Even though it is Thursday, let’s just say I am working ahead and calling this a ‘Friday Free for All’ post because it is a little random. I wanted to begin by sharing what is on my mind this week. I would imagine that many of you all are feeling and processing much in the same way.
Can we first say that it has been a really tough week (following a tough few years, am I right?). This week somehow feels even heavier and if I have to be honest I am finding it hard not to despair. I feel a pit in my stomach when I turn on the news or open social media but at the same time, the current situation in the world is too significant to overlook simply because it makes me uncomfortable. There are so many issues but right now the horrors we are currently seeing in Afghanistan have left me feeling… gutted. Along with all the other things, Covid, fires, storms… the list goes on.
I want to first say this is personal and not a political commentary. You all know that Christy’s husband has spent much of the last several decades serving in Afghanistan and Iraq in what was called the “Global War on Terror”. I can’t even begin to tell you all the sacrifices he along with their family has made in the effort to protect our country from terrorism. Some of you all have been following us for years and you know much of their story; I can tell you that they have selflessly given up so very much, so many things that non-military families would simply take for granted in his service. Also, my husband’s three brothers served multiple tours in Afghanistan while in the Marine Corps, for them (and other who served) this end result is simply gut-wrenching. I know that many of you reading this are in the military, or are spouses, or the children of military members; you all deserve the sincere thanks for your service and sacrifice.
I am being honest I no longer find it easy to sleep at night, I can’t help but consider that the enemy we fought for twenty years is now armed and more dangerous than ever before. The 20th anniversary of September 11th is looming (also personal, my father was part of the rescue effort at the Pentagon) and I can’t help but worry for my children at the world they are inheriting. Despite all the discouragement and fear I can’t help but feel, I continue to trust that God is in control. He promises His power is made Perfect in our Weakness.
That being said, it is hard to show up here and write about such things as home decor or shopping right now. I have always believed that there is a purpose in sharing the lighter side of life here because I know we all often need the distraction, and we certainly don’t need more politics or online opinions. I do still believe that all we can do in these times is to continue to spread light, hope and joy to the best of our gifts and abilities.
While we don’t plan to stop sharing our typical content, at least not at the moment, I didn’t feel right about throwing up a post about fall home decor finds as was sort of my initial plan today. I hope that speaking honestly about what I am feeling today resonates with some of you, many of you have been with us for quite a long time (you know who you are!) and so I am speaking as friends. I am also aware that not everyone reading this is an American but I heard from some of you from other countries via Instagram this weekend asking these same things. I know that many worldwide are feeling the same sense of shock at what has transpired.
That all being said, I am calling this a Friday Free for All post so I thought I’d just pick some things that have made me feel less despair and more joy with you today. Starting with…
Time with Christy
This could be a whole post in itself, and she may write more about her August travels to catch you all up but I’ll share my side of the story first 😉. At the end of August, Christy and family came to visit when they brought their daughter to college.
I was so thrilled that their daughter chose to attend a university near us knowing that it would give us more chances to see them. I also know that taking a child to college is one of the harder things a parent has to do, so our recent visit with them had less fun/shopping/girl time than our other visits and was more of precious time of walking through that transition with them as best we could. Our family mostly filled the role of offering hugs, a bed, cold drinks and a hot meal after drop off and then trying to distract them with time at a local winery in the brief time we had together after.
Christy and I figured out we’ve known each other for over thirty years so we can say that our history runs deep! Also since our story together began at college as roommates it was fun to walk through that process with her daughter (whose room is definitely not peach or filled with Laura Ashley florals as our dorm room once was, so very early 90’s 😂). Also, with the weighty things going on in the world it was lovely to have friends who feel like family to process things with, not to mention hearing Christy’s husband’s perspective on the current world situation as a military officer was enlightening and very valuable.
They left all too soon, we clearly were too busy catching up (and going through all the emotions!) to take pictures to share here but I am hoping they come back sooner rather than later. In the meantime we are happy to hear that college is going as fabulously as we all knew it would for their daughter and of their safe return to Germany.
