Sunday, February 27, 2011

No More Stuff (confessions of a thrift-a-holic)

I know I'm going to do Project Simplify which means I've got to loosen the grip on all my stuff, but while David was gone for the past two weeks I found some really cute accessories for our home at a nearby Goodwill. This basket is one of them (although I actually did make those flowers to go on the side-- learn how to do it here).

I also found a pretty vase.  It had this cracked look detail which you can't tell from the picture but it was pretty.  More stuff, I know.

While I was rummaging around in the spare bedroom I found some very picture frames that I'm tired of letting go unused.  I haven't really decorated our home with pictures much.  I've always wanted to.  I hung them on the wall in the staircase.  You know all those magazines with beautiful collage-art kind of picture frames? 

Magazine :)

Not so magazine- my wall :)
I still have some work to do... As you can see, my wall looks bare and not-so-beautiful next to that magazine wall!  But who's comparing?  Me.  That's who.  Too much stuff causes me to compare.  Isn't that what it does to us?!  More just begs for more.  Bigger house?  Mores stuff.  Got more stuff?  Now I need more beautiful stuff.  More beautiful stuff?  Now I need designer stuff.  NO MORE STUFF!!!! 

I didn't need that basket or that vase.  I had the picture frames but when I bought them the day after Thanksgiving (sale!!!) I didn't need them either.  But us women are drawn to beautiful things.  There's nothing wrong with that.  God created us to see beauty.  To desire beauty.  To make things beautiful.  But we don't always need more stuff to do that, do we?

So I decided to make do with the stuff I already had and do a little re-arranging.  While he was off working (or playing in soCal with friends and fam-- gotta love "business meetings" where you can hang out with family too!) I was home rearranging.  I always get these crazy ideas when he's gone.

"When you come home, can you move____?" or, "I think we should move around things in this room, but I need your muscles!" (can I just say that is pathetic manipulation!) or sometimes, "How would you feel if I sold___ and then bought____?"

It almost always has to do with furniture. I am addicted to playing around with spaces in our home. It takes me a while to get a feel for a room. To understand how we will use it. To know what exactly we will do with it. To know what feels right and comfortable.  And since David's travelling so much, it takes us a while to figure all that out.  Hence the constant re-arranging.  And buying more stuff (me, not David).

This time, I decided to do the moving myself since I know how annoying I can be when I ask David to move a large piece of furniture the moment he walks through the front door after being on a plane and driving the 45 minutes home from the airport. The word "unwind" hasn't really hit my vocabulary yet as a Field Traveler's Wife. I figure unwinding is what he does on the plane. Um, I still have a few things to learn.

Anyway, I moved a desk behind the couch and put up a couple of lamps and a vase of dried hydrangeas from last spring.  Not too bad.  The picture frame isn't centered, though.  I'll get around to re-centering it when David's home :).  But remember IDHTBPTBB.

The moral of this post is that we don't need more stuff to make our homes more beautiful.  Sometimes I do need something; most of the time it's just something I want because it was on sale and I think it's pretty. 

My friend Krista only buys something if there's a specific place for it in her home and a purpose for its being there.  No place?  No purpose?  She won't buy it!  Even if it's pretty.  And cheap.  And beautiful. 

Loosen the grip on stuff.  Make room for who is in the space and how they will enjoy it. 

How will you quiet your space and make it beautiful without buying more stuff?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Just Simplify

No, that dog is not mine and I wish my home looked that clean and organized.  I got that picture off of google because I liked the way it inspired me.  As I'm currently in the middle of a huge home project of painting my kitchen, I need inspiration and motivation.  Especially when David is gone for almost two weeks!  Geez.  It will be nice when one day he has a local district.

I was over at Simplemom today just perusing around (she's an amazing home manager!!!) when I stumbled upon Project Simplify. What a fun idea! I'm totally going to participate.

