Autumn Equinox

There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:

A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 Message Paraphrase

This scripture is often overused in the "how does scripture fit into my life?" context, and overlooked as a whole and the words it is padded between. A text written to bring immediate awareness and urgency to living with eternal purpose, among other sub-themes. 

Written by the wealthiest King and person alive to date, it is sourced from the well of wisdom that is tapped in the real life experience and surroundings of a very literal, "all that money can buy."

Today is the Autumn Equinox, a literal shift in seasons, and there is a certain sense that I am on the tail end of a season familiar to the Ecclesiastes 3 black and white type rhythm. The past few months have been a deep exhale in walking through the deaths of both my Grandpas, the births of my little girl and a new nephew, the end of friendships because of circumstances of embarrassment and pride, the forging of new friendships built around dinner tables and chocolate chip cookies, and a handful of other beginnings and ends.

And in it all, there has developed a grit to come forth as gratitude. Gratitude that God Almighty Himself chose to fill the transcript of a King with these words. Words developed inside of a man whose lifestyle could be interpreted and taken as a "yeah, but he has it ALL," ignorance without this recording. A call to remembrance that He Himself is the gold in it all, that Kingdom urgency is real, and that partnering with God in the renewal of all things is literally the only breath of meaning inside us. A choice to inhale the beauty in the midst of pain, mess, chaos, and life's inevitable ups and downs.

In a new season both externally and internally, it is my prayer that the opportune time for every happening, day in and day out, take their place in a way that calls down Heaven and advances the Gospel message a bit further in the lives that surround me. That endings are taken with as much joy and new beginnings, simply because I know eternity is written deep inside of it all, and therein lies a hope and purpose so great we understand but a fraction of it all. May it be my season now and always, and may it be so for you as well.

*And because I'm a sucker for a good visual reminder, below is a tutorial for a dried orange fall garland to hang up in your home, the space you begin and end all your days inside. I hope that when you see it, you are reminded that in all seasons: the good, the difficult, the healthy, the sick, the ones full of wealth, and the ones that are made up of little, He is the gold in it all. Breathe Him in a bit deeper, let His purpose and gold settle as truth a bit deeper.


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Dried Orange Garland

Materials:

  • oranges (you choose how many!)
  • needle + thread
  • baking sheet
  • parchment paper
  • any extra fun fall finds you like
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How to:

  1. preheat oven to 250 F
  2. slice oranges 1/4 inch thick
  3. pat dry liquid from oranges
  4. line a sheet with parchment paper and lay out orange slices so that they don't overlap
  5. bake for three hours, flipping at the 1.5 hour mark
  6. thread with any extra fall finds you want to add
  7. (^Target craft section for the leaves we used in ours)

senses + design

I love good food, y'all. ( I know, I know, what does this have to do with interiors? Just go with it for a second...) I love the way food jazzes up tastebuds, scents my home, the visual of dishes prepped with color and texture in mind.  And then of course, sitting down with people, engaging in something that is so necessary to survival, the thankfulness of every meal, realizing that you have been given something that so many people are lacking even in the modern world. I don't want to take food for granted. You know the "there's nothing to eat!" when you're staring into a full fridge type greed. That's for the birds.

I have always loved good food, and in the past several years I have found that the distinctive ways food pulls attention to my senses, great design and decor implementation can do the same in their own flavor. Anything from a lush bedroom where you share naps with your babies and sweet moments with your husband, to a dining table backdropped with heirloom silk curtains. There are stories to hear, candles to smell, glorious meals to eat, textures soft for baby feet or roughly hewn by calloused hands, and a color palette established by a generous God to lavish it all with. Spaces I don't want to take for granted, or find myself wishing I had more to fill it with than what my season is providing. Similar to the "there's nothing to eat" type thing, but maybe even more profound in the ways that shaping and designing your home can shape and design gratitude that spills over in everything seen, done, created, heard, spoken, felt, and tasted there.

Design by Touch:  Thorny stems juxtaposed by delicate dried petals. 

Design by Touch: Thorny stems juxtaposed by delicate dried petals. 

Evan and I co-led a small group this Spring, one night raising the question,  "what makes a comfortable environment?" In that moment I just felt the heaviest Holy Spirit deposit that it is the ways in which we interact and fill the senses that the Lord has already established in us, that lend themselves to comfort and a connectivity. Maybe it was something I needed to hear as we were preparing to make a move, something whispered so I would buck up, look past the boxes, and see instead the gratitude that overflows when moving into a new season of life in a new home. I just haven't been able to shake that concept since.

Design by Taste:  Pretty little woodland bits and bobs, and something on deck to munch or sip when guests stop by. 

Design by Taste: Pretty little woodland bits and bobs, and something on deck to munch or sip when guests stop by. 

Design by Touch:  Sheepskin rugs from now until forever for tired Momma feet and squishy baby buns.   

Design by Touch: Sheepskin rugs from now until forever for tired Momma feet and squishy baby buns.

 

Think about all your favorite places and moments in life, I imagine they are all tied to a subconscious sensory overload. I'm not talking only about the things money and Anthropologie's home section provide. I remember being on a mission trip in Belize during high school and having one of those said moments: sitting in a leaky, tarantella friendly, wooden, and stilt raised hut, rain pounding the tin roof, howler monkeys screaming from neighbor trees, dim reading lights lighting up silhouettes of bodies around me. A small bunkbed maze of friends and Belizean locals, talking about the ways we experienced seeing real poverty for the first time up close in person that day, and how the village women made tortillas better than any sweet corn we'd ever tasted. Moments full of senses alive, spirits vibrant.

