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My mom and dad shared a story with me this morning and it brought a tear to my eye. I was inspired to share it with others just in time for the Christmas season.

Photo by Sarah Buck Photography

(source unknown)

  We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly sitting and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, ‘Hi.’ He pounded his fat baby hands on the high chair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin, as he wriggled and giggled with merriment.  I looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man whose pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast and his toes poked out of would-be shoes. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map. We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled.. His hands waved and flapped on loose wrists.. ‘Hi there, baby; hi there, big boy. I see ya, buster,’ the man said to Erik. My husband and I exchanged looks, ‘What do we do?’ Erik continued to laugh and answer, ‘Hi. Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the man. The old geezer was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby. Our meal came and the man began shouting from across the room, ‘Do ya patty cake? Do you know peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek-a-boo.’ Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk. My husband and I were embarrassed.

We ate in silence; all except for Erik, who was running through his repertoire for the admiring skid-row bum, who in turn, reciprocated with his cute comments. We finally got through the meal and headed for the door. My husband went to pay the check and told me to meet him in the parking lot. The old man sat poised between me and the door. ‘Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Erik,’ I prayed. As I drew closer to the man, I turned my back trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he might be breathing. As I did, Erik leaned over my arm, reaching with both arms in a baby’s ‘pick-me-up’ position. Before I could stop him, Erik had propelled himself from my arms to the man.

Suddenly, a very old smelly man and a very young baby consummated their love and kinship. Erik in an act of total trust, love, and submission laid his tiny head upon the man’s ragged shoulder. The man’s eyes closed, and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes. His aged hands full of grime, pain, and hard labor, cradled my baby’s bottom and stroked his back. No two beings have ever loved so deeply for so short a time. I stood awestruck. The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms and his eyes opened and set squarely on mine. He said in a firm commanding voice, ‘You take care of this baby.’  Somehow I managed, ‘I will,’ from a throat that contained a stone. He pried Erik from his chest, lovingly and longingly, as though he were in pain. I received my baby, and the man said, ‘God bless you, ma’am, you’ve given me my Christmas gift.’ I said nothing more than a muttered thanks. With Erik in my arms, I ran for the car. My husband was wondering why I was crying and holding Erik so tightly, and why I was saying,  ‘My God, my God, forgive me.’

I had just witnessed Christ’s love shown through the innocence of a tiny child who saw no sin, who made no judgment; a child who saw a soul, and a mother who saw a suit of clothes. I was a Christian who was blind, holding a child who was not.. I felt it was God asking, ‘Are you willing to share your son for a moment?’ when He shared His for all eternity.  How did God feel when he put his baby in our arms 2000 years ago.  The ragged old man, unwittingly, had reminded me, ‘To enter the Kingdom of God , we must become as little children.’

Emily McCarthy

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Categories: inspired by


  We are busy bees over at the McCarthy household preparing for Master Rhett’s 1st Birthday party. Nothing like an event to make you do things around the house – isn’t that always true? We are renovating our powder room, laundry room and refacing a few details in the kitchen. I have never been so happy to get rid of the clothesline themed and overbearing floral wallpaper in both rooms. What a breath of fresh air! I’m going to be painting the cabinets a nice smokey grey and embellishing with polished nickel hardware. Between my signature Benjamin Moore Crystalline and a new grey, we’ll be making this space our own. I say ‘signature’ because I have finagled  this color into just about every room in the house. Here are the final paint colors and inspirations for hardware and  a sink – cannot wait to post after photos. I’ll spare you the headache of seeing the before.

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Categories: in the life of..., monograms

 Today, I am grateful for life. My life.

I am grateful for my husband’s patience as he humors my ridiculously big ideas and creative thought process. My sporadic artistic side takes over quite frequently and I thank him for ‘going along it’.

I am grateful for my sweet baby boy and that he has brought me endless laughter and a heart full of joy this past year.

I am grateful for the ability to work from home so I can still focus on home life as well as my wonderful business.

I am grateful for my God-given talent to create beautiful things and that I am able to share that with the world.

I am grateful for the long phone conversations with my parents from afar, the impromptu lunches and help from my mother-in-law, the organizational skills of my assistant Meredith and the daily musings of my friends and their humorous group messaging.

But, most importantly, I am grateful for this life that I have chosen to lead and for the ability to live how I want and what’s best for my little family of 3.

Looking forward to giving thanks in a couple of weeks – what are you thankful for?

One comment

  1. Janet says

    I am grateful for my friends and family! …and for great creative people that keep me inspired!!

    November 14, 2012
Categories: in the life of..., inspired by

Welcome to the new Emily McCarthy!

For those of you who have followed my blog for the past 5 years, you’ve watched my business grow and change – definitely for the better. I started my blog as a way to express my personal interests, business ventures, passions and inspirations. It has been a wonderful journey and I am thrilled to announce my brand new home of My new home base will be a place of color, inspiration, design and most importantly, a constant reinforcement of my  love for  life, family and career. Over the years, I have dabbled and entertained many ideas, career ventures and opportunities and wanted a place to show all of these to my readers.

Grab a cup of coffee and take a few minutes to browse the new blog where you’ll find details on Twist Paper, EMMA J DESIGN and all of the unique parts of my career.

Every single day, I wake up feeling inspired by my surroundings and motivated to make strides in my personal and professional goals. I cannot thank you enough for all of your love and support over the years and I am thrilled you’ll be joining me for what the future brings.

Next up for me?

Filling this new blog with details of my wonderful and colorful life.


Saving the best for last, stay tuned for my new online shop of luxury personalized paper and goods!

Aren’t you SO excited?



  1. Erin Haines says

    It’s amazing! I LOVE it! Congratulations friend!

    November 8, 2012
  2. Joy Dozier says

    Wow! One of a kind.

    November 8, 2012
Categories: in the life of...

We have created this handy Wedding Paper Timeline for all of you Brides out there! Feel free to print and use as a guide throughout your wedding planning process. If you have any questions or would like to talk with us about designing your wedding paper – just drop us a note [email protected]

Visit to view our wedding portfolio.

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Categories: invitations

There are so many inspiring women in business, fashion and art – one that I am often inspired by is the infamous Diane von Furstenberg. Not only did her creation of the perfect wrap dress make women everywhere feel beautiful, but the inspiring story, constant motivation and positive demeanor has made her into a true icon. Diane is a great example of how women should grow more confident and comfortable with themselves as they become older and wiser. I look back at myself 1 year ago, 5 years ago and even 10 years ago – I really didn’t know myself yet. Even though I still have some growing to do, I am thankful to feel so confident and comfortable with myself. As I grow older, learn new things and gain new experiences, I learn to trust myself more. Trust my gut. This is definitely hard to do at a young age…I discover more about myself everyday. I do believe being an only child has had a very positive effect on me. Not only has it made me comfortable in my own skin, but it has also made me very comfortable spending time alone, reflecting and entertaining myself with my muses, interests and passions. I have never had the urge to constantly surround myself with people – I’m perfectly fine spending time alone and often prefer it when I need to relax and rejuvenate. I believe this is important for everyone – to trust what YOU love, not love what everyone else is loving. Rather than focusing on what others have, we should focus on what makes us happy and unique. What makes US special and not like everyone else. In a world of changing trends and styles, find what makes you smile and have the confidence to love it no matter what anyone else says or thinks. Love YOU for YOU – life will be so much easier.

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Categories: emily's favorite things, fashion, inspired by