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Life Update

Well as you any of you work from home mothers already know- summertime is HARD.  I have so many feelings about cherishing time with kids and also getting any work done.  I tried my best to find that delicate balance, but as you know, whether you work or not, its just plain hard.  I had all these goals for once school started- we were geared up for a fresh start in so many ways.  I was going to start making lunches in the evenings, go back to the gym, start writing on the blog again, stay on top of all the school papers and signing folders, etc.  You know sort of a New Year’s resolution type fresh start feeling.  And then, as many of you know and experienced as well, after less than two weeks in school, our community was devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

While my home wasn’t impacted (though there was one very long sleepless night where we weren’t so sure) its been life changing in many ways.  Things that were once important just aren’t anymore.  Over a month later, there are still neighborhoods nearby filled with piles of moldy decomposing trash- once precious possessions and memories.  A few of those homes belong to dear friends.  Friends that are still displaced, living with family or friends and will be for weeks to come while their homes are repaired.  They’ve lost so much.  We’ve seen their grief but we’ve also seen their faith in the midst of hardship.  We’ve seen the church rise up and be the church. We’ve seen people give their time, their homes, their money.  So its been a time of sadness and a time of growth.  And it is still going on and will be for a long time.  Its not over yet.

All of that to say, my momentum for a fresh start came to a halt.  There was no return to routine.  The kids were out of school for two straight weeks and even when they went back and we settled in, we remember & acknowledge that for so many, it won’t ever be the same.

Thanks so much for reading. I know its been a long time.  I finally feel that my life is getting back to “normal.”  I’m regaining my lost momentum, I’m working on finishing up the farmhouse, and we’re looking forward to fall.  I do have updates to share about that farmhouse, by the way.  I’ve got lots of pictures to show you and I plan to do that very soon!  I’ve also got an awesome collaboration with another blogger that I’m doing this week, so you’ll be hearing from me again this week.
xoxo
Bethany

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That Place We Abide

Its been a lot of pretty pictures around here lately.  Lots of styled and professionally photographed ones.  If you’ve been reading since the beginning you know I start to get antsy when that happens.  I know that you are not coming to this blog to see perfectly styled photographs.  I’m kidding myself if I think that’s why you’d come.  You can find those photos anywhere- they are a dime a dozen on Pinterest. I could pull up 50 swoon worthy photos right now that would put my photos to shame any day.  It is my hope that the reason you come is somewhat for those, maybe to see some real life pictures of my own home, some of my ideas and tips for your own home, as well as some inspiration and purpose for it all. To know that you don’t have to make big changes or have a professional stylist to find your home beautiful.  To feel inspired to do what works for your family and then look for the beauty that’s already there.  Its part of my tagline- beauty and purpose.


Today I want to focus on the purpose part.  I’m thinking about the line that I walk, that we all walk, especially those of us who believe in Jesus and live in a first world country.  We have all these “blessings.”  My husband has a great job that he loves and is good at. I have this home, this closet full of too many clothes, (though my friend Alexis over at Alexis Atarian is making me rethink that and consider a minimalist wardrobe) a pantry full of food, etc.  You get the picture!  I’m so grateful for everything I have, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes I wonder if these “blessings” can become more of stumbling blocks in my faith than anything else.  Its this sort of “Americanized” version of Christianity that says I’m so blessed because I have all these things.  Though I am thankful for them, and I know they are gifts from God!  But the truth is, I am blessed because Jesus died for my sins and forgave me, loved me, and redeemed me at my very very worst.  He knows the true me, the deepest darkest me, and loves me anyway. He defeated death and gives me hope for eternity with him forever.  Because of that, I don’t have to struggle with fear and hopelessness anymore.  And even when I still do struggle with those things, He walks with me and fights for me. Those are my blessings.

Do you ever struggle with those thoughts?  Maybe a little bit of feeling guilty with how much you have?

