Do not grow weary of doing good…

As a mama to six (barely) under ten, I get weary. Like, fall asleep in the middle of praying at bedtime weary. It’s not that my life is so very hard. It isn’t. I don’t wash our clothes by hand or fetch our water from the river several miles away (both of which my Ugandan friends have to do). I cook dinner most nights, but if I ever don’t feel up for it, I only have to drive a few miles and pick up something already made for me.

My children are sweet and helpful. I genuinely like as well as love them.

But the list of daily tasks is literally never-ending. I never ever get every last thing checked off.

I know yours is too.

It’s the nature of this earthly, toil-filled life. Even if we don’t have to grow every morsel of food we consume, we do have to grocery-shop. Which takes time. So does potty-training and vacuuming and laundry sorting and soccer practice and homeschooling and having meaningful conversations with your teen.

Which is why I feel like I need to tattoo Galatians 6:9 backwards on my forehead so that every time I look in the mirror and notice the dark circles under my eyes and new lines between my brows, I’ll also see these words:

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This is seriously my mantra, y’all. “Do not grow weary of doing good.”

Why?

Because, at the proper time, I will reap a harvest IF I DO NOT GIVE UP.

(I don’t know about you, but if all it said was: “Do not grow weary of doing good…just because,” I don’t think I’d be nearly as into it)

This is what I clung to when Ezra constipated himself (which transformed his sunny disposition into that of a crotchety 85-year-old with hemorrhoids) to avoid potty-training for an entire year. And then when he spent years 5-7 melting down over, well, most things. It was my saving grace throughout weeks of waking up 5 times a night to feed twins. And then again when those same twins decided to make car rides moderately torturous experiences for the last year (although, we seem to be mostly out of the woods). It’s my lifeline every time I’m 39 weeks pregnant and fully aware that I probably still have 3 weeks to go.

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Do Not Grow Weary

And you know what? It is absolute, God-given truth. I have yet to be disappointed with the harvest of persevering in “doing good” with these short-term “trials.”

Ezra eventually potty-trained…and stopped being so dramatic (he’s a lovely, level-headed, considerate, kind almost-10-year-old now, who folds laundry cheerfully instead of prostrating himself on the ground with weeping and gnashing of teeth. Hallelujah!). The twins eventually slept through the night and haven’t had a full on tandem car tantrum in several months. And somewhere between 41 and 42 weeks, I finally get a baby to snuggle.

I could give you other examples, but suffice it to say that the harvest has been all the sweeter for the struggle (however mild) that preceded it.

do not grow weary

I’m so grateful for these little rewards since there are plenty of other things the Lord and I are still plugging away at, which have yet to reveal their harvest.

And praise God that the whole “do not grow weary” part has pretty much nothing to do with feelings. Will I feel weary? Yes. Exhausted? Yup. Despondent? Sometimes.

But if I do not give up, regardless of how I feel, I will receive a harvest at the proper time–even if it’s not the one that I think I should get or in the time frame I was hoping for.

I hope this encourages you as much as it does me.

It’s hardly a magic formula or a carte blanche of “happiness” (because, again, notice it says nothing about how you will feel during this process of perseverance). But it is a promise. And, as Psalm 145:13 says: “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.”

Lindsay and I have been wanting to create a print with this verse on it for ages, but…see above about having trouble checking everything off the list.

We’re so glad we managed to get it knocked out before Mother’s Day, though.

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Maybe you or a mama you know need this encouragement in your lives?

We just released it today, and now through Sunday, you’ll receive a FREE 5X7  of your choice with the purchase of our “Do Not Grow Weary” print in an 8X10 or larger.

(Just be sure to specify which 5X7 you want in the notes at checkout)

Has this verse proved true in your life too? I’d love to hear about the harvests you’ve seen so far…

Mother’s Day Gift Guide {2016}

I know I’m a bit biased, but I pretty much have the best mama in the whole wide world. I seriously don’t know anyone who is more giving, loving, practically helpful, and involved (in a good way) than she is. We’ve always been best pals, but I don’t think I’ve ever been more aware of just how awesome she is than this year when she’s been helping me home school the kids (they, of course, adore her, and I find myself waffling weirdly between jealous of their experience with her as their “Softa” {as a rather “grandma-deprived” child myself} and just so thrilled that they get to have it).

That said, I don’t know that I’ll be buying my mom one thing from this Mother’s Day Gift Guide List since she reads my blog (hi, Mom!).

But if YOU’RE in the market for a gift for a mama in your life (yours, a sister-in-law, friend, aunt…you get the idea), OR if you just need to send a few hefty hints your husband’s direction (nudge, nudge), I’ve compiled my usual list of things-I-love-and-think-you-will-too.

Disclosure: this post contain Amazon affiliate links because Amazon is the bomb.com (just dated myself), and I practically don’t buy things from “real” stores anymore because that requires getting dressed, and it just makes sense to promote the store that lets me shop in my p.j.s and get my stuff via Prime shipping.

1. A gift guide of mine just wouldn’t be complete without a Rifle Paper Co. product. I love them so.

to do list

I hadn’t run across this Rifle Paper Co. Great Things Notepad before, and I absolutely love both a) the aesthetic and b) the saying: “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” If that’s not comforting to this mama who feels like she never finishes a “big” (think: cleaning out the pantry) project in under a week (split into 37 different little scrubbing/sorting sessions), I don’t know what is. Maybe all of those small efforts really will pay off some day!

