My little Gift and Thrift tree is set up in the space. It was purchased for not too much money a few years ago at my favorite thrift shop. I love that the branches stay attached and just kind of fold up, and that it assembles in two pieces.
I am not good about fluffing it to make it look real, though I am not sure how real a plastic tree can look. Once the ornaments are hung, it looks better.
The colored lights are strung, as I am a colored lights girl. Actually, I love the look of both colored and white together, but I also like using what I have, and this is it.
Decorating is not going according to plan. I removed the ornament box from our room when I realized that all we were doing was tripping over it. I know the decorating will happen, I am struggling to hold its timing very, very loosely.
So that is where things stand, and it is hard.
In the grand scheme of life it is not that big of a deal.
In fact, I am hearing a lot of things inside that try to minimize the hope and anticipation that I feel over the small act of unpacking my memories and hanging them for a season as a reminder of God’s goodness and faithfulness to me over the years.
Too much trouble.
There are bigger issues in the world and in other people’s lives.
But this is my life. And these are my issues. And I will continue to hope and wonder.
I will continue to be encouraged by women like this who remind me that it’s okay to hope and to show up in the space slowly and quietly.
It’s painted on the house number sign, made one date night years ago. I chose the house number sign, my luvvvah chose the butter dish.
Right now it’s propped on a chair outside of the side entrance due to the porch projectthis summer. The house number. The butter dish is broken in a drawer.
That $3 chair from Gift and Thrift changes throughout the seasons.Right now, it embracesfall glory.
Here’s how it welcomed Spring.
Last year’s fall look is below. See the naked grapevine wreath? This year I dressed it up by stuffing random fake leaves and seed pods into it. Read all about it here. Sorry. There’s not a tutorial.
I’m trying to figure the point of this post other than to remind myself and others that change happens and can be good. I struggle with change.
Working with what you have is fulfilling. Intentionally seeking out the broken and discarded to create beauty is meaningful. Trusting your instincts is freeing. Being content with what you have is priceless.
For me it’s a struggle.
All of the above.
I will continue the battle and fight forward to win.
We lit the first candle last night. Hung the felt advent tree. Bit by bit, Christmas items emerge from the bowels of the house.
Bit by bit aromas emerge from the bowels of those gathered in the living room. I cringe.
Will it EVER change. No, really. Will we EVER gather in serene bliss around the advent candles by the light of the Christmas tree without someone allowing foul air to escape their body, or someone rolling around on the carpet, or endless someones jockeying over who gets to light what candle and put up what piece so that they get to light the Christmas candle AND put up the manger on Christmas day?
Where is the peace? Expectant hope? Other than expecting to put up the first piece, which tonight happens to be the hanging of the felt tree. Anti-climactic. But the candle-lighting and subsequent snuffing…now THAT is to be coveted and makes the expectant hope of going first worthwhile.
Katie goes first. She gets to light the candle and snuff it out at the end. She gets to choose the Christmas carol. Doesn’t this sound heartwarming?
This year we have a candle snuffer thanks to Shani and gift and thrift. I actually remember where it is and run to dig it from a drawer in the buffet. Boy 3 picks it up during the advent reading and mimes that he is smoking a pipe. He also is the one who shares what he learned about the advent candles during the church service he attended with sister and fiance which seems a redeeming quality.
This is another new path. I am trying to relax into it. Taking one day at a time. Allowing memories to wash over me. Accepting that it has not been, is not, and will not be picture-perfect, but it has been real in whatever season we found ourselves. And there have been many.
The reading ends, and Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus is chosen by Katie as the song. We sing and then those who wish to pray offer up a prayer. It’s simple. It’s Day one. It’s not guaranteed to happen the same way tomorrow.
The candle is snuffed. There is no shower of hot wax hardening into small drops on the table. We disperse to various corners of the house, a memory made on this first day of Advent 2013. And there is hope.
Crazy time is doing its thing of dragging and flying by simultaneously.