Kitchen Update + Home Projects
Since they left I feel like we’ve been bouncing a bit from one thing to another, getting our kids back into a school routine. We’re about to fully finish the kitchen refresh (I shared all about it here) as the new cabinets arrived so I am hoping within a week or two we’ll install those on breakfast room side. We also had a guest room built out earlier this summer (in an open area in our basement, and we’re basically calling it Christy and Chris’s room now!) and there were a few details that just didn’t get finished like closet shelving and door handles, which thankfully they didn’t complain about, this week we’ve gotten all those final details all buttoned up too.
The home project I am planning on next is going to be my closet, which is honestly so bad I can’t even consider showing you a current/ before picture. When we built our home I asked the builder to not install the wire shelving knowing I’d just tear them out, which means that it’s basically always a mess of piles of clothes. Again, I didn’t expect that to take several years to finish but it just kept getting bumped down the priority list. The shortages at IKEA have also stalled that project but I am hoping to get it partially completed this Fall. I have the Pax frames but they were out of all the shelves when I ordered them, but I can at least get the hanging sections installed within the next month. As you can see from the construction photo below my closet is large and has two sections thanks to the AC unit running through the middle so it took awhile to settle on the best set up but I think I have figured it out, more soon on that.
I also have several other projects coming up which are, in all honesty, a great distraction from the state of the world. I was again asked to contribute to our local lifestyle magazine (you can see some of my other articles here) and I will be putting together Thanksgiving themed menu and tablescape which I will be photographing over the next few weeks. I’ll be sure to share it here too. I have been dreaming about a fall Sangria recipe with notes of cinnamon and apple to share in that article, doesn’t that sound good?
I am just starting to get in the mood for fall– now that it is September I think that it’s OK to talk about fall things! Christy will be sharing her home soon for our annual Fall Home Tour but I am sure I will decorate our home for the season too. I also have a new collaboration coming up with Walmart that actually is on the fun, bright and cheerful side so I am looking forward to working on that and sharing it with you all soon too.
I also realized the other day that now that it is September we need to start getting ready for holiday content, it will be here before we know it. We will be sharing our annual holiday planner to help everyone get ready, though it is unlikely I will reopen the holiday shop I had last year. To be honest I really loved being able to offer holiday products but with shipping costs right now it is too hard to be competitive as a small online retailer. I am still brainstorming other ideas to share products with you all in a tangible way.
In closing, I wanted to try to wrap up this post with a little encouragement so I went through my phone photos for some inspiration. I am constantly screen capturing things on my phone to share on our Instagram page, and I found this shot from earlier this week from one of my favorite podcaster’s Allie Stuckey. I hope her post brings you comfort this week.
I loved this post! Thank you for sharing, even in hard times. Your house is beautiful and I am looking forward to seeing your closet update. My roommate and I also had a Laura Ashley matched room when we roomed together in 1991 🙂 Those were the days…
Thank you–I can still picture all those florals! Christy and I had a lot of PINK 🙂 Thank you for your note, those certainly were the days! XO, Amy
Thank you for this post. I think you are feeling like a lot of us are feeling these days. I know God is still on the throne and it’s going to all be okay. God Bless America!!
Yes, you are so right. He reigns, and yes God Bless America! XO, Amy
Tina B says
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, so many of us in America have that same feeling…of being gutted.
I struggle to understand the “why’s” and I just can’t wrap my head around it.
I’m concerned for our servicemen and women, the emotional toll these events have taken on them is enormous. I pray for strength and comfort for them in the coming days and beyond, and I pray for our country’s survival.
God bless our troops, and God bless America.
Thank you Tina, I think many of us feel the same way. I am glad that we are all sharing our thoughts, and I pray for our country as well. XO, Amy
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings. I know that many are feeling the same. I’ve thought about Christy’s husband and the sacrifices made as well as thousands of other military personnel and their families. There really are no words adequate for what they’ve given up and fought for!
I honestly can’t believe that our country is in this position….truly has made me physically sick. I have a dear friend that has been in A‘ Stan for almost 2 years and is an officer in the Army. They barely got out! My heart hurts for those left behind.
I know God’s got this! I have to keep remembering that!
I am so glad your friend is OK! Wow, that is scary. I had a friend who got out on the last plane out with the Embassy staff, I can’t even imagine what he went through. Yes, God’s got this as always but it sure has been a few tough weeks. Stay safe! XO, Amy
Susan Jackson says
Thank you so much for this post – I grew up in a foreign service / military family, and my husband, his father, our son-in-law, and a grandson have all served either in the Air Force or the Navy. This situation is very hard, and I commend you for writing with grace and kindness about something that is potentially divisive and very difficult.
