October 19, 2014
Sometimes, after I've tripped over the same pile 50 times or sifted through a tangled pile of jewelry every day for the last year, I realize that I've been living with something that annoys me so much, and all it takes is a simple solution! I'm learning to tackle something when I realize it needs a solution, and it's been a good exercise for me!
October 18, 2014
3 years ago today, on October 18, 2011, the word "home" was given a whole new meaning to me.
On that day, my husband and I walked into a small room in the Holt International building in Seoul, South Korea. My dad was already in the room with the video camera, and our photographer was waiting with his camera too. I remember it being really quiet in that little hallway, and the social worker looked at me and nodded. Kurt put his hand on my back - kind of the equivalent of the hand squeeze he gave me before my C-section.
October 15, 2014
Today I'm very excited to be joining my sweet friend Erika as we share our monthly favorite things! Sidenote: I got to meet Erika last month at the DotMom conference and it was so wonderful to finally see each other in person! Erika, you are the sweetest! ;)
I decided to do a "Home" theme with my favorite things in keeping with this month's series!
October 13, 2014
Why did the flushing toilet take two centuries to catch on? Why did medieval people sleep sitting up? When were the two “dirty centuries”? Why, for centuries, did rich people fear fruit?
One of my very favorite things to learn about is how people do life. Pretty much on every level. It fascinates me, and it especially fascinates me within a historical context. My grandfathers both put a very, very high priority on learning history, and they also championed immersing yourself in little periods of time - or people - that fascinate you (for my paternal grandfather, this was Abraham Lincoln and his era, and for my maternal grandfather, this was World War II and learning in-depth about all of the monarchs of England). I've tried to make a lifestyle of reading and learning (it's always after my kids are in bed - I stay up way too late!), and learning about the home has been of particular interest to me.
October 12, 2014
My grandfather recently gave me a book that a friend of his authored called Silent Witness: The Language of Your Home. It was written by interior designer Georg Andersen, and it's now one of my very favorite books!
The book was written in 1999, so the styling and decorating is older and definitely not everyone's taste, but I absolutely love it. Georg and I have a similar aesthetic: layered, mixing patterns and prints, warm, and most importantly, we share an awareness of the "silent language" each home possesses. I've said this many times and I'll say it again: I don't at ALL claim to be an expert in decorating or styling. I'm just a "thinker" and I'm constantly thinking about what truly makes a house a home.
Georg is one of the best I've ever seen at describing how we as Christians can express our love for the Lord through our homes. One of my favorite things that Georg does is how he creates new phrases and ways of thinking about certain rooms in our homes. I want to share some of my favorite quotes from Silent Witness; there is so much depth in his words!
The Importance of Home
"Christians are people in transition. We are on a slow but steady journey between two worlds held apart by time. But until we reach the confluence, we are to be about the business of emulating Jesus in our daily walks, integrating and engrafting His character into every part of our lives."
"The very essence of a home is inexorably hound to the way that life is expressed through it. And the high ground that we hope to claim in this book is to help make that expression a picture of Christ."
"Design is more of a continuum rather than a onetime action. It's the process of putting together unrelated things - juxtaposing even the valuable and the trivial if you desire - to develop the "words" that we want our home to use."
Your Home's First Words
"While we certainly want the set the tone at the outset without running roughshod over anyone, we do have a rich spiritual heritage that doesn't cause us any shame."
"Reverence, Concern, Sincerity, Faith and many other must be intertwined, hopefully in seamless unity like the words of a hymn. Invisibly woven into the fabric of every room, these words should produce an enchanting, unforgettable melody that draws others into the help and hope that you ultimately want to provide."
The Welcome Room (Entryway)
"Without preaching, family pictures say, 'Pull together; a family lives here. We care about each other, and we care about you.'"
". . .Loyalty within a real family in a day when families are so fragmented. And they say it so subtly to those who may feel the need for family or for close relationships."
The Daily Room (Family Room/Gathering Space)
"I long for homemakers to understand the importance of not hiding everything. We must get around that if our homes are to be used and useful. Let's be creative about it."
"Toys and photos proclaim life: a home is not for looking but for feeling and touching and hugging."
"Our Daily Room has more than twenty separate fabric patterns, the bulk of them being varied plaids, even though 'ribbons of color' provide of a feeling of continuity. In a very subtle sense, this says that our tastes don't rigidly conform to a particular style - either in furnishings or in people."
The Living Room
"I almost always prefer furnishings and accessories with a history."
"Seemingly unrelated patterns and things, if put together with an attitude of authority, can result in a unique cohesiveness unattainable with preplanned matches."
"Design has little or no value unless the heart gains control, regardless of how things seem to fit in a technical sense."
