Saturday, July 23, 2011

{ DIY Bonanza! }

It's no secret that I've become a big fan of interior decorating the last year or two...especially the do-it-yourself variety. Fueled partly by necessity {budget}, partly by desire {I enjoy being craft-y and making pretty things}, and partly by curiosity {how on earth did she make a starburst mirror out of cereal boxes?!}, I regularly prowl the interwebs for inspiration.

A few weeks ago I hit a veritable goldmine. A treasure trove, if you will. Vast new horizons of DIY gorgeousness opened up before me when I found Home Stories A to Z: How to Decorate {For the DIY'er} Series. It's a 30-day series of posts on how to decorate beautifully and on the cheap, by 30 different ladies who do it well. Really, really well. You don't want to miss this!

From old friends like the Nester {I feel like I know her, I've probably read most of her site over the past year}, to House of Smiths and Centsational Girl {never heard of them before!}, my head is spinning with ideas and inspiration. Go ahead. You know you want to.

Monday, July 18, 2011

{ Two Years }

Two years ago...

a boy and a girl got married.

Here, at the Monte Cristo Hotel.

~ praying just before the ceremony ~

She danced with her daddy,

 He danced with his mama,

and together they danced to a Sinatra/Big & Rich medley that involved a cowboy hat and the first half of "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy."
There was much love, much laughter, and much joy.
That wasn't the was only the beginning.

I love you forever, Mike...thank you for making me your wife.
Happy Two Years!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

{ World Traveler }

I've posted this before, but it so aptly expresses many questions and emotions I've experienced, and it's about marriage, and we're currently in Kauai celebrating two years of here you go again!

I love you so, Mr. Michael. I'm so glad I get to travel the world with your world with you.

xoxo always,
Mrs. Mike

Monday, July 11, 2011

{ LuJo's Wedding }

Luke and Joanna, dear friends of ours, got married yesterday. It was a gorgeous day for an outdoor wedding, and their venue was stunning. Not to mention that I happen to have the hots for Groomsman #7, pictured below.

Yup. He's the bee's knees.

This wedding was so joyful, playful, full of Jesus, and so perfectly Luke-and-Joanna. It was also a lot of fun. The favors were brightly-colored shutter sunglasses {but in different shapes--hearts, stars, etc.} and a variety of different colors and shapes of mustaches and lips on sticks, all props for a photobooth. Throughout the evening, everyone had a lot of fun with the sunglasses and mustaches!

Travis and Krissy, who host our community group.

Friends Lizett and Renee.

The happy couple--Luke and Joanna.

Cupcakes instead of a cake! The little flags in their cupcakes are shaped like the states they are from: Arizona for Joanna, North Carolina for Luke.

I cannot even begin to explain to you the awesomeness of the dancing. I can't wait to see the professional photos...these folks love to dance! It truly did turn into a dance party that lasted 'til the bride and groom drove away!

Instead of a bouquet toss, there was a pinata for all the single ladies.

The house and part of the grounds near midnight, as we were cleaning up.

So the hubs and I are heading to Kauai on Wednesday, for 11 days of fun in the sun. We won't have internet access, but I've scheduled some posts while we're gone because I just had so much to say that I couldn't wait 'til we get back...had to get it out! ;-) Enjoy your summer--I'll be back in a couple weeks!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

{ Dancing in the Mine Fields }

I can't watch this video without crying. Not just "tearing up," but big fat tears rolling down my cheeks and a lump in my throat. It's true: the beauty, the hardship, the joy, the's all worth it. Marriage is harder than we dreamed, but that's what the promise is for.

Today our friends Luke and Joanna are getting married. Mike is a groomsman, and we're looking forward to lots of joy as we celebrate the beginning of their marriage. In eight days, Mike and I will celebrate two years of dancing in the minefields. This song is for all of us.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

{ Living Room }

Welcome to our home!

Like the dining room, the walls are Benjamin Moore's Revere Pewter.

I love vintage glass bottles. This Karo syrup jar was 25 cents at a yard sale.

