Thursday, January 21, 2010

{ Color }

I need help.

I'm positively itching to paint our condo. {We are not going to talk about vaulted ceilings and 20-foot-high walls. Noooooooooo. I find those sorts of things intimidating. Focus with me: Paint!}

I'm also overwhelmed by the options.

Benjamin Moore? Sherwin Williams? Behr? Spray paint from Ace Hardware? What's the best kind of paint to use? This is Question Numero Uno.

Followed by Question Numero Dos: How did you choose the colors you used to paint your home? Was it a room-by-room decision, or did you have an overarching theme for the entire space? What was your strategy?

Is there anything you'd do differently?

Where do you get your ideas and inspiration?
Please share! Your Tumblr page, Flickr photostream, favorite design blog, Granny's quilt that inspired the palette of your entire home, the time your two-year-old found that open gallon of primer and a paintbrush, whatever!

I've never given much thought to how I want my home to look. Of course, I've admired homes and showrooms and movie sets and Anthropologie catalogs, but in the sense of "That's really beautiful" rather than "How can I adapt this to be in my home someday?" So while this is a grand adventure, it's also a bit intimidating because I feel like I'm new to this game...and what if I find something else I absolutely adore two weeks after I've painted the living room eggplant?

See my problem?

If left to my own devices, I might actually paint something eggplant. Love that color. Not so sure it would be great in a 900+ square foot condo. If it's just too much, where do I go to get away from it? My parking space?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

{ Dwell in the Shelter }

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress,

my God, in whom I trust."

Surely He will save you from the fowler's snare

and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with His feathers,

and under His wings you will find refuge;

His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

You will not fear the terror of night,

nor the arrow that flies by day,

nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,

nor the plague that destroys at midday.

A thousand may fall at your side,

ten thousand at your right hand,

but it will not come near you.

~ Psalm 91:1-7 {NIV}

{A gift from Mister on our six-month wedding anniversary: the first tulips of the year}

Friends, I am alive.
Somewhat ragged about the edges, but alive. Recently someone told me that physical stopping often precipitates mental, emotional, and spiritual revelation. This truth is one I have experienced in new ways in the past few weeks. I praise Jesus for using this "storm" to draw me closer to Him. Truth of the matter is that I'm still dealing with the physical ramifications of this apparently stress-induced malady. I'm a little worse for wear and trying to take it easy. Which means whittling down the enormous heap I call "essentials" to only those things which are truly essential. I'd love to blog more frequently, and I can't even tell you how many posts I've written in my head. {Complete with pictures I could not take because my camera was at home. Again.} But for now I'm sleeping more, to-do-listing less, and learning about casting all my cares on Jesus in a deeper, more gut-wrenching {literally!} way than ever before.

Thank you, Lord!

I'll be back soon. I have a question for all you crafty-homey ladies who have MUCH more redecorating experience than I do. {Hint: If you have ever painted at all, this means you.}

Saturday, January 9, 2010

{ Oh, I Wish I Were An Oscar Mayer Weiner }

A brief list of things that have puzzled me of late:
1. Blogger put my post about the second half of 2009, written and posted after the first post about 2009, under that first post. Sheesh, Blogger. Why'd ya do that?
2. I found a pacifier in my box of scarves and ribbons. We went to a wedding on Friday night, and I needed a sash for my dress, so I dumped the entire box of pretties on my bed. Out rolled a little green binkie. I was too surprised for words. Later I realized that the last time my scarf box was out was the night David and Chelle came over for dinner, and Annabelle entertained herself with all manner of scarves and sashes. Jack's pacifier must have been tangled up in them. Talk about unexpected!!

3. When I went to the grocery store on Saturday, this

was sitting outside the entrance. The Oscar Mayer Weinermobile. Nothing, my friends, prepares you to see a weinermobile outside your favorite grocer. I had no idea they really existed. It had a license plate and everything. Can you imagine driving down the freeway and seeing that outside your window?

"Holy cow, babe, there's a hot dog on the freeway!"

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

{ 2009, in Photos and Words ~ Part I }

{ January }
In January, Grandma Winnie {my Mom's mom} went home to Jesus. It was relief to know that she was free from her suffering. One of the odd things about funerals is that they often bring together people you love who are still alive, but don't see often enough. People like my sweet cousin Julie, her baby Eli, and Julie's grandma {my "other" grandma} Verla.

{ February }

{Back, L - R: Grace, Liz, Megan, Hyemi, Aspen. Front, L - R: Jenn, Sarah, me}
The community group {fancy name for Bible study} where Mike and I met has grown from one group to four, and every few months all four groups gather for a Big Family Get-Together. In February, my three roommates and I {we met in the original group and still attend sister groups} hosted the BFGT. It was a houseful of chaos!

