Archives for January 2019

A Simple Life in 2019: Lessons from Jack

A Simple Life in 2019: Lessons from Jack

Hey friend! I’m so glad you’re here. Yes, you came to the right post. It’s not Christmas. Even though you’ll see some Christmas decor in my pics, but it’s all put away at my house now. Let me explain.

This time of year it seems we’re not only all setting goals, but we are wanting to simplify.

Besides simplicity in our belongings, I’ve been reading quite a few articles and posts lately about people abandoning their social media accounts because it’s just become too stressful to keep up with so many people who now use these sites (and of course, the stress of being exposed regularly to the unrealistically perfect lives they seem to live!). Not to mention the pressure felt by many content creators to keep up that pace and image.

Interestingly the founders themselves of these big social media sites are actually leading the way out to a simpler, more meaningful existence.

I think many of us crave a slower, simpler life…whatever that means to us as individuals or as a family. We want to feel uplifted, not more frantic. We want serenity. Now.

A Simple Life in 2019: Lessons from Jack

I’ve even seen few people recently indicate they miss the good old days when you could just enjoy the community of a few favorite blogs along with morning coffee. Anyone remember those days?

Funny how life sometimes comes full circle, and what seemed so “new and improved” or “bigger or better” in the world doesn’t turn out to be what we want or need after all.

Perhaps we all crave returning home to enjoy more simple pleasures.

But how do we do that?

How do we get there?

What is it that we need to let go of in order to experience that simplicity we long for in our life or home?

I think definitely it’s a good time of year to slow the scroll for a bit. It’s helpful to quiet all the noise and the visuals so we can consider what it is we really want to be surrounded with.

Sometimes though I think even as we are trying to balance out the chaos in the world outside our door, we set ourselves up with unrealistic expectations for our own home.

A Simple Life in 2019: Lessons from Jack

Our Christmas tree had only lights on it until Christmas Eve. It wasn’t necessarily a design statement. It was intended to create more free time for our family. Yet while we actually enjoyed the simplicity of the tree in its natural state, we also love our simple traditions.

My son and daughter decided to pull out our classic forest & sea creatures on Christmas Eve and decorate the tree. They had fun and seeing it all decorated delighted everyone on Christmas morning. I am so glad they did what stirred their hearts at that moment as it blessed us all to see our whimsical decorations on the tree.

And honestly, it may not have even felt like Christmas happened if Jack hadn’t had the chance days later to sneak into the living room and confiscate a few of the plush animals from the tree. We do put the decorations up high, hoping this will be the year he will ignore them. I really don’t know how he goes about it without us catching him in the act year after year, but he always finds a way.

It’s become his yearly tradition, so who are we to be annoyed over the simple shenanigans he’s grown to love?

A Simple Life in 2019: Lessons from Jack

Once again we find ourselves crawling on the floor searching for the creatures’ heads and bodies that are strewn about the room. We see bits of their furry tails dangling from Jack’s lips (all while he undoubtedly proclaims his innocence).

After the shock wears off from seeing these dismembered ornaments, we start to laugh and laugh.

A Simple Life in 2019: Lessons from Jack

I think we feel better when we focus more on building happy memories than on creating or scrolling through perfectly serene and stylish settings.

Sometimes that means we will surround ourselves with things that establish memories and have to let go of control to keep those memories alive and close to our heart.

We’d have less to clean up and less to deal with if we just got rid of everything. It’s tempting, ha!

We’d definitely have less to do, less mess and less stress if we didn’t have pets! We’d certainly have less noise and less chaos, ha!

Paring down excess and creating a perfectly styled rooms can feel refreshing. But trying to control everything so tightly may also (inadvertently) write a generic story that doesn’t stir our heart as deeply as it could.

A Simple Life in 2019: Lessons from Jack

The truth is, Jack sometimes unmakes our bed after I make it.

He throws our pretty pillows on the floor after I style them.

He barks in my face when I’m trying to have a moment to myself.

Jack has been known to barf on my cozy rug and scratches my charming Dutch door.

