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.
Please visit my Health and Wellness website 11MLWellness here.
Please visit my Health and Wellness website 11MLWellness here.