Autumnal Goodness

I am so ready for cooler weather!

For about a week it seemed that we were headed in the right direction but then this past week has just been icky and warm.

I hear that this weekend is supposed to bring lower temps though and I am so excited about it!

Normally I am all about the colors of autumn. The rich hues and deep tones are just beautiful to me.

But a few weeks ago my friend and styling wizard, Jessica, asked me to come over and do a photo shoot of her beautiful fall home decor for her blog and her neutral color palette was just so gorgeous!

You can check out her post here but I wanted to highlight a few of my favorite photos and things she did to welcome the season into her home.

Little side note…I am a sucker for HGTV and Claire was home sick this week and for the first time I watched a few episodes of Fixer Upper. What a neat show although some people’s budgets are eyebrow raising! (I am also a sucker for baking shows. Even, if not more so, the kids baking shows. We watched some kids bake off show that is hosted by Valerie Bertinelli and I have made pie crust from scratch, homemade bread, and an onion tart.)

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. Like most of us Jessica and her family live in a nice neighborhood in a track home. Meaning the houses all look very similar. When she had me come over one of the things I noticed right away was a change they had made to a wall in their dining nook area. The simple shiplap board added so much texture and character to that space! This is how she has it normally decorated.

For autumn she added just a few touches that add a little zing without being too much.

 She also kept it simple when it came to her table settings but I love the elegant look she created.

The whole thing came together in a picture perfect fashion that thrilled me and my camera. I mean, seriously. Look at this.

The thing that I really loved about Jess’s style was how she incorporated little touches throughout the open floor plan of her house. On one side of the living room she has the piano she painted and graced with some lovely fall tidbits and on the other side of the room on her fire place she added a smattering of autumnal fun.

In her formal dining room she kind of upped the classy with her beverage cart. A mix of textures and sparkle add just the right amount of pop.

My favorite (just slightly beating out that wonderful glittery pumpkin on the bottom) is the white pumpkin with white hydrangeas. The little bit of green from the leaves and that fabulous wooden pedestal bowl just pair so well together!

Autumn_decor_decorating_with_pumpkins

The really great thing about all of Jessica’s fall decorating is that she remembered that she has two little boys and made a special place for them.

This little tepee creates the funniest spot for the boys to play and read.

She also added a cute little colorful thankful banner for their space too.

All in all the house is welcoming and full of beautiful little touches of autumn. I can’t wait to see what she does for Christmas!

As Simple As Grapes and Cheese

I enjoy cooking and being in the kitchen.

I also enjoy having company and feeding people. Sometimes I find that I have made those two things more complicated that they should have been and I am able to enjoy neither one as much as I could have.

Recently we’ve discovered the joy that is purple grapes paired with white cheddar cheese. It is a culinary delight.

I try to keep both things on hand all of the time because it’s a simple but delicious way to be hospitable and welcome people into our home or just for us to enjoy.

fruit_white_cheddar_cheese

Have you seen that acronym?

KISS

Keep It Simple Stupid

I find it so funny but also helpful to remember.

It’s easy to fall into a place where good equals complicated.

Hard is be best.

If it’s difficult it’s worth more.

Sometimes that is true of course. If it is easily gotten sometimes that means it is of little value.

We shouldn’t shy away from the hard. Often times the struggle brings about the glory.

But I wonder if sometimes we make it too hard…complicate things unnecessarily?

A child believes and sometimes we complicate that with our unbelief. Surely they don’t really understand when really we are the ones who don’t understand. Their belief is full and complete but it seems too simple so it must be lacking.

There is therefore no condemnation…but we can’t completely let go of the guilt  or the person we were and the life we led so we make the new life hard by remembering and carrying the past into the now.

It’s wanting everything to be just right and perfect and sucking  the joy out of life in the process.

It’s opening the door to that little bit of doubt…not trusting…not believing…not clinging to Truth.

I wonder if sometimes we complicate things as an excuse. “I would but…”

To avoid the responsibility that comes with accepting and fully living in Truth.