2. Have a coffee-lover in your life? Then, they might just love this Presto 12-Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Maker. I am not a coffee-lover, but if the 3,054 4 1/2 star reviews of this best-selling product are any indication, it makes really hot, really great tasting coffee, holds up well, looks pretty, and is an amazing price for the value. So, there you go.

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3. I don’t usually include items over $50 on my gift lists, but Mother’s Day just might be one of those moments to splurge, so I thought I’d throw this Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium Straightening Iron on here just in case someone is looking for an extra-special gift, and this one fits the bill. I’m actually seriously considering getting it for myself because I managed to come home from our Colorado vacation last summer without my good straightening iron and have been making do with a Walmart cheapie version that does a whole lot more flattening than straightening. (Ruuuurl cute).

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My hairstylist has this one, and I always marvel at how smooth and sleek my bangs are after one swipe. It’s seriously THEE best my coarse, wavy/curly, ultra-thick hair has ever responded to a heating iron.

P.S. The best I can tell, this is the authentic Babyliss product (I read through a lot of reviews and “answered questions” boards to determine that this link–and this link only–appears to be legit on Amazon. Any others I found were universally declared to be knock-offs), and I’m thisclose to pulling the trigger myself. I’ll be sure to do an update post if I do.

4. I love functional things that are also pretty, and this Sakroots Artist Circle Critter Travel Case Cosmetic Bag, Natural Peace, One Size definitely fits that bill. It comes in all kinds of fun patterns and has great reviews for functionality and style.

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Best part: it has three separate transparent compartments that all unfold and are clearly visible when you hang it by the hook provided.

5. I keep stumbling upon Pressing Pause: 100 Quiet Moments for Moms to Meet with Jesus, and I’m really liking what I see so far. That said, I haven’t read it yet, but it would make a great gift for a busy mom who needs encouragement/scripture/direction/prayer all rolled into one.

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6. I don’t bake a lot of pies, but I still use my (clearance Anthro) rolling pin often enough that I keep mine hanging on the wall behind my sink. If I didn’t, I would be so tempted to go for this White Marble Rolling Pin with Wood Base. It’s super-chic looking and would look so great against the wall with some pretty wooden chopping boards stacked behind it.

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7. Speaking of which…I use cutting boards every day, but mine are far from pretty and stay squirreled away in a drawer. I’m loving the trend of displaying cutting boards against the kitchen wall, though, and this Paddle Cutting Board would be a great start to a collection (awesome price…great reviews).

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8. I think I’ve recommended a Tocca perfume trio before, but it’s totally worth mentioning again. I have a tendency to get headaches after about 30 minutes of wearing a fragrance, but I never have that reaction when I’m wearing Tocca, and I have yet to try one of their scents that I don’t at least find pleasant (there are at least two that I downright adore). The price for this Tocca Eau de Parfum Viaggio Holiday Collection is incredible. (Shaun bought me a similar trio the Christmas before last, and I still have plenty left).

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9. I keep seeing rave reviews for these dark chocolate barkTHINS–enough so that I’m both a) curious and b) a little relieved I’ve yet to cave. If you have a chocoholic in your life, I think it’s a pretty safe bet she’d love these.

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10. I’m always on the prowl for a headband that will actually keep my hair out of my face without slipping off the back of my (apparently bullet-shaped and rather large) head. If it’s cute, well, all the better!

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I don’t personally own this one (yet), but, if over 250 five star reviews are any indication, this non-slip running headband just might do the trick. It comes in a variety of fun patterns and colors too.

OH! And if none of these suggestions caught your fancy, be sure to check back to my under $10, under $25, and under $50 Christmas gift guides. Lots and LOTS of other fun ideas, most of which are still available/similarly priced.

P.S. Remember when I posted about Beauty Counter skincare? Well, I’m fiiiiinally out of every last thing that I bought (yes, it took that long), and I am ready to reorder. Because, even though their products aren’t cheap, they are literally the only ones that I’ve ever been able to say, without a doubt, made a visible difference in the clarity, tone, and evenness of my skin. (My husband and friends noticed too…that’s never happened before). And clearly, they last forever. I had my girl, Noelle, start a “social” (basically an online party) so that I could order through it to get hostess rewards on my own purchases, but several of you had expressed interest in how to order ages ago, and I did a terrible job of following up with that. So! If you are at all interested in getting some product–either for you or for a gift–you can use the social link to do so. NO pressure, of course. But I thought I’d mention it since I’m ordering from it myself.

Mother’s Day Gift Idea: The Funniest Tea Towels

So, I’m working on putting together a little Mother’s Day gift guide…as I am wont to do.

And I stumbled across Primitives by Kathy tea towels.

Y’all.

These are the funniest (and cutest) tea towels I’ve seen in a while.

That said…I don’t get the impression that they have a whole lot of worth as actual tea towels. The reviews are generally good because of the clever designs, but the quality of the towel itself doesn’t sound like it’s stellar.

Still, at an average of $6-12 per towel, it might just be worth a chuckle for a mama in your life who likes to display cute things (rather than actually dry her hands on them).