{ March }

On Sunday, March 26, 2009--the one-year anniversary of our first date--Mike asked me to marry him. At sunset. On a pier lined with hundreds of candles and red roses. The same pier where we danced on our first date. Oh, it was Epic. Someday I will tell you the whole story.

{ April }

I turned 26 on April 18, and Mike {with the help of my sneaky roommates} threw me a surprise party. At my house. I had no clue. It was awesome, and not just because it was my first surprise party. I had so much fun, and only took two pictures. Both of the amazing flower-cupcake-cake my roommie Kristi made. There's a reason we asked her to make all the cupcakes for our wedding!

{ May }

Dozens of inner envelopes for our wedding invitations, carefully hand-stamped and laid out to dry on the dining room floor. The majority of the effort you put in to planning a wedding doesn't come to fruition till the wedding day; I think that's part of the reason I really enjoyed the physical work of stamping invitations and envelopes and seeing the results in front of me.

My roommate Lizett also celebrated her birthday in May. The culmination of her birthday party was an evening spent with a group of friends at our house, roasting marshmallows in the fireplace and singing songs to Jesus. It was a beautiful, happy, mellow evening that so perfectly exemplifies Liz's love for her Savior.

{ June }

Chelle, Anna, and my roommates threw me a bridal shower that was the fullness of beauty. It was perfect. I still have a hard time convincing myself that the above photo was my bridal shower and not a Martha Stewart photo shoot!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

{ 2009, in Photos and Words ~ Part II }

{ July }

Ah, July. You were a good month. When I see this photo, taken at our rehearsal dinner, I immediately think, "We look so YOUNG!!" I guess that's a good thing....right? I love this picture of us: young and in love, on the cusp of forever, sweetly aware that in less than 24 hours we will finally be husband and wife.

This is Annabelle at our rehearsal dinner. I don't recall why she looked so shocked, or why she was wearing her mama's sunglasses, but I could look at this picture and giggle for hours.

Dinner at The Crouching Lion Inn & Restaurant, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Honeymooning in Hawaii = bliss. {Note: Nikki had a tan. It can happen, people, it can happen!!}

{ August }

Barbecue, sack races, three-legged races, tug-of-wars, balloon toss competitions--the summer edition of our community groups' Big Family Get-Together had it all. Here you see Mike making a valiant effort to reach the finish line in the gunnysack race.

{ September }

{ L - R: Me, Mike, my cousin Christy, Mike's sister Amaryah, my brother Obediah, my sis-in-law Jessica and her husband/my brother Joe}

My parents held a wedding reception for us in Idaho on Labor Day weekend. It was incredibly special to me that we could share our joy with so many people I've known all my life. The whole weekend was a blast--literally! My Dad and Obediah hatched a plan to make us all marshmallow guns out of PVC pipe, and an all-out marshmallow war + hilarity ensued. FYI: Tiny marshmallows launched at high speeds can hurt! Especially when you re-use the ammunition and little specks of gravel are stuck in the marshmallows...

My dear friend Anna got married on September 26. Anna and I were born two months apart. Our moms were pregnant together, we grew up together, and we remain close to each other's hearts. Mike asked me to marry him three weeks to the day before Tim asked Anna to be his bride. Mike and I got married a little over two months before Tim and Anna's wedding. Anna and I marveled in the gift of sharing such a sacred season of life: We were both brides-to-be at the same time, and each of us was a bridesmaid in the other's wedding. I love this photo of Tim and Anna, seconds before they see each other for the first time.

{ October + 5 days }

One Really Sad Thing did happen this year: Chelle and company moved across the state. We have known each other since we were wee lassies, playing dress-up whenever possible, making up pen names and imaginary stories and later dreaming of being missionaries and devouring everything Elisabeth Elliot and Amy Carmichael that we could get our hands on. It has been an immeasurable blessing, over the past six years or so, to live only an hour away from each other--though we still saw each other far too little. Anyway, Chelle called me one stormy November day and asked if I could meet up with her that night for "one last hurrah," because they were going to move in the next day or two...or possibly later that night! We ooh-ed and aah-ed in Anthropologie, scoured the sale section, made a few sweet little purchases, and then had the best cupcakes ever at Trophy Cupcakes. Seriously. Their coconut cupcake is not to be missed, I don't care if you're diabetic or not, eat one. You'll be glad you did.
Then we decided we wanted coffee. After all, it was Chelle's last hurrah in the Land of the Lattes! But...on a a very posh part of town...apparently all coffee shops close early. We were in the epicenter of Seattle's Best Coffee, Starbucks, and Tully's, and we could not find a single coffee shop that was open. And we tried. We marched up and down streets, in the dark, in pouring rain and gusty wind, without benefit of coats or an umbrella. We were still looking for a coffee shop--there must be one on the next block! There must!--when David called to say Jack was inconsolable and it was probably time for Chelle to head home. So we walked/swam back to the parking garage...
... took this "after" self-portrait, climbed in Chelle's car to take me to my car, and got lost. In the parking garage. I don't mean that we couldn't find my car {though we couldn't}. I mean that that parking structure is utterly and completely un-navigable, full of dead ends, and all the different levels and sections don't connect. I'm really not making this up, am I, Chelle? I kind of thought maybe there wasn't a way out. After ages {fifteen minutes? At least?}, we found an exit, figured out where we were, and Chelle dropped me off outside the entrance I'd used and glory be, I found my car AND exited successfully! {I almost ran over a bellhop, but that's another story.}
{In case you were wondering, these photos are actually from November 5, but nothing much happened in October. At least not that I documented photographically.}

