Monday, 27 April 2015

What's Inspiring Me Lately... (Part 2)

It’s been really intriguing to think about what inspires me in my day to day life. (Like I said last time... Inspire means to fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.” Anything in life can breathe inspiration but we lean towards different sources of inspiration based on who we are.

Last time I wrote about how books inspire me and today I’m writing about home decor. For our first 5 years of marriage, we lived in a basement suite. It wasn’t always ideal but it was just the two of us and we really didn’t need much more space. For the past 2 months we’ve been living in our first home ever! It’s still a rental... but it’s been a total blast. We even have a yard!

I like to keep things simple when it comes to decor. My biggest inspiration decoratively is my mom. I’d describe her style as sophisticated yet homey and simple. Her style has changed as the times have changed but our home growing up was uncluttered and always decorated in a lovely way...with thought and attention given to each piece.

If I had unlimited funds there are MANY things I would do with the house we’re in right now. But since we don’t have unlimited funds and we’re here short term, we’ve worked with what we have. I love to go to home stores (I even just like looking at the home section in Walmart or Target!) and I’m always interested in home decorating magazines. I also have to be careful, though, that I don’t allow myself to get jealous or to compare my home to anyone else’s. Sometimes what we have is good enough for now and it’s exciting to dream about future decorating endeavors.

If someone asked you to describe your decorating style, what would you say? If I had to choose three words to describe my own I would say simple, cozy, and beachy. J We used to live in BC and I’ve always been inspired by the ocean... the sound of the waves, the smell of the fresh salty air, the feel of the cool sand on my bare feet, the taste of ice cream on a hot day.I miss the beach! So I decided to bring a little bit of a beach feel into our home. We have brown furniture and the accent colours are white and blue. I love white and blue together so much that I can’t imagine another colour scheme I will love more but I’m sure I’ll be ready for a change some day.

For me it is important to create a living space that feels uncluttered and fresh. I don’t want to feel stifled. When things are (somewhat) clean and organized, I feel more inspired. It gives me space to focus on things other than thinking about what needs to get done around the house. Of course, things get messy every day...especially now that we have a baby! Laundry piles up, dishes go unwashed, bathrooms need cleaning constantly... but I’m learning to find a rhythm. I don’t clean for the sake of cleaning but because, when we have a home that is tidy, I feel more relaxed. It gives us space to be still and quiet or to have a meal together and enjoy company. My motivation to have a beautiful home is not so that other people can admire my decorating style or be in awe of my cleaning skills. (haha J) But I’m learning that it’s important to have beautiful spaces in our lives because beautiful, inviting spaces allow us to live life in a more beautiful and inviting way.

What home decor inspires you and how would you describe your decorating style? If you could choose ONE decor piece to bring into your living space that would breathe inspiration into your life...what would that be?

(One book I’d love to read is “The Nesting Place: It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful” by Myquillin Smith. I've have heard so many good things about it and it totally relates to what we’re chatting about today!)


Thursday, 23 April 2015

What's Inspiring Me Lately...

Lately I’m thinking about Inspiration. The definition of inspire is to “fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.” Some synonyms for inspire include motivate, move, energize, and incentivize. (Incentivize…Is that not an amazing word?!) Inspire also means to ‘breathe in.’ I love that. As we inhale inspiration, we exhale creativity.

Based on who we are as a person, different things inspire us. For some people it may be art…the way Monet’s dashes and squiggles of paint capture the movement of light. For others, it’s sports…the players set up the play, football flies through the air, receiver catches it… touchdown! Some people are drawn to nature…hiking long distances in order to get to the top, breath in the fresh mountain air, and take in the overwhelmingly breathtaking view. Many are inspired by modern technology…anticipating the new iPhone and how it will change the way you communicate with the people in your life. I believe anything can breath inspiration into us if we let it. We’re drawn to certain things based on who we are.

It’s important to allow ourselves to be inspired. Sometimes we’re moving through life so fast, ticking off our check lists (myself included!) and we forget to take life in.

Breath in…

Inspiration fills us with the urge to do something creative.

I have always been inspired by books. What I love about books…children’s books, fiction, Christian living, theology, bible study, travel guides, memoirs, any kind of book… is that, somehow, when we read, we are let into a story that is not our own, but also is our own. As we relate to the characters or the author, we realize how much more we have in common with people than we think we do…even if they live on other sides of the world in a completely different life circumstances. Stories help us feel less alone and more like we’re in this together.