Here are just a couple that caught my eye:

For the devout germaphobe…

tea towel1
JESUS AND GERMS

For people like me that genuinely struggle with h-anger…

tea towel2
HANGRY

For the girl who’s reached her limit…

tea towel3
CLEAN KITCHEN

For the girl who gives/need encouragement…

tea towel4
FULL OF JOY

 

For the realist…

tea towel6
SILENCE IS GOLDEN

{This one might be my favorite because it speaks such profound truth}

For the hardcore dieter…

tea towel cupcake
CUPCAKE

I could go on. Seriously, there are 6 pages of designs for everyone from a dog/cat-lover to a grandma (Mimi, Nana, etc.) to a Marine wife. (P.S. Some of them are questionable, but there are still plenty to choose from among the raunch)

Oh! And there’s even this one that would work great as an end-of-year teacher gift…or a reminder for every homeschool mom everywhere…

tea towel teacher
THE TEACHER

So, there you go! A cute, easy gift for any mom/teacher/aunt/friend/sister/neighbor in your life.

Happy Friyay!

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links, which means that I receive a small percentage from any purchases you make.

The Future Dining Room Design Board {X 3}

First things first:

Paint and Prose is having a surprise FLASH SALE today only for all of our lovely email subscribers. 50% OFF all orders. Yup. Any size. Any amount. Y’all. This is thee best deal we offer and a fantastic opportunity to grab one of our “Call Her Blessed” prints (or maybe a coffee print?) as a gift for a mama (because Mother’s Day–eep!) in your life (or, um, yourself…shhhh). 

Simply sign up for our newsletter, and you’ll receive the code in your inbox. We never sell your info or spam you. And you’ll be the first to know about exclusive discounts and deals!

OKAY…

Building houses from scratch is nuts grand and all, but even though I’ve painted my fair share of furniture/walls, caulked trim until I got blisters, and held things up for measurements, my mad DIY house-building skills are…not so mad after all. As in, they would probably make whoever ended up being the recipient of them rather mad/angry, and that’s about it.

Part of me likes the concept of learning to wield a power tool like a boss. And the other (much more practical) part of me is all: yeah, but I’d stink at it and make lots of mistakes for a while, which is kind of a big waste of time when I’d have to pay a babysitter to even get the practice in, and Shaun could do it well the first time.

So, when we’re in the hardcore building stages of the house, my job is to keep our children alive and tell him how wide I want the trim to be and what the roof of the porch should look like.

Oh, and make design boards. Naturally

I showed you my Anthro dining room chair score on Monday and promised to show you how I plan to incorporate them into my decor.

But…

The truth is that I haven’t quite decided.

I mean, I could go with the pastel theme and keep things relatively neutral with a side of quirk a la wallpaper (that pattern is reeeeeally popular in blog world right now, which usually means that I’m not interested, but–sigh–I love it lots), gold dot curtains , and a gold sputnik light. , and a gold sputnik light. olioboard1

Another option would be to hang simple drop cloth curtains (seriously considering these since we’ll have 10′ ceilings, and tall curtains are expensive, yo), go for a slightly more “country-chic” table look, and throw in a colorful cow print. Because I just can’t quit the quirk. (Bumper sticker, anyone?)

Side note: I totally forgot to factor in rug selections, which is weird because I’m kind of a rug fanatic. But I’d probably use this overdyed turquoise rug
that we currently own if I went with the cow art. olioboard2

And then we have the mad-hatter version of this room. Complete with florals + stripes.
I think the stripes could work as a table runner, but they would also be super-fun in large scale as a rug (that would stay clean for approximately .02 seconds under a dining table so…probably no).

olioboard3

If you’re wondering why the sputnik light features in all three boards, that would be because I already bought a version in silver from Lowe’s that I plan to gold-leaf or spray paint. I have yet to find an affordable option in the brassy gold I love, so I figured a cheap-o makeover would do the trick.

Because that, my friends, is the type of DIY I do like a boss.

So, what do you think of my dining room dreaming? Did you have a favorite look? Hated all of them? Have a suggestion for me?

I’m listening!

My New Favorite Chairs + a Rad Website

I love the “industrial farmhouse” look. Metal + old school furniture vibes and chippy paint makes my heart go pitter-patter.

Throw in a little color (preferably aqua or teal, of course), and I’m in decor heaven.

Which is why I just about flipped my lid as I was browsing Anthropologie’s extra 40% off sale this past weekend (it ended yesterday; sorry) and spotted these gorgeous pale blue metal bistro chairs.

For a very reasonable price.

bistro chair

Remember that big farmhouse table I mentioned that Shaun will build for the dining room in the new house?

Well, it will be surrounded by these beauties.

Yup. I bought them. She says so calmly as if she hadn’t feverishly clack-clacked away at her computer like a lunatic, having her husband read out gift card numbers to her (I’ll explain in a sec), checking every couple of seconds to make sure they hadn’t disappeared from her cart, and only fully exhaling when she’d received a confirmation email that the purchase had gone through.

Because good deals on Anthro’s website go fast, y’all. Like, faster than a toddler who just noticed you left the back door open. (FREEEEEDOOOOOM).

Sure enough, within in an hour after I ordered, they were all gone.

In FACT,  sadly, the day after I ordered them, I got an email notifying me that they had canceled 4 of them. Figures. But! I get to keep 6, and I was already planning to mix and match them, so I’m still calling it a win (even if I did spend an hour on the phone with a very confused Anthro employee trying to explain to him that the amount I’d been credited back was not equal to the cost of 4 of the chairs plus their tax…and could he please remedy that?).

