When You’re Disappointed

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June 1st…today is the day we said we would definitely be moved into our house…only we’re not. I didn’t expect building a house would teach me so many lessons about life. One of those lessons being that no matter how hard you try, sometimes some things are just out of your hands.  I say similar words to my son all the time when he’s fussing about wanting something he can’t have or throwing a fit about doing something he doesn’t want to:

“You can’t always have what you want.”

“Life doesn’t always work out as you would like.”

“Sometimes the answer is no.”

Life lessons for a 10 month old and life lessons for his much older mama too.

Today I read something on Facebook from a friend who is making a big life decision. She said she and her husband have never sought to change where they are but have chosen rather to be content in whatever place they’re in for however long they’re there. If God moves them–as he several times has–so be it, they will go. But the idea of choosing contentment over constantly seeking something more, something different, that stuck with me–especially on a day I have long counted down to and am now disappointed by.

For a lot of years now, I’ve been in control of my life. I went to school just as I had planned. Married the man I loved just as I had hoped. We bought a home. Worked. Traveled. Had a baby. Everything was moving along just as I had intended–I was in control–or so I thought. I’m pretty sure now that if anything will teach you you’re not in absolute control, it’s having construction underway and a baby at the same time ;]

This post probably sounds grumbly but honestly I don’t mean it that way. Today is a day I looked forward to for a long time and it didn’t end up as I had hoped. But I’m fine. I’m much better and more okay with the situation then I ever expected, actually. God is working in me and he’s chosen to use this silly house over and over again to teach me lessons about himself and about myself.

Sometimes life requires that you get up and do and sometimes life requires that you be still and wait; both can be hard but both are able to teach us so much we can’t learn any other way.

So today, on this rainy June 1st, I’m learning to live where I am and to be content in this place until God decides to move me. I’m not in control–thankfully, I know who is.

Thanks.

Just wanted to say a quick thank you to everyone who took the time to respond and share your thoughts with me on my last post.  I feel much better now about sharing photos of our house remodel going forward so thanks again :]

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Inspiration vs. Jealousy

If all goes as planned {and it never does}, we’re supposed to be moving into our house this summer. After years of looking for the right place, saving money, and now two years of rebuilding and remodeling–we’re finally almost there.

IMG_20150310_195322{“Um guys, this house doesn’t look super done.”}

But as I think about moving, I’ve been thinking too about how much I should share here and elsewhere on social media when it comes to the details of our new home. There’s a big part of me that wants to take lots of pictures and include people in this journey {especially those of you who’ve already been following the bits and pieces I’ve shared along the way}. But there’s an equal part of me that’s unsure if sharing is really the right thing to do.

Here’s why:

We’ve all heard about and dealt with the jealousy that comes with watching someone else’s life via social media. We talk about it, read articles about it, complain about it, and deal with it in our own lives–jealousy. People’s lives can look so perfect and put together on Facebook when the mess has been cropped out of the background and the right filter makes everyone look tan. You’ve done, I’ve done it, and we all kind of know everyone else is doing it too–but still, we see those pictures sometimes and think, “They get everything. My life sucks.”

I remember feeling this way on Valentine’s Day when Darren was helping our new renters move into the apartment we had just remodeled {unexpectedly, right in the middle of our house remodel} and so I didn’t get any roses or get to go out to dinner and spent that whole day feeling very, very, VERY sorry for myself. And rather than be a grownup and stay away from social media for the day, I instead scrolled through Facebook and Instagram and envied all the pictures of flowers, and date night, and all those freaking people who were so stupidly in love… ;]

So I worry that by sharing pictures of our home, people are only going to see the end product of years of work and envy us or think we get everything handed to us while they struggle along. People don’t see the work and stress and everything that’s gone into making this dream of ours come true–I know that because I know I look at other people’s lives and pictures the same way–I see one picture and one moment and don’t know or consider the rest of the story leading up to that one happy, enviable moment.

So, is it right to share only the pretty bits and pieces of a much bigger story and perhaps by doing so create feelings of envy along the way? I realize I can’t control how other people react–someone else’s jealousy is ultimately, their problem. But still, I don’t want to be one of those people on social media who overshares.

And then there’s privacy. My home is where I live, where my baby lives, it’s the most intimate space I inhabit. So should it then be shared publicly? Though I’ve blogged for years, I’ve felt much more private and unsure of sharing ever since Roman was born. There is something about knowing you are totally responsible for another person’s life that makes you stop and think a little bit harder about everything you do–including how much you share about them on social media. So I wonder now if it’s safe or smart to share our home in a space like this or if it’s better left off the internet and kept private just for us.

