Making Time for People

Is it Friday yet? Because I'm feeling like it needs to be! My blog brain is scrambled. I've tried to write a meaningful post all afternoon and my time is up. After lots of backspacing and deleting, I've got nothing. Some days are like that.

But before I surrender, I wanted to share this quote {maybe it's more for me than it is for you}:

{From Theirs Is The Kingdom by Robert D. Lupton}

My pastor shared this with me a couple weeks ago, and like the finding time article, it's got me thinking. I tend to be pretty protective of my time, but here's what I'm learning this week: people are worth my time. Even if entering in and pouring out is costly. {It almost always will be.}

That's it. Out of words, sweet friends!

Happy Labor Day weekend!


Finding Time

If you read only one thing today, make sure it's this article by Anne Lamott. It's about finding time. Really good. Here are a few of my favorite lines:

{Anne Lamott}

When someone asks how you find the time to do all that you do, what is your answer? Mine is this: we make time for what we love. 

If you love to cook, you make time for it even when you're tired...because something about it revives you. If you love fresh food, it's worth it to go out of your way to the farmer's market. If you love nature, you'll find every excuse to be outdoors...because it makes you feel alive! If you love dolls, you'll find a way to take care of them, even it means getting up a few minutes earlier on a school morning!

{Laura Finley's "girls."}

{She likes to get them ready for the day
before she leaves for school.}

I make time for the things I love: my family, my home, Christmas cards, writing, photography, long conversations with friends.... The trouble comes when I can't admit that I'm loving the wrong things too much: connectivity, my iPhone, email, Pinterest, an orderly home, time alone....

Sometimes the things we love too much aren't really "wrong things," but we've let them become too big a thing. For example, I love an orderly home and time alone {both of those bless my family}, but when I make too much of those things {turning them from a desire into a demand}, I lose sight of more important things...like the the present moment with my family.

Sometimes the things we love too much aren't evident to others or even to ourselves, so we have to ask God to search our hearts. I love Paige's honesty in confessing that she has often loved what others have to say about her more than what God says about her...that it's easier for her to open the laptop than the Bible. Right there with you, sister. {Rejoicing in Romans 8:1 for both of us today! No condemnation!}

Back to finding time, I hope this day will be one of making time for what you love! And may what you love make you feel more ALIVE and more of who God created you to be!

Happy Friday!


Shelf Styling {Part Deux}

I'm laughing that I would offer a "part deux" for shelf styling...as if I were the expert! Ha! Not at all. I just have an insane amount of open shelves in my house and finally had the time and inspiration to do something with them. {You nailed it Tessa! The girls are in school and card season hasn't started yet!}

I also have this crazy love affair with my camera and an obsession with details. So here you go...more up close and personal shelf styling photos! {Photographed with the awesome 50 mm F/1.8 lens; the same one I used for all of my Maine photos this summer.}

The family room:

Letters, old books, photos, fragments, a little sparkle...

...paperbacks with the spines ripped off
and bundled together.

The family room is an ideal spot for lots of family photos, but if you use too many {as I did before a friend helped me pare down}, it can feel cluttered. Or as my friend said: too much stuff makes it hard to tell what's important and meaningful to you. 

My sweet friend Alison got me started in the family room, then left the rest to me. I love the way she mixed things in from around my house...and used fewer things with more impact. But you know how it goes: steal a favorite item from one shelf and that leaves a hole to fill, so you steal from another spot. And that, my friends, is how you end up re-styling every shelf in your home!

Love the turquoise inside.
{Great painted bookshelf inspiration here.}

Personally, I like to see kitchen items in a kitchen,
not books and photos. But to each her own!

The bathroom:

Pretty trays are a great way to make little things
feel important {and create a cleaner look}.

I like my shelves to feel personal...
to hold memories, not just fillers and "stuff."

are some of my favorite personal treasures.

And last but not least,
my oldest daughter's bedroom.

I tried to style the shelves, but she has her own way...
lots of books in alphabetical order.
{We'll see how long that lasts!}

And baskets. Always baskets!

So how about you? Do you like to rearrange shelves? Are you a straight up book girl or do you like the mix? What do you do with paper backs or less attractive books? Any favorite things you like to see on your shelves? I'm just full of questions today! Can't wait to hear your answers!

