Monthly Archives: January 2015

Free to be the Happy, Imperfect Home Decorator

Excuse me while I gush about the latest book I read.

Have you read The Nesting Place by Myquillin Smith?!? I can NOT encourage you enough to check it out.

Nesting Place

I’d been wanting to read it because I’d heard good things about it, so I put it on my Christmas wish list and started reading it within 5 minutes of the wrapping paper being thrown away. I loved so many things about it.

She hooked me with the way she wove her personal story into a book that gives so many practical, do-able decorating ideas. Also, as much as I love reading, it was refreshing and fun to read a book with so many pictures. 😉

I’ve shared quite a bit lately about the fact that I’m going through a personal overhaul in pretty much every aspect of my life. It’s tough, y’all. I’ve learned so many difficult truths that need applying to my life that I have literally made myself sick in the process of working through them. As I’m reaching a balance with it all, I am grateful in a completely new way for my life and the blessings God pours on me every single day, but I’m tired. I’ve been reading and thinking through some heavy stuff. Necessary without a doubt, but wowzers.

I needed this book because it was a breath of fresh, reassuring air for the new me that is breaking out of the old self.  The old me was weighed down by a lie that I no decorating sense and an insufficient budget to decorate my home the way I wanted.

Not far into the book, I started realizing that this simply wasn’t true. If I am going to embrace freedom, it needs to be evident in even this area of my life. I may make some train wreck decorating decisions along the way, but at least I made a decision! When I take a risk to hang up something on the wall, it is one more way that I am crushing insecurity or feeling defeated or inadequate.

So I started doing little projects that made our home just a little more homey. So far I’ve spent a grand total of $13 and I’ve been smiling much more!

One of the best purchases I made were these Command Picture Frame Strips. They were $5 for 6 sets at Wal-Mart. These things are genius. Who would have thought that Velcro would hold up a picture frame just as well as a nail or screw? They do, and I love that I don’t have to haul out any tools to hang up the frames that I had piling up in my closet, because let me tell you, they were really starting to pile up!

Command Strips

I hung up these frames my mother-in-law got for me when we went thrifting a few months ago.

IMG_6696

I liked that they helped fill an awkward blank space on my wall, but I felt like they needed a little something more. I’m not sure what I’ll put there for the long-term, but I decided to go ahead and use resources I had on hand to make them have a bit more color and personality until I find just the right thing.

I dusted off my Cricut and scrapbooking container and came up with these simple monograms that tie in the colors of my living/dining room area. Is it perfect? Nope. But I love it anyway. Plus I got to do it while watching Lord of the Rings with my husband.

Frames

The big purchase I’ve made to bring more happiness to my living room is an $8 floor lamp. When we bought our house 6.5 years ago, we were clueless first-time home buyers. Our house has proven to be a perfect starter home. Truly.

But.

The lighting is bonkers. As in, no room in this house has a light fixture centered in the room. Every room has a corner inset light. It makes for some very dark rooms, which has driven me crazy more times than I can count. We are about as expert on electrical wiring as we were about home buying, so we have not made any changes to the light fixtures. I’ve spent years. YEARS! believing that there was nothing I could do to make the lighting better in my living room. In addition to inadequate lighting, the builder decided to not put a window on the outside wall of the living room. Who does that?!? I’ve added a large mirror on that wall, which has helped, but I finally got around to buying a cheap floor lamp to put behind the recliner in the opposite corner from our can light.

It’s like we put a chandelier in the middle of our living room! Light is a beautiful thing, and it improves my mood more than I could have imagined. I actually spend time in my living room at night now with a smile on my face.

Another small nap time project that brought an extra touch of pretty to Daisy’s room is this diaper wipes box that I covered with some fabric I’ve had setting unused in a drawer for years now. She now has a storage box to house her books and it cost me zero dollars.

Book Box

Sometimes choosing to live a life of freedom requires major changes in lifestyle, but then there are the little things that can bring an extra smile and sense of pride like hanging empty frames and gluing fabric to a cardboard box.

These are the freedom stories that can get me excited when I don’t have the energy to wrap my brain around the big ones. I hope they inspire you a little, too.