"The stories in your objects and furnishings are the words that bring any room to life."
The Settling Room (Master Bedroom)
"In a sense, we do acknowledge the importance of the seemingly ordinary trifles of today, but we seldom comprehend their full import until they are seen from the vantage point of tomorrow." (My note: is this not fantastic?)
"Our master bedroom has been the place where so many difficult issues of life were brought to resolution. Settled, as it were, in a peaceful, joyous, and harmonious way. That's why we call it the Settling Room."
"A comfortable two-seat sofa and a pair of lounge chairs say that we're not in a hurry. We've always wanted the children to know that there is a place where we can draw aside and take time to work things through. Even Jesus had to occasionally draw away from the crowds and the hustle and bustle of ministry to take care of personal needs."
"It's the last room we see at night and the first that we see in the morning."
"Forget about purchasing matched sets. Mixing and matching is far more interesting, costs less, and accommodates genuine creativity."
The Hospitality Room (Kitchen)
"Paper the walls of the souls of your children."
"If we include others in our lives in such a way, our floors may get scuffed, our tabletops may be scratched, and our upholstery may be worn an faded. But should we worry about it? To me, these are the tangible evidences of allowing a home to be broken and spilled out for others. Personally, I'd rather have my possessions be the first wear down."
"Our home is not used for anything on a big scale except to advance the Kingdom, and I recognize my responsibility to be a good steward. Still, I want it to be thoroughly used without my being compulsive about my possessions. After all, who owns it all?"
"We must begin with the hospitality of our own homes to build up a good self-image in our mates, to encourage our children, and to love those whom we call brothers and sisters within the family of God."
The Ministry Room (Guest Room)
"To be effective in touching others, we must look beyond surface issues, perhaps even projecting our own frailties and vulnerabilities into their shoes. We need different eyes. . .eyes that speak of Compassion, Tolerance, and Humility."
The Banquet Room (Dining Room)
"If your goal in opening your home is to impress, others may be awed by the show, but one trip will more than suffice. They won't return. But a focus on serving will strike a resonant chord of intimate need."
See what I mean? These words spoke deeply to me. I very much appreciate an interior designer - someone who arranges, designs, decorates and styles for a living - who acknowledges that it is NOTHING without Christ. A home with hardly anything in it can have the EXACT same effect on people as the home that's decorated to the hilt if they share the Holy Spirit.
My grandfather inscribed these words to me in the front of the book, and it sums up the message perfectly:
May the rooms of our hearts all be built and decorated with the Mind of the Master!"
Click here to see all of the posts in this series!
October 11, 2014
If it's one thing I believe, it's that there are HUGE spiritual battles over our homes. The enemy attacks homes because that's really where life happens. Families live, interact, struggle, celebrate, grieve, support, laugh, cry and so much more in homes. As spouses and parents, and even as singular people, it can be overwhelming to think about the battle in the unseen, and yet often I find myself neglecting to do the one thing that can make the biggest difference.
The main way we fight for our homes is to PRAY over our homes.
I have two sweet friends that have written really great blog posts about this concept, and I wanted to share them with you!
My friend Whitney from church is in the process of building a home with her husband and two sweet girls. Recently she blogged about how they prayed over their house. You can read the post by clicking here. Isn't their new home beautiful!?
I'm so thankful to have friends that desire God's best for their homes, and I was really inspired by their writing. I'm going to focus on praying over my home in the next week!
Click here to see all of the posts in this series!
October 9, 2014
I've realized something about myself: I love themes. I THRIVE on themes. Whether it's an overriding theme of what God is teaching me, or a women's ministry event, or a party, I don't think there's anything better than coordinating details to point to a theme. This is definitely carrying over to my kids. At the end of the summer, Evy and I planned a Beach Party for my family while my grandparents were in town (come to think of it, I haven't blogged about that yet!). It was spectacular, if I do say so myself. :) Evy really planned what she wanted (we even drew it on paper), and then we shopped together for the perfect decorations. From the music to the food, we had a BEACH PARTY!
Since I've been discovering how much fun I have around a theme, I've decided to have a theme each Christmas for our table. It looks like we're going to have a more consistent schedule each year for Christmas (instead of alternating every year, we're going to try traveling to see Kurt's family on Christmas Day each year). This will allow me to consistently create the tradition of hosting a theme dinner each year for my family!
I was originally inspired a couple of years ago with this idea by my sweet friend Whitney's mom. She is INCREDIBLE! She goes all out and it's so fun to see what theme she's picked each year for her family. Some past ones have been:
A Very Vintage Christmas,
In Honor of the King,
and even Downton Abbey to name JUST a few!
