Archive of ‘The Good Home’ category

The foolish woman and a blue chair

I nervously eyed the price tag and then back at the sales clerk, “Four hundred dollars huh?” She watched me lustfully stare at the blue beauty beckoning me from the store display.

“Don’t worry, we have our own credit card with a low interest rate so you will have it paid off in no time.”

I knew better. I was raised to never, ever buy something unless I had the cash BUT (there is always a but when we justify spending) I was 21, had my first full time job making 18K a year AND my first apartment!!! Besides, they said I would have it paid off in no time.

Yeah….no time translated to $50 plus interest for the next eight months. That was just ONE thing I bought for my apartment in 1998. The decorating bug hit me and my champagne taste on my Coors Light budget started an ugly ball rolling in my life that compounded….literally…over the next ten years.

When I bought that blue chair in 1998 I thought my apartment was the shizzzz. Compliments started rolling in about what a great place I had, what an eye for color I had,”You should be a decorator” etc…. Words, words…more words people…Kelly needs all the words.

I found these few snapshots in my basement of my super trendy apartment, ha!
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Do you see my blue chair in all its glory? I clearly have a future in decorating in Florida one day with my white pillars, glass top and bright colors. That dining room set was my other debt I incurred after the blue chair. Got it at Pier One! I was somethin’ I tell ya…somethin’. I was taking over the world one electric blue, lime green and white item at a time.

Three years later I went to Kazakstan for 10 weeks on a short term missions trip. I subleased my apartment, furnished, while I was gone to some friends. When I got back I found out that my precious blue chair now had a glob of dried super glue smack dab in the front center of the chair.

Cue sad tears, shock, horror, and knots in my stomach. How? Why? WHY?????

At the time I was devastated, showing my true attachment to this physical item. Now I think it is hilarious because it was the first of MANY lessons God was going to teach me about letting go of what rust and moths (and super glue) can destroy and really just live and use my stuff whether it was perfect or not. Super glue did not negate the fact it was a fun color and super comfortable chair.

Remember, I do come from a heritage of perfection and OCD…so I had to un-do a lot of thinking in my twenties. A LOT OF THINKING.

I’d like to show you the blue chair today. It currently takes up residency in my basement as a “junk” chair. Dried super glue is the least of this guys worries these days. Faded, stained, swirled with blue marker and left for dead by three ravenous children. I throw a blanket over him to hide his shameful secrets. Maybe someday I can afford to recover him. Maybe.

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It’s time to talk about debt and over shopping. It’s time to address the foolish woman that lives inside all of us. It’s time to look at the “blue chairs” in our life.

Proverbs 22:7
“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.”

Proverbs 14:29
“He who is impulsive exalts folly.”

Maybe your kryptonite isn’t house stuff, maybe it’s fancy purses, staying on trend with clothes, new cars, vacations, eating out constantly, jewelry, crafting supplies, technology, gym memberships and gear, organic living and supplements. Is there anything evil in the examples listed..not at all! It’s the manner in which they are bought and the heart intention behind them that has to be called in to question.

The never ending wall scuffs. Praise God for Magic Erasers.

The never ending wall scuffs. Praise God for Magic Erasers.

The United States is the poster child for excess…in our country of credit card offer after credit card offer filling our mailboxes, online shopping, free shipping, cash checking stores, layaway, etc…. We have become insatiable in our desires for stuff and the accessibility in which we can acquire it. The idea of moderation, cash only purchases, self control, saving up, and saying “No” makes you some freak of nature person who lives in the dark ages.

Whoever invented stainless steal never had kids.

Whoever invented stainless steal never had kids.

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established, through knowledge it’s rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” Proverbs 24:3-4

A couple of posts ago I blogged my first house tour using this Proverb. This was to show a home that was filled with “rare and beautiful treasures” thriftily and thoughtfully arranged for use in the kingdom. That will be the purpose of any future house tour posts.

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I really want to tackle the first part of that Proverb. WISDOM BUILDS.

I’m showing you my imperfect home. I still love to decorate but now I only use cash and 90% of what is in our home is second hand or free. That was huge and liberating for me to realize you can still have a great house and not purchase it brand new from a store.

Truly the worlds most comfortable chaise lounge bought off a friend for $50.  It's struggling in areas but nothing a nice throw can't cover up in a jiffy.