Please accept my apologies for the Mothership {aka the blinding torchiere}. What little natural light we get is pitifully inadequate for photography.

More antique glass...I found the half-gallon jug and the pale green jar in an old outbuilding at my parents' farm.

I also convinced my parents to let me have this enormous crock. They were happy to see it go; it has a huge crack all the way up the back that renders it useless for storage or as a planter. And don't you love that quilt?! It was a gift when I graduated from college. I chose the pattern and color scheme, my mom paid for the fabric, and my aunt, grandma, and some other ladies in the community made it. One of my favorite possessions. It is gorgeous.

~ jars of dried roses from the many bouquets Mike has given me ~

~ this African violet reminds me of my Grandma Violet ~

Oh, this mirror makes me so happy! I looked for a big mirror for over a year. At this size, they cost several hundred dollars, even at "cheap" places like Lowe's or Home Depot. I wasn't willing to pay that--let alone the fact that finding one with a frame I liked was nearly impossible. {There seems to be a conspiracy wherein if the mirror is big enough for the space and the frame isn't ugly, the price is automatically $500 or above.} I found this mirror at Value Village for $19.99. At first I thought I might have to paint the frame, but I so far I like it as it is. What do you think?

My new obsession: pillow covers from Etsy. Such an easy way to transform the look of a room using pillows you already own. For the lumbar pillows {which I didn't have}, I found 100% down pillow inserts for under $8 at Tuesday Morning.

My favorite comment regarding our newly-painted rooms came from Mike, just a day or two after I'd gotten everything put back in its place: "It looks so much nicer in here now, babe. It's relaxing to come home now, instead of, like, 'AHHHHHHH, green!'" Even if I'd loved the previous color, that alone makes all the time, sore muscles, and expense worthwhile.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

{ Independence Day }

~ Howarth Park in Everett with my sweetie--second time I've been there and his first ~

~ jammin' to the live music before the fireworks display in Edmonds ~

~ my first pair of skinny jeans ~

~ friends ~

note: all Edmonds pics {except the one of Mike} taken by sweet friend Megan and Big Girl Camera :-)

Monday, July 4, 2011

{ Change }

I've realized, the past few weeks, that I have exactly two responses to proposed changes in my life. If I'm unsure of the transition {or afraid, or feel it will affect me negatively, etc.}, my responses are entirely negative. On the other hand, if it's a change that I want, that was my idea, or that looks like it will benefit me, I'll try to move heaven and earth to bring it about.

All this is based purely on my perspective. My perspective, which is so very limited. So self-serving, comfort-seeking, sinful.

Life is not static. It is fraught with transitions, turnover, the new and the different and the unknown. Until I was confronted with changes--significant, way out of my control ones--again and again and again over the past few months, I gave little thought to how pervasive change is. I'm a creature of habit, happiest and most comfortable when I'm cozy in my rut. In itself, I don't think this particular bent of personality is wrong; that's the way Jesus created me, and He calls me His beloved child. But it can be taken too far. I am realizing that when things are in flux, I cling to sameness, rather than Jesus, for security. So when the road veers unexpectedly and I have to face something I didn't want or anticipate, I gripe and whine and give full reign to selfish responses. And when the road veers unexpectedly but I like it, I again give full reign to selfish responses....but this time they look more palatable because they're clothed in happy garb.

This sucks.

I want my responses to come from Jesus, from Him living in my heart and changing and transforming me every day, so that I see the world through His eyes, not mine. I don't know what exactly has prompted this shift, but I see now, in a way that I never have before, that change is life. To stop moving is to die. To avoid it, run away from it, fight it; to grumble and moan and be miserable about it--that becomes my life, because life is change. Life is one new thing right after another: Growth, metamorphosis, progress, breaking, healing. This is at once the glory and the heartbreak of life on earth.

And I have fought it tooth and nail for 28 years. Lord, I am sorry.