I was discussing this all with a dear friend the other day and it all of a sudden became so clear.  It isn’t about what’s a blessing and what’s not.  We could argue that for days.  Its not about how much money you have, how big your house is, how much money you make and how much of it you’re giving to charity, etc.  We could drive ourselves crazy with those lines and demarcations and isn’t that something we’re not supposed to do?  A little something called legalism?  Legalism is not the answer. Its about where we abide.  Am I abiding in Christ?

abideinhim

picture source

In this business of homes and decorating, I can feel it so clearly.  Maybe you can feel it too, in whatever your job is? When I am not abiding in Christ, I can swing so far to one side- materialism, comparison, greed.  I get so lost in fabrics, dollar signs, designer labels, beautiful pictures on Pinterest.  For a while its fun and worldly and exciting.  But gradually it starts to feel empty and void.  Then I start to swing to the other side.  I start to feel judgmental, like “I can’t believe they spent that much money on a house, chair, couch, whatever.”  And then comes the guilt for being involved in a business that seems so focused on the material and temporary.  I judge myself too.

But then I take a look back at where I have been abiding.  Have I been staying close to Jesus?  Listening to his Word?  Or have I been lost in the world of design blogs, Instagram followers, Pinterest pictures, and Anthropologie catalogs?

I take a deep breath.  I whisper a prayer asking forgiveness.  I want to abide in Him.  He makes the only difference.  He created me with this passion, He gave me any gift that I have.  I feel like this is who I was created to be, and this is my calling.  I am thankful.  This changes everything.

“Abide in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” John 15:4

Thanks for reading, I know this was different today. Would love to hear your thoughts.

xoxo

Bethany

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An Introduction and a {small} House Tour

I’ve had some back to back before and afters of client homes for you recently but I’d like to take today’s post as an opportunity to introduce myself a little more and give you a small tour of my own home.  I’ve shown you a few of the rooms already.  You can see the kitchen here, the breakfast room here, and my youngest son’s nursery  here.  The rest of the rooms have yet to be photographed “for real” but I do have some older iPhone shots to share with you today!

First off, here we are!  This is my family and I staring into the bright sunshine on our visit to Magnolia Market in Waco, TX.  I chose this picture because I know so many of you are Fixer Upper fans like we are.  Our whole family gets into it!

Family

We live in a suburb outside of Houston and my brother is a Baylor student, so the drive wasn’t too big of a deal for us and we were also visiting him.  Well I guess I used that as an excuse.  My main reason was to get myself to that store, haha!  For those of you who have been, you know that it is teeny-tiny!  But very cute and boutique-y and fun.  I was so hoping to spot Jojo and Chip, but no such luck.

Paul and I have been married for 11 years and have a 7 year old, almost 5 year old, and 20 month old.  He is a professional videographer/cinematographer for an oilfield equipment company.  My main job is stay at home mom. My business as an interior decorator started completely as a hobby. I’m an army brat and moved a LOT growing up.  We made every house and apartment ‘home’ as quickly as possible.  Hung pictures on the wall within days of moving in.  My mom was an expert at arranging furniture and unpacking boxes.  Maybe that’s what started my journey?  Anyway, as an adult, the more I decorated my own home, the more I had friends and family asking for advice.  One friend flat out asked me to decorate her son’s nursery.  Then she paid me.  I told her not to!  Then when that same friend and her husband decided to buy some land and build a custom home she called me and asked me to design the entire thing. My jaw dropped and after the shock wore off I agreed.  That’s what started it.  Her house is what I call The Montgomery House and I’ve posted about it on the blog (see posts here)… you’ll see more of the after pictures of it here in the coming weeks.