But back to what a good deal they were.

I’ve never bought a single stick of furniture from Anthro before for obvious (E.X.P.E.N.S.I.V.E.) reasons, but these were considerably cheaper than anything comparable for the size/quality. I checked. These were $78 + tax/shipping each (they were on sale and then an extra 40% off). Wayfair and Joss and Main have the exact same chair in various colors–although not “sky,” so they wouldn’t have won me over anyway for $180+ EACH.

Here’s the where the best part comes in.

Have you heard of Raise.com?

It’s a site that sells gift cards at a discount–sometimes nominal (think 7%), sometimes quite substantial (some restaurant cards are discounted by 30%).

Well.

They sell Anthro gift cards too. So, we scooped up a few of those at 15% off, which means we were able to take 15% off the top of the extra 40% off of the already sale price.

Insert an incredibly awkward victory dance around my living room, in socks no less, and you pretty much know how I felt about that.

Ultimately, what that means is that I am getting each chair shipped to my door for $72 (tax + shipping included).

We’ve also used Raise.com for Lowe’s gift cards (which provide up to an extra 10% off the top of building supply purchases–which quickly adds up when you’re making large purchases like lumber for framing an entire house).

My kids’ favorite place to eat out is Chick-fil-a, so we stocked up on cards at about a 20% discount.

Marshall’s/TJ Maxx are also faves for buying gifts, inexpensive sandals for the girls, and feeding my ever-growing throw pillow addiction (just kidding, babe! nervous giggle), so an extra 18% off for one of their cards was a no-brainer.

And that barely scratches the surface of all of the brands that they offer.

And no, Raise.com is not sponsoring this post. I just like finding (and sharing) easy, money-saving hacks.

If you’re so inclined to try them out for yourself, you can use this link for $5 off of your first purchase (I get one too–win, win).

Update: a reader expressed concern because Raise has some bad reviews, but I just wanted to clarify that our experience has been very good. There have been a couple of bum Lowe’s gift cards, but our money was promptly refunded, and we have already used all of the ones I mentioned above with zero incident or problem.

Oh, and stay tuned for Wednesday when I show you 3 different possible design boards for the look I’ll put together using these chairs in the new dining room. (My husband likes to lift an amused eyebrow at my design-loving, gun-jumping self, considering that decorating the dining room is likely many, many {many} months in the future).

Until then, Happy Monday, y’all! Or at least Decent Monday (just in case, “Happy” and “Monday” seemed a little too incongruous to be included in a sentence so close together).

dear monday

The only thing that could make me like this meme more is if they had actually included the comma that should be after “you” and made it grammatically correct. #nerd

Our House Layout

Ask and you shall receive.

I get lots of emails about “how to build a house from scratch,” and one of the #1 questions I get asked is: “Will you share your house plans/layout?”

Well, we built our first house 8 years ago, using a house-building program that doesn’t exist anymore, and–honestly–the chances that anyone was going to follow our plans to the letter, or even that closely, were fairly slim, so the answer was always, “Sorry, but no.”

This go-round, though, we have the current plans easily available, and I’ve had so many people ask that I thought I’d give you a little peek at the way we’ve chosen to lay out our rooms.

So, without further ado, this is our 1st floor:

houseplans1

Did you grab your magnifying glass yet? I know. It’s a bit hard to see in such miniature proportions, but this is as big I could make it and fit it all in.

So! One of the main things we wanted was a super open feel when you first walk in. To that end, there’s not much of an entryway–just a little piano nook + closet area before it opens directly into the living room. Which, in turn, is completely open to the kitchen. Which, in turn, is open to the dining room.

We’ll have a dining table that seats 12 or more (Shaun will build it, of course), and a 12 foot island. Our current island is approximately six feet long, and we take up every spare inch of it already, so we’re trying to plan ahead for future kiddos/visitors.

In case you can’t tell, the range is on the left wall of the kitchen, and the sink faces out the back of the house up the tree-lined hill. It’s quite possible that the giant window over that sink is my favorite thing in the entire house.

To the left of the kitchen, where it says “laundry,” that will actually be a mudroom/laundry hybrid. The plan is to put a washer/dryer downstairs to augment the upstairs family closet, but who knows? Maybe we’ll just stick with the one laundry room.

The “study” to the right of the living room is actually our schoolroom. It has big windows too. Sigh. I love natural light.

There are two bathrooms downstairs, and one of them is attached to what will be the guest suite. Shaun’s office and and workshop round out the downstairs of the “right wing.” Oh, and those little “rooms” labeled “office” off of the real office and the guest room are closets. But you probably already figured that out.

Okay, heading upstairs…

houseplans

As you come up the stairs, the first room on the left is our family laundry/closet. This was originally going to be the nursery (nope, not for anyone specific; just in case), but I couldn’t get happy with how closely situated it was to all of the noisy stair traffic, so we moved it. To the far-most left corner of the house.

For realz. This one makes me chuckle because it looks like we’ve exiled our baby to the attic or something. I have never used a baby monitor in my life because I’ve never needed it. I’ve just always been able to hear when the baby is crying. But I think a monitor will be pretty necessary this time. However, our kids do nothing more than sleep in their nurseries. They have never really doubled as playrooms–probably due to the fact that, right about the time they’re actually old enough to play with anything, they get kicked out by a younger sibling! So, I’m good with the remote location.