Design by Smelling + Seeing + Hearing:  Favorite scents billowing, favorite cinema images reeling. A dino here and there never hurt anyone either, am I right? 

Design by Smelling + Seeing + Hearing: Favorite scents billowing, favorite cinema images reeling. A dino here and there never hurt anyone either, am I right? 

Design by Smell + Sight:  We love bringing the outdoors in. Aspen branches in the cold months, pretty bloom in the warm.

Design by Smell + Sight: We love bringing the outdoors in. Aspen branches in the cold months, pretty bloom in the warm.

An essence I hope my home will capture. I have been doing design decision making for our most recent move based off of sensory benefits, and sticking to what I like, not what trends are telling me to be lovely and appropriate. It feels right. If you're in a design rut, or feel uninspired, lacking in energy when home, give it a try. After all, basic holiness has the power to permeate both things and people, and if we can somehow engage that concept via the gift of our God given senses, why shouldn't that start in our homes?

Forever happiest at home.

Forever happiest at home.

bring home the flowers

I read recently a challenge to learn the difference between hearing and listening. A few days later, Evan came home with a bundle of pretty blooms, not knowing that the week would hold bad news of loved one's health, and a brief hospital jaunt to monitor baby girl's growth.

The week ended with bedrest, a healthy little girl, bed head/no makeup on repeat, and the strange, sorrowful anticipation of a Grandpa soon to be in the most wonderful of all sleeps. I'm not sure how the Holy Spirit works but I do know that in the middle of this crazy, He spoke to my husband to fill our home with my favorite comfort element in fresh flowers, He spoke to friends to drop off the sweetest gift bundles, and baked goods (aiding this momma's sweet tooth and two year whirlwind going cabin fever crazy), and He spoke to women I admire to pick up their phones, call, and pray with me in real time. God promptings illuminating humanity to her best form.

Today I remembered that challenge, pre-flowers, pre-bedrest, pre-crazy. Learn to listen. New eyes, new posture. I picked up the first thing I saw in the binding of a small black hymnal. One that only found it's way into our room because it matched the color-scheme (I'm not that holy), and flipped it open: "By thine all-sufficient merit, raise us to thy glorious throne." Words simple and true turned holy fire and alive among the walls of my living room. I'm learning more and more that our dwelling spaces are perhaps the most profound places for God's voice to speak. Places where we are at our most natural, most relaxed, most stressed, most ______ version of ourselves. The walls and rooms where we cry, laugh, bring babies home, and cook meals of comfort within. And it is there that the Gospel is opened up to us in the unique measure of our availability to enter into it in all our realness.

This week, this little black hymnal, listening to the voice of God speaking in my own home: The Gospel isn't just for the elite, it isn't just for the intellectually driven to pick and prod at, it isn't just for those who believe. The Gospel is for everyone in all walks, seasons, and crazy weeks of life. Let's learn to be listeners, not just hearers. Learning to listen as flower gifters, and conversational streams of hope to those who feel like they are at the end of their rope, or those who very literally are shutting out this world with sleepy eyes. Listening and engaging as the human touch to deliver the eternal assurance in all situations, to go beyond just hearing a feel good scripture, and actually engaging it in all of life's complexities, so that Spirit of God can raise all circumstances Heavenward, and call His people by name that much louder to His glorious throne.

And in between it all, if you have the urge to bring home the flowers or to put the heirloom hymnals up on your shelf, even if only because they match your color scheme, do it. The Holy Spirit works in our lives and dwelling spaces profoundly when we simply listen to the placement and outlining of the Gospel sound singing out in the walls and the people who make them home.

why the details matter

 

I am a home body. Truly, I can hermit like the best of them, so it is a bit ironic that so much of husband and my jobs require us to spend time outside of the home. Life in ministry is fast paced and for a youth pastor and social media marketer, so much of our work lies outside the walls of our dwelling space and intermingled among other people and places. 

And yet, walking through my front door has the power to settle my shoulders, and drop task lists. It is a place where every paint color, every fabric choice, every bit of detailed importance comes from the ways God has uniquely wired my likes, desires, and aesthetics to come alive all around me. In that way, home becomes more than just a place to sleep, eat, and get dressed, it becomes a place where the God colors of your life are able to paint themselves true, and invite others in on the journey.

Pictures, little bits and bobs snuck from the floors of Rocky Mountain National Park, bits and bobs Evan and I collected while we were still dating, my stuffed dog now sitting guard in my kid's room, old furniture loved by by Grandpa, brass candlesticks from the collection my mom and I hunted down for my wedding, trinkets passed down from my mom's mom's mom. Your home can be an heirloom marked by legacy and honor if you choose it to be. It can be place where God can breathe into the details to remind us of the people, places, and moments He has filled our lives with. A place for purpose and potential to build alongside physical reminders of purpose fulfilled and potential struck. This is why the details must matter to Him. Details that can serve as conversations starters, invitations into our testimonies. There is power in the details. The Bible says the Holy Spirit has the power to permeate both people and things, and I believe it.

So here is some spring inspiration to clean house. Fill your space with the things you find beautiful or purposeful. Fill it with the things that point you to His goodness. His beauty unique to your life. Fill a bag (or two or three) with the things no longer useful or stuffed away for too long and drop them off at your local Good Will. It feels reallllll nice to clean house in this way, try it, try it!

If Heaven is to invade earth, may it start with the literal design of the what you see every day in your home. And let's be real, Heaven is going to be some kind of beautiful wonderful, an understatement of I've ever heard one, and I for one invite even a tiny portion of that wonder as deeply into my home as this side of Jesus' return will allow.