Monday, August 27, 2012

Where we dine

Probably the easiest room we had to set up was the dining room. We basically just plopped our table & chairs (that we refinished last summer), hung up our favorite picture and called it "finished". 

Here it is before...on moving day, all empty.

Things I love about this room - 
-So much natural light
-Beautiful bay window
-Pretty blue walls
-Chair rail
-White cornice above the window
-Perfect amount of space

Before I show you the "after", here's a picture of where our table used to live, in our old apartment.

And here it is in it's new home!

Bad lighting but there's the side of the room with the bay window :) Also that light has a dimmer switch which I love!!

Our beautiful New Bern painting in our dining room!

Love how our table looks in our new room :)

We decided to hang up some of our crosses we've collected together on this wall in our dining room. My mom has something similar in her kitchen and I'd love to continue her tradition of collecting them from around the world.

From this angle, you can see the shade that covers the bay window. Even though most of the time I'll probably keep it open, I love having the option of having it for privacy.

One last look....

Still to do:
-Build a window seat in the bay window
-Maybe add a buffet or some kind of very small china cabinet
-Maybe add a record player?
-Buy/refinish a bench so that we can seat 6-7 around the table

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Living Room Progress

We LOVE our living room. It seems so big to us and we love the natural light and floors...and we LOVE that we didn't have to paint the walls :) It's a very pretty blue color (that I can't seem to capture well on camera). 

So here's what we started with...
Now we are very thankful for those surround speakers that the previous owners left. The only issue is that Rob has spent so much time trying to get them to work with our receiver (they didn't leave that) and also it makes us feel like we have to put our tv on that wall.

This past week, we finally moved the tv to the spot we wanted. We want to keep that back wall free because we'd like to build some built-in bookcases there. I would love to have some pretty built-ins totally free of TVs, electronic equipment, etc. Plus the way our sectional fits in the space, it works much better with the TV on the other wall.

So here we are! (warning...I could not wait until good lighting to take pictures and also I couldn't find the right angle in the room to get you the full picture so just bear with me :) )

Amazingly, we got all of our lamps from Target, after we sold some stuff before we moved. I LOVE the glass lamps and simple shades - I'm hoping to recover them in some pretty fabric.

Love those side tables from a sweet friend! (Thanks, Worth!!)

New TV placement! Love it.

Did we mention that we bought this sofa for.... $75?!?! Love it! :) Also love that homemade blanket on the back - Rob's great grandmother made that for him.

 Pretty little corner! Bookshelf from the Doherty's and our new tripod lamp from Target!

Isn't she purty?! I've had one in my office for awhile and love it and it suddenly occurred to me that I should get one for this corner. I love it!

This makes me laugh because it's supposed to be my pretty things shelf but it looks like a shrine to Kiersten :)

Here it is again...before & "after"!

Still to do:
-Move surround sound
-Add some color/art
-Tufted ottoman instead of coffee table

Thanks for stopping by! Let me know when you wanna come hang out! :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Missing Ethiopia

In June 2008, Sarah and I woke up at a ridiculously unholy hour of the morning, bags packed, and minds racing. We boarded our plane to DC and then another one to our final destination - Ethiopia. It was  a trip of firsts - my first time flying without any "adults" (i.e. we were in charge), my first time to Africa & to Ethiopia, my first time without seeing my family for longer than a few weeks, my first time blogging (pahah check us out Sisters vs. Wild)...and about a million other firsts :)

To make a very long story short, it was one of the most amazing times of my life. It was definitely the best "trip" I'd ever been on. It blew all my expectations & hopes out of the water. Those six weeks changed me forever. I feel so grateful for my Ethiopian sister, Bethy, introducing me to her beautiful country & family & life. I feel so blessed to have met such wonderful people who loved me and let me in. The Lord was so present and good during those weeks (like He always is...but I felt praise welling up inside me every single day I was there).

We loved everything about our stay there. We especially loved spending almost every day at a small orphanage nearby. We knew every one of those 23 beautiful children by name, we knew what they liked and dislike, we learned their personalities & taught them English. I will never forget their smiles. It was so hard to leave but I hoped one day that I'd get to go back.