Now on to a bit of my house…

playroom

This is an old picture of our playroom upstairs.  I used it briefly as a homeschool room when my oldest was in Kindergarten.  We had a wonderful year and I’m so thankful for that time spent with him.  When it was over though, I was also thankful it was over.  I prayed a lot about it and knew it just wasn’t meant to be anymore.  I was very burnt out and just was not passionate about it. My son was excited about the idea of going to a new school for first grade, so we gave it a try and he has loved it.  It was scary for me to “let go” in a sense but the Lord has shown me over and over that I never had any control to begin with!  Now this room is more of a playroom for us. It also has a futon in it that my kids sleep on when guests visit.  {A little side note, a lot of my homeschool inspiration came from my sister in law who has homeschooled her two kids for several years now.  She, unlike me, is very passionate and has a calling on her life to do this- she does it way better than I ever did! They have a family blog about traveling with kids and it is so fun… check it out here!}

Here’s a side by side of the big kids’ rooms… on a rare clean day, haha!

kidsrooms

My daughter has this huge bed so that it can double as a guest room.  A lot has changed in these rooms since I took these pictures though so I am looking forward to when we can take some updated pictures to show you!

Below is our “formal” dining room.  We are not really “formal” people as you can probably tell.  This room has morphed into more of an arts and crafts room/homework room for our kids, but also is great for when we do have guests over.  We have hosted more than a few large potlucks and a couple of Thanksgivings as well.  Its nice to be able to seat a big crew.

dining

Here’s my favorite little Ikea Kallax in the entryway.  This picture was taken in January hence the mitten garland.  Kids’ shoes and socks are stowed away in the baskets and the tray is a catch all for keys, coins, and kind of my husband’s drop spot when he comes home.  Its good to have a drop spot!

foyer

So that’s my little house tour and introduction!  Enough about me now.  I’m so thrilled and just plain out excited that there are some of you beyond my own family that are reading this.  I’d love to get to know you a little too. If you want, leave me a comment and say hi!  Hope you have a wonderful weekend, thanks for reading!

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Home Feature: Libbie Grove Design

The other day I went to buy some jewelry and look at kids’ clothes for sale at a friend of a friend’s house.  As soon as I walked in the door though, I wasn’t looking at jewelry and clothes, I was asking if I could take pictures of her amazing gallery wall.  I had met her before but had no idea she was a talented artist and gifted designer.  Turns out she has a blog too!  She graciously let me feature her home here and use the pictures from her blog rather than the terrible iPhone pictures I had taken while there.  This is some serious eye candy, my friends!  She has a great sense of scale and color.  I love her creativity and use of space!!

babyroom bedroom bedroom2 entryway

Here is that gallery wall that took my breath away in the living room.  Just beautiful!!  I also spy my favorite Ikea blanket.gallerywall girlsroom girlsroom2 kitchen kitchen2 library library2 Livingroom office

You can see much more on her blog at Libbie Grove Design.  She is also a talented graphic designer and has some great printables. She told me she hasn’t blogged in a while, but her current posts are so wonderful and worth a look, I think you’ll enjoy them!!

Thank you Kristy for letting me feature your home, and thank you everyone for reading! <3

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The Art Nook that is No More

artnookbefore This giant art nook has been the bane of my decorating existence.  I’m not a statue person.  I’m not a giant vase (rhymes with gauze) person.  I mean, I even have a big vase with branchy stuff, but it looks wimpy in this humongous “nook.” Its not even a nook, really.  Its more like a pedestal where a tall person could stand.  We joked about some kind of statue or relief coming out of the wall.  Or turning it into the time-out spot for the kids, haha!  Really, I could not come up with a solution, so I ignored it.  It has sat empty for the two and a half years we have lived here.  I felt like any amount of money I could have spent to fill it up with things I would only dislike, I could put toward paying someone to fill it in.  So that’s what I finally did. artnookprogress2 artnookprogress

Here is my kind and loving husband who would have been happy enough to leave the darn thing empty and as is, helping me to paint over the freshly textured wall.  And here it is today!  A nice, flat, non-nooked wall.