Truly the worlds most comfortable chaise lounge bought off a friend for $50. It’s struggling in areas but nothing a nice throw can’t cover up in a jiffy.

I am most miserable when I am trying to maintain perfect in my home. I birthed three “home wreckers” named Sticky, Dirty and Poopy. Their job is to smash my dreams of a clean and picked up home within seconds of being awake. It doesn’t mean I don’t try to keep the house picked up, and truthfully it is picked up most all the time but I have to hold my belongings with a very VERY loose grip. The kids have chores and are quite helpful at times but still…I have a toddler that is running rampant all day making out with my windows among other annoying, destructive things.
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Bennett was mad he had to write lines for a punishment so he wrote on my vintage chair. Then I burned all his Legos....in my mind.

Bennett was mad he had to write lines for a punishment so he wrote on my vintage chair. Then I burned all his Legos….in my mind.

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We have actually acquired some sweet stuff from Ryan’s work place at Moore and Giles. I mean they make GORGEOUS leather goods. Gonna brag on my baby. He is the photographer and web designer there. All those incredible photos of leather and leather goods on their site are his skills that pay our bills!!

They have a warehouse sale once a year and this is where we scored deals like this…. $800 metallic gold poof for $25 because we bought it already “broken in”! I simply spin the poof towards the chair and WAHLAH it looks perfect!
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Or this $1000 buttery soft leather chair we got for $75. Rhett thought is was a super great spot to sharpen his claws. You never know when your kids will act like feral children.
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Our well worn hide.
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Why am I showing you all this? Partially to show that all of these items were new at some point and now they clearly are not. Not in the least. They have been loved and at times abused.

My huge white shag carpet in my living room is now a marbled pattern of white and gray. SO MANY PEOPLE have come through our living room and that’s the pattern of conversation, prayer and hospitality that is well worn over the last 2.5 years. I got the carpet at the Re-Store (Habitat for Humanity) for $100 (90% off!) So I can let guys who work manual labor and don’t want to take off their work boots and gag us out with their stinky, hot feet keep their boots on and come and sit in our living room and enjoy the cup of community. I don’t have to uncork my butt every time something is spilled or ripped. It’s not a free for all at my house. The kids aren’t allowed to eat anywhere but the dining room but stuff happens. I’m the worse coffee spiller offender of anyone in the house hands down!

My IKEA Craigslist Couch..came pre-stained!

My IKEA Craigslist Couch…my coffee spilling handiwork

Aftermath of quiet time.

Aftermath of quiet time.

When Ryan and I got married almost ten years ago we had a collective debt of $60,000. YUP….GO US!!! 28K in student loans, 12K in credit card debt, Car loans and various other things. Also Ryan didn’t have a job and I got pregnant six months later so we were losing my income shortly. You want to know what it is to panic? To feel like a vice is around your neck when you open your mail? It’s an awful feeling. We know debt.

Apparently not awful enough for most people.

I googled statistics on the average household debt in America as of this month.

Current as of December 2014
U.S. household consumer debt profile:

Average credit card debt: $15,608
Average mortgage debt: $154,847
Average student loan debt: $32,397
In total, American consumers owe:

$11.71 trillion in debt
An increase of 3.8% from last year
$881.8 billion in credit card debt
$8.13 trillion in mortgages
$1,126.0 billion in student loans
An increase of 9.6% from last year

That is D-I-S-G-U-S-T-I-N-G. There is no end in site. We are a country grossly out of control. Ryan and I were a couple who had blown giant holes in our marriage ship and we were sinking rapidly. One of the number one reasons for divorce in our country is financial strain.

Our church offers a financial study called Crowne Financial Ministries. We did not walk, we ran to register for this study within the first few months of marriage. What in the free world were we going to do to get out of debt, financially recover from losing my teaching salary and bring peace into our home?

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Say it with me….self-control. Now louder…..SELF-CONTROL. Snip, snip, snip the credit cards went. We absolutely, positively did not eat out, go to movies, exchange gifts, travel, take vacations, etc. It was so hard. I MEAN IT. A stupid cup of Starbucks coffee was cause for discussion. We sacrificed by staying home for most of the first 5-7 years of our marriage. You know what…that’s a hidden blessing!

