Authentic Living

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More than any other time of the year, Fall is when I start craving a life filled with tradition and purpose. In the summer, life gets a bit more carefree. A great day is one in which you were happy not doing much at all, other than activities involving sunscreen or suitcases. But as October begins, I invariably start thinking about the kind of life I want in my home.

It is so easy to get swayed by all the distractions in life.
Even as new wonderful things are invented to supposedly save us time and frustration, new challenges emerge as we try to use them. The internet is no exception. It can be a blessing and a curse. It is really a catch-22, there are so many time-saving tools available online to organize us, help us manage our time, and add to our sense of connection, yet we must spend so much time in process of attaining that new insight or connection with people that we can miss out on the simple joys of everyday life.

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One of the things I crave most of all in my home is a cozy atmosphere for my family. A respite from the outside world where we can be together. I like comfy places to sit down with a book, places to light a fire or a flickering candle, inviting places to dine together and play games. Yet even if I find the time to create those surroundings, the reality is I need to set aside time to actually use them.

That is the heart of authentic living for me.

I need to create the spaces I want to use, and then I need to carve out the time to live in the moment. Otherwise the moment will pass on by in the blur of my to do list. Easier said than done, huh? Especially for those of us with growing careers and/or children, there is always one more thing to do.

My goal is to make a priority out of LIVING the life I want, not just creating the atmosphere for it. The busier I get, the harder that is becoming. That means I’m going to have to live on purpose. I have to be intentional and not get carried away with the superfluous. The life I want won’t happen on its own.

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So with that said, I am off to redecorate my dining room to be more inviting and user friendly. I’ve got new simple butter yellow curtains (speaking of curtains, you have got to look at Jackie Von Tobel’s gorgeous book!), I resized my table to be smaller and cozier for game playing and intimate dinners, I added soft gold and red patterned shades to my glass chandelier, and I am going to paint my wainscoting to warm up the room. I’ll add some cozy linens, stacks of my favorite books, and scatter some attractive wood games on the table.

Then I will say, “Let the games begin!” and I will really mean it this time. And I won’t take a picture of the end result to share with you until it includes photos of my family actually playing games, not just a game laying on the table for a prop.

Are you with me? I hope so.

Two sources of endless inspiration for your homes:
Dining rooms from Traditional Home website
Centerpiece from Better Homes & Gardens website
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Comments

  1. Oh how you make my heart sing with these photo’s. Just beautiful.

  2. Yes, I’m with you:)
    I am glad to hear your son is getting better. My little one has not coughed all day. I am taking that as a good sign. Thanks for coming by and offering encouragement.
    BTW consider yourself tagged:) Stop by for details.
    Rhonda

  3. Penny, Mosaic Artist says:

    What a wonderful post. It seems like I spend my days trying to create that “perfect” life I know is just out of my reach. You have reminded me to take time and enjoy this life I am creating…Thank you.
    Penny

  4. Ah yes. Life is for living and remembering to take time to savor it can be hard. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. Esther Sunday says:

    Gosh, I so understand. Although I was happy to do it, I just spent 12 hours today (literally) 2 hours away for my daughter’s fall softball tournament. Same next weekend. Got home a bit grumpy. My unfinished living room, “dirty” house, laundry, etc. is just staring at me, and tomorrow starts a new work week. Ug. But, gotta remember, these are special times with my daughter, so keeping in prespective. Love, Esther

  6. Darlene (CWO) says:

    I agree with Alice. The photos are AMAZING. Wow. Have fun with, and in the diningroom!

  7. What a lovely home you have. It was so cozy and inviting. Hope you have a good day.
    Love Elzie

  8. Melissa,
    I’m with you honey! Everything sounds so inviting that I wish I could come and play a game with you. You have such vision and inspire all of us who are lucky enough to know you!!

    Love,
    Julie

  9. Melissa, so nice to meet you. Thank you for your visit to my blog. You have a beautiful blog and website, with some great info. I’ve bookmarked you so I can return again.

  10. Jennifer Froh says:

    The photographs you choose are simply stunning!!!
    I would love to see your dining room makeover :)
    Have fun with it!!!

  11. What a lovely, lovely post! You know, my dining room is such a beautiful room (if I do say so myself), but it is never used. I was thinking about having a family dinner there every Sunday night, but it has not happened! I need to focus on achieving this goal. I will do it this Sunday!

    Although I feel as if I spend way too much time perusing the design blogs (which take me away from things I should be doing…like exercising!), I also feel as if they add little pieces of beauty to my day. This post has certainly done that.

  12. I love the firkin on the table with the flowers…..I snap those up whenever I can find them and they are affordable….I feel the same way about my home….it is my “haven”. Thanks for stopping by and all your sweet words btw.
    Blessings,
    Robin

  13. Lovely post and gorgeous photos! Seems this subject is on alot of people’s minds this season. The plans you have for your dining room sound just wonderful and I can’t wait to see it come to life!

