February 16, 2015

Front Entryway Lessons


I've learned a few things since I became a blogger a few years ago.

Things like:  Even if a basket doesn't regularly live beside your entryway bench,  a photo looks so much better if you stage the basket for a few moments while you snap a picture.





I used to think I couldn't do that.



Being an avid rule follower, this whole 'basket-posing' seemed awfully close to lying.

But then I got careless one day and tried it, and it made my photo look so much better, that I reached a new conclusion:


Not only am I not breaking a lying rule when I
pose an object for a photo that doesn't 
actually live there, 
but I am now committed to following a new rule 
which says you MUST add texture to your photos.


I know, I know....could I be any more naive?  I mean, I've known for awhile now that texture is important in a space, but the idea of adding texture simply for a photo's sake....and then taking it away when the photo shoot is over?


Scandalous.


(Total aside: For more insight on this texture issue, take a quick break and enjoy reading The Nester's post entitled Your New Favorite Color.  You might have a little non-rule-breaker ah-hah's of your own:)


Another thing I've learned in my blogging journey:


Like texture, greenery is a must for bringing life to a room or space. 





When you live in Alaska, you learn to stock up on any artificial greenery that doesn't look to plasticy, too Victorian, or simply too much.  It grieves me that I will never see real live hydrangeas, boxwood, or cherry blossoms right outside my front door, but I soothe myself by focusing on gorgeous mountains, frosted trees, and breathtaking sunrises & sunsets from our living room windows.


Plus, Michael's isn't too far away, and they have super sales and 40% off coupons.





And a third thing I've learned on this blogging journey ?


Sometimes you just don't have everything you need, 
nor all the skills required, 
to take the quality of pictures you would love to take.




Although I've learned a lot about my high-caliber Canon Rebel T1i, I still don't own my own tripod.  I also don't use special portable lights or white boards, even though I'm convinced these tools would radically brighten the dark areas of my photos considerably.


But now for the funny part about not having what you need.


See the right candle holder in the photo above?

See how it's missing the boxwood candle wreath so beautifully arranged around its left counterpart?


It doesn't have a candle wreath because I currently have only one boxwood wreath in my stash.

The thing is, TODAY I had the time and desire to do a little arranging and decorating in my front entry way, but I didn't have the time or desire to get in the car and find another boxwood wreath.

Which became a problem when it came time for photos.

My bossy rule-breaker voice shouted: "You can't post photos of your entryway wall with ONE boxwood wreath on the left candle only!!"

To which I had to agree.  It was coming mighty close to just plain tacky.


But another voice....one to which I seem to be listening more and more lately....whispered not unkindly:


I dare you.
I dare you to be unorganized.
To be unscheduled.
To be unfinished.  To be uncertain.  

I dare you to be.....
...Un-together.



So I took the dare.   








February 13, 2015

Lattes and Promised Lands


Over the last couple years, this blog has been a primary means for me to share creativity, chat about all things home, and occasionally share a deep insight or two.

In this post, I shared about my history of journaling.  Although I haven't included much journaling content on my blog, it may be working its way in more regularly.

I don't know what that means or where we will end up, but rather than analyze and ponder it to death, rather than force myself to have a plan and "work the plan".....


....I'm simply stepping forward.


Fireman would be so proud.

I love this guy.  This afternoon I went to make myself a latte and you know that little cup that holds the espresso grind?  It was still warm.  Still warm from when he made his latte a couple hours earlier.



And you know what?  It made my heart go pitter-pat.  Which tickled me because he wasn't even home anymore.  But something about that warm cup in my hand spoke to Fireman's very real presence here just moments earlier.  His partnering in my life.  Our shared love of afternoon lattes.  Of his being here with me day in and day out.

Committed to me.  Loving me.  Telling me I'm beautiful.

And taking my daughter on a Valentine's Date this very afternoon.

As John Candy would say in Planes, Trains and Automobiles:

Love is not a big enough word. 


But believe it or not, this post isn't about Fireman or Valentine's Day or lattes. 

It's really about a warrior named Joshua.  Who was probably as amazing as Fireman and would love afternoon lattes, too, especially because warriors undoubtedly need pick-me-ups midday just like the rest of us. 

But this post is also a little about something I'm learning. 


So let's go back to this morning, while I'm sitting with my morning coffee (not a latte this time) and my Bible ~ and my miniature schnauzer in my lap because spending the entire night curled into my back isn't quite enough snuggling ~ and I'm reading....you guessed it....in the book of Joshua, when one small verse hooks a thread of my attention.  But I keep reading because, after all, my annual read-the-Bible-through-in-one-year plan requires I cover Joshua 16-20 this morning, and I still have two chapters to go.



But my eyes keep flittering back, again and again, until finally I stop, take out my pen, and underline verse 3 in chapter 18:


How long will you neglect to go
and possess the land which the Lord God
of your fathers has given you?
Joshua 18:3


And I analyze.  And ponder.  Slowly now because I recognize there may be something He's trying to teach me here, but also because that's kinda what I do and who I am (refer back to above reference to analyzing and pondering).

I know from past study that Joshua is addressing the seven tribes of Israel who have not yet possessed the land which God has given them as an inheritance in Canaan.  And Joshua is getting after them to get a move on...to take action.

As I ponder, I feel a familiar charge rise up inside me, as is often the case for the 'good girl' I try so hard to be, to not neglect embracing my own promised land....because I recognize that the Israelites' promised land is a type and shadow of our own lives as followers of Christ.

And I can just see Joshua standing before these guys, tall and proud...probably with a spear in his hand, ready for an ambush from some "..ite" tribe nearby....wondering why on earth these guys aren't embracing their land, aren't obediently charging forward, aren't being proactive, aren't diving in headfirst to conquer any enemies that dare stand in their way?

And then I wonder, as I consider these passive tribes, what charging forward into my promised land would look like for me?

Because unlike Joshua, I'm more the cautious one, the one careful to weigh the cost, my heart willing and obedient but my flesh weak, longing to please my Father but unclear as to what possessing the land looks like in a day and age when we no longer wield swords and shields in the physical realm.

And I guess what I really want to know is, in this day and age, does possessing my promised land look more like a charge or an internal struggle?

I like to imagine it being an energetic attack, with me charging enthusiastically forward like Joshua, rapidly identifying flying darts from the enemy while adeptly blocking them with my trustworthy shield of faith.  Wind in my hair, victory music blaring, flushed with adrenaline.

Are you with me?

Yet what I suspect, and what God seems to be showing me ever so slowly and patiently, is that possession of my promised land may look a lot more like Katherine Morgan's description in a letter to her friend Elisabeth Elliot who, like Elisabeth, lost her husband early in their ministry together:


We received our orders, and we had to stick by them
 and carry our feelings in our pockets.  Many times 
my feelings would have led me to throw in the sponge....
Nevertheless God's plan has to be carried out.  
This is a hard lesson to learn, and it often takes a lifetime.  
But one must have the conviction that God has spoken
and then one must get busy and carry out the commandment. 


Just because I'm not feeling enthusiastic and ambitiously charging forward as in a war environment does not necessarily mean I'm neglecting to possess my promised land.

Instead, I think what I'm learning is that this day-to-day carrying out of what God has asked me to do right here and now, regardless of my feelings, is exactly the manner of commitment and obedience He is looking for in my life.

And in that obedience, that humility, that surrender, I will ultimately possess the land which He has promised to me. 


So today, not only did you get a little latte talk, a mini love letter to Fireman, and a glimpse into my journaling, but my greater hope is that you received a small dose of encouragement in your own promised land journey...even if you look absolutely nothing like Mel Gibson in Braveheart!


Jaimee