Now that picture is actually our living room after I had totally cleaned up.  Not as inspiring as the other pic with the nice dog and cute organized shelves, but it's ours.  It would make for a good "after" picture in Project Simplify!  Basically the project is all about simplifying a hot spot in your home.  Take a busy area like the entry way, the kitchen counters, underneath the bathroom sink, the coffee table, you name it-- an area in your home that tends to attract clutter.  For me, this would be my master bedroom and the big island-like counter in my kitchen, or my junk drawer, or the guest room closet... I could go on and on.  Perhaps I need to simplify, eh?  Starting on March 7, Simplemom will post the week's hot spot, and then the fun begins!

1.  Take a before picture of that hot spot in your home.
2.  You have a week to organize it, make it beautiful, functional, or de-cluttered!
3.  Take an after picture.
4.  Go to simplemom and link it to your blog if you want a chance to win in her give-aways.

I know it's kind of weird that I'm reading a mom blog.  But this one has way more than just mom stuff.  Actually it has stuff on money management, organizing, home managing, productivity, projects, relationships, being green, the list can definitely continue.  She's featured on (in)courage which is another awesome blog I love.  Can you tell I love blogging.  It's just way fun.  It's an entire community in and of itself.  It's fun to be inspired.

Maybe I feel the need to do projects and challenges (ie. Cupboard Challenge, 14 Days of Love) because it makes me feel like I'm doing something exciting while David's away.  Maybe it's because I need a break from the projects I do at work but I don't actually like not doing something when I'm at home.  And since my husband's constantly travelling, I have time to fill.  And fill it I do-- with friends and exercise and church and projects (notice how housework didn't make that list ha!).  In this season of life where I live like a single lady during the week :) I might as well make use of the time I have to myself, right?  When he's home, we can be lazy together-- at least that's fun.  Being lazy alone?  I better have earned it with completing a long work out or a ton of laundry. :)

Anyway, the gist of all of that is I'm participating in Project Simplify and I'm excited to do it.  Anyone else want to join me?

Friday, February 18, 2011

14 Days of Love: Recap

14 Days. 

Of love.

Let me just be honest... 

It was definitely a challenge!

Not because it's challenging to love my husband.  Not because I don't like to be loving.  Not because I didn't have enough time...  But because it was two straight weeks of being intentional to do something special and sticking with it.  It meant following through with doing something out of the ordinary. It required being flexible to go off plan but committed enough to stick with it.  To do something  that would be meaningful to my husband for 14 days... In a row...   

I am someone who crashes and burns.  When I was a swimmer, I was a sprinter.  None of this long distance stuff.  I was all out, first ahead while trying to hold on for dear life to the finish before someone could out-touch me.  Definitely not a back-halfer. Even as a kid when we'd go to the beach I'd be the girl getting all the kids together to have a sandcastle contest.  The bigger the better, the more intricate the winner.  Then halfway through building my sandcastle I'd realize I found a sandcrab and my new game was who could find the most sandcrabs, until I found silver dollars and then you know what I was trying to get everyone to find?  Sandcastles to silver dollars.  Good grief.

Thankfully I've matured a bit and I don't view life or marriage as a sandcastle contest, but because of this ADD nature I have, 14 days seemed like a lot of special intentions to act upon.  I'm lucky I have a husband who's really excited to get almost anything or do anything.  He's probably the only person in the world who would freak out with excitement (well, if you know David you know he doesn't freak out.  At all.  But you know what I mean) over a pair of socks in his stocking at Christmas.  He'll ask for a grocery store gift card for his birthday.  I'm lucky he's not full of crazy expectations!  I think I'm the one who put expectations on myself to do these amazing, sweet, romantic gestures. 

But 14 days means you can't do something crazy over the top every day.  So what did 14 days in a row of simplistic romance teach me?

It's about the other person, and what they would receive as something meaningful.

Like I said, I was kind of worried going into this, and I wanted to do something really special for David every day.  But realistically, I had to turn my thoughts to what David would find to be really special and not me.  On actual Valentines Day, he wanted a protein shake for dinner!  He made himself a protein shake rather than me making some full course meal.  He told me how he appreciated the chocolates I'd gotten for him (he ate them all, probably because all he ate for dinner was a protein shake!) and we sat in our half painted kitchen and talked about cars.  Later that week he called to tell me how much he enjoyed our Valentines Day.  It was meaningful to him-- and to me because we just enjoyed each other rather than focusing on an event, meal or activity.