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One of the questions Crowne asks of it’s attendees is “Is there anything you and your spouse can do to generate income?” This is where the idea of Kellan came about. People have some misunderstanding that we were two banging photographers that got married and this business just took off. Nope. I took one year of film photography in high school 12 years prior and Ryan had a Canon Rebel he took pictures with for funsies. I had a business/marketing background. He is technologically quite advanced and so we pushed our skill chips in together to see what we could come up with.

It is a miracle that anyone booked us in 2006. We had ZERO portfolio and no equipment but with my born saleswoman pitch and Ryan’s photography ability (which saved his ignorant wife who had no idea how to shoot digitally)…we razzle-dazzled our first 12-18 months with a giant cloud of smoke and mirrors around us until we actually knew what we were doing.

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Our photography business took off and off and off and we could raise and raise and raise our prices the better we got. Now that also brought a whole host of issues in our marriage with working 24 hours a day 7 days a week. (Read my About tab for that drama) but I am so happy to say that we not only took back our marriage we have paid off over $50K in debt in the last nine years (takes a bow). That is so crazy to even type but man I know the struggle and it was real to get to this point of almost being debt free. We are down to Ryan’s student loan and then the monkey will be off our back. It will be a glorious day once it happens and it will.

So I’m going to continue this post another time because there is much more to unpack about building a wise home. Let there be no mistake that the number one thing to a wise home is living in your means, saving, GIVING generously away to kingdom work, and USING what you have been given to bless your family and others. I can see no other way to live to cultivate peace and freedom in a home and marriage than that way. It may take years to get there but it is worth it! Don’t buy into the lie, especially in this season of “presents” that any “thing” is going to make you happy or fulfilled.

This season of Advent “coming” of baby Jesus is the perfect time to start fresh and new. He came to give us abundant life and freedom. To unshackle us from the chains we have on us voluntarily and involuntarily. His burden his light. He came to rescue us from all the weighs us down.

We put polaroids of places we have traveled and people that bless our lives to remember each year.

We put polaroids of places we have traveled and people that bless our lives to remember each year.

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A Swedish/vintage house tour of the “Torrence Place”

Oh man guys what an awesome reception to expanding this category! I’m so excited to further unpack what true hospitality is (inviting, listening, loving, sharing, giving, etc…) and debunk what it is not (decorating, entertaining, perfect homes, five course meals etc…) It is critical as women and home makers that we get “it”. Oh I just want to rail on right now but this is not the purpose of this post.

I promise you Jesus did not stand at Zacchaeus’ door and sigh….”I told you I was coming over to your house today and you didn’t clean up, fold your napkins into swans, set out an autumn table scape, craft me a name place card, and cook me a gourmet meal. Clearly, you don’t love or care for me.”

Can we set up some ground rules on any house tours I do? I don’t want to seem hypocritical here. I keep saying “It’s not about what your home looks like but the spirit in which you invite others into it and how you care for them.” So why am I showing you photos of decorated homes?

Well….I’ll tell you why.

“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established, through knowledge it’s rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” Proverbs 24:3-4

WISDOM BUILDS your home, UNDERSTANDING ESTABLISHES it, and KNOWLEDGE FILLS it with rare and beautiful things.

Some other blog posts I’ll focus on the building wise homes and understanding how to establish them biblically part.

That third little nugget of “knowledge fills it with rare and beautiful things”… this is where I want to show a variety of homes that have creatively and very THRIFTILY filled their homes. It doesn’t say “fills it with brand new expensive things” or “fills it with rustic, eclectic things” or “fills it with modern and sleek things” or “fills it with Target, TJ Maxx and Home Goods things.” because we all have different taste, budgets, size homes. My mom still scratches her head when she comes to my house and sees the things I buy and colors I use. DOES NOT COMPUTE. She loves tchotchkes and borders and I love old things with patina and gray walls. Never the twain shall meet but that doesn’t make my house more beautiful than hers, just filled with different treasures.

So let’s get to this already. Can I please encourage you to READ Sarah’s words and not just rubber neck her home? She put a lot of time into answering all my questions so grab a cup of coffee or tea and take your time absorbing words and images holistically.

