Wednesday, November 30, 2011

a little project

I mentioned yesterday that we got a desk thrown in with our beautiful couch.  This desk allowed us to finally make better use of the space below our front windows in the living room.  This lovely spot has the most natural light in the apartment and so it is the place I wish to be most often; now it's a place I can be in more easily because I have an organized place to work!  oh the possibilities ...

Starting with some brain food ...

Hmmm, not quite enough and a girl can't work on an empty stomach!

The project of the day was a small one but it's been so long since I've started anything but knitting that I was overjoyed to simply think about squeezing and mixing paint.

While I was organizing my space, I found this letter that my mother-in-law got for us a while back.  This is just the thing that we could use to mark our front door!  We've had a number of guests confused as to which door is ours (there are 3 in our hallway only one of which actually opens) and this seemed just the thing.

Whenever I'm at a loss as how to color blank space, I turn to my favorite paintings and go from there.  In grade school one year we did a project where we chose a shoe and did multiple sketches in many mediums of the same shoe from varying angles.  Our last step was to harden the shoe (I don't remember how) and paint an Impressionist painting onto it - different parts of the piece on different sections of the shoe.  This little project has been my inspiration for many things ... including this letter.

Welcome to our home!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

new {to me}

Our Thanksgiving break was exciting for more than just the friends, family and food this year.  As I shared earlier, we're working making our apartment feel more like a home by working through the Apartment Therapy eight-week cure.  So far, we've done quite a bit of cleaning  - including deep cleaning the kitchen the day after Thanksgiving!  So worth it.  And much better when you do it with someone you love.

We've also been working on developing our style.  The trouble here is that Grady and I would choose to have very different interiors if left on our own with plenty of cash.  Now, neither of the above are true, so we have some work to do.  We visited quite a few 'home' stores this weekend as well so that we could see and sit in sample rooms and discuss what we did and didn't like about them (and Pottery Barn gave us their book of color swatches, which is so useful!).

While we were busy deep-cleaning the kitchen on Friday, apparently other people in Chicago were busy shopping for furniture.  And one of those people had this old couch that they needed gone quickly ... so they gave it away for free!  (I have a new-found love of craigslist).  So we gladly welcomed to our house this new {to us} piece that we actually both like!

Yes, it's white.  It's also totally slip-covered.  And it's also super comfy.

The couch caused a total reorganization of the living room and some great inspiration as to a suitable floor plan.  Now we will just troll craigslist until we find the other pieces we're hoping for.  A desk also came for free with the couch and we picked up another bookshelf the next day ... but those are still in progress {no pictures yet}.

One last thing!!  My wonderful husband has been on the look-out for a good bike for me.  He is a biker {think long ride on country roads in spandex not loud rides on the highway in leather} and wants to share his love of biking with me.  I accept it because I love him and because I need to get in shape.  This weekend he surprised me with this lovely bike that someone was getting rid of! 

Now I have no excuse for not exercising.  It doesn't get much easier than just setting up in your living room.  And so begin the dreams of summer and where we will ride together and what we will see and do as we pedal along.  But until the warmth returns, I'll work on riding for more than 5 minutes at a time - funny?  yes.  true?  yes.

Before I leave off with, "oh the cleverness of me!" I want to acknowledge that we did almost nothing to get all of these wonderful things to come together.  Thank you, Father, for your rich blessings.  Oh what joy!

Monday, November 28, 2011


Here at this house our day of Thanksgiving was lovely and busy.  Grady's family joined us for our feast (sans turkey!) and we enjoyed hours of food, games and one anothers' company. 

In all the fullness of the day, however, I don't feel as though I got a chance to really stop and say 'thank you.'  So I will do so now {not to worry, I won't make this list exhaustive!}.  Just in these past few months I have been thankful for ...

... this little plot of veggies and flowers.  For what I have learned and for what I have eaten.

... warm gatherings of friends.  For stories shared and love given.

... this beautiful, joyful friend.   For this smile and the encouraging heart it reveals.

... autumn days, warm and sunny for apple picking!  For time under a blue sky.  For apple butter.

... a first time for everything! For the thrill of it all and also for apple butter.

... this {married!} friend.  For her steadfastness and love.

... a pile of cozy yarn for the coming cold.  For the family who will receive it.

... this oh so delicious pumpkin bread.

... the last day on the farm - planting garlic.  For learning to work the land.  For the clean air to breathe.  For the friends and the food.  For the inspiration.

... dirt beneath my fingernails. 

... this man and our marriage.  For making me more of who I am meant to be and loving me through it all.  For Christ-like, selflessness.  For two years celebrated and many more anticipated.

In all of these things and so many more I am thankful to my great God.  For the beauty that He put in this earth.  For the beauty that He IS.  For Love - what height, what depth, what fullness.

Friday, November 25, 2011

{this moment}


A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember ~ SouleMama.

Monday, November 21, 2011

My Love

Celebrating two years with my wonderful husband today - thank you, God!