The juxtaposition is ironic. At work, I've dreaded the move to a new hospital tower for months. It has brought all kinds of changes that have made work harder, mainly because of increased time to get places {that tower is HUGE}, increased patient volumes, and learning to navigate a new building. What has jarred me, over and over in the weeks since the move, are the good things that have come about: bigger rooms mean it's easier to get our machines in and out. There are more chairs and pillows and linen carts, and they're all vastly easier to find. Breathtaking vistas from huge windows on every floor. Some things are harder, true, but I've been shocked time and again by the unexpected good. And I wonder: How many other good things have I missed because I expected only bad?

On the other hand, I'm so impatient for the Lord to orchestrate change that I want. For us to be able to transition to a single-income household. For Mike to be able to work reasonable hours and have down time. I don't consider that they might bring with them difficult or uncomfortable corollaries. Mike pointed this out last week as we were discussing what needs to happen before I can "retire" from my job. "I'm afraid that you're going to stop working, realize that being a stay-at-home wife doesn't solve all your problems, and then feel as stuck here as you do right now at work," he said. Though we're both confident that this is the direction the Lord is leading us, Mike's observation is very sobering and convicting. I know he's right. I think that if XYZ will just happen, then I'll be happy.

What if happiness isn't dependent on circumstances, but on my relationship with Jesus?

What if I choose to "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" {1 Thess. 5:18}?

What if I choose to "rejoice in the Lord always" {Phil. 4:4}, rather than rejoicing when I get my way?

If I make these choices, "change" no longer dictates my emotions and outlook, because my identity is in Christ and I choose to rejoice in the Lord always and give thanks in all circumstances, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Regardless of whether or not this bend in the road is giving me warm fuzzies. This is what I'm chewing on today. This is my prayer.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

{ Dining Room }

I decided to paint the kitchen and re-paint the dining and living rooms over Memorial Day weekend. I cleared my schedule and mentally prepared myself for three.grueling.days. {I knew Mike had to work Saturday and Monday, and I felt like this was kind of my responsibility...after all, I'm the one who chose the bright Easter green color that we both despise!} After two days of almost nonstop painting, Mike very graciously put aside his Monday commitments and helped me finish the living and dining rooms. Thank you, babe! With 25-ish-foot cathedral ceiling, I was beginning to feel like I was going to be painting walls forever!!

The color is Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore.

Can I tell you a secret? We literally had camping furniture for the first five months of our marriage. We borrowed a small oval table from Mike's parents. We had two camping chairs {any idea how low to the ground camping chairs are?} that were given to us as a wedding gift. They totally did not fit at that table, but that's where we ate from July 'til December. I'm so happy we took the opportunity to buy this solid oak table, six chairs, and sideboard {used for less than one week} for $300.
It's kinda too matchy-matchy for me. I had no decorating taste whatsoever at that point. I was just desperate for a real table and chairs. I would love to have a big old farm table, with mismatched chairs and a vintage sideboard with antique drawer pulls. Something like this {I know it's a headboard, but you get the idea}

or this

But for now, I'm really thankful for the beautiful matching set that we have.
{Do you think Mike would ever let me paint these chairs? Maybe the table?......}

I searched long and hard for the perfect true grey. The internet is a great source for both inspiration + direction when looking for paint colors. Some links that were especially helpful for me are here, here, here, and here. Obviously there are thousands of blogs out there with millions of great ideas for paint colors! Anyway, Revere Pewter is a little more complex than I expected; a little more ambiguous, a little less grey. It's almost taupe/dark beige in some lights. I guess that's a bonus; I get walls that are multiple colors instead of just one! When you compare RP to the hallway {Benjamin Moore's Hot Spring Stones}, RP is clearly more grey and HSS is clearly  more pink/tan. Which is what I wanted. So I'm not complaining. Just explaining.

This is the beginning of our gallery wall. Originally, I wanted antique-looking silvery frames {like we have in the hallway}, but Mike prefers dark wood frames. I'm really glad I agreed to his preference--I like the way they pop against the grey. Silver would've blended in too much.

And there you have it!