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September 2013

August 2013

The Power of Ambiance

The Power of Ambiencephoto credit

This weekend I sat down to write a dozen times to no avail, each unsuccessful attempt giving way to laborious, unglamorous housekeeping. I've worked to make no priority higher than the pursuit of words and truth; except this weekend, workouts, dishes, and laundry sat disenfranchising my right to write. Usually dishes can wait with the laundry and the cardio, but with a home wrecked from a whirlwind week I couldn't focus.

The professional [writer] is on a mission. She will not tolerate disorder. She eliminates chaos from her world in order to banish it from her mind. She wants the carpet vacuumed and the threshold swept, so the Muse may enter and not soil her gown. - Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

The muse refuses to enter an unkempt space, just as she does a chaotic mind. I imagine that keeping up my home clears the way for inspiration, and then lighting a candle invites her in. 

Rio Glow Candle -Bath & Body Works

Each morning I light a candle and watch the sunrise, basking in the stillness of a world waking up to another day. My Rio Glow candle from Bath & Body Works reminds me of walking down the beach at dusk, with the sun setting and the lights of the boardwalk twinkling.

Every day, light a candle. What a great reminder that life is short, that the only time that matters is now. 
- Regina Brett, God Never Blinks

Last week while procuring some new candles I learned that all my life I've been burning scented candles wrong. How can one possibly burn candles wrong? I always wondered why my scented candles waft through the air when they're fresh, but then lose their scents after the first couple mornings. Apparently, it's all in the method we use to extinguish a candle. When we blow out a candle instead of using the lid to extinguish it, it kills the scent. As soon as I stopped blowing out my candles, their scents lasted until their flames flicked for the last time. This is a lesson in nesting I wish I learned sooner!

This weekend, instead of spending the first four hours of my Saturday and Sunday drinking copious amounts of steaming coffee out of cozy mugs and writing, I spent the first four hours of Saturday and Sunday cleaning and renewing my space. Yesterday, one of my girls said, "Sometimes all I want is a clean space, and no one can help me with that." She's so right, the places we live are our own little domain in this world to steward and protect, and not even the best housekeeper can make our home feel all our own. 

Farmers' Market Kitchen Plaque from Hobby Lobby

After a successful housekeeping mission, I stopped by Hobby Lobby and snagged this wooden Farmer's Market plaque for my kitchen. It's a sweet reminder of my commitment to only put fresh, beautiful foods into my body (which includes cheese fries on Friday night).

Farmers' Market Kitchen Plaque 2

Our days of Farmer's Market produce are numbered as kids start school and we settle back into routines with memories of vacations and summer days turned to nights to keep us through the winter. Something about Fall's imminence makes me feel like nesting and recreating the place where I live. While my days in my first bachelorette pad are numbered at thirty-six, loving the place we call home is always essential to cultivating a good life. 

My encouragement today is to do whatever you need to do to love where you live. Clean, redecorate, bring fresh home flowers, burn candles - do whatever it takes to make your home feel joyful, peaceful, and inspiring. You should walk out of your home every morning feeling refreshed and ready for whatever the day brings, and walk back in at the end of the day exhaling with relief, breathing deep, grateful to be home.

Home & Hunger for Change

You Will Never Be Completely at Home

As we watch our final summer days slip by, I'm sipping vanilla lemonade with crickets competing with Maroon 5's Love Somebody in the background, finding myself hungry for change. Not the type of change that ushers in colder temperatures and fall leaves, but the turn of a season that a marks heart change. 

Last weekend, my friend Mariah was sick and didn't make our dinner date at Stella's on Colfax (one of my favorite places in Denver from the colorful seating at the Colfax location to the cozy house turned eatery in the Highlands), so I stayed in as a summer storm passed through, and watched a documentary called Hungry for Change. It's an inspiring film you can watch for free here (also on Netflix instant), and it left me thinking about home and the hunger for change.

