Thursday, February 28, 2013

Chalk Board

I found several old window frames at a salvage yard in Charleston, SC.

They were already the prettiest shade of blue.  I cut out the screen and cut a board to fit the space.  I painted it with chalkboard paint, before I attached it with a heavy duty staple gun. 

The equestrian drawer pulls came from the Pottery Barn outlet and were left over from another project.  I turned them upside down and attached them to the window sill.

They are perfect for holding chalk! 

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French Post Office Box and a Peek

Here are a few shots of the master bath remodel.  
  I found a new use for the vintage French post office box!

 We changed the tub to a beautiful claw foot tub, and I needed a place to put extra towels for easy access.   I found four Scandinavian chairs in Charleston, and I love the raw pine wood and clean lines. The post office box adds some character!
Hopefully, I will have the master bath posted soon!

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Gift

Making Snow Angels

It came down in clumps, and it came quickly.  In minutes the ground was covered with a heavy dusting of snow.  No longer could you see the ground's brown, matted hair or skeletal trees looming over, begging for spring to return their color of life in multiple shades of green.

Now, everything glistened in a monochromatic hue of white.  Just the day before, my children ran around the yard barefoot.  "Only in the south," I laughed, as I watched them pull on their clunky boots.

Before the interruption, we were busy with our usual weekend activities.  Although I try desperately to limit the constant motion of our family, even the tedious acts of housekeeping and chores keep us buzzing around, before we shuttle off  to various lessons or activities.   With whirlwinds always circling, I dream of boredom; yearning for her presence in our home.  

The snow fell and, despite its rapid descent, seemed to carry the redemption of time on the tiny shards of its crystals.  I stared, and it took a few minutes for my eyes to rest and absorb the millions of snowflakes falling to the ground.  The scene unfolded slowly as the gift of time was handed to me.  In the south, we are not prepared for the cold breath of  Mother Nature.  Everything shuts down; school, businesses, restaurants.  We are forced to stay home, and I am relieved.  My kids screamed with excitement, but I stood there, in front of the window and watched.  God's hand in a white glove had just reached down and stopped the world.

The cold weather doesn't usually lure us from the comforts and warmth of our home.  But, the snow?  She calls for us and we instantly stir.  Despite their unconditioned, thin layer of skin, my children run to greet her without their coats.  I am jealous, because they obey, the first time, when she whispers,"Come.  Let's play."

Standing in the window and watching life unfold in the Hand with the white glove, I am reminded that life should move a bit slower.  "Every day should be a snow day," I sigh.  My wonder-filled children stick out their tongues, and with tightly closed eyes and outstretched bare arms, catch the tiny snowflakes in their mouths.

Unlike everything else that moves impetuously, the swirl of the snow brings tranquility.  The snowballs soar in slow motion and the snow angels appear to have taken flight as more snow falls and covers their impressions.  In the stillness, the only sound I hear is voices of delight.  I study the subjects framed by my window and try to embed in my memory every detail of their little overjoyed faces.  I feel incredibly grateful for this seemingly slow passage of time.  My children, who look advanced in age with their white crowns of glory, now tap on my window and entice me to come play with their friend, Snow.

  I stood there a few minutes longer and wondered why we wait for a snowfall to be still; why we need an excuse.  Lately, I have spent too much time at my desk doing research.  Electronics are the stealthiest time thieves.  It is no surprise to me, that I feel cheated of my time and in a constant spin.  Why must it snow for me to slow down?  I questioned the rapid pace of our lives and wondered, if  Oscar Wilde's anti-mimesis of "life imitates art far more than art imitates life" exists in our digital world as "life imitates technology..."  We race. We spin.  We rush.  We hurry.  We find it difficult, if not impossible, to rest. 

My deep thoughts carry me further away from the present.  I ponder the race.  Technological improvements center around celerity; and thus, I find such great irony.  The more that technology is able to do for man, and as quick as it is able to work, shouldn't we be liberated to live simpler with time to invite boredom into our home?  Instead, we function, similarly to the devices which capture much of our devotion.  Our non-computer brains cannot keep up with the pace of technology that man invented; yet our eyes dart tirelessly trying.  We find it difficult to be still.  In our imitative instinct, we move rapidly, unknowingly, unnaturally like the quick, shifting scenes on our television screens, laptops and devices.  We are busy, because it is familiar to us.  It is what we have come to know in this fast evolution of technology; the digital world.

I have pondered long enough, and with a deep sigh, decide to bury my thoughts of the cyber world and live in the tangible world before me.  With a time pass in my hand, the snow, the beauty, and the laughter of my children lure me.  The feeling that there is no where we have to be is exhilarating. 