One blog friend said shelf styling is therapeutic for her. What a deal! Me, I'm just glad it's over! I made a huge mess in the process, but I feel good about less "stuff" in the end. {Lissa will inspire you to want less stuff. I love her style!}

As with anything I share here on the blog, I hope you leave feeling inspired. {If seeing other people's lives discourages you in any way, I want you to know I pray against that every time I post. May God guard all of our hearts!}

The key is to stick to what feels personal, right and good for your family...whether it's shelf styling or anything else. And keep in mind that there's a season for everything. No need to force pretty shelves if this isn't your season! {Just buy some baskets and hide stuff! Baskets became my "go to" decor when I had babies. I love them so much that my husband now jokes, "Don't' you have a basket for that?" with everything in our house!}

Happy day to you, sweet friends! You are precious!

P.S. Did you notice all the empty frames and baby pictures on my shelves in this post and the last? Are you laughing? {Relating?} I've taken tons of photos over the years {and plastered lots of them here on the blog}, but haven't printed a single one in five or six years! Not even our first-ever family photos! At least I printed the Feather Nest beauties on Christmas cards! A time for everything, right?!?!


Shelf Styling

Hallie loved your comments about her new song. Thank you so much for taking the time! A little affirmation goes a long way toward encouraging a young girl's heart.

Now for a complete change of tune: shelf styling! Total fluff, but you know I can only stay away from design-related things for so long! {Sometimes I laugh at my blogging self...all over the place!} 

Shelf styling overwhelms me {it's hard!}, but how you style them makes such a difference in the feel of a room. I prefer clean and calm, but our little library was feeling a little on the busy, cluttered side. Time to tackle those floor-to-ceiling bookshelves! {I was totally dreading it.}

Thanks to a great post by Laura Casey and my shelf styling pinboard, I knew what I wanted: a clean mix of books, photos, art and decorative items. Making that happen, however, is a different story! So I asked an interior designer friend for advice, and this is what she said:

Take everything off your shelves...

...and only put back what you love.

Why didn't I think of that?
Because empty shelves are intimidating.
{Back to those inspiration photos!}

But it was so worth it.

My re-styled shelves,
using what I had and only what I love:

I absolutely love children's books.
They'll always have a place on my shelves!

And crowns!

I love photos of my family
{and desperately need to update them}
placed on top of tidy, color coordinated stacks.

I love ampersands, letters...

...and a little something sparkly.

I adore old books with pretty bindings
{and prefer to collect ones I might actually read someday}.

I love architectural fragments...
and the patina they bring to the mix.

I love glass jars filled with unexpected treasures.

And I absolutely LOVE baskets...
for keeping things organized {and hiding paperbacks}.

And while shelves full of muted, monochromatic books
would be gorgeous, that's not real life for me.

So to create a cleaner look with what I have,
I took the covers off {and stacked by color].

If shelf styling sounds silly to you, you're not alone. For some folks, bookshelves are for books, and styling means arranging by size... not mixing in a bunch of silly decorative stuff! That was me for years, and it's A-OK! If I had to choose between books and decorative things, books would win every time. 

But for those of you who like a mix and want to change things up a bit, there's nothing like a few real-life photos to inspire the process. I hope these photos have given you a place to start.

I've got a few more shelves to share with you next time, but for today, I'll say this: taking everything off and putting back only what I loved was great advice. After all that editing, re-styling and giving away the extra stuff, our library feels nice and cozy! We all want to be in that little room now!

Happy Monday, sweet friends!

P.S. If you'd like to read what professional designers Brooke Giannetti and Joni Webb think about home library styling, here is an article for you. {And have you seen the Giannetti's new book, Patina Style? Lots of lovely inspiration. I love her style!}


All That I Am {by Hallie Cecile}

Hello sweet friends! I didn't expect to be back so soon, but a new song from my very own little songbird is rocking my world today, and I'm excited to share it with you!

Hallie Cecile, also known as our Sweet Pea, Sunshine and Songbird, is only 10 years old, but even at this young age, she feels like she knows what God has made her to do. And she loves to spend time doing it.

She often rises before the sun just to make time for her music before school. No one asks her to do this. She chooses it. {It astounds me that while I'm desperate for that extra 30 minutes of sleep, she's desperate to play, write and sing.} She says her morning music routine makes her feel more awake, alive and ready for the day. It tunes her heart to God's.

She's focused, intuitive, hardworking and mostly self taught. She's had maybe a half dozen guitar lessons and a few months of piano {to help her read and write music}. But the songwriting...it just comes from her heart.

Hallie hears music in her head {which means she's often in her own world...something I've had to learn to be patient with over the years}. She can hardly get it out fast enough...always scribbling, humming and strumming. She then records a few chords and lyrics with her iTouch so that she doesn't lose one song as another begins.