    Manuela

  14. Exactly! We create homes as retreats from the world and then don’t have the time to enjoy what’s been created.

    Hope that you have lots of fun playing those games that you’re setting out. Your little one is going to appreciate that gift of time so much!

    (Thank you for adding my little blog to your list.)

  15. First, Thanks so much for mentioning my book. Second – I know exactly what you mean. We spend so much time and energy creating the life we want we forget to enjoy it along the way. Thank you for the inspiring words and pictures. I have to remind myself just to breath sometimes. We should all slow down and smell the roses.
    Jackie

  16. I agree totally, but I have yet to find a balance between aesthetics and functionality.

    At the moment my dining room table is covered with Legos and Playmobil. Under the Legos and Playmobil, you will find a table pad, covered with a tablecloth and, on top, a (GASP) a clear vinyl cover. You see, the table needs to be protected from the cats, so we need a tablecloth to cover the pad, but the tablecloth needs to be protected from the kids. I hate the vinyl thing, but it makes the table functional. Actually, now that I think about it there are a lot of things in our house like that – I guess I’ll add it to the list of sacrifices I make for kids.

    I don’t think you will regret the changes you have made for “authentic” living because, at the end of the day, that is what it is all about isn’t it?

  17. I love reading all of your comments! I agree, whether you create a beautiful room and make time to use it as you intended (not just photograph it!), or you adjust your expectations for beauty to be able to live in the moment, what matters is that you are in touch with what is really important to you and not let it fall to last priority in your life. Thanks so much for your comments!

  18. Hi, Melissa, you have a great way of expressing yourself. What a nice post…and the pics are pretty too. I know exactly what you mean, sometimes I feel like I am living in my home & run around sharing pics of it, but am I REALLY living in it & enjoying its full potential as a peaceful haven. I’m busy these days too with working all day & trying to fit in all my other things at the end of the day. I’m afraid it does get hard to enjoy our nests sometimes. I try to do that, but don’t always succeed. I’m very thankful for the home we have & what God has allowed us to take care of & I need to remind myself of that everyday! Thanks, Melissa!

    Rhoda

  19. Melissa, as usual you are so right, It isn’t about the “stuff” or about the house, it is all about the lives lived within. I have always tried to make my home a haven for the family and to create an ambiance of comfort, warmth and joy. I love beautiful things but I try to remember they are all secondary to the life we create around them:>) By the way, thank you for your comment on my blog. I appreciate the helpfulness of so many people I have met online.My book will have a Christmas celebration theme and having never done this before I could use any tips you can send my way. Thank you:>)

  20. Very inspiring pictures but I appreciate your sentiments even more. Autumn is all about nesting, isn’t it?

  21. Hi..I just found your delightful blog and enjoyed it so much that I added it to My Favorites. I’ll be back!! ~bj

  22. Melissa, What a lovely and thoughtful post! Yes, we definitely turn inwards in autumn, and our lives are circumscribed by our surroundings. It’s a wonderful idea to use a dining room as more than just a room for holidays and special occasions. I look forward to seeing your dining room soon!

    Thank you for visiting my blog, and for your kind commnents!
    Mary

  23. Thank you so much for this post. It is exactly the journey I am beginning with my own home. Thanks for the inspiration!

  24. Thanks for stopping by to visit.
    I’m looking forward to the list:) but take your time, no pressure.
    Rhonda

  25. Wow, those are beautiful dining rooms. I can’t wait to see yours! Your blog is very inspiring!

  26. Words and images….perfection.

    Pat

  27. Can’t wait to see your photos of this project!x

  28. I’m sure your room will be as beautiful as these images that you have shared with us, more so in fact because yours will be LIVED in.

  29. Hi, hi, hi!! A huge apology for not visiting the past few days. Your post pretty much nailed me as far as prioritizing and getting some much needed things done. It is so true that we have to really focus on the “what is the most important” task. My favorite saying, even before Nike came out with it, is “Just Do It.” These days it is more like “get ‘er done!”

    Please do share your pictures of your game table. I always enjoy your ideas and my husband even commented on how lovely your home is. Now that is a huge compliment!!!! Trust me! Just to get him to mosey over to look at a blog is like leading a horse to water. Whinnnnnnnnieeeeeeee! hahaha.

    Lastly, I just want to tell you that the comment that you left for me today made me weepy. Thank you from my heart for your kind words. And – I want you to know that you do the same thing, Miss Melissa, by gracefully sharing other blogs and connections to some wonderful decorating inspirations. I just reallllly do appreciate everyone who even takes a minute to visit me. It is the effervescence of my day!!! So, keep on keeping on and happy blogging my sweet friend!

    xo,

    Becky

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