I've learned a great deal the last few years since I left my home in California for Denver. Most of the things I believed about myself, about God, and about life have been turned upside down. There have been great times and tough times, but as the saying goes, it's the cracks that let the light in. When we go through hard things we emerge with something to say about them and an indispensable depth. Tough times pass through our lives like a summer storm, thunder echoing its approach, lighting striking suddenly, and then the rain comes, washing our wounds and reminding us we need to cry, think, and laugh every single day.

I urge all of you to enjoy your life, the precious moments you have. To spend each day with some laughter and some thought, to get your emotions going. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special. ā€• Jim Valvano

The last year hasn't been particularly difficult, but there's been this feeling that nothing is really wrong, but it's not really right either. I've been homesick, going back and forth between Denver and LA, boarding planes and attempting to apprehend home. Until this last trip, when I arrived back in Denver with the clarity and catharsis I prayed would emerge and the revelation that I will never be completely at home ever again, because part of my heart will always be elsewhere. This is the price I pay for the richness of knowing and loving people in more than one place.

I'll never feel completely home again, and that's ok. It's not just ok, it's the natural by-product of experiencing life in four cities. The strings of my heart will always be pulled by California, because ocean air and sunrise runs along the boardwalk made me who I am today. It's ok that I will always miss the way hot sand feels on bare feet running to the ocean. The oceans are as deep as the mountains are high, and there is no better choice; both were made so that we might have the "power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ" (Ephesians 3:17, NIV).

Mission Beach, California 2007

I often catch myself just going through the motions, hungry for change, and that's no longer acceptable. This is now the year of finishing what I start, from sticking it out in Denver, to doing all the things I put on a list for someday when time and energy intersect. It's time to settle in for a long obedience in the same direction. It's time to start looking ahead, instead of wondering if I should be going back, and it's time to live excited about life again.

This weekend, in that spirit of excitement and change, I toured a little house in Washington Park with a yellow eat-in kitchen and a claw foot tub. I've decided to move out of my beloved Denver Dreamhome at the end of September. It's time for fresh life and growth in Denver, in a new home, welcoming friends in as Fall descends.

The only opportunity you will ever have to live by faith is in the circumstances you are provided this very day: this house you live in, this family you find yourself in, this job you have been given, and the weather conditions that prevail at the ...moment. ā€• Eugene H. Peterson, Run with The Horses

Really Simple Syndication

Good morning,

You know those weekends you start out with big plans and then you find yourself at Monday morning without a dent in those ambitious plans? That's me today.

Saturday morning I woke up ready to tackle my to do list, poured coffee into my Kate Spade Skirt the Rules mug and...I got paged. I got paged a dozen times throughout the course of the weekend, and worked the majority of our two day reprieve.  

One thing I did manage to accomplish was the top priority on my fateful to-do list: Paper & Glam's RSS feed.

Blogging Black & WhiteA couple friends reached out to let me know the RSS feed for Paper & Glam stopped delivering updates. If you experienced this deficiency as well, I apologize profusely. I've migrated my RSS feed from FeedBurner (a free service from Google) to Feedblitz. We should be back in business, but you will need to subscribe again! =/

What's an RSS feed? An RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed publishes blog posts in a universal format (XML) allowing readers to receive updates in one consolidated space as opposed to visiting a list of favorite websites. RSS feeds are delivered via e-mail or an RSS reader. This ensures we don't miss an update from our favorite publishers and saves time!

Need a RSS reader? I use Feedly. It's simple, free, easy to use, and allows us to categorize our favorite blogs. For example, my Feedly is organized into the categories Christian, Scrapbooking, and Lifestyle.

Do you have a RSS Reader you love? Please share in the comments. 

It's time to scamper off to Corporateland and prep a fourty slide presentation for a client. If you're like me and started your weekend with big plans that didn't come to fruition, you're not the only one with dishes in the sink, laundry in piles, and a list of errands unran.

Remember, it's small steps every day for all of us. 

Enjoy your Monday,