With the arrival of the new year we always intentionally make space for pause. Our tradition has been to reflect on the old and gather words for the upcoming year. It was a big mess at our house. We had been working on the kitchen after Christmas with hopes of getting it done for Daniel’s parents. Anyway, we sort of pulled brunch off at the last minute and improvised with whatever food we had, it was nothing out of the ordinary, but the conversation was rich and meaningful. We did top 10s of 2015 and celebrated that fact that it was Juniper’s first New Year’s brunch.
Spent NYE and NY’s day grouting. Sweet husband
And putting things back
New Year’s Brunch: casting of vision, reflecting on top 10s, and general goofing around together
took a quick walk to the park to escape fumes this round
Drove out to Ezrah’s wedding early the next morning.
For 2016: Breakthrough. Family togetherness. Peace making. Discipline. a year of Great Expectations. This year Daniel got Proverbs3:5-6 for the family. Such simple common verses but we are seeing it through a fresh set of lenses. I feel as if I’ve leaned too much on my own knowledge and the irony about the straight path is that it is the most direct course, the most efficient course. For some reason, I always think of God as a slow God that goes in circles but here He promises a straight path.
2015 ReCap. The year of full of transition, unexpected freedom, unprecedented peace, and provision.
Jeremiah 33 was the scripture we received for 2015. The monthly review is below. Some day I hope to narrow the recap to 12 important photos but for now, it is a ramble of words. Continue reading →
thankful for traditions that hold us together when everything else feels crazy
thankful for our little Piper and that she is experiencing advent for the first time and hearing Em share the meaning of light with her just makes my heart swell up a bazillion times
Our sweet friend was in the Nutcracker so we went to support her and Em picked out the sweetest flowers to give her, we had a blast arranging them, too!
Proud of Emmy’s efforts to make her own stocking stuffers. Her ideas were a bit beyond our reach this year, no handmade notepads but cute little watercolored tags for her candy canes.
We’ve made speculaas many times before but never used the cookie molds. I saw my friend Emily had them last year and tried them out, they were much trickier than anticipated and I felt so grateful that she trusted me with her beautiful presses.
Got to attend a Christmas sing along with our friends, it was especially sweet this year because our family has been learning Noel Nouvalet and it meant so much for Emmy to see other families sing together.
roastery party and mandatory christmas pic.
The view from the garage. Love their chatter and giggles so so much.
Piper made wrapping gifts twice as challenging. For every gift I wrapped, she unwrapped two….i guess it’ll have to be a nap time task, haha.
The unseasonably warm (60 degrees) weather on Christmas eve made for a lovely outdoor dinner by our chimnea, so thankful for a covered patio, the cozy warmth of a fire, and the excitement and anticipation of Christmas.
So grateful my mom drove down to see us. Words could never express the depth of our love for them and how much it mean to host them.
shenanigans while baby sis sleeps
my favorite ornament time capsule this year. Emmy totally helped with the construct, too.
Sisters make school projects silly and fun!
I always love the anticipation that comes with advent, the imagery of dark to light. The way the entire world seems to lay down its frustrations and hurt to embrace giving, generosity, and seek out what it means to love. Continue reading →
Each year we make a few ornaments from collected ribbon, feathers, curiosities from nature, or tidbits from our travels. Our own miniature time capsules.
It’s incredible the stories each ornament invoke as we pull them out to hang. I still remember the day Emmy came running up to me with these, “baby feathers.” She was delighted to find them in a field after a morning run.
Making these ornaments is pretty simple. You only need:
some sort of filler to keep things in place: moss, lavender, straw (keep it light)
memorabilia: maps from a trip, dried flowers, ribbon scraps, lace, photos…etc.
The great thing is you can totally use these ornaments and tie into a story or other traditions. Instead of little gifts each day, our tradition are these advent tags. We set them out for Emmy to find each morning. They each have a scripture and a corresponding ornament or book. It started when she first began to count and I think it’s a definite keeper. These ornaments are also fun to make for others as well. One of our dear friends named their son, Cedar, so it was fun collecting from cedar trees and making a special ornament.
It may just be a wad of ribbons to one person, but to me, these ribbons of very specific hues hold a treasure trove of memories. Hope your holiday season is off to a merry and bright start! Enjoy the process of making yours and post a pic for me to see! XoXo!
Our house may be a mess but we love that we will always find home in our quirky traditions, stories, and simple moments of family togetherness. Cheers!