Then 2 years later, I had the opportunity to return with 4 guys, one in particular that ended up being THE guy. We only got to spend 3 weeks this time but it was incredible. Rob had lived there for 9 months in 2007-2008, and we both picked up right where we left off. We hit the ground running and all of our relationships continued where they had started. We made new friends as well - I got to introduce our group to some of my favorite people, and Rob got to introduce us to his. We got to eat injerra again, drink macchiatos, I had my fill of GBCs (glass bottled cokes) and we wanted to stay there much longer than we could.

This summer was the 2 year mark since our last trip. It feels very strange to not be going back. It feels too long. And I miss the people there SO much. Especially my little ones. I'm so thankful for God's Kingdom across the world. I'm thankful that there are people thousands of miles away that are so different from me, and yet so similar.

Cheers to Ethiopia. Hopefully one day, we'll get to go back again.

Me & Sarah at the source of the Nile

2010 group

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Martha vs. Mary

One of my favorite pictures of us...because no blog post is complete without a photo.

Do you know that story of Mary & Martha in the New Testament? It's the one where Jesus is speaking to a group of people and one sister (Martha) is running around trying to make sure everything is ready, while the other sister (Mary) is sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to everything He is saying & enjoying His presence. I've heard the story approximately one million times and have known from the first that I am definitely like Martha. I identify with her, I get her, and sometimes I feel even a little defensive of her. What I didn't realize until recently is that I married someone who is much more like Mary.

I first noticed it when we moved into our new home. On moving day, I was a flurry of nerves...running from room to room, trying to make sure everything was perfectly planned out for the people who were helping us. I didn't want to inconvenience anyone and I wanted it to be as enjoyable as possible. But in my striving to make everything perfect, I was too busy to talk to anyone, to share in the experience with the group. Rob, on the other hand, was working hard...but also joking around, making people laugh & feel comfortable. Even at the end of the move, while I was running around trying to find the stupid trash bags, he was actually sitting with the group eating lunch, relaxing & enjoying a moment's rest. I was so thankful for him in that moment because I felt like I could not sit down and enjoy the moment, but he was so good at it. And I know people had a better time because he was actually taking the time to interact with them.

I noticed it again this morning as I was leaving for work. We only have a one car driveway and inevitably every morning, my car is parked in and I am the one that needs to leave first in the mornings. This morning, Rob was ready anyways so we left at the same time. I immediately rushed to get into my car, started my engine....and sat. For like an eternity 7 minutes. Right when we stepped out our front door, our neighbor had crossed the street to talk with Rob at the end of our driveway. Rob was being so friendly and kind. Aaron was asking to borrow our lawn mower (which is awesome that he felt like he could ask us), and then Rob was asking about how his nephew was doing (he had been shot three times last week and was in the hospital). Aaron filled him in and then they talked more about the lawn mower. Rob was just so kind and caring. I mean, he is definitely the reason we have connected with our neighbors so quickly. Meanwhile, I'm sitting there staring at the clock, wondering when he will be done so I could leave. Not to mention if the situation was reversed how differently it would have looked. If I was the one talking to Aaron, I would have said "Yes you can borrow our lawn mower, have a nice day!". I would have totally missed out on an awesome opportunity to love our neighbor, because I was worried about keeping my schedule and getting to work on time.

I am so thankful that I married a man who can put the right things first. I am thankful that he sees what is most important and he helps me to see it too. I am also thankful that the Lord has given me the grace to appreciate and value these differences in our personalities.

Thankful for the Lord's grace in my life, putting people in my life who can show me more of Himself.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

the one spraying paint

I've been doing a lot of quick projects around the house by whipping out the old spray paint cans! It's amazing how fresh you can make old things look with a little bit of paint. It totally breathed new life into them all!

Project one: Spice racks from Ikea. 

After! With some Valspar Ivory spray paint.

Project two: (already mentioned) Outdoor candlesticks!
After with a fresh coat of ORB (Oil-rubbed bronze)

Project three: Outdoor table (left by previous owners)! We call this our Settlers of Catan table because it's the perfect shape for the game :)

After one coat of (you guessed it) ORB


Project four: Black crate from our wedding (hard to see but it's there!) We originally bought it for like $2 at Goodwill.

After! Valspar Ivory spray paint