Freedom: My One Little Word for 2015

Sometimes when you’re five-and-a-half, nighttime can be a scary thing. This is what I’ve been informed of by the little boy living in my house recently. At all times of the night. No less than four times between the hours of 3:00 and 6:00 AM.

Yep. We’ve been a bit sleepy lately.

The intervention was looming, and I gave it a whirl after Tanner and I were awakened by a crash in our room one night. Bolting out of bed, I discovered a sheepish-faced little boy peeking over a pile of throw pillows on the floor of my room. He was attempting to build a pillow fort in our room where he could sleep so he didn’t have to be alone in his own room. In the process of doing this in the dark, he accidentally knocked over the box fan we use for white noise.

This was the third time I’d been up with him that particular night, reassuring him, praying with him, snuggling with him, and who knows what else I said because I was half asleep each time.

I had tried everything I could think of to find that balance of meeting his needs in his fragile state without enabling him. Side note: Finding this balance as a mother exhausts and confuses me often.

The next day when we were both more awake and he had the daylight to diminish some of his fears, I tried talking to him once again. What was the real why in this scenario we’ve been living lately? Because none of us were winning.

The best answer I could gather from his unsure responses was that fear was taking over, taunting his thoughts, tricking his eyes and ears.

And then I knew just what he was feeling because I’ve fought those same battles, and some days, I still am.

I reached my first breaking point a year ago when I started out on an intentional quest for personal freedom. No matter how many “right” answers I told myself, I knew that I wasn’t actually living freely. I was scared of what others thought, I was crippled by what-ifs, I was fighting the temptation to give in to bitterness, and I was ignorant about how to live the free life Christians are supposed to be living. (I’m not talking about being stupid here. I was ignorant as in unaware.)

Freedom

Freedom slowly began making itself known to me one month, one prayer, and scripture at a time. One of the things that took me by surprise as my transformation began taking shape was that fear does not fully disappear when you start choosing to live freely.

One day, I allowed myself to entertain a possibility I would have been to afraid to admit before.

Perhaps living in freedom requires a balanced fear.

One of the things that freedom is is realizing that, at any moment, something devastating could happen, but instead of being crippled by that possibility, you choose to live anyway. Going out into the world and doing something worthwhile with your days comes with risks, but those risks make life worth living.

Choosing to follow God when it’s impossible to know where the path will lead is choosing the free life. You’re choosing to acknowledge that the fear of God is more powerful than the fear of the known or even the unknown.  So is it possible to truly, intentionally live a life of freedom without possessing fear? I don’t believe so.  I believe that it’s actually a requirement. The trick is that I don’t let the fear possess me.

I began living more freely when I gave up on living fearlessly. Living fearlessly is to live ignorantly. Ignorance is bliss until you can’t ignore the facts anymore. Eventually you have to look the circumstances that scare you square in the face and say, “I may be afraid, but I’m not going to let you rule my life.”

Living freely is to know there is much to fear, but God is bigger. He is enough.

Choosing to live the free life is always worth it, but it’s a task that requires living intentionally focused on believing in the hope of God’s Truth rather than the lies of the enemy. It is hard work, and you will never arrive in some magical Freedom Land, worry-free, forever and ever as long as you’re on this earth. You can still live a free life, but it will be a work in progress until you reach eternity.

There will still be those noises your five-year-old self will hear in the night, but choosing freedom means that they won’t be a daily struggle. They will occur with less frequency, and one day you’ll realize that they used to dictate everything you did or didn’t do, and now they only do on occasion.

Freedom is something that is happening with me now, and it is a happening that I plan to take with me for the rest of my life. I couldn’t not choose it as my one little word for 2015.

I plan to read, write, listen to, and ponder many freedom stories this year because they inspire me to keep living, hoping, and embracing. Freedom is hard, far from free, and worth every tear it takes to taste it.

P.S. Dash is getting better at sleeping through the night, and he’s doing a fantastic job of recognizing when the enemy is putting a lie in his head so he can then choose which path he wants to take. I for one consider it a success for both of us on our freedom journey.