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Thursday, October 23, 2014

loving to serve

It took me a week to get pillowcases back on our pillows after doing laundry.  A week.  By which point the sheets need to be washed again, but they're going to wait.  Just like the pillows.  Because other things need me right now.

Over the past few weeks, I have been struck by the cumbersome restrictions upon my social life from being an introvert.  My energy stores only get me so far, limiting the length and breadth of interactions.  I don't network as easily because of it, nor am I able to meet new friends and get out into my community.  I have been craving these interactions, however.  Desperately.  A chance to get involved, to serve, to reach out and get beyond my introverted limitations.

I would love to say that in two weeks I've started a non-profit, am hosting a perfectly curated dinner party, and have found my inner social butterfly.  But I haven't, and probably won't.  No, I have found that my Heavenly Father has reached out to me as His introverted daughter and given me ways to serve.  I am learning to love and feel deeply through the afflictions of those I love deeply, just as I am learning that a pillow without a case is not nearly as important as following promptings to reach out. 

Katie Bower, a fellow Georgian, wrote a fabulous blog post last week.  She discusses her worth as she knows it versus how social media, especially the pinterest/blog community, would define it.  Katie says, 

"But you know what?  I know the truth.  Even with all those outside influences.  Even with all that inside stuff.  Deep deep down, I know I am enough.  I am enough because I can do one little thing.  And that one little thing, the only thing that really matters, the thing that is so lacking in our busy busy world and our social media frenzies is this….
I am enough because I can love others."
I am enough because I can love others.  How true those words are!  How grateful I am that I have been given opportunities to serve and love those in my life!  Love, my friends, really is the answer.  Real love.  Not even romantic.  Just, love.  Where you care deeply about others, whether in your community or your home.  I'm learning to love again, more sincerely.  It feels like the right way to kick off the fall season, a time traditionally noted as a period of thanksgiving.  I am so grateful, with a heart so full it could burst, for tender mercies and the loving trust of a kindly Father that I can grow and change.  And love.
So no promise about clean sheets in the next few days, but I can absolutely guarantee hugs, maybe some tears, and plenty of good that will be done along the way.

Friday, October 10, 2014

fall house tour

This fall has been a definite season of change for me.  Emotionally, I have been learning and adapting to new situations rapidly.  As my mindset alters, so does my view on our apartment d├ęcor.  With the temperatures dropping, slowly but surely, and the windows finally opening up after many long months of air conditioning, I felt the need to change our apartment.

Fall is without a doubt my favorite time of year.  Mr. F will tell you my favorite time Christmas.  And while I do daydream of Christmas trees and egg nog all year long, autumn has always held something magical for me.  The crisp winds, crunchy leaves, earthy tones, and lots of cider bring unceremonious joy to my heart.  I wanted our home to reflect the coziness of the season, despite the warm temperatures lingering outside.  I wanted to curate a space that reflected Mr. F and I as a family, me as an artist, and still retain the necessary functionality constantly hiding in small living quarters.  It was time to put away with the glass vases and bring out the earthenware pots.

  Up first on my agenda was functionality.  This began a massive, ongoing purge, of…everything.  Sifting through art supplies, clothing, food cupboards, bookshelves.  You name it, I went through it.  Every item in our apartment needs to serve a purpose.  Baskets hide art supplies, shoes,  and drills.  Boxes on top of shelves hold extra dishes and family heirlooms.  Our kitchen table also serves as a kitchen counter, studio space, and on very rare occasions, eating surface.  I moved baskets around, cleaned some out, and compacting our essentials.  In the kitchen (which I can never seem to photograph properly because of horrible lighting), our cupboards were streamlined as I took stock of what we have, use, and want to keep.  In the living room, I rearranged furniture and storage pieces for a better flow and more open space.  In our bedroom, well, that’s a room I’m still working on.  But artwork was shuffled about.  The entire surface area under our bed serves as a storage facility for luggage and miscellany items that don’t have a home anywhere else.  That is one area I am still dreading the purge, but am relishing the idea of clean starts.