I’ve known Sarah since she was a pre-teen when I was her fearless youth leader in the late 90’s. I LOVE how God evolves relationships when you stay in the same community as I have for 20 years. I don’t think in 1996 when I was “discipling” her, a pimply teenager and me a pimply college student, that we could have ever imagined one day a friendship of sisterly proportion would emerge. We got married within four months of each other and stood up in each others weddings. We now live out in the country together raising our children in community. We traded in our wayward years, our bad taste in men and weird hair choices for slow mornings over coffee, paint color advice, rearranging furniture in each others houses and times of deep prayer together. I love this woman and you will love Sarah’s blunt and matter of fact story telling about her home and her growing pains on learning what true Biblical hospitality is.

photo (1) Circa 1996-1997ish. You know…bib overalls, doc martin phase? Yikes.

2003....an interesting hair phase for me at least.

2003….what do you mean I’m not a natural blonde.

Take it away Sarah…. (please note that they moved into their house in May and there are MANY things still not done so she was gracious to let me photograph it not at 100% completed)

“I should start by saying I do NOT feel qualified to be some sort of example of hospitality for anyone. All these things are what I desire for our home, but by no means have I mastered the trade. I was super stoked to have Kelly and Ryan take pictures because I knew it would look pretty and because we really needed an updated family photo-HA! But, NEWS FLASH PEOPLE- our house looks like this NEVER.

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Family photo...check.

Family photo…check.

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One of my biggest pet peeves is how unrealistic social media is. I had just had my grandparents over and I said “Quick Kelly! Come take pictures while it is still clean!” No matter what my house looks like, my life is messy and imperfect and some days it is just a boring grind that no one sees. I mean, I am a stay at home mom…it is just NOT that glamorous.

head shot outtake. hashtag real life

head shot outtake. hashtag real life

I do love to keep a clean house and I love to express my creativity in my home as my hobby. I do other things like I have a few friends and go to crossfit…but I don’t DO a lot. This is my choice of what I like to do in my small amount of free time. So while my house may look pretty, I do NOT like to cook- nor am I gluten or anything-free, I do NOT home school, I say NO to a lot of extra activities that busy our family, I don’t sign the kids up for extra sports or activities (yet) and I only get my hair cut once a year. Keeping thing simple is my “thing”.

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The truth is, I do want to learn about hospitality. I want our home to be shared because we were given more than what we deserve. I am in a continual process of letting go and focusing more on our family and our ministry instead of the next creative project I would like to try.

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1-How was “home” taught to you growing up? What things do you find yourself carrying over into your own way of showing hospitality?

The main thing about our home growing up was comfort. My mom sort of “decorated” and kept a clean home, but it was not her thing and not always tidy. She opened it up to many many people (as many as would come) from our church, neighborhood, friends, and family…plus any stray that might need a place for thanksgiving ect… For her, the main concerns were “was it warm (aka cozy) enough?”, “was there enough food?” and “is it conducive to talking and sharing?”. People often came to our home and were at ease and comfortable. Relationships and talking always came first for my mom…way above any to do list or house project or even being on time to everything.

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I found for my personality, this mostly drove me crazy growing up. I like to clean, I like to decorate, I like to get my to do lists done and I like to be on time. So when we were married and had our own home, I wrestled with the fact that I really DO love the aesthetic part of a home but when its super clean and well put together, is that a barrier for people? Do they not feel as comfortable?

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I think the answer for me was MY attitude. I decided that when people are here, it is THEIR time. I no longer care about the dishes or the half painted front door or anything on my to do list. What I love to do in my own time is be creative with my home. And it puts me at ease to keep it picked up (as best I can with 3 kids). But whenever someone walks through that door, I just don’t care about that stuff. I just plop on a couch and I want to hear their story and about their life and I am guessing that is why people feel so comfortable here. I suppose I got from my mom. That and we have a LOT of cozy blankets and we try to have a lot of food (mainly dairy products).

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2- Explain your aesthetic with decorating and how you choose items. Does your profession play into your choices?

I guess as a designer I developed a clean and simple aesthetic. But I do love color. So I think for our home, it is kind of that way. It is a blank pallet (that’s where the Swedish white walls come in) with some color thrown in with textiles and painted furniture.

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I do NOT like matching things. I just want the items I keep in the house to have some significance – I don’t care if they “go” together. The stuff on my walls are all very eclectic. I don’t want to buy some generic painting because I need to fill a blank wall.

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I also use everything…I don’t set aside “nice stuff”. If I get something handed down like an embroidered tablecloth, I am going to use it and not stuff it in a drawer! We have used our good china from our wedding everyday since we were married.