He destroys our ornaments.

Does that mean we shouldn’t have nice things? Ha!

I don’t think so. I love those things. I love those memories. I love that dog.

Those moments weave together a vivid memory of our story.

A Simple Life in 2019: Lessons from Jack

Making peace with the ever-evolving state of our home (and the imperfect creatures in it) is sometimes about letting go of control more than it is about letting go of stuff, so our wonderfully wild life mingles with the simplicity and beauty we long for. 

A beautiful life and even a perfect-for-us home sometimes will look a little messy. It can be a little out of step with the rest of the world, or a bit out of style, or even a little chaotic. And that’s OK. That’s exactly how it is supposed to be. A home comes undone and things unravel when there is love inside. Living among the un-photoshopped candid imperfection of it all is when those happily after ever tales (tails?) of life are able to be written.

Click here to preorder my brand new upcoming book 

Dwelling: Simple Ways to Nourish Your Home, Body, and Soul. 

A Simple Life in 2019: Lessons from Jack

Find more of my books about the home right here.

What Makes a House a Home

What Makes a House a Home

Moving is always rough, it takes more out of me than I ever expect. Especially if there’s remodeling involved, too! Our family has moved many times and each time I vow it will be the last. I still think if I was to name my ultimate dream when it comes to a home, it would be to have one I can live in forever.

Over the past three years of living here, we’ve been able to make some improvements which made a HUGE difference in how “at home” we feel here. Considering that it seems to take us 3 years just to figure out how to function in a new place, I’m feeling good about our progress!

I shared many of those home improvement projects yesterday.

While I love being done with quite a few projects, I also love that this house still has so much more potential! There are so many more things we can and would love to do to continue improving this house. The bathrooms, the laundry room, built-ins, adding more character and more exterior and landscaping work …all things on my “to do” list. I am excited to get back outside enjoy our deck and side yard this spring.

What Makes a House a Home

We moved into this house in the city of Seattle the fall of 2015. That was just a little over three years ago. It feels like a lifetime ago, but barely a minute at the same time. Funny how fast…and slow…time passes, isn’t it?

So much has happened and changed in that time, both in our home and our life. This house wasn’t necessarily our dream home, but with the market in Seattle such as it was, we quickly came to realize what mattered most to us in our house hunt was finding a place to bring our family together.

Our son was entering high school and his sisters and our son-in-law already lived here in Seattle, so moving across the water to bring our kids closer together was the dream.

What Makes a House a Home

Ironically, even though this house might not have started out as our dream house, we love so much about it. It’s bright and light. Clean and cozy. Solid and comfortable. Quiet and inviting. The view across to the Puget Sound, mountains and sky is endlessly inspiring. The yard is perfect for our pups. It’s conveniently located and we enjoy the area. We of course are very grateful for the improvements we’ve been able to make. It just feels right to us.

We’ve been living the life we wanted for our family these past three years, so the move we made here is without regret. It hasn’t all been easy. Everything hasn’t been perfect. Some things have been better than we ever dreamed, a few … not as much. But we’re still here! We made it. We’re happy.

I can hardly believe that this June, our son Luke will graduate from high school and this fall he’ll head to college (gratefully, nearby!).

What Makes a House a Home

Just like that, this four year chapter of our family’s life will close and a wonderful new one will begin.

Some things will likely feel the same going forward, but other things will feel…different. That’s just how life is.

Will we live in this house forever? 

We do really love living here and can see ourselves in this house for a very long time. Yet, there’s always the possibility that as we transition to being empty nesters in 2019, we’ll find ourselves on a path that leads to a new home. In fact, I’ve stumbled upon three “dream houses” over the past year that tugged at my heart. :)

But each time I begin to envision a new dream, I return home to the comfort of knowing that in this season and for the foreseeable future, this cozy house full of pups and family is still where we belong.

It feels like home.

Happy New Year from our home to yours, friends! Thank you so much for spending another year here with us. Here’s to more home adventures in 2019!