{Her window seat is her favorite place to write.}

I don't know much about music or how "real" musicians operate, but I do know this: when my daughter pours her heart into a song, it's powerful.

I was just listening to a recording of her newest song {for the hundredth time} when all of the sudden, I burst into tears! Tears of joy, thanksgiving, awe, admiration and humility. Hallie Cecile...wow.

Hallie's gift as a singer/songwriter/guitar player is beyond me...beyond anything I could have given her or dreamed for her. I'm not always sure how to handle this gift, but one thing I know for sure: it's God-given. It isn't mine or even hers. It's His.

And a gift is meant to be shared. So here you go: here's my sweet Hallie singing and playing her newest song, All That I Am.

YOU are a gift, sweet Hallie, and you're using the gift that God has given you SO WELL. I hope it always brings you this much joy.

Sweet blog friends, I hope you enjoy Hallie's new song. Feel free to share it...or to leave a comment for her. I'll be sure to pass your sweet words on to her!

Happy Friday!

P.S. A huge thank you to Malcolm Brooks for encouraging Hallie to try a few new things this summer {improvisation!} and for recording her new song. What a blessing to have such a talented musician living across the street from my parents' summer home in Maine.

P.P.S. My husband had fun making this little video last weekend. Just some rough footage on his iPhone that he pieced together with the recording. You can also listen to a live, unedited version HERE. These videos are a fun way for our family to remember the way Hallie is right now. Thank you, JD.


Back To School Ramblings

This post could go anywhere...because my mind is all over the place! How about I just ramble with a few photos in between? {I couldn't resist the concrete walls and filtered sunlight at a nearby cafe.}

Yesterday was our first day of school, and my girls loved every minute. I can't say enough about how much we love Presbyterian School!

The start of each school year reminds me that His ways are better than our ways. It's a long story, but two years ago, God directed our steps from one school to another. Our story includes some heartbreak and confusion from a door that was slammed shut, but in the end, God's way for us has been better than anything we could've imagined!

So if the day was so great, and I love the school, why did I need a nap and an Excedrin Migraine when we got home? Big days do that to me.

Or maybe it was the perfume. After giving lots of hugs to people I hadn't seen all summer, I came home with someone else's aroma, and it was strong! {My youngest and I don't do well with artificial fragrances. I get headaches; she gets irritable.}

But it got me thinking: what aroma do I leave behind? When someone leaves my presence, my hug, my conversation, what stays with them?

Am I the pleasing aroma of Christ? Am I fruit forward? {Sounds like a wine description!} Do I refresh people with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control?

I'm longing to be a heavenly scent this year...in my home, my neighborhood, the hallways at school, here on the blog, in my business, at the grocery store.

Speaking of heavenly scents, look how we got to celebrate the first day of school:

We've just discovered that Crave Cupcakes uses natural ingredients {no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives...with the exception food dye in their red velvet cupcake}. Why can't all cupcakes/food be made this way?

{They even have a gluten free chocolate cupcake! Divine!}

My girls were thrilled! They're used to the way we eat and rarely complain, but a fun treat from a hip spot always results in a few extra squeals of joy. "You're the BEST mama EVER!!!" 

There's a lot more bouncing around in my brain...a new song from my oldest, a new font with great swashes, a few new tweaks around the house...but my tummy's growling! Time to scrape something together for lunch.

Wishing you a sweet, heavenly scented day!


I Love The Way You've Grown

This is a first: late-night blogging in the bathroom with a glass of Cabernet and a dark chocolate cookie dough truffle. Talk about indulging! I'm not sure if I'm indulging in the last bit of summer...or if I'm just rebelling against the back-to-school grind. Either way, it's gooooood!

I'm determined to make the best of a new school year, but before I embrace it fully, I have to say this to my girls: I love the way you've grown this summer!

Laura Finley,
I love your bright blue eyes...

...the way they stop me in my tracks
and remind me to live life to the full.

I love the way you sparkle...

...the way you shine from deep inside.

I love the way you love...

...the way you snuggle up in my arms
and call me "Sweet Angel Mama."


I love your tender spirit...

...the way you sit still and ponder deeply.

I love the way you spend your time...

...the way you make the most of every moment.

I love the way you make me laugh...

...the way you share the sunshine in your soul
and make this world a brighter place.

I'm so thankful for another summer...for the long, lazy days that allowed my girls lots of room to grow and become more of who God made them to be!

Sweet Hallie and Laura Finley, I'll miss you when you're gone, but I hope you'll remember this as you start another school year on Wednesday morning: I love the way you've grown...and I'm SO proud to be your mama!

Happy Back To School Week!
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