My favorite furniture piece and lighting fixture in her whole house.

My favorite furniture piece and lighting fixture in her whole house.

Lastly, we just basically have collected (cheap or free) a lot of chairs and couches and hammocks- some look nice and others have fabric ripping off and may fall apart at any moment because we haven’t worked on them yet. But we have lots of places for people to spread out, talk and relax.

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3- When you decided to build your own home, what were some of the thoughts or considerations you made in layout and design that represented not just your aesthetic but what you felt God was calling your family to do WITH your home?

God has given us this amazing gift. Never ever in my life would I have guessed that at 31, we would live in a NEW home on a beautiful farm. We know for a fact that this was given not just to us. This home was meant to be shared and to be a place of peace and refuge.

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We also knew we wanted to raise our children in an environment where they could learn to be creative and to be hard working. I am not a home school mom, so I knew that the time when my kids were at home was crucial. I wanted it to be a refuge for them too…and for their friends. I don’t want them to find that somewhere else. I want them to feel comfortable and learn from their family how to work hard and be thankful for all they are given. And learn how to share that with others.

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I don’t know exactly what that will look like through the years- or even how to go about creating a home like that. We have asked God for each step to make that clear…help us to have a home with enough space for those who need it but not something too big and overwhelming and intimidating.

4- What are some of your favorite features of your home when you sit and look around it? Did your years working on furniture with your business at 508 Restoration help you decorate your home?

Our screened porch has been our favorite so far. We had no idea how much we would enjoy it! It is such a gift to eat outside or relax out there in the shade, no bugs or rain to bother us. It is the most calm spot in our home.

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Our floors downstairs are special to us too because they came from the trees that were cleared for this house. Nathan and his brothers and dad and my dad all worked together to mill them and lay them. They are not perfect like a normal new home and we never worry about messing them up or scratching them.

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5- What feeling or feelings do you hope your guests experience when they are visiting or staying over night?

We hope they are at peace. We hope they find a slower pace and a beautiful and restful place full of food and sarcasm and real life.

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Guest bedroom

Guest bedroom

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6- How do your kids use your house? Any kid friendly advice or things you have discovered to keep the house usable but not screaming “KIDS LIVE HERE”!?

We mainly have focused on the outside. With our kids and any visiting kids, we hope they learn to explore the woods and use their imaginations making bow and arrows (or any type of weapon) and as my mother-in-law would say, it’s always good to have some activities that are slightly dangerous too. Cause why else would they want to come back?! We have several swings, a giant rope swing and paths made in the woods to the creek. Next we are working on a tree house and possibly a zip line.

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We focus on stuff that is fun for any age – boy or girl. I try to teach the girls how to make fairly lands with moss and leaves and sticks and be warrior princesses….or sometimes just run laps around the driveway. It works!

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Of course we have all the junky stuff too like bikes and trucks and balls….which I try to jam all into one spot to keep the plastic to a minimum.

But honestly, our yard looks trashy a lot. It’s ok.

As for inside…I don’t really know. My kids all share a big room and all their toys are all in there with them. The girl side is very decorated because my oldest got that gene and its something we have fun with together. I also have a few toys in the basement as well as an old TV. The main living area downstairs has only one basket of toys for my youngest. Ideally the toys are to stay in said locations…but they pretty much get everywhere and drive me nuts on a daily basis.

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2nd guest bed

7- When Anthropologie approached you and Nathan to feature your stenciled animal line how did you prayerfully walk through your decision to decline the offer? Do you regret your decision?

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At the time, our little 508 business was growing more than we expected. It seemed like the less effort we put into the business, the more opportunities came up. It was supposed to be a hobby for me and now it was turning into a real job for both of us. I felt like God was blessing our business and we loved doing it together- it was good for our marriage too.

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So when I got the call from Anthropologie (and after I peed my pants a little), I thought for sure this had come from God because it is certainly
NOT something we had ever pursued. I asked for a week or so to think it over. We prayed through that decision while starting working out all the details of the contract…I had a few phone conversations with the buyer and it was a wonderful experience. But something didn’t sit quite right.

Then one day while driving down our driveway, it was suddenly clear to both of us that we needed to say NO. It wasn’t exactly clear why but it seemed God was just asking us to trust Him. We just felt like if he was able to bless our business with little effort on our part, what is to stop Him from doing that again one day? Or maybe something completely different?

