Wednesday, September 24, 2014

For all the times I just wanna wing it: A reminder. . .

Free Fallin'
Sometimes, I find that making a plan seems like too much effort. Or, even more often, it feels overwhelming. Sometimes, I push back against structure. I'd rather wing things and see where it gets us. A little free-for-all, a little Free-Fallin' (cue Tom Petty and heck, why not Tom Cruise while I'm at it?) just seems good for my soul. Sometimes, no plans and no routines allow room for spontaneity. And all kinds of fun can come from being spontaneous, right? But sometimes, and really, more often than not, a plan can be exactly what I need.

Planning ahead
I got so much accomplished yesterday. Sure, it was a day without my littles in tow, but the reason I was able to get so much done? A list! I made a list! This is probably not shocking to you at all. You probably know that you can get more done when you plan ahead. I think somewhere deep inside I know that too. But the Free-Fallin' and all, and it just doesn't always happen.

However, while I sometimes bristle at a plan or structure and I don't like being nailed down for this or that, more and more I'm seeing the fruit and the freedom of a plan. This school year (and yes, because we have 4 littles all in school to some degree, we live by the "school calendar") for example, I've made a plan to set my alarm and get up early before all of the boys get up. That allows me time alone with the Lord, time to get lunches made and breakfast started. Time to breathe. And that planning ahead is actually freeing and refreshing.

I also see fruit when I plan what our afternoons will look like. When my boys come bounding in from school eager to share something about their day (all at once), while exclaiming they are "starving" (I cannot keep them full, for the love) and spouting out desires, requests, demands (yep) before their back-packs are even hung up, I know that our snack-chores-homework-play-bathe routine is needed ASAP! The routine, the plan, calms the chaos, while providing all of us a chance to gather ourselves. We all know what is expected and I can see how that is life-giving to my boys. Though, don't misunderstand. Our afternoons are still wild and loud, but a little direction and a plan is comforting to us all!

Savoring the fruit
There's so much more. We all make plans for tomorrow. For next week. For next year. We have big plans for that upcoming event, holiday or vacation. We plan for work, school, and the future. But in order to truly savor the fruit, we must hand over our plans to the Lord, because the purpose of the Lord will stand! I try to start each morning by acknowledging that this day is not mine, but the Lord's day.
I pray this verse. . .
and whether I wing it or plan ahead, I know His ways are better than mine!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

DIY: update!

DIY update! 
Projects are getting tackled around here and I am thrilled! I will admit that I have hundreds of project ideas that are waiting (with supplies already bought) to be tackled. But once I start a project, I despise leaving it unfinished. Of course, that might be why so many are just waiting to be started! It's hard to find a chunk of time to complete a project these days. I can't just leave things scattered about in the open with lots of littles around!

Like I mentioned a few weeks ago, we've been wanting to spruce up some areas in our house, and we were hoping to accomplish this DIY style! I took it upon myself to begin painting our half-bathroom. I bought some paint and began painting. Well, a funky paint-roller later, (the paint wasn't going on right--maybe that's some of my painting ignorance too) I became distracted, but still determined to change our half-bathroom. Our cabinets were from the 1960's and were an orange brown. They just weren't our favorite. Neither was the old, brass hardware. I just assumed I would head back to the paint store to buy more paint for the cabinets, but then I was steered another direction. I'm so thankful I was!

Enter Annie Sloan's chalk paint! Oh my goodness. I love this stuff! The paint is thick, but dries super quickly, which helped my eagerness to complete my project once I got it started. I love the rustic-antique type look it has and cannot wait to use it for more projects! If you haven't used Annie Sloan's chalk paint and have something, and I mean anything, you want to paint, you should look it up! Awesome find! And if you are reading locally, Me and Mrs Jones, in midtown, sells the paint!

So I painted our walls, our cabinets and our mirror. And to finish up, I took off our old cabinet hardware and put on some fresh pulls. Our half-bath feels lighter and fresher already. I need a final coat of paint on the walls and a few touch ups here and there, but so far so good!