As far as the other kids’ rooms, as I mentioned, we chose to go with large common rooms for the boys and the girls. We’ll have builtin bunk beds against the back walls, so now, all we’ve got to do is produce even amounts of each gender offspring from here on out, and we’re good to go!

Ha.

Who knows but the Lord who/how many we’ll have in the future, but we’ve built in enough leeway so that, even if we max out the bunk beds, there are still spaces to add more beds.

The boy + girl wings are completely symmetrical, with the bedrooms at the back of the house, an open/play/common area in front, and a bathroom. In between, we have our “big room.” There’s a sun room attached to the back of it, and–even though you can’t see it in the program because we hadn’t come up with the idea yet–the area above the sun room will be an open loft that looks down into the big room. Since it will be facing our DIY big screen on the opposite wall, Shaun jokes that it’s the “balcony” seating for our movie watching.

Seriously, though. We could put on (very small) plays in this room. In fact, I imagine we will.

The “study” you see to the right of the stairs is actually a “toddler room,” for napping and such, but it could definitely be converted into a conventional bedroom for an older kid or two in the future. Or an upstairs guest room. Whichever.

And then, to the right of that, where it says “study” yet again (my, how studious we are), is my office/craft room. Or Shaun’s office, depending on how many puppy eyes he makes at it. (Every time he walks in there, he sighs wistfully and says: “I love this room.” Real subtle, babe. But I don’t blame him. It’s a cool room).

Oh! And the room that the stairs open up to labeled “family” will just have a table in it for overflow from homeschooling or card games or…whatever.

I’m so excited for all of the family gatherings, friends, Bible studies, guests, missionaries, whoevers we’ll get to host in this house.

Obviously, we put a LOT of thought into these plans. I have no doubt that we’ll discover things that we wish we would have done differently once we’ve actually moved in (8 years from now…heh), but for now, we’re blissfully unaware of that/convinced that we nailed it. Or…something like that.

Also, while I’m not sharing specific pricing with you (Shaun’s not on board with doing that, which I get), because of our location (E. Texas is a pretty cheap place to build), the fact that we live outside of the city limits (and can, therefore, avoid many of the costs associated with city codes), and the fact that we’re doing the vast majority of it ourselves again, a house of this size/customization is surprisingly affordable. Not cheap (well, cheap for the size, yes). But far from crazy either.

ANYhoo, I’ve just topped 1,100 words blathering on about all of this, so I’ll stop right this second.

But, as always, if you have questions, I’ll be happy to answer as best I can.

 

A Virtual Look at the New House Colors

First of all, can I just say a great big THANK YOU for all of your help and input on what color we should paint the new house? Y’all are awesome. I love how passionate you guys are about your opinions, and you definitely gave me plenty of great options to consider. Between here and social media, I had somewhere around 400 responses, so suffice it to say that I have NOT gone through all of them to calculate a percentage for each, but I did read every one, and if I had to guess, I’d say that the order of preference went something like:

1. Greige

2. White

3. Teal (although, interestingly, depending on which post was being commented on and which social media was being used, this was the MOST popular choice).

Not too surprising, I suppose.

I know I’m in the minority with my love for deep, saturated colors, and I honestly don’t think that there’s a bad color among them.

HOWEVER.

I could tell that some of you were considering the color as it would look on what you know of our new house’s silhouette, and some of you were voting based on which house you liked best of the 3 that I featured as examples of the colors I was considering.

So!

I thought it might be fun to show you all three options in the home designer program we use (which is called Home Designer Suite for all of you who have asked, by the way).

In order of y’alls preferred color schemes:

1. Greige

greige

We use the cheaper version of the program, which won’t let you do more custom details like changing the roof of the porch only to metal or changing the upper portion of those gables to a shingled siding or making the board and batten more widely spaced, but all of those will be the case, if you can squint a little and imagine that.

So, my thoughts on this version: I like it. Obviously, the colors in the program are a little cartoonish/flat, so I can imagine the contrast of the minty door plus the stained shutters popping so much more vibrantly against the neutral background. It doesn’t make my heart sing, though. Not saying that that couldn’t change with a little tweaking, but this one isn’t doing it for me at this point.

2. White

white1

Several of you suggested using the teal on the door of the white version, and…while I don’t think the colors are quite right in this version (I didn’t spend a long time obsessing over getting just the right shade), I was surprised to discover that I didn’t dislike the white on such a large scale. I mean, I love white houses, but I really didn’t think it would work on the size/shape of our house, but…I don’t mind it. My main objection is that I love trim, and the trim just doesn’t contrast enough against the white. Again, that could probably be fixed if I absolutely nailed the color choices, but…I’m not completely sold.

3. Teal

teal

The first time I saw this in the house program, I cheered. I know it’s too much for, well, most people, but it just made me happy. Our trim will have a farmhouse silhouette (so slightly layered and chunkier at the top and bottom), and I love how much it would pop against the dark color.

Y’all did raise a couple of good points that I’ve been mulling over, and here they are:

1) What about fading? Honestly, our current house color is at least as dark as the Riverway color we’re considering. We painted the first part almost 8 years ago when we first built, and then we added on a section about 5 years ago. Shaun claims that he can see a difference between the two (because the paint of the first section has faded a bit), but it’s certainly not anything you would notice unless you stand back and swivel your head from side to side between the two under close scrutiny. All that to say that I’m not too worried about fading.

