Wednesday, October 31, 2012

31 days of change :: day 31 {dear change... and october}

Dear Change (aka October),

Thank you for your super long visit this month... like, suuuuuperrrr long.  It was so great to spend quality time together  You got all in my personal space this month... talking about overwhelming changes... attitude changes... spending & shopping changes... changing centerpieces... and changing homes.  And although I know you will be back to visit again soon... I am so ready to stop writing about you.

Committing to blog about change for 31 straight days was both incredibly rewarding and incredibly challenging.  I learned a lot about myself during this process and I am extremely proud of myself for sticking it out and posting the entire 31 days of October.  But as for the whole "31-day-series-thing"... I am so ready to quit you.  You have no idea how excited I am to blog about something completely unrelated to change... or heck, not blog at all for a couple of days.  As of right now, I don't see myself participating in a month-long challenge like this again... but who knows... by the time next October rolls around, I'm sure I will have forgotten all about how long and painful this month-long series was.

And while "change" was the main focus for the month of October, there was a lot of other cool stuff going on that didn't quite make it into the blog post line-up.  I'm thinking an October-photo-recap-post is in order soon...

October (and change), thanks for being awesome.  November, I can't wait to see what you have in store...


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

31 days of change :: day 30 {embracing change}

Change is going to happen.

That, my friends, is certain.  But through this 31 day series, I've learned it's not really about the actual change itself... but rather how I respond to change.  I can fight it... merely accept it... or embrace it.  I desire to do the latter.

The definition of "embracing" is to take up willingly or eagerly.

Eagerly, people.  What would it look like for me to not only embrace change, but to do it joyfully?!?

Crazy concept, I know.  But if I'm super honest, I know this will be tough for me.  I'm usually pretty good about sucking it up and persevering through challenging change... but not before whining to Lance about it, calling my mom for a pity party, and having a small anxiety attack.  But what if I embraced the changes ahead of me??  Eagerly embraced them??  And (gasp) even got excited about them??

The awesome part is that I truly can get excited about embracing change... because I don't have to face it alone. I have a powerful God that not only brings about change, but also allows me to eagerly face it head on with His strength.

For the month of October I'm doing a 31-day series on "change."  Go here to see the full line-up of "change" posts.

Monday, October 29, 2012

31 days of change :: day 29 {fighting change}

I began this 31 day series on change mainly thinking about the sheer amount of overwhelming change going on in our lives currently...  pursuing adoption... buying a house... renovating said-house... job transitions... new leadership roles... etc, etc.  One thing I didn't really expect to think much about was my own inner-battle with change itself.

I fight change.

I do.  I didn't really realize it before... but I do.  My natural inclination is to fight what feels different... to fight the unknown... to fight anything outside of my comfort zone.  I like consistency.  I value routine.  I appreciate preparedness.  And when I can't get those things, I kind of freak out.  Like, pure-overwhelming-anxiety-attack-freak-out.  It wasn't really until this 31 day series that I truly realized my desire to fight change.

And it's not that I don't believe that change can be a good thing... because I do.  I mean, honestly... all of our overwhelming changes are good things right now... adoption- duh... new house- yes... renovating said-house- of course...

So, why do I still fight it?  

Because it's unknown.  Because I can't plan for it.  Because it's beyond my control.  And I'm finally beginning to learn, that it's that place of vulnerability that is the very best place to be.

For the month of October I'm doing a 31-day series on "change."  Go here to see the full line-up of "change" posts.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

31 days of change :: day 28 {change challenge}

As I round out the last.three.days. of my 31 day series, I thought it would be a good idea to focus my posts on my thoughts & reflections over my past month of change.  To be honest, I'm pretty shocked that I've made it this far.  Blogging for a full month straight... especially on the same topic... has been a challenge to say the least.  I'm hoping to take some time to myself over the next few days and really reflect on what the past 31 days has been for me... good and bad.

How are you challenging yourself this week?

PS... HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!  I love you!

For the month of October I'm doing a 31-day series on "change."  Go here to see the full line-up of "change" posts.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

31 days of change :: day 27 {changing seasons & ingredients}

It was in the 70's on Thursday... then in the 40's yesterday... and then the low tonight is 39*.  Thirty.nine.flippin.degrees people.  That is cold.  I'm not quite mentally prepared for the weather shift... but I am pretty freakin' excited about the holiday seasons around the corner.

So excited, in fact, that I think I'll be making some of these:

Pumpkin spice cookies... aka, the best cookies in the world.

All you need are these 3 ingredients: {1 box of Spice Cake mix :: 1 can of Pure Pumpkin (not to be confused with pumpkin pie filling) :: 1 container of Cream Cheese icing}

Combine the Spice Cake mix with the can of Pure Pumpkin...