I had a hunch that we would feel good about a DIY project, but wasn't convinced. Sometimes having time is more important. I was concerned that taking time for a DIY project would feel stressful. However, at this point, still early in our DIY career, I can safely say, putting a little sweat and effort into something and doing it ourselves has been fun and totally worth it! And as for my first post, (DIY: Daring or disastrous?), I'd say we've avoided the disastrous at this point and it feels a little less daring, and definitely more exciting!

A little before and after. . .

The lighting on my phone is not great, but in person, the room went from dingy to light and airy! Ideally, we'd change the countertop/sink and tile out, but that's a little bigger project and we can hold off a little longer. . .

Next up?!
Figuring out this wall. It's in our laundry room. I recently spread out our hooks (from Anthropologie--great hardward there!) to give more space between backpacks and bags, but we have a big, blank wall above them. I was considering making this our family command center and possibly adding a calendar and or bulletin board. I'm sure there are some really creative DIY ideas out there. . .maybe you have some suggestions? I'm all ears!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

right now. . .

Right now I'm . . .

sitting. . .on my back porch. . .by myself.

drinking. . .a salted caramel mocha. On Monday, I opted not to treat myself to a Starbucks happy because I looked ahead at the weather and decided this rainy day would be better suited for that treat. Good call.

listening. . .to the pouring rain hit the leaves on the trees in front of me--nature's soothing sound machine. It's no wonder that every man made sound machine has a rain setting.

dreaming. . .about traveling the world and serving the Lord at every stop. A year long mission trip? A chance to teach our boys that our city and country are not the only places in need, but that God's people are all over and people all over need God!

remembering. . .this day, 13 years ago, and how one day changed our country, our world.

praying. . .for those who lost loved ones that day and for those across the world losing loved ones today. There is so much pain, but there is so much hope--which conquers all. My friend Betsy wrote about hope today here. Perfect reminder for this day and every day, Betsy!

reading. . .Colossians 3:12-14 which says, "Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against one another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony."

and reflecting. . .on how I was a spit-fire this morning. Certainly not living out these verses. I was frustrated with my children for interrupting each other. I yelled at one of my boys for teaching an ugly word to his brother and found out he actually didn't teach the word to his sibling, but a friend did. I was whining and nagging them about using words that glorify the Lord, all the while I was using a tone that did the opposite. 

thanking. . .God for His forgiveness and the boys' and Hubby's forgiveness as well. And for the time to sit and listen and pray and give thanks.

God is good. All the time.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Just wait for it-- traditions in the sunflower patch

I thought I had missed them. It was the beginning of August and our oldest was out of town when I realized it was sunflower season again! For the past 8 years, we've gone over to our local sunflower patch and snapped photos. Every year, it's been around the last week of July to first week in August and then the sunflowers wilt quickly and are gone in a snap.

So this year, when I realized it was that time again, I panicked. Luke was out of the country and there was no way to get the photos---the traditional sunflower patch photos that I love so very much, with all of my boys. I was flat-out bummed. Put a call into my sis, since she drives by them everyday and asked if they were already gone. She hadn't even noticed them. Oh man!! Missed our strawberry picking this summer, and blueberries too. I got over it. Missed a few things this summer, but did some other fun things and I was quite content. But missing the sunflowers? BUH-mer.

But wait for it. . .!  I got a text from our former next door neighbor who also drives by the sunflower patch everyday that said. . .Saw some pretty sunflowers today. . .with a big smiley face, since she knows how much I love our traditions! Follow that with a phone call from my Biff who said the same thing! The sunflowers arrived late this year---maybe due to the unusually cooler beginning to our summer?

We were back in business!!! So, we put that on our weekend agenda, got a few "Ugh" comments (just to keep it real), and I mighta pulled the "Of all the things I do for you guys, can't ya just do this?" comment out of the bag. But once we were off, and once we arrived, the boys remembered how much they always enjoy taking the photos because of the great big wide open space they have to run and play and be boys!