{ November }

A $1.99 bag of cinnamon-scented pinecones at Walmart inspired me to try to make our condo a little more homey and festive. I'd been so swamped trying to get things unpacked + organized that I hadn't given a thought to trying to make things pretty. Not until the Walmart pinecones, that is. I put them in tall glass vases scattered around the house, with tealights interspersed. {This is actually the goblet I bought at Goodwill for communion during our wedding ceremony. What better way to use an orphan goblet?} I turned the lights down, breathed deeply of the cinnamon-scented air...and for the first time, it felt homey. Not just the place where we live, but home.

{ December }

Mike's Dad, ecstatic over the Killer Rabbit slippers his wife gave him for Christmas. I don't understand "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," but the slippers--and Dan's sheer delight in them--were hilarious!

{ Brave New Year }

I've been meaning to blog for days. It's probably been weeks by now.
Wanting to tell you about Snowflake Lane and the Garden d'Lights, two spectacular local Christmas events that I had never even heard of before. My husband is an excellent planner of surprises and dates, let me tell you!
Wanting to tell you about Christmas--our first Christmas as Mr. & Mrs. About Mike's dad's smoked salmon chowder and lovely gifts on Christmas Eve. About the pandemonium of 11 people simultaneously opening gifts on Christmas day.
I do not, however, want to tell you about crying on Christmas Eve because I was so nauseous. About missing Christmas breakfast because I felt so crummy and showing up for the festivities at my in-laws' halfway through the day, when I was somewhat human again. {Sweet Mr. Mike made sure I was well-stocked with saltines, 7-Up, and Pepto-Bismol before I made him leave for breakfast. It's his favorite meal of the year. I wouldn't let him miss it.}
And, because someone will ask, no, I am not pregnant.
I want to tell you about God's grace in getting me through 23+ hours of overtime this week when I felt lousy. About His grace in the form of medical insurance and medication that helps me not feel like I'm going to vomit 24/7. About the ways God is using really bad acid reflux {that's the diagnosis so far} to draw my attention back to Him, reminding me to cast all my cares at His feet, because I can't carry them on my own.
Maybe someday soon I'll have time to upload photos from our laughter-filled New Year's Eve celebration: yummy food, great friends, and laughing till I snorted {several times} while playing Mad Gab. Mr. Mike and I were on the winning team. 71-68. It was a close game.
But for now, I need to spend serious time with my Savior. He gives me peace. And while I'm the last person to assign purely spiritual causes for physical ailments, I really truly believe that part of this stems from not placing Jesus on the throne of my heart.
So many things clamor for my attention. I'm figuring out how to be a wife, a homemaker, a daughter-in-law, and a full-time employee all at the same time. It's hard. This takes a lot of time and energy.
I want to love and serve my husband, who is (a) starting a business, (b) taking a college class, and (c) starting the deacon process at our church...all at once.
We're still not all the way finished unpacking...and we've been married almost six months.
I want pictures on my walls. Wait, paint. I want paint on my walls, THEN I want to hang pictures.
I want to have friends over for dinner, now that we have a dining table and chairs. {No more lawn chairs and folding table for us!! It was like an early Christmas present to ourselves, after five months of camping in our dining room.}
And I want to finish season 5 of LOST before season 6 starts on February 2.
All joking aside, I think you can see that my plate is full. It's embarrassing, but I couldn't see that till last week. In spite of the fact that my body has been vehemently rebelling for the past two months. Yes, I'm stubborn and proud. By God's grace, I am learning humility. I am learning to let go of perfect; in fact, I'm learning to call it a day at way less than perfect.
I've never been one for New Year's resolutions, but the blogging world seems to be full of them: resolutions, themes for the year, etc. Maybe someday I'll be one of those bloggers.
For now, though, I'm just going to be me. In January of 2010, that does not include resolutions {which are really just large-scale to-do lists anyway, aren't they?} except one:
I will cast all my cares upon You.