2) Won’t you get sick of such a trendy color? This one made me smile. It never occurred to me that this was a trendy color. In fact, its deep blue/gray/green seemed–if not conventional–somewhat classic, at least to a color lover like me. I didn’t feel like I picked it because I had seen it around a lot (I actually had never seen a house this color until I realized that I had chosen the swatch twice at Lowe’s and came home to see if Google could show me what it actually looked like on a house). Also, we won’t have any other houses near enough to us to compare or annoy, so as long as I don’t get sick of it (could happen, who knows?), it won’t matter.

I do have ONE BIG PROBLEM with the teal, though. The house of my dreams has shutters like these:

shutters

Clearly, Ashley’s house was a major inspiration for the greige + shutters option that I’m considering (actually, her house is a major inspiration, period; she’s so talented).

But back to the problem: if I have shutters, I do not want the door to be the same color. It’s too matchy-matchy for me. HOWEVER, with such a saturated house color, I think that the door needs to be at least somewhat subdued, without completely disappearing into the exterior since it will be recessed beneath a deep porch. At first, I thought a subdued coral. But that would only work (in my mind) for a single entry door, and I am drawn, more and more, to double front doors–especially on a house of this scale (when a single door might end up feeling a wee bit puny, even with window lights + trim surrounding it).

And I can’t quite get okay with the concept of big stately painted French entryway doors–especially when the ones that we’re considering buying are SO pretty in their natural wood state.

Which leaves me with a WHOLE lot of stained, coordinating wood if I stick with my stained shutters.

See the problem?

Argh. I’ve gone around and around and around on this one.

The more neutral colors that would allow me to have my shutters + a brightly colored door (if I so choose) are all just a little “meh” (at least to me). But then I see my beloved deep teal, and I can’t figure out how to configure my accents so that it’s not just a whole bunch of blue and brown (which is potentially too country for the look that I want).

Suffice it to say that I have not yet fully decided on the perfect combination of elements to create an exterior that does, indeed, make my heart sing.

After seeing the mock-ups in the house program, do you have any further thoughts?
I’m not used to feeling so stumped about such things, since I usually know what I like, whether it jives with anyone else’s preference or not. Perhaps the problem here is that I know a little TOO well what I like and can’t seem to force all of my preferences into harmony with one another.

Hmph.

The New House Color. Wanna help me decide?

First up:

If you have asked to join the Whole 30 group I mentioned and have not been able to, I apologize. As I mentioned, I am not the admin of the group this time around, and, for some reason, the link to ask to join the private group does not work for most people. I have tried adding folks as a member of the group, but unless I’m personal friends with you on FB, it won’t let me. I have also tried adding you via an email invite, which you may or may not have received.

Basically, I thought it would be easy because, when I created the group for the 14 Day Cleanse back in the fall, it was, and people could simply use the link to request to join, and I could approve them.

Unfortunately, it’s not as straightforward this time. I’m SO sorry for advertising something I couldn’t actually deliver on. If you’d like, you can use this link (I so hope it works; it does for me, but I’m the admin) to join the 14 Day Challenge group. It’s not EXACTLY Whole30, but there are all kinds of resources for you there from the last go-round, and I will do my best to post there as well since I’m in the midst of this.

Again, I apologize for the confusion/difficulty. I promise that, if/when I do another Whole 30, I will be sure to create a group for this blog, and be prepared to administrate it, so this doesn’t happen again.

OOOOOOKAY. Onto the business at hand.

Y’all know I love me some color. At least if you’ve read more than one blog post.

You also know, if you’ve been reading a while, that our current house color looks like this.

current house

It’s Valspar’s Ancient Bog, and while it’s certainly not a common choice, we love it.

Apparently y’all do too because, way back when, when we were building the addition to our current house, I polled you about which color we should go with (with the options being to repaint the structure–both new and old–or keep it the same dark green), and you guys pretty overwhelmingly voted to stay with the current color. Which…worked out well since that’s what we wanted to do too. We repainted the trim a lighter, crisper color and fell in love with it all over again.

Well, here we are again, trying to figure out what color to go with for the exterior of the new house this time, and I’d love y’alls opinions on which way we should go.

Of course, I have a few ideas, but this one has been surprisingly hard to nail down for me because of the accents (shutters, trim, doors, etc.), so I can’t say I’m 100% committed in any one direction.

Here are 3 colors that have caught my fancy, though:

1. White

white

This one may surprise y’all because of my aforementioned obsession with color, but my obsession with this house from @farmhouseforfour (one of my ALL time favorite Instagram accounts; if you’re not following Lauren, click away right this second and remedy that) might trump it.

Maybe it’s Lauren’s impeccable taste and the way she manages to create the perfect mix of classic/rustic/farmhouse/chic or that fact that she and her family pretty much DIYed the whole thing, but…I’m seriously drawn to her simple white + black exterior color scheme. The architectural details just shine (not that that those beautiful limelight hydrangeas do anything to hurt the curb appeal).

2. Deep Teal

riverway

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have what many will, I’m sure, think is an obvious choice for an aqua-file (with “aqua” being blue rather than water, in this case) such as myself.