And just to tell you something I'm sure you are very well aware of. . .the days can be long, but the years are short! Time can go by in the blink of an eye! Just look at the very first sunflower pics of each boy and the current day ones too!

Luke at 10 months

Luke at almost 9 years old

 Charlie around 4 months

 Charlie at 6 years old

 Miles at 10 months 

Miles at nearly 4 years old

 Way at 10 days old

 Waybe at 2 years old

And while this one is flat out blurry due to an inadvertently switched button, it captures my boys together and I love them--blurry and all!

Happy Friday to you! 
Soak up some sun and time with your people this weekend! Enjoy them!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

DIY: Daring or disastrous?

I've decided that when a person sees this picture, he or she will fall into one of two categories. . .

A) Sweet!!! I'm on board! Let's do this!!


B) Ummm. When do you think we are going to do this? Don't you think we should pay someone to do this?

Most of my life, I'd say I've fallen into Category B. Just a little hesitant to mess with something I don't know anything about. My hubby, on the other hand has all of the attitude in Category A, but a little of the mindset in Category B, because let's face it, working and then coming home to a house full of 4 energetic boys can wear a person out!

When we bought our first house, I wanted something relatively new. I didn't want an old house we'd have to work on constantly. Plus, I didn't really know what style I liked. The interior design aspect was the same. We had a mish-mosh of furniture from each of our previous places, plus hand-me-down furniture from our parents. None of the furniture was exactly our style.

Now though, after being married for 14 years, I think we've discovered our style and thankfully, we agree for the most part! We've also matured some and maybe grown in wisdom a little bit too. We know we can't tackle every home improvement task that comes our way. Either it's out of our budget and it needs to wait, or it's out of our wheelhouse and we need to hire someone to help us.

That being said, it's not like we can snap our fingers and have everything we've ever owned fixed up, refurbished or changed into our exact taste. We still have a mish-mosh of pieces (art, furniture, fixtures, etc).

However, we are feeling bold enough to make a start! I guess our real start into design came 2 years ago when we moved into our current house. It needed a kitchen remodel---some of the appliances were from the 60's and barely working. Plus the floor---yikes! So, we took our kitchen from this. . .

 and this

to our renovated kitchen which is this. . .

There are more details, but in actuality, this wasn't a DIY project. We most certainly had our contractor and his team do the work. We did, though, design it and since then we've developed more of a vision for design, but also an interest in DIY projects. Some that seemed completely unreasonable, now seem a little more do-able. I totally credit my sister and bro-in-law and of course, Fixer Upper on HGTV. No, my sister is not Joanna Gaines. That's a separate thought. And as much as I love Joanna Gaines, I love my Biffer even more!

So, I think we are going to venture into more home improvement projects, aka DIY projects, like this half-bath for example. . .

But, as always I'm keeping it real. I can speed dial our contractor in 2 seconds and I might need to as my first DIY project took place today. . .

I thought changing a wallplate from one color to another was easy-peasy. Got home, and realized I need the innards of the wallplate as well! Ahhhh, humility! But, it's still a start!
Your thoughts on DIY projects? Daring or disastrous?

Friday, August 22, 2014

FYI Friday: Sharing the Favorites. . .

Happy Friday!!!

I say that with the most sincere heart! My hubby arrives home today from being gone 10 days for business travel, AND some of our dearest friends are traveling into town for the weekend, so we couldn't be happier! We've had the start of school and minor adjustments to our routines and attitudes and I'm waving the white flag already!

But, while we've had rough patches in each day, we've also had sweet spots too! And if you've been around here long enough, you know I like to keep it real. I'm not afraid to share the rough and tough. But today, I'm ready to share the good! Don't we all need a little good right now?

Hoping this FYI Friday encourages you, inspires you, or brings a smile to your face! Or even better, all of the above!

