Dreams of Seventeen

Growing up, I found a hidden gem amidst my parents’ books, an interior design, “how to” book from Seventeen Magazine.  I was far from seventeen, but loved dreaming of what I could do in my own room.  I remember closing my door, turning on the radio, and pushing furniture around with all my might, as quietly as possible.  I feared my parents coming in and seeing that I was changing things around, AGAIN.  When I walk in that same room today, I wonder how I ever created so many configurations.  It isn’t that big of a space.  Creativity was paramount.  I wanted a functional, fun space.  And moving furniture and creating what was lacking were my priorities.  I loved this world so much that I often toyed with majoring in interior design prior to college, but when the program folded and teaching seemed more practical, I put that thought on the back burner.  {and then later became a Recreation major….go figure}

Now in my 30s, I am glued to Pinterest, design blogs and get wrapped up in creating a functional, organized, welcoming and cozy place.  More often than not, I am growling and groaning to myself as I let stacks get higher and higher, laundry remain unfolded or projects stay unfinished.  It often feels like there is just too much inspiration around.  Too many possibilities and not enough chutzpah to accomplish the to do list.

And in comes a fun ebook from one of my favorite blogs, The Inspired Room.  When Melissa Michaels wrote  Not a DIY Diva:  How to Create an Authenically Inspired Life in a Pinterest World and gave readers the chance to preview her book, I jumped at the chance.   For me, the opportunity to focus on authentic living is the crux.  Finding a way to use the space we are inhabiting to invite conversation, play and comfort.  Having two young boys means we live authentically whether we like it or not.  I can attempt to have clean up parties and find perfect locations for each and every item and then….the next day comes and the process begins again.

Case in point.  New to us Craigslist couch.

(Drew is testing it out….)

And again.  The same couch 2 days later.  With added Alex “improvements”.

I love how Melissa focuses on embracing the stage of life you’re in, yet still seeking to “find simple ways to really live it, creatively and appropriately.”  To realize that life with children and pets is messy and unpredictable, forcing us to let go of our need for perfection and see the blessing in the midst of the chaos.    She shared a quote from an unknown author, and I think it unknowingly has become my mantra, “Cleaning the house while the kids are still growing is like shoveling snow while it’s still snowing.”

As she suggests, I have been trying to instill some habits and routines…to create a few road markers in the chaos of everyday life.  These road markers might be “Trader Joes first thing Monday morning with the weekly plan for meals mapped out.”  Or, “Laundry–washed, folded and put away–on Wednesdays.”  Or, collecting all the trash from bins on Sunday morning before leaving for church.”  {seriously, I have NO idea why that’s become a habit, but it has.  No rhyme or reason.}  Making our bed each morning.  Having a clean kitchen and empty sink each night.  However, this list is painfully short.  To be added?  Regular house cleaning/picking up.  Watering plants.  Mopping the kitchen.  Vacumming {and we have a robot vacuum, so I’m not sure what my hang up is!}.  At some points in our lives, we have gotten very ambitious about these tasks.  Mostly, pre-kids.  Or….hired out to have the house cleaned.  Best idea ever, especially for the longevity of one’s marriage and sanity, but not financially feasible for us at this point.

All this aside, I love how Melissa focuses on Simple Daily Rituals.  Small ways to accomplish daily tasks.  And then having the forethought to smother everything in a whole lot of grace.  Because life happens.  Kids are busy and playing and exploring.  You run out of detergent or forget to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer.  And frankly, at the top of the Simple Daily Rituals list is often, sit on the couch and veg out after a long day.  Does that count as a ritual??

I can’t recommend this ebook enough.  $3.99 well spent.  A means to assuaging your decorating disasters or failed attempts at DIY and sink into the life that is happening around you in the here and now.  Which for us means, lots of loads of muddy, sand-filled laundry; day-in and day-out tasks of packing lunches & washing dishes; chasing kids, attempting to ensure their safety and loving them in the places we find ourselves daily.  The reminder in Melissa’s book is that those are the exact places of true beauty, to be savored.

Here’s some savor-worthy pics of Alex’s Halloween decorating….he’s got STYLE.

And a little update of Alex’s new work space and art gallery

(necessitated after finding 50+ pieces of art taped on the wall and 4 GLUED to it….did I remind you lately that we’re RENTING???)


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