfected or exemplary). Turns out that living in the present is a great way to cut down this mindset. I dreamed up the idea for a massive letterboard backdrop the "Mega Letterboard DIY", and thought, "this is it! The perfect big statement to start off the blog" (I'm really in to big ideas and installments). The project was taking some time to materialize, and normally I would be stubborn, "I'm not starting this thing until I can produce this over the top idea that I know people will love" (yikes). Something funny happened this time though. I was truly enjoying creating and had made this cute Groot Headband for Milo. It brought me so much joy that I wanted to share it and start the blog early. So I did! Looking back, that's what it's about. To say, "yes I made this plan, but I am striving to complete it, and there is joy in something else that I'm doing right now". Presence gives you permission to say no to the works of your life that are being completed from a place of striving, and yes to the moment that you are in right now that is bringing you profound joy.




Enneagram


If you've been around me for more than 10 minutes lately, you have probably heard me use the word "Enneagram". I plan on doing a whole post on the Enneagram, and other personality tests that I have found useful. I took the Enneagram test in the Fall and have learned SO much about myself. It came at a time where God was challenging me to work through a circumstance in a way that felt out of character to me. I did NOT want to do what was being asked. Through this test God showed me that I had the capacity to do this hard thing. It actually wasn't out of character, it was growing to a higher functioning level of my character I didn't know existed. I have always been “results“ driven and not very relational. Working through the results of this test this year, I have learned that I not only have the capacity to care for others at higher levels, but to champion for them as well. Through this process I have learned a different aspect of the word presence, being present for people in my life. One of the tools Enneagram has is opting in to receive a "thought of the day" for your specific personality type via email. I use this tool to start my day with an awareness of my tendencies, and how I can focus them for good.


I'm Not Waiting


I have received many questions since I finished my degree last year, and have been staying home with my son. Many people know that I have been actively applying for jobs. I honestly thought I would have been working in my field by now. But, for whatever reason, I'm not. Normally this would cause me to take matters into my own hands and jump at whatever opportunity I could find. Each time I started striving this year, I just heard a swift "stop". Sooo I guess I'm just in a "waiting season"? (I can't count how many times I've used this phrase in my life). Again, I'm so future focused that I'm practically always in a "waiting season". Part way through the year, as I was enjoying the things I was creating and loving being with my son, I heard the phrase in my head "I'm not in a waiting season. There's no such thing as a waiting season". It was like a switch was flipped. Are there dreams I have left unfulfilled? Absolutely. Do I still have goals? Heck yes I do! But there is always, always purpose and opportunity in the present. Even if it's not made clear until much later. It is still a challenge for me. Each day I'm trying to not be distracted by what's not happening yet and invest in what is happening right in front of me. I show up to create like it's my job, because I'm loving it. I spend time with my kiddo and give him extra snuggles. I go to a daytime small group. I cook more. I go to Disney...a lot. I make Porg marshmallows. Because I can right now. Invest in your present.




Social Media: Don't Look to the Right or to the Left


I really didn't know too much about how social media worked until I started the blog. There are so many great things about it, but WOW it can be an animal. I think most of us have felt stuck in the comparison game on social media before. I have definitely felt the pull from these things. When it comes to the blog, social media and other standards, I have heard one phrase replay in my head this year, "don't look to the right or to the left". Don't get caught up in what others or doing, or what you think your life should look like. Keep being original and enjoy the work you're doing. Endless social media scrolling is a false presence. It can trap us in this alternate reality where we're left wanting what others have, making assumptions of what others think of us, feeling left out, etc. etc. Some of my friends did a social media fast at the end of the year to focus more on gratitude. I limited my time, and did my best to say no to mindless scrolling. Consider unplugging, unfollowing and tap into what you're feeling when you stop scrolling. Are you inspired? Uplifted? Encouraged? I hope so! And if you're left feeling discontent, evaluate and make a positive change. When I shifted my focus to what was actually going on around me, I created, noticed and remembered more. I've started asking myself this question more, "is what I'm doing right now something I will remember?". Don't get me wrong, I'm all about Netflix, Mario Kart and Emoji Blitz. I'm just actively working on limiting the time I do them. The iPhones now have great timers for social media/internet browsing/games and I'm going to be utilizing that function in the new year to keep me accountable.



Have you been thinking about the past year? Are you dreaming for the year ahead? I can't recommend enough picking a focus word for the year. This is my 7th year doing this, and it has never disappointed. I also do a "vision board" to start the year. I'll be sharing instructions for that in the coming week on my Instagram stories if you want to follow along!


Happy 2018 and New Year!


Mallory Erin

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