This house is actually a spec home created by such decor blogging heavy-hitters as House of Smiths and Tatertots and Jello, and I’m really drawn to how dynamic the color is without being too loud or bright. (It’s SW Riverway, and I picked it up not once, but twice–once in a single sample card and once as a part of a three color swatch–without realizing it when I went on a paint sample run the other day).

As much as I love that yellow door, though, if I went this route, I would be deviating from that detail for sure. It’s just not me. I do love the idea of a pop of color via the door, though, and coming up with another non-clownish alternative has proven difficult.

3. Greige

house of turquoise

And then we have this lovely home from another big-time decor blogger–House of Turquoise.

The greige of the exterior is the perfect weathered neutral–especially against the texture of the shingles and with that pop of color from the Wythe Blue door and shutters (not a super huge fan of the matchy-matchiness of those two, but the overall effect is very soothing).

I’m not entirely sure I can pull off such coastal colors in our woodsy surroundings, but I have a feeling I would mentally breathe a great big, “Aaaaah” every time I drove up to our house if I chose these colors.

Oh, and just as a reminder, here’s the current exterior of “the new house.”

newhouse13

Just so you know, we are doing board and batten siding on the upper section, horizontal lap siding on the lower, and shingle detailing on the gables. There will also be a front porch with a metal roof (the rest of the roof will be traditional shingles). Oh! And shutters stained a light alder tone. I hope. I’ve always wanted shutters, but it kind of depends on how everything else goes down whether they will make sense with the look of the house.

The entire house will be the same color, but I love the idea of bringing interest to it with the contrasting textures of the different roofing + siding options we’ve chosen.

I just need the perfect color (+ accents) to tie it all together.

So, what do you think?
Option 1, Option 2, or Option 3? Or do you have a suggestion for me? I’m all eyes!

He makes broken things beautiful

Years ago (I’ve lost track of how many at this point), I “met” Kendra via this wonderful world of blogging/internet friendships. She blogged for Goodwill in her state, and we bonded over our mutual love of all things thrifted. Over the years, we’ve emailed back and forth, sharing advice, rejoicing over new babies, sharing thrifted steals. Kendra is just such a sweet, grounded, encouraging godly spirit. I always love it when I have an email from her (or a package: she’s the one who sent me these beautiful pink pants and she even made burp cloths for my twins when they were born!!). Of course, only once has she ever emailed me to let me know that her house was completely flooded and destroyed. I didn’t love the news in that email. But I did love the way she chose to give the glory to God for the good that came out of such a devastating experience. I’ll let her tell you the rest in her own words.

kendra

Kendra Ardis // Covered by grace, wife + mama, passionate about clean living, but also chocolate cake. Photographer + essential oil educator.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

I walked back into my home wearing borrowed hunting boots and one of the only outfits I had grabbed when we left. We barely left. There was massive flooding in our area and when a nearby dam broke, our home started to quickly fill with water. We ran around, trying to move things from the floor as we grabbed some outfits. Within minutes, we were wading in water up to our knees as we carried our babies to the car. I really don’t know how we got out, it was just the Lord. Our neighbors had to be rescued by a boat. I lay in bed that night, listening to the rain fall and just praying that the waters would stop rising. Sometimes God doesn’t answer our prayers the way we think He should.

We lost almost everything.

After we got back into our house, as my husband and I walked from room to room, we would just stop and cry. Not because of the loss of material items, but because the shock was overwhelming.

How would we clean this up? How would we start over? There was trash all over our house, the furniture was ruined, the floors were buckled, the cabinets were falling apart. My children’s toys, the chair that I used to rock my son to sleep, our clothes, our shoes. But, I just kept thinking, “Praise God we are safe. Praise God we were not here.”

We were not meant to carry our burdens alone.

In the next days and weeks, friends and family and church members showed up in a mighty way.

People came that were friends of my parents. People came that I didn’t even know. They helped us throw out the contents of our home, cut out the drywall, rip out the cabinets. A dear friend took my spared dishes home and washed them for me. One woman gave me her new shoes because she heard that we lost all of our shoes. Not her used shoes, her new shoes. People cooked for us. Took us in. Bathed us in scripture and prayer. And, they helped us rebuild. I have never felt so humbled or so very loved. I still cry when I think about it because the feelings are raw and still so fresh. Just to be so loved by the Father and through His people.

We are cherished by a good, good Father.

In Psalm 23, David talks about the Lord leading him as a shepherd leads his sheep and he shares that the Lord restores his soul. That is what Jesus did for us. Our Father is relentlessly restoring the broken. He lead us on a path that we would not have chosen, but He used it to change us. Through the years, as I could feel my heart being pulled by my own sin nature, I would fall back on the prayer of Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

Recently, I started thinking more about David’s prayer a few verses before, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” If we want a clean heart, are we willing to be purged? Are we willing to let Him wash us? I’m not raising my hand to volunteer for another trial. I’m just saying, when hard times come, are we willing to let Him use it for cleansing and growth?

Over the next few days and weeks and months, we gradually saw our home physically restored.

But, in that time, He transformed our hearts. I have never felt so loved by God and uplifted by His Spirit. There were areas in our lives where we needed to be broken and humbled. I just can’t explain how strong His love for us felt in those moments – almost tangible.

Sometimes, we are rescued from a storm and sometimes we are called to walk through it. If you are facing difficulty, God is there, and He loves you so much. Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” If you know someone who is treading water, reach out and lift them up. Don’t wait for them to ask for help. Just jump in and say that you are helping. We felt the strength of His love through the outpouring of our brothers and sisters in Christ. It was humbling and overwhelming, but so, so precious to our hearts.