It is eight o'clock in the evening.  My children remind me that Snow's visit with us will be short. She can't tolerate the south's fickle weather.  I climb in the attic and pull out the ski bibs, gloves, hats and scarves, which I had been certain, we wouldn't need until next year.  I step outside into the darkness and note the highest contrast possible: the white snow against the black sky.  Again, I choke with gratitude, but I have to catch myself from the consumption of my deep thoughts.  It is time to live.  It is time to feel the snow and the chill of the winter night; it is time to play.  My children with their cold-tipped noses run to me and nestle in my arms, seeking the warmth still clinging to me from inside.  I inhale the wintry night, and with a pretend cigarette in my hand, exhale a cloud of smoke.  My children laugh.  Nothing gives me more joy than God's gift of their laughter.

Rob finds his monster flashlight, and in the dark, with garbage can lids and one old sled, we walk the half-mile to the school.  It is unusually quiet.  And still.  Rob shines his light from the top of the hill and my son, of course, pretending that his trashcan lid is the Titanic, takes the maiden voyage.  Tomorrow, with what patches of snow remain, the hill will be bustling with children; including my own.  But tonight, the night is ours.  The fresh snow is ours.  And time is on our side.

Walking home late at night and pulling my exhausted, youngest child on the old sled, my deep thoughts return.  I thank God for the gift of this night.  I am filled with joy from watching my children, with their large imaginations, dream and play, and on this night, without the boundaries of time.  Again, I am grateful. Without a doubt, nothing, in the digital world can ever replace the gift of relationships. Nothing can replace the wonderful feelings and senses God has given man;  the ability to taste and see and smell; to hear and to feel; but mostly, the ability to love.     

Does life imitate technology?  Maybe at times, it does.  I am grateful for the perspective I found from a lovely winter snowfall.  In His love, God reminded me to join my family in this beautiful gift called, 'life.' 

Jesus said, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. ~ Mark 4:39
 Be still, and know that I am God. ~Psalm 46:10
The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. ~Exodus 14:14
Teach me, and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong. ~Job 6:24
 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. ~Psalm 37:7
White hair is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness. ~Proverbs:16:31 
I hope you are able to slow down and enjoy the blessings that life has to offer! 
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Friday, February 22, 2013

Favorite Photo Friday

As soon as Christmas is over, I look for the first signs of spring.  I couldn't wait to see the spring blooms of the cherry blossom trees! 

It seems Old Man Winter won't quite let our spring come... 

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Favorite Photo Friday

I took this picture at at nearby farm.  It is beautiful and eery at the same time!   Winter strips the trees bare, leaving only skeletal frames naked and vulnerable against the harsh elements. 

Soon these trees will burst forth with tiny buds that whisper, "All is well and alive.  Spring is near."

Are you ready for spring?

I am!

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Just a Few Things for Valentine's...

I didn't put up too many decorations for Valentine's Day; although, it is one of my favorite days!  Every year on this special day of looove., I pull out the love letters my grandfather wrote to my grandmother during WWII.   They are so nostalgic and the upside down stamps mean, "I love you."
 I found the French post office box at a flea market...perfect for this day.  Tulips are my favorite flowers!
I love this picture of my mom!  This was taken in her dorm at college holding a box of chocolates my dad gave to her.  They were married for thirty-four years, before she passed away.  The letters from my grandfather are dated '1945.'  Many of them discuss how he can't wait to meet his baby girl; my mom.  She was born in 1943 and was three years old before he came home from the war.  My grandmother was told that he had been killed in action; however, he returned home and got to meet his only child!  Sadly, she would pass years before he would at the age of fifty-four, and his heart was broken until the day he died.  I love the story these letters tell...
I cut out these River Birch hearts at Christmas.  For Valentine's, I glued them to some twine and hung them on our kitchen chalkboard.
Some of the bark was a beautiful shade of pink. 

My girls wanted to give flowers to their teachers for Valentine's.  I found the small vases at Hobby Lobby and filled them with roses, baby's breath and stems from our Cherry Blossom trees.  I think these would be perfect for a wedding!  (The vases came in three sizes and are on sale now!)

We also made some for our neighbors...just a little 'happy' isn't it?

Ahhh...Pinterest.  The ideas are endless and oh, so simple!  I love these little flags from Dixie Delights! 

And these, also from Dixie Delights!

So, what have I been up to?
About a million things, but one of them is remodeling our master bath!  (See my Pinterest board here.)  I'll share pictures soon!
Stayed tuned...
Happy Valentine's Day!  

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