December Family meeting. Popcorn and hot coco. Got tricky with a bumbling baby, but it was fun!
Advent candles year #5. This year Emmy tells Juniper the meaning of dark to light. Our hearts could have burst into a million pieces then….
crazy mess, but Emmy is working on her ornament time capsule in the background
We feel as though we are living and breathing every breath wth thanksgiving this year. It’s really a great place place to be in. This has been an incredible year of transition
no bed, no mattress, no problem. #boxesarethebesttoys!
loved that Daniel took time to play with the girls amidst the boxes and hubbub of moving
piano dollies save lives.
Emmy was thrilled she got to ride in the passenger seat for the short drive back to Kansas st.
good bye Kansas st.
please don’t topple over, piano!
thank goodness for their strength
Loved the reflection.
Thankful for all the friends who’ve helped moved this piano over the years.
Unseasonably warm weather has brought us outside quite a bit so far.
Loving all the trees, autumn leaves, and leaf piles!!!
We feel as though we are living and breathing every breath wth thanksgiving this year. It’s really a great place place to be in. This has been an incredible year of transition. In January we completed our term as House church leaders for our, celebrated Emmy’s fourth birthday in February, welcomed Juniper into our family in March, spent the spring settling into our growing family, welcomed our nephew into the family in May and Summer: we discovered our landlord wanted to sell their rental, spent July and August exploring options, helping Daniel’s parents renovate all of September and early October, moving in October, business trip in early November, first extended family cabin trip, processing the folding of NCC and the changes that might result from laying down structure and release. Juniper caught her first cold right before Thanksgiving and we were all sick that week, made for an interesting Thanksgiving day in Tulsa this year.
Her favorite gingerbread house
She wears a cape everywhere.
Loved the beautiful red leaves outside our bedroom window, the fragrant evergreens we foraged, and the wetness of the rain.
starting to make our ornament time capsules, this year she takes the lead!
Tradition: Foraging for fragrant evergreens for our wreath.
Phil brook with Emmy. She remembers Warhol from Fred Jones and the OKCMOA, kinda fun.
So thankful that everything that was, is, and is to come. Thankful that mysteries we cannot grasp are bound together with goodness by a loving creator. And now, here we are, Advent.
Filled with hope and eager anticipation of the arrival of Christmas. The importance of remembering light casts out darkness. Setting down projects and expectations. Dark to light.
We are learning to embrace the messy process of moving these days. Discovering that “cozy” isn’t the way our house is arranged or the things within these walls. No. It’s our traditions, our stories, our quirks, and conversation that drives our family identity and cozy atmosphere. Thank goodness we’ve been cultivating those over the past few years. Thank goodness that nothing can erase them.
family costume theme: s’mores. So thankful we got to pull it off, it was the first year that Emmy chimed in at the family meeting with ideas. In the past we come up with a list and let her choose. love this tradition because of it transform candy-filled holiday to one about creativity
popcorn and pumpkin carving tradition
sitting by the fire to carve pumkins
There’s a giant pile of lumber for flooring and our floor-to-ceiling bookcase sits in the entry. Our home is neither settled nor cozy at the moment. Not going to lie, moving is much harder with two littles. Obviously. But, somehow I was naive enough to think we could renovate ourselves and have the whole place set up in a month. The reality couldn’t’ have been further from the truth.
bookcase in entry, crazy, ha.
piles of lumber everywhere. DK removing shelving that’s built into the walls.
We’re helping Daniel’s parents with their house and living there in the mean time. It’s been stretching but also a huge blessing because our landlords needed to sell the rental we were living in. Feeling uprooted from a tiny house we adore and moving into a construction zone wasn’t what we initially saw. We initially saw an opportunity to learn how to do things the old way, putting in hard wood floors, tearing up tile, whitewashing floors…etc.
We totally bit off more than we could chew, ha.
kitchen still in process
kitchen in process
Once we pulled up the title in the kitchen, we moved in, thinking that lumber would arrive and after it acclimated to the temperature, we could install hardwood, whitewash them and be done. The night before we began installing hardwood, we discovered the dishwasher had been leaking underneath the tile for years. The wood was soggy and there was mold. Yikes.
To make matters worse, we discovered a leak in the roof that ironically dribbled water behind the kitchen wall, funneling the water, into he same saturated area of the kitchen. No one knows how long this has been going on because it was in between layers of flooring and walls. The project was beyond us but luckily we had friends that could help us.