They are still deciding on what to cover the base of the island in.  Look at dem windows!!

They are still deciding on what to cover the base of the island in. Look at dem windows!!

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That week, after we turned down the contract, my mom was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. I became pregnant with my 3rd a month later. And a month after that we sold our house (where 508 started) and moved into a rental in the country. In 6 months following, we started the process of building a house, Nathan changed jobs and I spent all my time either caring for the kids or in and out of hospitals with my mom. Then a month later, I had our Piper eight days before my mom passed away and then we moved again.

All I can think is that God is so good. He has never left my side. Things like this Anthropologie gig become so insignificant when you are thinking about what your life looks like living in the kingdom. Not to say that stuff is bad-and maybe one day some cool creative opportunity will come again. But He GAVE ME THAT CREATIVITY. It is His. These things are so small in comparison to what He can do with our lives when we give up control.

Looking back, if we had not listened to Him and signed on with Anthropologie, there would be so much about our life (in the kingdom) that we would have had to give up.

We haven’t spent a single second regretting that decision.

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8- How do you extend the “spirit of invitation” to others? Do you have any verses or passages that you pray over your home?

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Finally one of my favorite mottos about your home.

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The Good Home category gets it’s first house tour!

Last spring I was asked by my women’s ministry coordinator to speak at a workshop our church was holding in August. The topic was originally, “Decorating on a Dime.” After thinking about it for a few minutes something didn’t sit right with me. I wrote her back and asked if I could expand the topic. There are ENDLESS websites, FB pages and instagram feeds dedicated to thrifty decorating ideas but I feel we are missing the greater issue of hospitality in our society and especially in our churches. Using what we have dominion over for Gods glory to bless and refresh others….what does that mean? What does it look like to live and use our homes as Jesus would. Whether it be a hut, apartment or a 3500 square foot house we have a space that is ours that we choose to use or hoard. She was totally on board and the workshop became “Cultivating a heart of hospitality and creating beauty on a budget”. I’m about to open a can on this for a few posts.

It’s time to unshackle.

Maybe I’m sensitive about this topic but in its various shades this topic is on women’s minds continually and satan can pluck our mind and heart strings like a concert cellist.

DO more, BE more…WHY ISN’T YOUR LIFE AND HOME PIN WORTHY?

Whats wrong with you, you inferior woman/wife/mom/homemaker? Can’t you whip up a gluten free, nut free, dairy free feast while homeschooling your four children and making sure they have engaged their five senses in tactile crafts using glitter, paint and markers? Haven’t you curled your freshly colored hair and put on your boyfriend jeans cuffed just so, booties, army inspired jacket, perfectly plaid flannel with your scarf tied in the latest trend? I hope you built that rustic shelving unit and spray painted some animals gold, turned your porch into a fall scene out of Martha Stewart? Did you get an hour to work out today? I hope you implemented the five steps to keeping your husband hooked when he comes home from work. (Please note some of these examples I actually do or love but NEVER EVER in the same day. Heck..week. There is NO SIN in them. It’s the pressure to accomplish them all in pin-worthy, instagram post fashion STAT)

IT. IS. MADNESS. Make the bad man stop.

I had a friend tell me once that she didn’t invite me over to her house because it wasn’t “pretty and creative enough” and she didn’t want me to see it. WHAT THE WHAT????? Man that is a slap in the face to both of us.

1- It insinuates that I show up with a clip board and check list grading my friends homes. Yeah….NO…I’m sorry you didn’t make the cut. I refuse to play, eat lunch or breath the same air in this drab home. NOT EVEN CLOSE. So hurtful.

2- It shows that she is bound mentally by a measuring stick that only a beautiful and creative home is one worth inviting others in to. What a shame, what a lie that is!

I was sad for me, I was sad for her. Something has to stop ladies! She literally put up a ten foot wall to our friendship. It wasn’t going to go any farther. What a disservice.

I was THRILLED when I saw that “She Reads Truth” started a study on October 27th on HOSPITALITY!!! Oh my word…if you are not currently doing a specific study PLEASE PLEASE click over to this one and do it! For the record I asked my friend, Sarah about doing an interview/house tour the week prior to SRT releasing this study…..so I’m totally pumped they are giving me some serious back bone to this topic. I mean here is a taste of some pinables. Ddddddddddaaaaaaannnnnnnggggg and Yes please!