I thought to myself, "I'm going to do that for my family." And this is the year I'm starting! It will be smaller scale, of course, but I'm excited to piece the details together! Stay tuned for what I've chosen. . .
So what does this have to do with "home?" To me, it's the intention behind choosing a theme and the love you show by wanting to create a special experience for those you love. Isn't that what "home" is all about? Serving, loving and creating special experiences together in your home? It might mean something as simple as putting a place card at each chair to let people know where to sit, or putting a little favor on everyone's plate. Or maybe just coming up with a musical playlist to play in the background while everyone eats. During our beach party, we recreated a tropical treat you can find at Disney World (the Dole Whip!) for dessert and everyone raved about it! We also played theme music from the Polynesian Resort. Little details make a difference! I plan to develop a more in-depth post about developing a theme and making others feel special. I think there's a lot to be said about it!
Click here to see all of the posts in this series!
October 8, 2014
While most 10-year-old girls in 1995 were playing with their Beanie Babies, Littlest Pet Shop and the like, I was watching VHS tapes of Home and Garden Television shows that my grandmother had taped for me. We didn't have cable at the time (we got Dish Network in the late 90's only because my uncle was a dealer and got us a GREAT deal), so I coveted those tapes. I mean, WORE THEM OUT. And don't even get me started on whenever we would visit my grandparents. When we weren't doing a bunch of family activities (which was 90% of our visits), I couldn't get my hands on the remote fast enough. Was I watching Where In the World is Carmen Sandiego, Full House or Duck Tales? Nope. I was anxiously waiting to see Matt and Shari's latest transformation on Room by Room.
Home and Garden Television (it was called by its full proper name then) really defined my older childhood in a lot of ways, because it grew my love of design, decorating, and making spaces feel like homes. I absolutely loved it and it most assuredly contributed to my decision to study interior design in college (I started in Speech Pathology because I thought design wasn't practical - I'm very glad I made the switch to something I loved!).
I recently came across this article talking about old school HGTV and it REALLY resonated with me. For anyone who remembers, HGTV used to be much more centered around actual decorating and design projects. It was more homespun and had a lot of people standing at demonstration tables, showing you the latest DIY craft you could make at home. It was endearing and practical. I started reminiscing about a few of my favorite shows:
Room by Room was the first show to air on HGTV when the network launched at the very beginning of 1995. It featured Matt and Shari, and they were the first to actually problem-solve real decorating dilemmas. I ate it up. I loved it.
Awesome Interiors was fun. It was kind of the "edgy" show. The host, Jennifer Convy, kind of had that anti-establishment decorating attitude going on. This is the show that convinced me that I needed a bed suspended from the ceiling by chains. It would swing and such. It looked fun. My parents listened really respectfully and then instead of making me feel really stupid, they just pointed out the practical reasons why that probably wasn't a good idea ("You know, with Andrea being a baby, that could be a little hazardous. . ."). I will always be thankful that they validated my love of decorating and how my mind was always going a mile a minute. Still waiting on that swinging bed, though.
For the older set, there was You're Home with Kitty Bartholomew. I remember being very intrigued by her purposeful gray. How bold and intentional to not color it - especially with just the front being that way? While my 10-year-old mind was making sense of the hair, I was also watching her walk around her garden and show cottage-inspired spaces. I couldn't really find out what Kitty is doing now, so I think she might be hiding.
Decorating Cents was prime viewing. Joan Steffend could pinch those pennies, am I right? Speaking of Joan, she's now an inspirational speaker. Didn't see that one coming! I especially remember the step-by-step demonstrations where Joan and a guest would show us how to make that perfect flower box out of scrap wood and then sponge paint it. (And yes, my dad indulged me and made me a flower box out of scrap wood. He even helped me sponge paint it and it was one of the proudest moments of my childhood, because it was the very first decorative thing I EVER made. Again, I have awesome parents!)
I LOVED Friday nights in the late 90s because it was International Night. They featured the show "Changing Rooms," a British show that was the precursor to Trading Spaces. I LOVED IT! My British obsession really did start early, people. I loved the host, Carol Smillie, and I was just mesmerized by their accents.
The original intent of HGTV, in my opinion, was to feature a lot of aspects of design. From professionals showing you how to design-it-yourself to DIY shows that helped you problem solve, there was VARIETY. It wasn't canned, staged shows that talk about nothing but real estate all. day. long. I wish HGTV would listen to the outcry of all the 1990s HGTV addicts and reconsider their vision. I hardly watch HGTV anymore, which makes me truly sad, considering that it played such a big part in my passion for creating spaces that feel good and comfortable.
Do you remember old school HGTV?
Click here to see all of the posts in this series!