Those are the cons, but I see some pros too…

I get so much inspiration and enjoyment from seeing how and where other people live. My favorite blogs are by people who share their homes and lives and invite you in. Yes, sometimes on a bad day, I’ll see someone else’s home or life on a blog and envy them. But for the most part, I just enjoy reading stories and seeing pictures of how other people live. I’ve gotten so much inspiration for our own home by seeing the ideas of others and I would be really disappointed if these people decided to stop sharing. This makes me want to share pictures of my own home and life {even if it’s just a fragment of the whole story} and invite people in {even if it’s just through a word or picture}.

So I’m asking you sincerely, what do you think? Do you think it’s right to share put together pictures of our not-so-put together lives? Is it safe or smart to share a place as intimate and private as my home on the internet when I can’t control who will then know where I live? Do you like seeing other people’s homes and lives or does it just lead to envy and frustration?

House Remodel Update {#2}

In just about three weeks we’ll have owned our shabby little 1860 farmhouse for a year. It’s hard to believe a whole year has come and gone and here we are still working away on this project. We still have a long way to go but it’s nice looking back and reminding ourselves of how far we’ve come over the last year.

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

Henry David Thoreau

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DSC_0129{Where we started}

3-23-14-edit{Where we are}

It took us most of last summer just to get all the permits and approvals we needed to move forward with our plans. Then it took a month or so to empty the place of trash and get it ready for construction. We also had to take down the garage/addition area because it was sitting directly on the ground without a foundation and was caving in.

plans{Darren sketching out plans over the summer}

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wheel barrow cleaningYou know you have some serious work to do when your house needs to be cleaned with a wheelbarrow and shovel.

By last September we were finally ready to really start building and my brother and his family drove all the way from Louisiana to help us raise the roof. We wanted a full second story and more windows so that’s why we decided to do something crazy like raise the roof :]

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After that we had a foundation dug and poured for the addition and the remaining fall and early winter months were spent framing up the interior of the house and adding the garage and new construction.

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front framing

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after framing

Progress was slow over the winter because we had an especially cold, snowy season. But now that the temperatures are starting to improve and the snow is almost gone, we’ve been able to get rolling again. Over the last few weeks the guys have put in most of the windows, added the front porch, and roofed the porch and addition so the outside is “all buttoned up” as Darren says :]

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Next up is plumbing—happening this week hopefully. Then we have the siding, electrical, insulation, sheet rock, flooring, installation of the bathrooms and kitchen, and lots of lots of painting. Oh and the garage floor needs to be poured, and we’ll need trim and doors, and the back porch needs to be added, and there’s work needing to be done in the basement, and the chimney needs to be built, and…and…and…and there’s still a lot of work to do :] But at least it feels good to be moving again and seeing the place taking shape.

Right now I’m most excited about getting the siding on because it will look so much nicer and more complete when it has some clothes on :] Some grass wouldn’t hurt either but I think we’re going to have to deal with the muddy mess until next year when all the work is done and we’re able to reseed the yard. Patience, patience.

I’m still hoping against hope that we’re able to move in by August or September but we’ll just have to wait and see how things come along. Also, what the heck were we thinking building a house and a baby at the same time? That takes a special kind of crazy. I’m not looking forward to packing and moving with a newborn but c’est la vie…besides, these pictures I took around the yard last year always remind me why it will all be worth it in the end 8D

DSC_0820Some guy with a backhoe tried very hard to take this bush down on me. He kept saying the yard could be landscaped so much better without it but I crossed my arms and stood in the yard while he wheeled around tearing down every other green thing he could find and made sure he didn’t touch this bush. It’s not wise to mess with a pregnant lady even if you’re the one driving the backhoe ;]

DSC_0740I’m not tackling a garden this summer with everything else going on but I can’t wait until next spring when we are living here and I’m able to walk through my own yard and garden growing flowers and vegetables.

DSC_1053Relaxing under my favorite tree

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DSC_0131Welcome home. This will be our view.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Comforts of Home

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Today we are home, curled up on the couch watching football. The cat is curled up on the other couch, because obviously, he needs a whole couch to himself…diva. The Pats are playing the Dolphins. I would rather be watching my home boys, the Chiefs, but they don’t show their games out here. We were in Kansas City a few weeks ago and were almost late for our flight because I just had to see the Chiefs finish their game while I had the chance. They normally lose, you know, so watching them win for once is a lot of fun :]

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We had big bowls of hot soup for lunch today and dipped thick chunks of warm bread in it. The heat is on because it’s cold, cold, cold outside and we are sipping mugs of hot coffee to warm up. I sprinkled cinnamon over the coffee grounds before brewing it; between that and the pumpkin creamer, it’s just about the perfect mug of coffee for a crisp fall day.