Planning a bit ahead makes it a little smoother, and a little more fun.

On day 7 I called the hotel that David would be staying at in Alaska and asked the front desk if they could put something cold to drink in his room for when he arrived.  Unfortunately I didn't have any information about when he'd get there so by the time he did finally check in around 10 p.m. they had moved his room reservation.  No cold drink.  Thankfully the hotel was really gracoius and the next night they sent him a gift basket complete with drinks and snacks!  If I would have planned ahead a little bit better, the mix up might not have happened (even though that gift basket was kind of cool).  Planning ahead also makes it easy to know what special thing you're going to do that day.  It allows you to have fun with it rather than thinking about what you should do all day long and then coming up with something silly.  We'd been planning all day to go somewhere in the evening and David wasn't very excited about going.  As the hour drew near and I still didn't have something special for him planned, I sprung a "Just kidding!  We don't have to do that tonight.  Tonight is your night.  We can do what you want."  He was happy of course, but it wasn't very intentional.  Plan ahead and you can relax because you know what you'll be doing that day.

Being flexible allows you the freedom to change things up.

What I mean by this is you never know what the day will throw at you.  One night I'd made David one of his favorite dinners and when he came home he wasn't very hungry. He'd had a huge lunch at the office.  We ate a little bit of it and then enjoyed that dinner again the next night as leftovers.  I didn't get my feelings hurt just because I'd decided to cook one night either.  Remember, this is about him!  Earlier in our marriage, I probably would have gotten upset because I went to the trouble of making a nice meal.  The fact that he wasn't very hungry didn't take away from the fact that he felt special that I'd thought of him when deciding what to cook.  He actually felt bad.  It's okay that the meal didn't go exactly as I planned it in my head.  Flexibility really does equal freedom!

If you're planning on doing 14 days for your loved one, I'd encourage you to do it at any time-- not just around Valentines Day!  It would actually be kind of cool not to do it around any holiday, because then it's really just about being intentional for your man without a holiday spurring you on.  Strive for simplicity.  Plan ahead.  Be flexible to change things up.  Remember who it's for.

Need some ideas?  Here are just a few.  Some of these I did during my own 14 Days of Love challenge, some of them I got from the workshop I went to at church or from friends:
  • Make his coffee in the morning
  • Warm up the car
  • Put a note in his lunch
  • Make his lunch!
  • Deliver something to his work
  • Make his favorite meal
  • Scavenger hunts
  • Love letters/notes
  • Write a message on the bathroom mirror
  • Make signs and put them up wherever or all over at work, on his car, etc...
  • Make him a homemade card
  • Word games (crossword puzzles, word search)
  • Give him a massage
  • Gifts
  • Do one of his chores
  • Poems
  • Watch something he really likes together on TV
  • Play a game (twister?!  I didn't try this but I think it would be fun!)
Whatever you do, remember it's all about what he would find meaningful and not what you think sounds fun.  How awesome when we can bless the one who's a blessing, amen?! 

Saturday, February 12, 2011


David came home on Thursday night from Alaska and got paint ALL OVER his nice wool coat.  He leaned up against the cabinets in the kitchen that I'd been painting...  Oops. 

In my defense, I did tell him he was walking into a "wet paint" zone.

In his defense, I told him from the other room after the toilet had been flushed so there's a small possibility with that background noise he might not have heard me.

He looked up at me startled.  "Aaaah! My pants! My coat!"  My jaw dropped as I of course tried to tell him I'd told him so (annoying nagging wife I am).  "Well take it off!  We'll scrub it!"

Imagine two 20 somethings standing at the kitchen sink with two sponges in hand diligently scrubbing primer out of a wool coat as fast as they can.  I had the left pocket and he had the right.  Scrub, squeeze....

We got it out, but now his coat is all nubby.  Not sure if that is a word.  But it is definitely nubby.  It kind of smells like the sponge.  But there's no way we were just going to throw that coat away.