But really life is better when we keep it simple. When we just believe and trust what He is doing and where He is leading us.

Simple, just like grapes and cheese.

fruit_and_cheese

What Inspires Me

Last week’s photography theme caused me no little problem.

So much so that I didn’t do it. Usually I may be late in just posting but I try really really hard to take the picture during the specified time frame. But last week I just could not make it happen.

The theme was inspiration and for the life of me I couldn’t nail down an image that would reflect what inspires me. Bits and pieces of an answer would waft through my brain but nothing felt right or had any real substance.

Then yesterday, Claire came running inside to announce “The world’s most beautiful rainbow, Mom!” And it was one of the brightest and fullest rainbows we’ve ever seen. Even the double was pretty visible.

As I took a picture, because of  course I ran inside for my camera, I realized it perfectly represented what inspires me.

It’s life itself showing evidence of both light and shadows, the rain and the sunshine, color and clarity, faithfulness and hope…the promise of God that He has not forgotten His people despite what the news would have us believe. We are not winning or losing because He has won. We are bold and fierce as we declare His goodness through our worship, our families and the art we create. His faithfulness to us is my inspiration be it found in the face of a newborn baby, the kiss of my beloved, or a bow flung across the sky.

Think on God. Dwell on His attributes. Let it inspire you to create beauty…the tangible kind with cameras or paintbrushes or clay, or whatever. But above all let it inspire you to live beautifully…to love beautifully in the midst of the light and shadows of your life, when it rains or when the sun shines.

A Couple Of Random Happenings And A Transformation

File this under “I Can’t Believe We Did That”: We knew we were having lots of extra guest at church this past Sunday (out of state friends were visiting one of our church families.) So, wanting to make sure there was plenty of food for our church wide meal, I made a huge bowl of homemade potatoes. That were placed in the microwave to be warmed up. And were then forgotten and they never made it back to the table to be eaten. Thankfully, we realized this after we got home and bless my poor husband’s heart, he went back to the church and brought them home. And I now have eight pounds of mashed potatoes in the fridge.

Can you freeze potatoes?

One other random happening: Our Walmart parking lot got repainted recently. The parking spots and white pedestrian lines are all super bright. I think it’s because they are nearing completion on the liquor store they’ve been adding to the main building.

Saturday saw lots of people helping us lay sod in our yard, front and back, as well as our neighbor’s front yard. In just under three hours our yard went from this:

To this:

There is some slight concern that my beloved is going to become one of the crotchety old men who yells, “Get off my grass!” now that he finally has a green yard. (FYI, the yard was not normally a huge brown square of dirt…that was from all of Rob’s prep work. He could just never get grass to actually grow in the yard no matter what he did so we just had patchy green spots and lots of weeds.)

It’s been kind of a sad process as every tree in the yard had to come down…two due to rottenness and my beautiful Bradford Pear was almost completely uprooted in a storm a few months back. Rob has been researching and plotting what kind of trees we’d like to plant next year though and in the mean time we spent all day yesterday working in the back flower bed and some time in the front bed.

Those two large rose bushes were transplanted to another spot along with one of the hydrangeas from the front. We’re keeping our fingers cross that they all survive the relocation.

I love container gardens and Rob agreed to using pots this year so we had quite the adventure picking out plants and pots at the Home Depot yesterday. What I learned? It is very easy to blow your budget and I have no sense of space when it comes to this kind of thing. I thought we would be cramming everything in to our little old garden bed. Rob laughed at me when I said that. He knows things.

Because we spend a lot of time outside we wanted to do as much as we could to deter mosquitoes so after doing some pinteresting I found out which herbs can be a deterrent to the irritants. Along with the Mexican Heather (one of my favorites) and the flowers we also planted some rosemary and lavender, both of which mosquitoes do not like. And since we like the functionality of herbs we also planted some mint and cilantro.

On the left side of the before picture of the flower bed you can see part of one of the two pots of the lemon grass (also a mosquitoes repellent) that we have by the gazebo.

We’ve a little more work to do out front still but we ran out of day light. For now I think we’re ready to grill, don’t you?