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I have some ideas for this space, but here are a few inspiration pictures I’ve been looking at…

emhendersoninsp

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laurenliessinsp laurenliessinsp2

The two above are actually the same room, just different angles and lighting.  I love the large mattes and matching frames.

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stairwayinsp

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stairwayinsp2

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Do you have any spots like that in your home?  What would you have done? Any ideas for what I should do now?

Thanks for reading!

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The Pregnancy Center Meeting Rooms

The House of Figs My mom works at  pregnancy care center and when she asked me to help with sprucing up their three small meeting rooms, I was so excited.

Pregnancy Center2

It is such an honor to be involved in the ministry that goes on at this center.  It is also a challenge.  They want bright and light but not cutesy or overly cheery. Many of the girls and women that come through these rooms have been through a lot. I want  it to be a place of welcoming and belonging, without any pretense; nothing too bubbly, or overly put together.

Pregnancy Center3

Some of this will still be tweaked as I shop and things get ordered.  Paint will happen soon and we’ll set the date for the install. I will definitely share more of the process and of course pictures when its finished!

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A Few Ikea Favorites

Do you have an Ikea close to you?  I don’t like to peruse much because it can be pretty overwhelming, especially when I try to take my kids, but I now have some tried and true favorites that I have depended on over and over again.  Head straight for the downstairs warehouse area (or online) and go right for these- they will not fail you!

I’ve mentioned them before but hands down, my favorite curtains are the Ikea Ritvas.

Ritva Curtains

The website picture really doesn’t do them justice, but they come in 98″ and 118″ long and range from $25-$35.  They hang so nicely and you really cannot beat the price for that length.  I really prefer to hang my curtains as long as possible- from ceiling to floor.  That can be expensive with custom fabric, which is why I tend to use Ikea curtains.  Hang them with a nice thick, dark curtain rod for contrast and they are just beautiful.

Another favorite that I use quite frequently is the Ikea Ribba frame.  It has a modern look to it- no beveling, and comes with a matte.  Only $10 for an 8×10.  They also come in a big square and other smaller sizes. They are great to mix and match with other frames you may already have.  I have them all over my home, here are just a few spots.

The Eivor throw blanket is a great one for a classic black and white stripe.  Who doesn’t love black & white?  It goes with almost everything.  I use this blanket along with this pillow (The Lappjung Ruta) quite frequently (for myself and clients) because they are just so fun and graphic but don’t require a lot of color commitment.

                Eivorthrowlappjlungruta

As for furniture, I have a few go-to favorites.  I pretty much love anything from the Hemnes line.  Most of it is real wood and they have simple but clean moldings that make them look a little nicer than your typical Ikea furniture pieces.  You do have to put everything together for yourself, but that’s how they are able to keep prices so low.  They come in some great colors.  We have a dresser and some bookshelves from this line.

hemnesblue hemnesbrown Hemnesdresser hemneslinen

Finally, the shelf formerly known as the Expedit.  When I heard they were discontinuing the Expedit, I nearly cried.  Seriously.  We have two of these, and I recommend them to friends and clients all the time.  It is the most versatile, useful, and inexpensive piece of furniture I have ever owned.  But then I found out they just updated and renamed it!  So cry no more, my friends!  May I introduce, the new and improved Kallax.

kallaxwhite kallaxpink kallaxgreen kallax

It comes in several different size configurations and colors now!  So fun. It can be turned vertically or horizontally and there are so many choices of canvas and woven baskets that fit perfectly in the squares for storage.  We have one in my oldest son’s room and one in our entry way. Both of ours are white, which actually I still think I would choose if I bought them now just because of the versatility.

 It can be grown up or kid friendly.  Create more storage in a closet, or dress it up with some matching lamps in a foyer.  You can even put legs on it and make it tall enough to be a changing table in a baby’s room.  The opportunities are endless!

Is there anything at Ikea that you love?  What would you add to this list? I’d love to hear!

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