So, if any of you see David wearing a mid length, black wool coat, tell him how amazingly handsome he looks in that fine coat.  It will make him (me) feel better! :) 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


This is what happens when you are a Field Traveler's Wife.  I'm unsure, however, if it is just me who allows things to get to this kind of state or if it runs true for all FTW's.  All I know is this is actually the current state of the corner of our bedroom.

David was home all last week.  When he's home, it's otherwise known as vacation.  I forgo being a responsible wife and let things pile up (literally).  I figure that while he's here, we should just enjoy each other's company and let the other stuff wait until later.  Wait until he's gone again.  Wait until I have nothing to do and then I'll have something to keep me busy.  But that doesn't seem to really happen...  Ever.

I will say though, that pile of laundry is a couple weeks worth.  I tell myself I'll wait until he's gone to do it, but when he's gone I tell myself I'll wait until he's home so we can share the normalcy of doing laundry one night.  We can share in a chore like a normal couple would do together.  Unfortunately when he comes home that's not exactly what my travelling husband is looking forward to after being on the road.  Laundry!  Woo hoo!  What the heck was I thinking?! :)  Well that was the weird cycle of thoughts going through my head that led to this awful pile in the corner. 

It's just that there are so many other things I'd rather do.  Like going for a run at the park across the street. 

Or taking my camera and putting it on the "sunset" setting to capture the Oregon sky.  I mean seriously, a girl's gotta take advantage of an evening without rain!

I will say, however, I have been consistent in making the bed.  Every day!  And when David is home, he helps me.  He says he wants to help me be successful in my goal.  I thought that was cute.  Now I just need to figure out how to accessorize the stark, empty walls in our bedroom.  Like with a mirror.  Or some pictures.  I'll get some inspiration from the Nester. :)

He comes home tomorrow and is bringing one of his fabulous Service Managers from Alaska over to our house for dessert.  He wants me to make chocolate souffle.  Let's just say it better turn out much better than the last time I made chocolate souffle for guests.

That being said, I should probably get started on all that laundry.  Then again, he does come home tomorrow and maybe we could do it together.... :)

What kinds of things distract you from getting things done? 

Friday, February 4, 2011


It's day 4 on my 14 Days of Love challenge, where I'm striving to be intentional to do something small yet meaningful towards my husband for the 14 days leading up to Valentines Day.  I have to say, it's been fun!  I've learned to be spontaneous but also appreciate planning ahead as it makes it less stressful.  I've also realized it's okay to be flexible.  If what was planned doesn't go perfectly, no biggie.  It's being intentional about what's meaningful to David, not to me!

Tonight we decided to stay in and begin a new home project.  Remember what other project I was supposed to finish by the end of January?  PAINTING the entire upstairs trim!  Well, I am proud to say I finished it.  I spent the entire last weekend of January paintbrush in hand just so I could finish.  I was so excited about the way it looked, that I began painting a linen cupboard in our bathroom to see what it would look like.  Since our kitchen cabinets are the same as this particular linen cupboard, I thought it couldn't hurt to just see what it would look like.  If it turned out, maybe I'd tackle the entire kitchen.  I loved the way the white brightened up the look, so I talked to David and he was convinced.  Wahoo!

I went online looking for inexpensive home improvement ideas (I'm so ADD that I can't just be excited to start a huge project like painting the cabinets in the kitchen, I have to go online and see how I can spruce up the rest of our home) and found my new favorite blog.  You've got to check it out:  This gals is a genius!  She is all about taking old, thrift store items and turning them into your gems.  She's a thrifty one with a keen eye for design.  I love her style.  I decided that yes, I am definitely nesting too.  I long to make a beautiful home for us and have fun doing it, while keeping it simple and homey and liveable.  And reading her stuff made me realize that yes, I can do it even while we're on this budget too.

I found joy today in spending shoulder to shoulder time with my man painting our kitchen.  It looks awful right now (have you ever seen primer over oak on the first coat?!  Awful) but it was fun working together on this place we call home. :)  
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