The first quarter of school is behind, another year of Halloween costume fun is over, and I have still not mastered the art of not keeping up, ever.
Somewhere inside, I continue to cling to the illusion that I will get my act together instead of being okay with the untogetherness of it all and taking life one day at a time.
In the moments, there are glimpses of goodness. I forget that.
This month leading up to Thanksgiving, I am going to try to glimpse the goodness in my days and share it.
Not perfection. Just goodness.
I will practice thanksgiving.
Grateful for the goodness of littles who chose costumes reflecting their individuality. My princess was content with a dress-up-clothes-bin costume, my orphan was low-maintenance in her pillowcase with felt-patches costume, and my chipmunk was as unique as ever in her brown clothes and hat assembled from Gift and Thrift with felt stripes on her back. Notice the ears on the hat. She worked to sew them on.
Grateful for grace from the bigs who remember trick-or-treating once or twice. Grateful to be walking in freedom.
I was happy to find a Little People House at Gift and Thrift yesterday (meaning sometime in 2007), sans people or accessories. I have been looking for a house, but I debated on whether to get this one without all of the pieces. The $1.50 price tag and built in bathroom and kitchen accessories cinched the deal for me. You can see Kirkle helping the king use the Little People potty seat in the top right picture. That was probably $1.50 worth of play time right there!
The “thrift store/ yard sale” rule in our house goes something like, “We only buy things that go with things that we already have.” We have LOTS of Little People toys. Now they have a house. I’m watching eBay and yard sales and thrift stores for some more furniture to collect for the little house. Our Little People will just have to do what the big people in this house do…be content with the necessities for now and add more furniture and accessories as they become available and money permits!
So much laughter. Copious tears. Stories and questions and memories.
Time together. Time apart.
God in the details. Let me share a story.
There is always a story.
I have Grandma McClay to thank for buying my big girls each their first American Girl doll. This began the collecting of doll furniture at Gift and Thrift, shopping the sale page of the American Girl website, and a younger sister using ALL of her OWN birthday money to buy Kit for her big sister’s birthday.
The little girls began their American Girl collection with Bitty Babies for Christmas one year. A rescue Just Like You doll from Once Upon a Child was Coco’s first “big” doll. Roo got a big JLY doll for her sixth birthday, and Little Mae began talking about the doll she was going to get when she turned five.
I knew that if I were to get Little Mae a doll, it would be Marie-Grace. Not exactly her name, but so close, with brown curls and blue eyes, it was the one.
One day, close to Christmas, I got on a message board covering all things AG dolls. I typed special in the search box, and a promotional code thread surfaced. It seemed that that day at that moment on the Today Show, a code was being given to get 60% off of a limited number of Marie-Grace and Cecile dolls. Entered on the order page, Marie-Grace could be purchased FROM American Girl for $55.
I was stunned. The exact doll I wanted for Mae’s June birthday was on special in December, on a day that I checked, at a price I could afford. I bought it and saved it on the top shelf of my closet until today when Little Mae opened her Marie-Grace doll. A hug from Heaven.
One of my favorite ways to find space is to poke around Gift and Thrift, a local secondhand store. I stumbled upon this treasure the other day while grabbing a few minutes for myself.
Wandering through Gift and Thrift is always an exercise in self-control (do I really need this item or can I go dig a similar one out of my basement?) and self-awareness (I am drawn to this item, but why?).
When I saw this picture hanging on the wall with the others, I was intrigued. It spoke to me. Taking it down, turning it around, and noticing that the framing was done by a local shop made the $20 price tag (steep for Gift and Thrift) seem more reasonable. The fact that it was a print from Picasso’s blue period was even more compelling, and I bit the bullet and splurged on it.
I love the way that this $20 purchase fits in with the $6 mirror and $15 Pier One wall decals over the bed in our room. I love that the original was painted during a dark time, showing that beauty truly can emerge from brokenness. I love finding just the right thing for my space.
I love the before and after. What do you think? Have you had any fun finds, lately?