The whole house smells like the jasmine and sandalwood incense I’m burning…I love how the tangy, sweet smell of the smoke permeates everything in the house.

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This morning we went to church and I worked in the nursery. There’s a bit of a baby boom going on among my friends right now. Every time one girl has a baby, another announces she’s pregnant. It’s fun…all these kids and babies and watching families grow and change. Sometimes working in the nursery is completely exhausting because all the babies melt down at once and you’re left wiping tears and noses and wondering what on earth you did wrong. But this morning, it was fun. The kids were mostly good and it was nice visiting with the moms and watching them visit with each other. It made me really thankful for my church family and the little group of girls I hang out with here; their friendship means so much to me and I was reminded of that this morning.

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Last night we had dinner with Darren’s brother and sister and their families. We all live within 15 minutes of each other and I love the way we are able to spend time together and move in and out of each other’s lives. My sister in law made a big batch of chili and my brother in law made an apple pie. We all sat around eating and talking while the kids played on the floor. Our new baby nephew was passed around and held while the bigger boys climbed all over us and wrestled with each other on the floor. It was nice.

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I tell you all these bits and pieces because together they remind me of one thing…comfort. Our little home and mugs of hot coffee are comforting on this Sunday afternoon. Spending time with our friends at church was comforting this morning. Dinner with family was comforting last night. Even the cool weather and hot meals are comforting. And with all these bits and pieces that make up our normal, everyday lives–I’m thankful. Thankful for the comfortable, familiar things that settle our hearts and minds and for the weekends that give us a chance to rest and regroup before heading into another busy workweek.

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This is why God gave us a Sabbath–because he knows us and knows we need rest and refreshment. It has been good this weekend to be reminded of the simple gifts of home and family and to enjoy this day of rest in our little home.

House Remodel Update

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In April we bought an 1860 colonial farmhouse in need of some serious renovations…and by serious I mean light a match and burn the place down…no, just kidding, we didn’t do that…but maybe we should’ve ;]

All summer long we worked on getting building permits and approvals from the town and as soon as we were given the go-ahead, we got busy and watched this shabby little place began to transform right before our eyes. We have two family friends doing most of the work and they have been fantastic. My older brother also drove all the way up from Louisiana to help raise the roof– now that, my friends, is love :] Little by little we watch this dream of ours take shape. Every time I stop by it looks like a different place and just a little bit more like what we imagine it can and will be.

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It would have been easier and more practical to tear the place down and start from scratch, but the bones of this place are too magical to throw away and Darren and I both knew from the beginning that we wanted to preserve as much of the original structure as we could. Everything that’s been torn down was deconstructed by hand, board by board and nail by nail in order to save as much of the original wood as possible for later projects.

This place is built out of hand-hewn timber and wood nails and the bones that hold it together today are just the same as they were 150 years ago. So when we raised the roof to give us a full second story, we left the original timbers and wood nails in place and just jacked the roof up and up instead of taking it off and starting over. Everyone told us we were crazy for taking that approach, and we probably were, but we’re happy with the end result and happy we were able to preserve just that much more of the original construction. We’re hopelessly nostalgic, what can I say :]

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Darren has painstakingly drawn every single sheet of blueprints for this house. We sit down together and talk about what we want this place to be and Darren gets busy measuring and figuring out how to make our vision a reality. We had settled on a plan and figured out where everything should go and then I went upstairs after they raised the roof…and the view! I had no idea how pretty it would be looking across the field and into the woods. We had planned on having our bedroom on the back of the house but once I stood there and saw the view from the front, I knew I would die a little bit if we didn’t have our bedroom on that side of the house. So Darren very patiently redesigned and redrew pretty much every part of the house so we could move the bedroom.

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Darren draws while the cat and I mostly just look at pretty pictures on the internet and say, “Put that there. Move this here. Ándale.”

I would tell you he’s a saint, and probably he is, but last night he coerced me into digging out the basement floor with a shovel and since we were there until 1:00am and almost got eaten by werewolves wolves, I haven’t quite forgiven him yet. He did buy me a pair of steel-toed boots as a peace offering…which actually worries me a little bit…?… :]

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The whole upstairs is framed in and I like walking around up there getting a feel for the size and layout of the rooms and imagining what everything will look and feel like once it’s done.