The autumnal touches to the apartment were subtle.  Pottery pitchers lined up above my kitchen sink rather than my pretty china tea cups.  A wooden bowl filled with pine cones and dwarf pumpkins.  Prints from my shop.  Dried gourds from various farmer’s markets, and even a curbside drawer turned coffee table tray.  The only items I purchased were the fresh gourds and some mums for outside of our door.  The rest were elements I had on hand that just needed better staging to give them new life.

With the apartment in better order, I find myself more productive than I have been in ages.  I savor time at home creating and packaging items for the shop.  Applesauce, pumpkin bread, and stewed cranberries fill our home with delightful aromas.  Our home is feeling more like us and is working better than ever.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.


silver urn - garage sale
rope lamp - target lamp wrapped in rope (similar DIY)
"llama" figurine - Target
white dresser - garage sale
twig wreath - Royal Oak Farmer's Market in Michigan
copper kettle - family heirloom

Living room:
stacked baskets - Ross
Grecian key pillow - TJ Maxx
brass lamp and shade - Goodwill
feed sack - dumpster dive find
wooden tray - drawer found on side of the road
don quixote print - thrifted
twig pumpkin - Target  (Smith & Hawken)
throw pillows - DIY
stripe art - DIY on cardboard
halloween bunting - Target (dollar bin)


cabinet - thrifted (see DIY here)
gourds - farmer's markets
white pumpkin - Dollar Tree (DIY)
hanging basket - Cyprus
table - hand me down
bench - Ikea
Octobers print - from my shop
live gourds - Trader Joe's
magnolia leaf wreath - DIY

Monday, October 06, 2014


Mr. F has been studying for the GMAT, the entrance exam for MBA programs since February. His dedication and determination never ceases to amaze me, especially as I struggle to shower every day.  This whole journey has been the fulfillment of dreams for my husband and a matter of contention to me.  Going to grad school means imminent moves, again, and more uncertainty in the future.  A lot of it.  While my husband has been seeing the world as his oyster, I have been craving stability and emotionally begging to stay put in Atlanta.
 Over this past weekend, we drove to Durham, North Carolina for Mr. F to interview at and tour the business school.  He spent all day Friday on campus, interviewing and in panels while I hung out with one of my dearest friends.  He came home that night beaming.  The school had exceeded his expectations and daydreams were becoming realities.

I was grumpy.  Not an emotionally mature response, I admit.  I have been so jealous of the GMAT and the school applications because they have taken so much of my husband's attention.  I've felt emotionally strung out through this process and like I've been blindly following along.  Seeing my husband so thrilled kind of broke me.  It meant grad school was really going to happen.  Moving in less than a year is a reality to deal with.  To me, it meant even less time with my husband.
Why am I telling you all of this and not just telling you about how beautiful North Carolina is?  Well, because, this is how I experienced the trip.  My grumpy, lonely, petulant self wanted to emotionally sabotage the trip so that I would have a reason to say to my husband, "Nope, we can't go."  Do I want him to go to school? Absolutely!  It would be so contrary to my understanding of him to restrict his academic pursuits.  I just don't want to go now.  I keep wanting to live somewhere longer than two years.  Heck, even a year and half!  But that's just not what is happening.

 On Saturday I went to Duke with Mr. F.  I wandered the idyllic campus on my own while he sat in more panels before attending one of my own.  I saw my husband interacting with fellow potential students and saw his joy.  As I wandered, I pictured him studying on benches and preparing projects.  I also saw myself with him.  For the first time, it really felt like I could fit in the dream with him.

During the drive home on Sunday, we talked endlessly.  And very little of our conversation was about Duke.  Or MBAs, or GMAT study schedules.  We just talked.  I felt myself relax and ease back into a relationship I've been missing with my husband because of my own stubbornness.  

This weekend was such a good learning experience for me.  I found myself again and felt peace about things that have been bothering me for no reason.  Change is coming, as it always has been want to do, but I feel far more prepared to handle it.