Put some elbow grease in it and you should eventually get something that looks like this...

Plop out some big spoonfulls onto a couple of cookie sheets. {I decided to make cookies, but Tales From the Fairy Dust and Chicago Cuisine both did theirs cake-style... whatever suits your fancy.}

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 12-15 minutes. {They should feel slightly firm to the touch.}

Let these bad boys cool down for a while, then slather them up in Cream Cheese icing.

If your feeling a little adventurous, go ahead and give them a little cinnamon shake-down.

Then, find a comfy spot at the table (or counter top) and enjoy your not-so-hard labor.

Go ahead... have another. I won't tell.

 For the month of October I'm doing a 31-day series on "change."  Go here to see the full line-up of "change" posts.

Friday, October 26, 2012

31 days of change :: day 26 {changing homes}

We are in the process of buying a new (old) home... it's barely a half a mile from our current house... right across the train tracks.  I was really hoping that we would be closed by now.  But not so.  We have been in this process for almost 3 months now.  We put the original offer on the house back in August.  Fun times.  But... word on the street is that we just might close in the first week of November.

And that's just when the real fun begins.  This awesome brick home is well over 100 years old and needs a lot of TLC.  The previous owners have been renting it out and the renters haven't exactly taken great care of things.  Not to mention that the house is currently divided into a multi-family house... one apartment upstairs, and one apartment downstairs.  We'll be tearing down walls and rearranging the space back into a single-family home.  This house has great bones, but man-oh man, do we have our work cut out for us...

When you walk in the main front door you are greeted with the gorgeous original staircase.  I love, love, love the banister.  Currently to the right side of the stairs is just a giant wall... and on the other side is the downstairs apartment.  Item #1 on the renovation list is to knock a big open doorway in that wall.

When you walk in the other front door (the one under the front porch), you are greeted with this...
A hot mess.  Hurry, quick... if you are allergic to ugliness, shield your eyes.  Because here is a close up of the kitchen...
I warned you.  Checkered floors... a yellowed drop-ceiling... horrendous green cabinets... and a lot of trash leftover from the last tenant.  But don't worry... we have big plans for this space.

Here is the living room area if you're looking back towards the front door...
Try picturing it with a huge open doorway on the right... open to the entryway and that gorgeous staircase.  It's hard, I know... just trust me.

Then if you head upstairs, you are welcomed by apartment #2 and kitchen #2.  The plan here is to turn this space into another bedroom... but that is way down the list.  The majority of our living space will be downstairs... our living room, kitchen, master bedroom, and laundry room will all be on the first level.  The upstairs is actually in fairly decent shape and can stay as-is for a while... at least until we can afford to continue renovations.

Here is one of the upstairs bedrooms... this is the biggest one, by far.  There are 2 other "bedrooms" upstairs, but one of them is the size of a large closet, and the other one doesn't have a closet... and will probably become my office.  I love this big bedroom though... faux fireplace and all.

So, there you have it.  Consider that the first official "tour" of the new house.  Praying that we actually close on this house soon so we can begin to make it a home!

 For the month of October I'm doing a 31-day series on "change."  Go here to see the full line-up of "change" posts.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

31 days of change :: day 25 {pocket change & piggy banks}

Note: If you're looking for today's Thankful Thursday post... it's right below this one... or you can just click here.

I think I've spent all of my pocket change this month.  Every.single.penny.  

Okay that's not entirely true... actually, the real story is that it's 11:34 pm and I don't know where to go to spend my pocket change this week.  I tried to convince Lance to go to the grocery store with a bunch of quarters to buy me a Dr. Pepper for the morning... but based on the content of this post, we can all guess how that turned out.

So, since I've basically spent all of my pocket change in one month, I thought I would scour Pinterest to get some ideas for where I can start saving my pocket change again... aka, a piggy bank.  Man, piggy banks have come a long way since I was 8.  Dang... I need some of these...


Yep... I'm pretty sure I'll be making that last one:)  Happy Thursday friends.

 For the month of October I'm doing a 31-day series on "change."  Go here to see the full line-up of "change" posts.

thankful thursday {link up}

{Link up your own Thankful Thursday post below...}

This Thursday I am thankful for...

1) Sea Salt Caramels.  OMG.  Have you had these things before?  Lance bought some from Costco the other day, and they are amazing.  Such a great treat.

2) Study dates.  Especially with this guy:)  Tuesday night I stayed up late to help Lance study for a quiz he had yesterday... we had notecards and everything.  And Lance said he knew all of his verses!