1. These. No, I'm not talking about my white legs (hey, I'm a red-head), I'm talking about my new running shoes. Yep, running. Haven't done it in way too long, but I love it and I'm so excited to have a new routine that is allowing me to take better care of myself. Yes, I get sick of hearing the "Take care of you" message that society preaches, but to some extent there is truth behind it. Our bodies are vessels for the Lord and taking care of what He has given us is important. I haven't been doing that. But I'm back at it!

And all of that being said, I have a new favorite band/artist/group that has been added to my running playlist! Do you know Rend Collective? Oh my goodness. I love them! And their album, "The Art of Celebration" released in March of this year is amazing! Just listen to "My Lighthouse" if you haven't heard it. Absolutely added to my playlist! In fact, I think I'm going to make a Rise and Shine playlist for my boys. We've been struggling with the grumpies in the morning since school has started. This CD will surely get you moving and focused on Him! Pumped!!!

2. And speaking of mornings. Perhaps one of the reasons I struggle with school and love summer so much, is because of the rush, rush, rush in the mornings that comes with school. But truly, it's not just in the mornings. It's sitting at stoplights. Come on, hurry up. It's waiting at a It's in the beginning, middle and ending to our days. Rush, rush, rush. Well, this post, What We Miss When We Rush, by Lysa TerKeurst, speaks volumes to our Rush, rush, rush syndrome, and reminds us that we should slow down and embrace each other and each moment we are given. We are all made for a purpose. I especially loved this because every dime that she receives this week from her new book, The Best Yes (which I ordered) will support special needs children. Check out the story at 99 balloons (but be prepared to have tears streaming down your face).

3. And still speaking of mornings and school. Have you seen the "Baby Got Class" video? Well, my sister shared it with me yesterday, thinking I could enjoy it while eating Bon-Bons and propping my feet up. As soon as she sent it, I did just that. Well, I propped my feet up, but didn't have any Bon-Bons. Just a video to make you laugh this Friday. You're welcome. Check it out here. It will leave you in stitches.

4. And since I'm speaking of stitches, let's talk Stitch Fix. (See what I did there?) I received another fix! I don't think I've had a bad fix yet! Have you heard of Stitch Fix? Oh my! I love it! It's an online Women's Personal Styling site. Basically, you answer some questions about your style and professional stylists will pick 5 items they think you will love and send it to you! Just $20 for a styling fee, which is refunded to you if you keep just 1 item in your box. Plus, you will get 25% off the entire fix if you keep all 5 items! It's a box o' goodness! If you feel inspired to check it out, use this link and we both benefit!

5. And because my sister rocks the awesomeness, she sent me the video of Hugh Grant's dance moves in Love Actually to cheer me up, as I sent my boys off to school. We have a 3rd grader, a first grader, one in PreK and even little Waybe is going 2 days a week to a special needs preschool! Cannot believe it. So, my sister knew just what I needed, and it turned out to be the Love Actually dance scene. I mean, come on. Who doesn't smile at this? Even if you've seen it, you know it will make you smile. Just watch it again. We so love it! No, Way didn't watch it, but he did love his first day of school! And he made a face like his Mommy does while watching the aforementioned dance scene! :)

6. And finally, if you are local, don't miss the 7th Annual Forrest Spence 5K, this Saturday at Overton Park! It's not too late to sign up and you can do so here! Our family will be there supporting our friends, in honor of their first son, Forrest! Learn more about the Spence's story and all they are doing for others, because of Forrest and through the Lord's strength!

And now go--Enjoy your weekend!!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Summer 2014: thanks for the memories!

Another summer is in the books! Come and gone, I tell ya. Before it disappears completely, I just had to post some memories made! We were chaotic and all over the place this summer, but it sure was fun and wild and one summer we will never forget. . .

From golf tourney pronto pup eating. . .

to family Putt-Putt night!

From the lake in South Carolina with Mimi and Grandpa . . .

to London with Nana and Poppy and cousin Jackson!

From the beaches in Florida . . .

to the mountains in Kazakhstan!

 From movie nights at the theater . . .

 to snow cones at Jerry's . . .

 and all the fun times in between!

Summer of 2014, you were a wild ride we will always remember!
Thanks for the memories!


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