Thursday, May 31, 2012

Happy Nine Years!

It's funny what 4 kids, the sun, and 9 years will do to your skin! Oh we looked so young and in love...
It really has flown by in a flash.

Chip, thanks for the life of adventure, there is never a dull moment!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

We've moved. Again.

I have to say, our guys are very good at fixing houses but after this weekend I realized there will be no Magnolia Moving Co vans buzzing around the city.

We are temporarily living at my parents house, they just moved everything out a month ago so this worked out perfect for us. The majority of my house is in their garage because they are trying to sell their home. There are things in that garage I need, I just don't know how to get to them!

We have about another three to four months on the farmhouse. I hope. I typically like to rush on getting our houses fixed up, but this house is different. There's a lot of pressure on this one because I am hoping to finally settle in this home, and stay. There are many quirky variables with this house and I have to think through it a lot so it works for our family.

The farmhouse is currently a two bedroom home. The kitchen is the size of my old master bathroom. I am switching the back of the house to become the front. It literally needs an update on everything. Oh, and I forgot to mention we are on a very tight budget! I will update you with the pictures that are showing the progress. All I can say is we love the home, even in it's state of complete complication. We are ready for the challenge and motivated to bring it back to life!

This week we are celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary and after the farmhouse, this will be our 8th move. I am getting too old for this! I told chip I envision our children's weddings and receptions out on this land... he told me not to get ahead of myself and to only think in five year increments at a time!

I  knew when I married Chip I was stepping into a life of adventure. These 9 years have been full of surprises to say the least. What I have learned most in the past nine years is this: the only thing consistent in my life is the character of God. He is good. Things seem messy right now but I must trust that He works out all the messy things in life and turns them into beautiful displays of His splendor.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Setting the table!

Wow, it's been a busy couple of weeks! Between going back to work and packing up our home, it has been crazy! Here's an article I wrote for our city magazine The Wacoan. Thought I would share...

photo courtesy of Jenny Hobbick

Lately, our evenings have been packed with extra-curricular activities, homework, baths, and bed time stories. Somehow, the idea of gathering around the table for dinner has been more difficult than we thought. We always said we would make dinner a priority but we now realize if we don’t fight for it, it’s not going to happen.

The benefits of family dinners have been proclaimed for years by social scientists. A number of studies show that children who eat dinner with their families regularly are less likely to get involved with drugs and alcohol than those who do not. They also tend to get better grades, exhibit less stress and eat better. All facts aside, meal times around the table are simply what bring families together. Sadly, the idea of this is getting more rare and uncommon than ever before.

We as a culture are too involved, over committed, and over stimulated. The idea of sitting and relaxing around a warm meal could almost seem awkward for some. I see more couples on dates these days texting other people rather than engaging in meaningful conversation. I also see more families with gadgets and headphones than I see bonding together and connecting. How ironic that the tools and networks that are meant to “connect” us with random people from second grade are causing us to disconnect with our present relationships.

Ok, I will stop my ranting. If family time is meaningful to you, then read on. The older our kids get the more we may have to let go of the expectation of dinners at 6pm every night. It’s choosing quality time over quantity time. Make the meals you do get to have together count. Put meaning into them and make it a big deal. Simple ideas of setting the table make it inviting, and can draw your family to the dinner table.

I want to offer a few suggestions on making your table space matter. First, have a basket for all electronics to be placed in on the opposite side of the house. Shut the TV off. May those who come know, they are the most important thing in this moment and there will be no outside distractions. Set your plate chargers and your dishes out. Place your utensils, cups and napkins. Let all who gather know this time is important and it has been thought through. Casual nights with paper plates and plastic ware are equally as meaningful. Don’t let the details throw you off. Just use what you have and enjoy it.

One of my favorite things to do is come up with centerpieces for our dining table. I’m not talking about elaborate florals and candelabras. I’m talking about random, inexpensive themes that change one or two times a month. I never want my table to become a place for stale design and dusty d├ęcor. I want it to be a place of celebration and inspiration.

A centerpiece is not meant to distract the conversation (or eating space) so keep it simple. Vases with greenery from outside are the easiest way to get something for nothing. Another thought is centerpieces that are good for conversation. A quick idea is to get a small branch from outside and place it in a cute container. Use floral foam so it stays in the container and hide the foam with dried moss. Clip blank cut-outs onto the branches. You could go around the table and write out what everyone is thankful for and have this reminder on the table for a week. You could change the idea up every now and then.

If you have natural light, your table could be a great place for live plants in creative planters. Fresh is always a better option as long as it is low maintenance. Make sure the plants you are buying are good for indoors and that you don’t over water. You could make your planter seasonal by placing decorative eggs in it during the spring, small pumpkins for the fall, and ornaments in the winter. This will add interest and something a little unexpected.

Often times I look in my house for things I already have and switch it up. You can have fun with this and give your table a new personality or look. It’s definitely something you don’t need to stress about or add to your list of long to-do’s. Just try and enjoy creating meaning in a space that is important for your family. Even something as simple as slice and bake cookies on a cake plate stand will do. Trust me, this will draw your crew in!

I have a table for my young kids that is often their place during meals to connect and eat. I place the same emphasis on their table as I do the “big person” table. It’s starting them early with the idea that gathering at the table is a big deal in our family. It’s intentional and purposeful but can still be light hearted and fun. They love their times at the table and this continues to inspire me to be creative so their little hearts are blessed.

Focusing on the table will help set the priority of togetherness in your heart and mind. Challenge yourself to pretty up your table for yourself and your loved ones. They will appreciate it and notice the effort. Do what you gotta do to get your family to the table. These times matter most for all of us.

I’m not saying that meals together are the cure-all, but that it is one of the ways in which the foundation of family provides stability, strength and support to its members. Underneath it all, supper is not really the point. The centerpiece isn’t the point. The subject is actually family and home -- establishing, enjoying, and maintaining connections. The goal is creating and emphasizing a secure place for your loved ones in a society that can seem awfully uninterested in human needs.

May we all be more inspired to value family time and embrace all that is truly Home. Let’s start by setting the table.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Home sweet home.

Here's a peek at the front of the house. Scary. Can't wait to share the before, during, and afters in this journey of reviving this old farmhouse!

We are moving...

And our neighbors aren't going to miss us! No tellin' how many times we have climbed this fence or how many things we have lost to the other side.