Thank you, your words are so kind. I admit it isn’t easy to write posts like this but I am reminded that so many of us are going through the same thing by all the lovely comments. Thank you all for your service, my family is grateful. XO, Amy
Thank you for this post, it helps in a way, to know that others are feeling the same things!
Yes we are all feeling so many emotions, it does help to process it all in a shared way. Thank you for your note–XO, Amy
Lezlie Renee' Pipes says
As always your post and sharing is on point. I continue to admire both of you for your balance in things hard and things fluffy. And lastly – Praise Jesus that God works through ALL things. Yes! thank you for the reminder.
Blessings to you both.
Thank you so much Lezlie–you are so kind! All we can do is continue to pray, He’s got it. Have a wonderful weekend and stay safe! Amy
This post is post says it perfectly and speaks both for and to so many of us. Thank you.
And thank you to all those who sacrifice so much to keep us all safe and protect our freedom to work, play, love, laugh, sing and worship however and whenever we want.
Now more than ever the adage that “freedom is not free” rings true, right? The cost is so high.
Thank you Sue for your kind words. Best, Amy
Thank you for this excellent post. I feel the same as you. Our world has become so very dark. The events in Afghanistan have hit me particularly hard. In addition to being horrified for the people of Afghanistan, I’m crushed for all of our service men and women. The only reassurance I have is what the post you shared with us says- that none of this is a surprise to God and that He is sovereign through it all. I also take comfort in the fact that brave, selfless men and women (and their families) represent us and sacrifice for us every day in a way that I truly cannot fathom. Praying for God to bless and protect each one of them and their families.
On a much lighter note, I smiled reading about your college dorm decor. My freshman year roommate and I brought our (uncoordinated!) bedding to college in the fall of 1988 and one of the girls on our floor commented that it looked “like Laura Ashley threw up” in our room.🙂
Bridget Husen says
Best post ever! God bless both of you and your families! God bless our troops and America! God’s will be done! Amen.
Thank you–that means so much to me! I am happy to hear that others are feeling in a similar way. God bless you! XO, Amy
Sue–first thank you for your beautiful words and taking the time to share a comment. These times are hard for sure, without faith I wonder how one can possibly make sense of it all? We will continue to pray.
Your comment is so funny, two of our closest college friends had a room just like that with matching Laura Ashley EVERYTHING! It makes me laugh when I look back now but I also miss those simpler times!
I appreciate the intentions of your post and expressing your thoughts so well. The ending to the post of God being in the works is so true every day – thank you for sharing!
Thank you, I appreciate your thoughtfulness. XO, Amy
Thanks for sharing your heart in this difficult challenging time. Thanks to Christy and her family and your dad who served so valiantly and selflessly over the years so we could be free. My son works in government in DC and is heartbroken for the way things ae going down. But God…He will turn things around. He will expose and root out evil. We will become one nation under God again. Keep praying. Do not despair. God answers our prayers.
Yes, we have to be careful not to despair as it means we aren’t trusting in God’s plan. Much is coming together even when we think it’s falling apart. I too hope that the darkness and evil will be routed out in time. Thank you for your note Patty.
Thank you for sharing this post. So thankful to know that God’s purposes will be accomplished despite the ineptitude of certain leaders and that somehow, He will work all things together for good. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how your closet reno goes, because mine is a mess as well. One piece of advice: unless you have lots of light in there, don’t get dark shelving like I did…
Thank you Jeanine, and wise words about the closet. I think I am going with white (keeping it simple with IKEA) but thank you for sharing! XO, Amy
Liz Randal says
I absolutely respect that you have the right to your opinion, but I will say that we are all Americans (probably most of your audience), and some of us feel differently about what happened in Afghanistan. We support President Biden, and we love and want the best for our country as much as you do. I also admire and appreciate the sacrifices our military makes, and I know we are all upset by what happened the past few weeks. This is pitch for unity and for respect of a diversity of opinions among well-meaning Americans.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts Liz. I agree with you that if we could find some unity (again) the world would be a kinder and brighter place. I hope that will come to pass. XO, Amy
Well said, Amy. Well said!
Thank you so much Hope 🙂 XO, Amy