Everything came to a crashing halt. The ideas, the projects, the commitments. If I really want to engage my littles and create space for my heart and mind to wrestle through intentional living, I cannot plow through my projects. That’s a humbling reality for me. I love setting deadlines and knocking them out, better yet, finding the most efficient way to getting things done. But I simply couldn’t this time.
While it has been harder, it has also ironically been peaceful, too. I like the juxtaposition of truth with messy reality.
As I I sit by the fire and write, I cling to this truth: Cozy isn’t the way our house is arranged or the things within these walls. No. It’s the traditions, the stories, the quirks, and conversation that drives our family identity and cozy atmosphere. Thank goodness we’ve been cultivating those over the years. Thank goodness that nothing can erase them.
Some traditions might not be possible till we finish renovating, but others continue and I’m grateful for that.
I don’t ever want materialism to have a hold on my heart or my home. Typically, I allow my ideals to get the best of me. But this time, creating space to sit in the mess has helped me to embrace the truth. It just takes time.
As we prepare to move, we are combing through our home and looking for ways to purge. We are collectors by nature. I’ll pick up a mossy branch during a hike or a feather I come across. Daniel found a bird’s nest while mowing and picked it up (Emmy collects acorn caps and Piper nibbles on everything now, yikes!). I wanted to take a sec to jot down a few memories here and there.
Daniel jokes that he still remembers the day I went on a run and ran home with a sycamore branch. We like the idea of minimalism, but we just find the world around us beautiful and inspiring. We’ve definitely got our quirks and we are learning how to embrace them.
Our shoestring budget means lots of projects are in process. So, a little bit of this or that in jars and boxes. I’ve always got several ideas going and projects going at once, so lots of messes in the name of creativity. Living small has forced us to purge. Thank goodness. I never want my attachment to things of this world to be greater than my attachment to knowing Jesus.
There are so many vintage gems and beautiful finds out there. I know it will be tempting with more space to go collecting crazy. Still. Even if we had all the space in the world, I’d want to have a rhythm of review where essentialism is the key and we feel freedom from materialism.
We have willow trees around the corner from the park. On nature walks, we collect its fallen limbs and make them into little crowns. Emmy was three when we began making these and she now searches for pliable branches wherever we go for crowns, ha. Sometimes her ideas work and other times they don’t. Her latest idea was to use limbs from the crepe myrtle outside our window (We were helping our landlords trim them).
On this particular morning, Emmy was taken by the blooms on the crepe myrtle. We noticed they were beginning to wane and wanted to try fashioning a crown before they blow away. It was a slightly cooler morning. Not quite autumn weather but a whisper of what would be. She dressed herself and dashed outside for a few moments of play before school. It’s fun to embrace mornings with Emmy, she wakes with so many ideas. Plus, I love the sureness of the morning and beautiful soft glow of morning sunlight. It’s like a sweet invitation to begin the day.
I do feel silly sharing about the crown because I am acquainted several talented florists (you know who you are, thanks for inspiring me!). However, I love the simplicity of this project and the imagination that follows. The great thing is you can make this using any pliable branch and when you’re done playing, you can “give it back to nature.” We like to imagine that a bird somewhere uses its frame for nesting.
The one-step DIY:
Take three branches and weave or braid them into a loop.
(optional): You could use floral tape, wire, or a twist tie to help hold them in a circular shape if you’d like. I didn’t need to use them, though. If you want flowers, grab a branch with the buds.
Our house may only be 800 sq ft and the yard is plain but I love how a simple project like this transforms the yard. We imagined our yard to be an elfin hollow that morning. Imagine.
When we decided that slowing down was something we had to proactively cultivate, I decided that I would craft things the long way. To me this meant daily pour overs instead of the press, hand sewing, and carving out intentional space to wander. So much of my identity was wrapped up in work and what I produced. Maybe it’s the fact that I was pre-med or was it that I was IB? I don’t know, but I remember feeling guilty when I wasn’t studying during school. As a grown up it translates to doing everything from scratch and saying yes to way too many things. I share that because I don’t think I would have seen the possibilities of a plain yard without cultivating a habit of slowness. In taking time to be still, I’ve made a way for contentment and gratitude.
Anyway, it’s a joy to rediscover nature with Emmy. We’ve found crafting from nature to be a great way to slow down and be still.
So if you do make a crown, I’d love to see, share a pic with me! Cheers!