Almost Bare.

By July 28, 2016 creativity, home, life

The main thing that has kept me busy lately is the total home overhaul I began earlier this month. I knew it was time to purge our possessions, and now our home is nearing minimal. How I long to keep it that way! There are a few little pockets of clutter remaining, mainly in the expected places- the big closet in our master bedroom and the utility room off our kitchen. Look at this almost bare fireplace mantle:

I’m not surprised that unloading the clutter from our house has opened a window for fresh creativity in my mind and now I’m more motivated to do those things that typically get put off for later. But it does seem like my husband is surprised, because it’s had the same effect for him! I’ve been so happy to see him motivated to accomplish little tasks around the house, and I know it helps him grow in confidence.


Creative confidence is not a strong suit for either of us. Eric might even argue that he’s not creative or confident about anything when it comes to household tasks, and there are so many reasons for that, I can’t tackle them all in one post. I’ve begun to see more and more how fear is the thing that holds both of us back from being productive. I know there is so much potential for growth in this part myself, and I hope as I overcome fears that Eric will start to come out of his shell as well!

I think that over the years I’ve had too narrow a view of what sort of things I am able to do to express creativity. I get comfortable with one expression: say, photography. Or writing. Or baking. But I’m fearful of failure in other areas, so I don’t attempt new things. Now I feel like I want to do all the things! Just, one at a time.

The fireplace in our living room has been an eyesore, always. Eventually I’d like to tear down the mantle and built-in shelves and give the fireplace a total facelift. It’s not even a useful fireplace (with a broken flue and cracked mortar inside- it needs to be rebuilt entirely), but I see no reason it can’t be beautiful at least. No sooner than we unloaded the living room, I had this most fantastic brainwave for a temporary solution to make it look more appealing. I can’t wait to tackle my idea head-on and I’ll be sure to share as soon as I do!

First, I need to finish the boys’ bedroom. They’ve already been sleeping in there and putting the room to good use, but there are a few details to complete: Eric is going to build some farmhouse style beds, and I will stain and seal them. I also need to refinish (or paint) a bookshelf and nightstand, touch up the trim paint, and paint the inside of the closet. As soon as that is complete, I’ll be ready to photograph and share the new space!

All that said, I highly recommend the regular practice of decluttering. I’ll sing the praises of simple living all day long! This has been my goal for a full decade now: to clear the unnecessary and embrace the minimal. It has taken a long time to grow this far and shed an attachment to material possessions, and I wish I’d have had the courage to dive in the deep end a lot sooner.

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Hello, New (Home)School Year!

By July 27, 2016 homeschool

It’s not common these days for me to find a pocket of quiet in the morning. Hawk usually wakes up pretty early: I’m fortunate if I’ve have a shower and prepared my morning coffee before he goes running around the house. Seth is my late sleeper, he usually sleeps until about 8:30 if I let him.

This morning, the house is peaceful and I am enjoying the reprieve. It’s been a very busy few weeks, but today I’m welcoming a few days at home, lounging around in yoga pants and greasing up our homeschool gears a little! Seth is starting first grade, and once we got all of our supplies for the new school year together, he told me he was ready to dive in. So, this week we’ve been warming up and pulling together a new school year routine!

homeschool-year

It seems crazy early to start school since it’s not even August, but truthfully I’d prefer to do a little bit of school all year long. I crave the structure that school gives to our schedule! A couple of years ago, I didn’t think I was interested in homeschooling my kids. All it took was one year of the chaos of waking Seth up early to get to his preschool class to feed that desire to have control of our own schedule.

Now I can’t imagine doing anything differently. I love that we have freedom over when to “do school” and what subjects we can explore together during our school time. I have so much to learn about being patient with the process and listening to my kids to figure out what they need. I certainly don’t feel like I’m in any sort of position to offer advice to others about homeschooling yet! I’m still exploring a lot of different ideas to see what works best for my kids.

My motto for this year is “Keep it Simple”. Yep, that’s it. I way overdid things last year- planning ahead, buying books, making lists. All it did was make me feel discouraged when we got “off track”, and I know it gave Seth some wrong ideas about what I expect of him. So this year, I’m going to try to be far more conscious of the pace I’m setting and even more respectful of the present. And presently, my little one is awake again… so I’m off to greet the brand new day!