3) Christmas aisles. Woop!  Woop!  Yep... as usual, the retail industry is way ahead of the game and already has Christmas stuff out well before Halloween.  And as much as I hate to skip over Halloween and Thanksgiving, I can't help but get absolutely giddy when I spot an entire aisle dedicated to Christmas.  Cannot.wait.

What are you thankful for this week? Grab the Thankful Thursday button from the right sidebar and link up your own post below. Be sure to visit the other Thankful Thursday participants and share the love!!

Also linking up with:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

31 days of change :: day 24 {changing centerpieces}

Sometimes the best changes are the simplest changes.  

Take my mossy-little-tray, for instance... I bought the little tray and moss at Hobby Lobby over a year ago... I knew it would make the perfect centerpiece for the white pumpkins I purchased for my fall decor.  And it did.  

But then fall was over, and I wasn't quite ready to give up the mossy-little-tray... so I didn't.  I kept it around for my Christmas decor... and then my spring flowers... and then my Christmas in July party... and then this year's fall decor... and you get the picture.

Basically that mossy-little-tray hasn't moved an inch since last year.  But the contents nestled inside the mossy-little-tray change in the blink of an eye... and I love it.

{october 2011 :: last year's fall decor}

{december 2011 :: favorite santa}

 {april 2012 :: welcome home tulips}

 {may 2012 :: front yard roses}

 {july 2012 :: christmas in july decor}

 {september 2012 :: whole foods pumpkin}

{october 2012 :: right now}

What simple changes have you made in your own house that have the biggest impact?
For the month of October I'm doing a 31-day series on "change."  Go here to see the full line-up of "change" posts.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

31 days of change :: day 23 {changing someone else's home}

When all else fails and you can't decorate your own house... decorate someone else's!!

If you read my post from yesterday you know that I've been struggling to find the motivation to do much in my own house lately.  So thankfully my friend Jill volunteered hers.  Jill let me have free reign... and her entire decorating budget... an envelope with $88 and change in it:)  

I headed over to her adorable 1 bedroom apartment on Saturday afternoon to see what we were working with.  Then Sunday I took her envelope and $88 with me to do some quick shopping at TJ Maxx.  I knew I wanted to find some large wall art for over her couch, and I figured that would probably eat up the majority of my budget... and it did.  I only purchased 3 things at TJ Maxx... a cool vintage-looking framed world map for $50... a small colorful canvas print for $10... and a cute burlap pillow for $17.  Total... about $82, after tax.  So after TJ Maxx, I thought I would take a peek inside my own garage and see if I could find anything... sure enough, I did:)  My old coffee table... an old lamp shade... some sofa pillows... and these awesome pillows... All of which would sooner or later find its way to a yard sale or goodwill, so I decided I would way rather gift it all to my friend Jill!  Well, except for the purple pillows... totally indian giving those to Jill... until I want them back.  So yesterday after work, Jill bravely handed over the keys to her apartment and left me to my own devices.

Okay, okay... enough chit-chat.  Let's see some before-and-after pictures, shall we??  Here's Jill's living room before...

And... drumroll please... here's Jill's living room after...

Pay no attention to the cardboard corners on the map art work... I wanted to make sure Jill liked everything before I took price tags off.  Also... sorry for the dark "after" pictures... I started at about 6:00pm and finished at 8:00pm.  The trusty iPhone's not always the best for taking nighttime photos... sorry about that.  Never-the-less, you get the picture.  Hands down, the biggest statement piece in this room is the coffee table.  It's amazing what a simple hand-me-down coffee table can do for a living room.  I also really like how Jill's desk looks next to her sofa.  And Jill has an awesome rug that you couldn't even see before.  Overall, I'm quite pleased with how the living room turned out.

But wait!  There's more... I did a quick switch-a-roo in Jill's bedroom too!  Here's what we were working with before... (Jill apologizes in advance for the mess... please disregard...)

And here's the after...

I love, love, love that awesome vintage dresser.  Jill had just recently bought that piece at one of my own favorite antique consignment spots (Yesternook)... and I simply re-attached the mirror and moved it over to the side of the bed.  I love it there.  My purple pillows add some height and color to the bed.  The bowl-futon-ey-chair thing (technical, I know) was moved in from the living room... and that cute little turquoise chair came from the kitchen.  All simple changes, with big impact.

There you have it.  See, $88 dollars can go a long way.  The majority of the changes I made at Jill's apartment were free... rearranging furniture and shopping from around the house.  Go ahead... try it.  Happy changing!!  And thanks Jill for letting me play at your house!!
For the month of October I'm doing a 31-day series on "change."  Go here to see the full line-up of "change" posts.