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And a small excerpt from SRT.

““In our culture, the concept of hospitality has lost much of its power and is often used in circles where we are more prone to expect a watered down piety than a serious search for authentic Christian spirituality. But still, if there is any concept worth restoring to its original depth and evocative potential, it is the concept of hospitality. It is one of the riches biblical terms that can deepen and broaden our insight in our relationships to our fellow human beings.”
Henri Nouwen, Reaching Out
The Greek word for hospitality is philoxenos. Phileo meaning “brotherly love,” and xenos for “strangers.” God’s original design for hospitality is extending ourselves in love to strangers. It’s not only hosting dinner parties on special occasions with people we know, but embracing a posture of the heart to welcome even—and especially— those we don’t.”

I happen to have some pretty savvy decorating friends in my life. Its their HOBBY. It holds their interest and is a source of creative expression and relaxation. Can I say that again? It is a source of creative expression and relaxation for them. Much like someone who paints or someone who bakes extraordinarily tasty and beautiful desserts. I do not look at a painting and scoff ” I can’t paint that well I’m not even going to hang that painting in my house because it’s better than what I could do.” My friend, Candace, is an exceptional baker; her goodies not only taste incredible they look like they are out of a magazine. Come my children’s birthday time I can sit and pout in the corner that I have horrible baking instincts or I can ask her to not bring a present but please make my child’s cupcakes for me. DO YOU SEE WHERE I’M GOING PEOPLE?

So I’ve wanted to expand the category of The Good Home by adding some house tours. I appreciate these homes because they are so interesting to look at, creative naturally/organically and I feel SO WELCOME in them. My friends also pay next to NADA for what is in their homes or they just flat out make it. Now were talking. I love that my friends have TOTALLY different taste, that’s what makes the world go round.

That’s the crux right there….THE SPIRIT OF INVITATION is on the table. Come weary and heavy Kelly and find some rest on my couch. Just scooch the toys onto the floor, kick that wrapped up dirty diaper I forgot to throw away off to the side and just rest.

The spirit of invitation say: “I want you here, I delight in your presence, I want you to feel cared for”. This invitation has happened to me in third world countries where there was not one “pin worthy” thing in the house and yet I will never forget the honor and love I received sitting on their floor or the one chair in their one room house. Nothing is more humbling than being served hot tea out of someones only glass dish and a huge dinner you know cost them their last penny and with sheer and total delight they chose to do this. The selflessness I have received in my life makes me want to cry.

And so consider this the “introduction” to these segments on The Good Home. I am thrilled to show Sarah’s uniquely decorated home that meshes her Swedish heritage, vintage treasures and her incredible talent of refurbishing furniture all rolled into one. They built this house with one thing in mind…using it for others.

Here is a small sampling of what’s on deck for next week when I roll out the full tour and her interview. If you are feeling up to it…tell me what you struggle with when it comes to using your home and resources. What holds you back or what lie to you fight?

I told Sarah she has that urban meets country hot mom down pat.

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Much much more coming early next week!

The disappearance of summer……Costa Rica teaser

I’m not sure if there is a rule or not about when you have a gap of over a month you need to have a blog-relaunch so people remember you. (no lie I just typed rool…clearly need to keep on the coffee today…zoiks!) I’m going to go with no and pretend I’m picking up where I left off.

But seriously….where did the summer go? We are a mere four days from school starting and I wrestle with the conflicting thoughts of being extremely happy to have less noise, chaos, fighting and mess to being sad that our lazy days, infinitely more snuggles and fun are drawing to a close. Going from three kids to one is a cake walk.

But summer….don’t want to shower for 5 days…no prob bob…pool took care of that hassle! Can I get an “up top” from moms that count pools as baths? You can elevate your hygiene game when you know you are going to drain the water by using actual shampoo in your pool. SUMMERS. ARE. AWESOME. FOR. THAT.

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Much deep thought abounds in the pool.

Much deep thought abounds in the pool.

Bennet versus pinecone...pinecone ALWAYS wins.

Bennet versus pine cone…pine cone ALWAYS wins.

The truth is I’m a petulant child about summer. The type-A me craves the routine and cadence that the school year brings BUT….don’t cage me in. In no time flat by the end of September I am whining and kicking that I am TOO scheduled….I don’t like feeling obligated….why do we have all these commitments…somebody get me a coffee stat!