Upside Down and Sideways

By July 20, 2016 creativity, home, life

This just goes to show how terrible I have become at the ways of blogging, since I quit for a while and am now trying to return. I’m so out of practice!  Over the last couple of weeks, I totally rearranged and dismantled the front half of our house, listing a lot of things on Craigslist to sell and dreaming up ideas to refresh the space- and I haven’t chronicled any of it! There are no step-by-step photos to show how we got from here to the current chaos. Just know this: the contents  of my kids’ room have been gutted, and the living room is turned around upside down and sideways. So much for slow!

I’m trying to tame my thoughts now and rein them back in. It’s hard to be still and wait for the right time for certain actions. I usually want to do everything at once, riding on a wave of creative energy. But perhaps if I am wise about harnessing those energies, I will have a more sustainable flow of ideas? I think I am afraid if I don’t take action on the things I want to do now, I’ll lose the inspiration and it will go undone.

Additionally, it’s almost time to start school again. I haven’t written about our homeschooling life yet on this blog, but over the next few months I will have things to share. This will be our second year as a homeschool family, and I don’t quite yet feel veteran enough to share all the wisdom in the world about our choice to home educate, but naturally I’ll have to drop a few tidbits along the way. All I know now is that we have our books, I have my lesson planner, and pretty soon we’ll get to dig in again- house in chaos or not!

I really need to set some blogging goals. Everything in perspective, it’s not top priority right now since no one’s even reading this blog. I haven’t even tried to stir up a following yet because I am still so rusty, and one day I’ll look back at these posts somewhat embarrassed I ever put them out there. But it’s all part of a process! I want to keep this up because I need encouragement to remain creative, even if the work coming through me right now is junky. Somewhere along the way, I’m trusting something will click and this will come easy again!

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Big Magic

By July 12, 2016 books, creativity

A while back, I checked out Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert, from the library. This summer, instead of cramming one book after another, I promised myself that I’d take time and savor each. So, I haven’t been reading nearly as much as usually, and I’m particularly glad to approach this gem with a slow mind! Her words are transforming into brilliant fresh air with each page I read, stirring and reviving to life my zest for all things creative.

I’m not finished with Big Magic yet, but I know I want to recommend it to every quasi-artist  I know! My husband, on the other hand, probably regrets that I ever chose to read this, because all the sudden I’m riding a wave of creative frenzy and he’s being pulled along for the ride. Have I mentioned the fact that Eric is the least creative, most practical, most averse to change person that I’ve ever known? God knows I need him to tap me on the shoulder and say, “What are you thinking, sweetheart?”!

When the answer is likely, “Everything, darling. Everything in the whole world, all at one time. I can’t contain it!”

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July the Fifth

By July 5, 2016 life

I’m enjoying a quiet morning today, which is a total rarity! Eric left early to go back to work after a 3-day weekend, Seth and Hawk both are still crashed out (more than an hour after our regular wake up time), and I’m just enjoying my morning coffee in peace. Yes, folks, life is good!

We spent all weekend in the water. Saturday, we visited a nearby state park and took advantage of the swimming pool there. My usually timid big boy was excited to try out a diving board for the first time, and then he graduated to the high dive with zero hesitation! I was so proud of him.

Photo Jul 02, 2 10 33 PM

Eric’s parents have an above-ground pool in their back yard, and that’s where we spent the remainder of the weekend. Water is the only thing that makes the Alabama summer tolerable, so that’s where you can find us until the leaves start to fall.

When I wasn’t in the water with the boys this weekend, I was cooking. Holiday food is the best, ya’ll! I love to bring the food. It’s all about that hospitality. Something about feeding people and feeding them well just sets me on fire! Nothing makes me happier than providing a meal well done. Except eating it. Yep, eating good food does make me happy…

Photo Jul 04, 11 09 05 AM

We went to see a big fireworks show Sunday evening, and for the evening of the Fourth, the boys visited the nearby fireworks stand to purchase a small fortune’s worth of explosives and stayed up late into the night finding out how many things they could blow up. It was so very American, my friends.

Today is July the Fifth and it’s back to normal around here! I’m planning a small vacation and making a grocery run and checking out some audiobooks from the library and thinking about a brand new homeschool year beginning in about a month (!) and going to my small group this evening. I do love holidays, but normal can be wonderful, too.

Photo Jul 03, 9 31 11 PM

All these pictures are from my Instagram feed. Why don’t you look me up over there sometime?

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