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This week all kinds of equipment has been rolling around as a foundation for a small addition is dug out and the yard undergoes extensive landscaping. We are working against the clock trying to get the foundation in place before winter takes hold.

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We are a long ways from done, but we’re a long ways from where we started too…and that feels good :]

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The Best Things in Life

DSC_0554The other night I made one of my grandma’s much-loved recipes–homemade pie crust topped with sugar-glazed strawberries and homemade whipped cream. I remember picking strawberries with my grandma out of her garden when I was a little girl. I love that the recipe card is written in her hand and I always think of her busy in her kitchen when I pull it out.

DSC_0536Speaking of strawberries…I curled up in bed with a big bowl of them the other night and dipped one right after the other in Nutella. Pure bliss ;]

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Katniss likes to wake Darren up every morning…by sitting on his face ;] They are snuggle buddies and I love them both to pieces.

Sometimes the best things in life are the small things…like strawberries and kitty cats

Life Lately.

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Two of my dearest friends came to visit for the week.

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We talked and laughed and explored the streets together and were reminded why we have loved each other so much from the start

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Who couldn’t love a friend with penguin socks?

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We ransacked the dessert section in my favorite Italian coffee shop

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And explored all the beautiful streets and corners of some of my favorite towns. I could take a picture of every perfect little piece of New England architecture

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And perfect little bird houses too

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The other day after exploring my favorite bookstore I came home with lots of old maps, a book printed on a letterpress with raised words you can feel when you run your fingers over the page, a stunning book of American poetry with a bunch of my favorite authors all wrapped up between the same two covers, and a little bitty book of Shakespeare too :]

The trees are blushing crimson in the warm light of spring

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And the sunshine is warming everything up

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And these two are warming my heart up :]

To Fresh Woods and Pastures New

Yesterday, Darren and I closed on our new home. And by new I mean new as soon as we rebuild it kind of new ;]

We bought a little Colonial built back in 1860—you know, the year Abraham Lincoln was elected President and the Pony Express was still delivering the mail. So yes, she is old and she is a fixer-upper. But we love all the old New England charm about her and even though I’m certain we don’t yet fully know what we’ve gotten ourselves into, we are excited and thankful for this new road we’re on.

I was starting to feel like we had looked at every piece of real estate in the whole entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts and there was nothing for us. But here we are. Now we own an old Colonial in a quaint little New England town. We have a big yard and woods behind and before us—I can’t explain how much the yard and woods mean to me. I have a nice sunny spot picked out to plant my first garden and we are within walking distance to the lake where we can swim and canoe. There’s a nice flat road for riding bikes and my very favorite book store is just a few miles away. I’m really, really thankful.

Please remind me of these pretty words come the middle of this project because I will probably be threatening to burn the whole place down once I’m covered in paint and sheetrock dust. I’m moody like that. Oh, and I give up easily so this should go really well ;]

Seriously though, I’m excited about preserving this old house that has seen so much and adding our own lives and memories to her walls. I’m excited about walking out into the yard and working in the garden, excited about jumping in the lake, excited about watching the trees blossom and the leaves fall as we work away on making this very old house our home.

I’m thankful that old things can be made new and that so much of what’s broken can be fixed…not only in old houses, but in our lives too.

Here she is. I call her Abigail. Don’t judge her–she needs a touch of lipstick and rouge–most ladies do, you know.

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And the view…

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“And so you sign a mortgage but also body and soul, spouse and children over to an idea that will soon become a joy and a burden, a black hole that devours every molecule of your time, money, and spirit. Yet even when you discover that the only thing keeping the place from blowing away is the weight of the mouse droppings in the attic, you wouldn’t have it any other way. If this is the case, you might be one of those old-house people, a peculiar kind of maniac who is one part ability, one part inventiveness, two parts determination, three parts romanticism, and six parts damn foolishness.”  {George Nash from Renovating Old Houses}

I think maybe we fit the part? ;]

“Tomorrow to fresh woods and pastures new.” {John Milton}

To Boston

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Boston, city I have loved since I first set foot on the cobblestone streets. The place where Darren asked me to marry him standing by the water on the Back Bay. The place where we spent some of the first days of our marriage. The first place people want to see when they come to visit me and the place I love exploring still.

I can’t understand why people hurt each other. There is so much violence in the world but it’s easy to forget about it until it happens in a place you love.

I don’t know what to say. I don’t understand it. All I really wanted to say is that today my heart is with Boston and the people there.