This summer was different for many reasons…some of which I can’t unpack right now. We actually had very little going on which made for some long and lonely days but that’s not always a bad thing. Some weeks were fuller with camp, family visiting, lots of not fun medical exams, some library and park visits. But mostly we just piddled around. Have you piddled in awhile? Have you written that word ever…it’s fun…try it.

Miss Clara Jean owning our yard

Miss Clara Jean owning our yard

Love this miracle niece so stinking much

Love this miracle niece so stinking much

We are in a strange season the last 6-8 months. We have experienced a massive relational loss in our inner circle with some of the closest people in our lives moving overseas or just moving. The void is undeniable and I would be flat lying if I didn’t say I feel like I am still in mourning. Relationships that have been forged by years and decades of friendship and history. People you talk to every stinking day….now many many time zones away. I certainly rejoice in the kingdom work they have been called to and obeyed by we are counting the cost in a different way and I am left wanting. So I have dealt with intense days of sorrow and ache learning to live a life without these families and children.

There are huge things on the horizon BUT we are trying to walk in rhythm with Jesus and not assume we know the path to these big things. Things that involve our house, our finances, our business, our church, our children…..The Lord is revealing in spades a calling on our family and we stand slack jawed on the sideline watching him unveil it piece by piece. “Abide in me….”

I’m an “all in” sorta girl so this discipline of walking in pace with God as each step is shown and not rush ahead with my agenda “Yeah, yeah, yeah…I got this God” is a bit new.

We have been praying for the first step to happen. Really I feel it is the linchpin in God’s plan for us and once God pulls it…this train is moving. I dont’ mean to write cryptically but I want to respect that we have got to have a trained ear to God’s voice and His only because the things we are looking at having to do will require staunch obedience and abandoment. When things are outside the box or not in logical order…especially in this culture you get A LOT of opinions and push back. So this season of “aloneness” has allowed us to draw nearer to one another as husband and wife. This is such a good place to be.

Aww….look at us….celebrated NINE years last week. We’d like to personally thank the large window at Starbucks for giving us that youthful glow erasing acne and wrinkles from our faces. Thank you Starbucks of Midlothian, Virginia…thank you.

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We also just got back from a KILLER trip to Costa Rica to visit my brothers family on the mission field there. They are planting a church in the town of Liberia.

WE. HAD. THE. BEST. TIME. It’s not right how rich and fun and relaxing and crazy our time was. I can not wait to write a proper post about it all. I stand in awe of my brother and sister in law and the struggle of daily life there but for the joy set before them…ever claiming… “Jesus is worth it.” He so is!!

You hear Costa Rica and you see the eye rolls “Really suffering for Jesus ehhh?” Ummm…actually yes…. Costa Rica isn’t one giant coast full of surf towns. My brother isn’t sharing the gospel from his surf board “Hey brah…you know the Living God?”

They actually live an hour from the coast in hot, flat, dry, cowboy country where the average yearly temperature is 95. With no air conditioning. Just sayin…. They don’t live in the “post card” part of Costa Rica but they were gracious to take us on lots of day trips and excursions through our time there to see those areas. It is God’s gift to refresh the weary missionary by His beauty.

God is a giant show off in pockets of Costa Rica….and He should be. The heavens declare His majesty..yes they do!!!

Ocotal Beach

Ocotal Beach

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There were so many moments walking around or swimming I would just look up and say “Let me remember this moment Lord. It’s so pure, so beautiful, so satisfying, so simple.” Give me this any day over expensive, manufactured fun.

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The love these cousins had for one another made us all burst with joy and even tears. It was beautiful.

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and clearly no matter where we are in the world…our children can not keep their clothes on. Sigh…..Oh Bennett…..

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and the only picture you will see of Ryan and I on this trip. It’s sad…we never think to take photos together. Don’t even have one shot of the four of us (yes..you may have deducted that Rhett did not make the cut. Better luck next year Rhett. He happily spent the week at my parents being spoiled rotten.)

Entrance to a coffee field.

Entrance to a coffee field.

I hope I’ve teased you enough to come back and hear the whole story and some of the real reason we went to Costa Rica.

I’ve missed you all. I am committed to writing more frequently on the blog. Not for you…but for me. It helps me process and clear my head in a good way…plus I kinda like you guys.

XOXOXO

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