The same way my house needed restoration, we need Him to restore us. Praise God that he took our brokenness and conquered death! He loves us in our shambles and He is constantly making all things new. My house is just a picture of how He washes away what is old and creates in us a new spirit.

He has taken what was broken and made it beautiful in His sight.

The New House…from the beginning (as told in bad pictures)

Not surprisingly, we’ve been spending a fair amount of time at “the new house.” (I feel like it needs a better name than this).

newhouse

{Doesn’t every good house-building story begin with an expanse of red dirt and some toddlers?}

As I already mentioned, Shaun has spent every single weekend out there (minus his birthday and Easter) for the past 4 months, so the kids and I like to drop by and check out the progress or bring lunch to eat at the picnic table Shaun built especially for that purpose.

newhouse8

{Lunch usually consists of rotisserie chicken and other odds and ends we pick up from the grocery store only 5 minutes away!! Bless!}

newhouse1

{Looky there! Our very first WALL!}

The kids are OVER-THE-MOON excited about, well, all of it. Naturally. Me too! Although, I honestly haven’t had to do much yet (except make design decisions and be a construction widow/ single mom all weekend…that counts for something, right?), so it’s a little easier for me to feel like “we haven’t even started yet” than for poor Shaun who comes home the nights that he’s worked out there covered in grime and looking like he’s ready to fall asleep in his dinner plate.

Side note: I just have to take a moment to brag on my husband. He has faithfully performed his day job, managed our rentals (have I ever mentioned we do that too?), given up his days of rest every single week, and slogged through some majorly tedious building work with ZERO complaints to get us to the point where we are. He pitches right in the minute he gets home, changing diapers and helping get the kids to bed every night. And he still takes time to talk with me or snuggle on the couch and watch Fixer Upper when he gets home. I really couldn’t be more impressed with a) his work ethic and b) his good attitude, and, even though I’ve already told him this in person, since he reads this blog, I just wanted to publicly acknowledge how fully awesome he is. I know (oh, how I know) that building a house is stressful, but we honestly work well together, and I love the sense of camaraderie that comes with tackling a project this big. Sure, sometimes, we’re cranky and snappy. But for the most part, this process (so far) has helped to hone our relationship, and I am grateful for the opportunity to do that with a man of integrity. Who also happens to be my favorite human being ever. The End.

newhouse10

{Best Daddy Award, for sure}

As I mentioned on Monday, this house started with the discovery of a really cool piece of land for a really great price about a year ago. I still wasn’t completely sold on the idea of building again when we bought the land, but we knew that, at the price we paid, we could easily get our money back if we changed our minds, so it was a bit of a no-brainer.

newhouse2

{Theo feels soooo big when he’s at “the poperty” (what the twins call it). He toddles around fearlessly, inspecting things and attempting to get in trouble while one of us trails after him, taking away nails and steering him clear of windows}

The effect you get upon driving into the entrance to the land is of entering your own private park. It opens from a narrow-ish, tree-enclosed entry into a big green field surrounded by trees, and we chose to build our house backing up to a steep, tree-covered (sensing a theme?) hill that rises up one side of the property. Considering how much fun our kids are already having exploring that hill, I can only imagine the adventures they’ll have playing King of the (almost literal) Mountain in years to come!

newhouse4

{This is the view from the hill toward the back of the house, which is u-shaped. The area inside the u will be a covered courtyard…eventually}.

There’s a small pond, which doesn’t hold water well, currently, but I’m sure Shaun will fix that (right, babe?), and the little secluded, shady nook formed by a small grove of trees right by that pond is a little slice of heaven. I can totally see us hanging out there all summer or even hauling a homeschooling picnic out when the weather is nice.

I’ve had several people ask about the floor plans for the house. Once again, we drew them up ourselves, so they are completely custom, but I’m considering taking screen shots of  the layout in the house program that we use and sharing those. No promises, but maaaaaaybe. ;)

newhouse5

{Cheesy Grins R Us; also, please don’t ask why I’m standing on one foot, except that I’m a dork}

I’ve had several people comment on the size. Yup. It’s big. We weren’t specifically going for BIG, but we did have a laundry list of very specific items we wanted to include, so by the time we fit them all in, the result was far from small.

In addition to the usual bedrooms/kitchen/bathrooms/living room, etc., we included: a two van garage, a yard tools garage (basically an extension of the main garage set apart for the lawn mower, etc.), a mudroom, a dedicated schoolroom, a guest suite, an office for Shaun, a craft room/office for me, a workshop for Shaun, and that family laundry/closet I mentioned on Monday. Oh! And we’re replicating the idea of the “big room” we love so much in our current house right down to the DIY big screen on the wall.

newhouse13

{Its current state; and yes, the grass really is that green}

It’s an ambitious project and one that will take us years to finish completely (I know because there are STILL aspects of our current house that I don’t consider “finished”), but we’re nothing if not dedicated to our DIY obsession (addiction?), and it’s kind of awesome to know that we can parlay the fruits of our previous efforts on this current house into the new one–both in profit (assuming it sells for a decent price) and skills learned.

Welp, that’s what I’ve got for now. I’m sure you’ll be hearing more soon.

Any more questions? I’ll try to answer the best I can!