Friday, November 18, 2011

{this moment}

Good-bye for the season, farm days.


A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember ~ SouleMama.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

{new york living}

 Some of our first days (oh my do we look young!) ...

On the steps of St. Thomas ...

 Enjoying a street fair (how I love street fairs)...


Grady and I in Central Park ...  

I will miss Christmas in New York - the lights, the music, the window shopping ...

What does it mean to be "from" a place?  I find myself still wanting to explain that I'm actually 'from' New York, even though I didn't grow up there and now I will not meet with the rest of my family there either.  But this is a place that has shaped a part of who I am.  I know that city - in my own way, of course.  In myself I hold a set of knowledge that is devoted simply to living in that city ...

... how to properly hail a cab
... the specific way you need to swipe your card at the 79th St. station for the downtown 1
... the order of Madison, Lexington and Park going across town
... making sure to press 'Door Close' after you select your number in an elevator
... how many blocks is too far to walk
... where to stand on a subway platform so the doors will stop right in front of you ... and so that you'll be directly in front of the turnstiles when you stop at your home station

I will miss you, New York.

Good-bye to our beautiful home in our great city.

We're heading for a new adventure now -

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

remembering home

Before I lived in the great Midwest, I called New York home.  People asked me when I got to school, "the city or the state?" and I always found the question bothersome because to me 'New York' means New York - the city.  It is the only city I have truly loved.  No, I was not born and raised there and I never had to "make it" there as an adult either, but it was the last place I called home before I created my own home. 

This is also the place that my parents and family will say good-bye to this week as a new phase of life begins.  Sadly, only my mother will oversee the transition out of our space, our home and into a new one {in Pennsylvania}.  Had this been a "normal" departure, perhaps we would have know when we left in August that it would be the last time but life does not always happen easily.

This view may be the thing I will miss most.  From the kitchen, living room and my bedroom - downtown Manhattan.  I look out and I see peace in the constancy of the buildings that rise stoically above all of the human noise, human bustle, human worry.  They are the same, regardless of weather or temperament.  The air up high {floor 12} is quieter - the vertical space diminishing the crowd below.

I look out and I also see life.  I walk outside and feel that I breathe life.  There is just so much life here - every building, every set of lit windows in the night, every car clogging the street represents at least one life.  The lives of people who are moving, creating, connecting, loving, participating {also despairing, yearning, badgering and everything else that comes with brokenness}.

There is stuff happening here.

There are distracting noises, ugly smells, unhappy people who knock into you, dirty streets, squeaky subways cars, loud taxis and sometimes gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe - but not always. 

There is also rest and calm, a place for just being and a place for a family.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

working on the "cure"

Fresh flowers and clean floors.  That was the remedy that I was to work on this week of apartment therapy.  The flowers are to heal the heart of the home and the clean floors are for the breath.  My husband fixed a hole in the bathroom ceiling, which is helping to heal the bones.  The only part we have yet to work on is the head of our home - how we use it and how well it allows us to do what we would like to, which is not very well right now.

But having clean floors goes quite a long way in motivating furniture shifts - no fear of monster dust bunnies.  And having fresh flowers, well, I highly recommend it.  Maxwell (of apartment therapy) says to think that you are buying the flowers as a gift for your home.  And they are.  They sit here at the table with me and greet us when we come in the door.  They are a breath of fresh air and a reminder to slow down and be thankful for the simple beauty of a few flowers.  I'm taking time today to 'stop and smell the roses.'

"For the beauty of the earth ..."

Monday, November 14, 2011

weekend with friends

What a beautiful weekend we had!  The weather was not only unseasonably warm (close to 70 yesterday!) but we were able to share the time with some wonderful friends.  We have been blessed with truly great friends who love us very much and whom we also love.  Busy lives and far distances keep us often apart but then there are times when we can finally be in the same place at the same time.  There are few things better.  We spent our time talking until late in the night, then sleeping warm and cozy in our guest bed.  The lazy morning brought pancakes, then a stroll around town and some Christmas shopping.


Small-town diner food is such a great category of gastronomy.  I'm not saying the food is great, per se, but that I love diners.  I especially love diners when you get to eat there with your friends.  It's the perfect place to get {usually} decent food, a comfy booth, and a quiet enough atmosphere to enjoy conversation at your table.  You can also drink as much weak coffee as you want at any time of the day :-)

 Sunday brought ... another diner, among other things ...

We had the joy of seeing our lovely friend perform the lead role in the operetta, The Merry Widow.  Her voice is beautiful, as is the rest of her person, and we enjoyed the listening.  To finally see her in her element, so to speak, was a revelation of a part of her I knew about but never witnessed until last evening.  I got to know a good friend better and there is always joy in that.  Of course we also enjoyed the diner food we shared post-performance. 

These friends of ours bring life to our life and encourage us to press on (onward and upward).  I love them deeply and I know and experience their love for us as well.  How good love is between friends!