Here’s 3 books that have been inspiring me lately…

“You’re Loved No Matter What”
by Holley Gerth. The way Holley writes makes you feel like you are sitting across from her at a coffee shop. Some people may read the title and think this book is more for girls or women, but there is so much truth in it that I have been relaying to my husband. It addresses the struggle of perfectionism and the idea of learning to receive. We don‘t need to strive so hard to earn what we already have. This has created a profound change in my thinking as I’ve allowed it to permeate.

“Surprised by Motherhood”
by Lisa-Jo Baker. I love this author. The minute I started reading her book, I wished I had known about it when my baby was even younger. (I follow her blog now too and love it.) I felt like she spoke into so many areas that I have struggled in this past year as I’ve entered motherhood. There are a lot of things moms don’t talk about… like how hard it is sometimes. Why should we feel badly for saying that motherhood is hard? She helped me realize I wasn’t alone. It’s not abnormal to feel so extremely tired and I’m not the only mom who has felt worn out, exhausted, or completely lost. Motherhood changes us and this booked helped me accept that all of the changes I faced this year are completely normal.

And lastly… I love Christian fiction novels. Robin Jones Gunn is one of my favourite authors. I grew up on “The Christy Miller Series” (please buy these books for any teen girl in your life. They literally were obsessions among my girlfriends and I growing up.) There is something about the sweet, real and honest characters Robin creates that I’m drawn to. They are so relatable that I feel like I’m reading stories about my own friends. And Robin is also the person that has sparked in me a desire to start writing fiction myself.

Those are some of the books and authors inspiring me lately! Holley is inspiring me to receive from God, instead of striving to earn what I already have. Lisa-Jo is inspiring me to embrace the beauty and mess of motherhood and live in the midst of it. And Robin is inspiring me to get lost in characters and stories and to write fiction.




What books are inspiring you lately?

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Sisterhood of the traveling...

Yesterday, while my sweet baby boy napped, I was feeling tired so decided to put on a Netflix movie. 'Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.' It's one of my all time FAVOURITE movies. I read the books, (all 4), saw the movie with friends when it first came out, and I have also had numerous traveling (you name it) that I've exchanged with friends over the years. None of the particular traveling items got passed around for longer than three months, but the intention was stay in contact and share our experiences with my friends no matter where we were on the planet.

I know there is a reason this particular movie is one of my favourites. It has to do with the sense of adventure and freedom these girls experience as they each travel different places. These experiences shape who they are, help them deal with difficult issues in their lives, and ultimately, bond them together as they discover who they are apart from one another.

When I was 19, I started to feel the travel itch. I had never been outside of North America and I knew that I needed to see more of the world. I was 2 1/2 years into my degree, but for some reason, I knew this was the next step I needed to take, before I could finish University.

My friend and I set out for Albania to do 3 months of bible school, and after that we traveled to Athens, Santorini, Paris, and various places in England, ending in London.

I have a (very) old Facebook photo album of my time in Santorini and this morning, I decided to look through it. It was exactly 7 years ago that I took this trip. I don't think I realized then how significant the time was, how much it was shaping me as a person, and the confidence it helped me discover. Traveling to all of these places gave me a sense of independence I had never experienced and was also a time that allowed me to work through my relationship with God in a whole new way.

As we grow into womanhood and all that comes with it, I think we sometimes forget the dreams God laid on our hearts when we were younger. There is something so magical about the years following high school (17-21ish). The WHOLE world is your oyster at this age. We know the dreams that we have in our hearts but they are usually yet to be realized. This time of life is for sifting through what those dreams are and allowing ourselves to take shape.

I'm being inspired to think about those dreams lately. I love that I've kept journals throughout my life because it can be SO interesting to look back on my thoughts at different times in my life; what I was struggling with or excited about.

Today I'm reflecting on those times, and what the dreams God had put on my heart then, mean for me now. Even though life circumstances change or we have more responsibility in life as we enter womanhood, I still believe God has unique adventures for us all throughout our life. Adventure, travel, dreams, discovery...these are never over! Sure, it may look different in the season of life you are in. But life in Christ and with Him is an amazing adventure if we will just look for it...