the wild of our unknowns

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This past year my typical approach, my self-identifiers, have faced more opposition than I can remember. All past methods do not work and seemingly create more conflicts or unknowns. The need for control does nothing when one is completely out of control. It truly complicates life further and sets everything off kilter. Through grace, bucket loads of grace, I am slowly learning that all-important lesson of stillness. I am getting in touch with emotions, those founded in love, empathy, and shared wisdom. Since moving back East life has felt unsettled, filled with uncertainty; a plethora of obstacles and unknowns. I often struggle with balance, with rest. My mind is always onto the next thing or it’s processing multiple realities and solving a myriad of problems all while grocery shopping. Sitting still and resting in these things is a last resort, a laughable suggestion, and not typically part of my life practice. 

People always want to see external evidence of change; for example, I can say – I am softening, I am becoming more open and loving and vulnerable. You may not see it, or maybe only bits and pieces. I don’t necessarily smile more or make friends everywhere I go, and my party attendance has actually decreased. The changes of which I speak are 90% internal – a change in thought process, a deterioration of walls, and an approach to others with more grace and empathy. I am working to cultivate relationships differently, to invest a lot more in others, to take emotional risks and be OK if they don’t pan out. It doesn’t hurt that I am surrounded by genuine people, ones who give away love and grace effortlessly, without condition. It is inspiring and I am beyond blessed to watch it, take part in it, and receive it. They provide this safe space where failure is merely a stepping stone, where love has no limit, and being seen is the only way to be. They remind me of who I am and who I am becoming. Meeting people who see through your walls or are entirely unaffected by them, has been challenging and eye-opening in so many ways. It makes me love them all the more and crave more relationships like that. I am so thankful to have people who remind me to stop, look up, breath in the chaos and just be still. 

Every single day offers a lesson, a challenge to be better versions of ourselves. We get the honor and privilege to love and be loved in return. We can view our unknowns with a child-like curiosity of where life will lead, or we can get lost in our worries and need for control, missing out on the beauty of it all. I would be naive to think this is all random. I would be remiss to brush it off as a season, or simply the act of maturing as I inch closer to 40. There are no coincidences in this life. There are choices. There is the action one takes in making said choices, and there is acceptance of the outcome. These choices, these moments in life where we either step up and admit our helplessness, our brokenness, and our weakness, they are divinely planted. They are rushing waters of love flowing toward us, open hands asking us to trust, to love, to be exactly who we are and recognize the endless amounts of grace, the richness of life and love, and the one who gently whispers – come to me – Cast your cares on me. 

It will be a year in a couple weeks since we moved back east. It will also be ten years that Mick and I decided to share life together. There are oh so many things we are learning and relearning and so many things we’ve overcome. Through it ALL there is a steady faithfulness, a continued promise of being renewed, and a future ripe with more adventure. We just have to embrace all the parts, the highs, the lows, and especially, the wild of our unknowns.

** image found via Pinterest; words by the lovely Morgan Harper Nichols

Adventure: En Why See

My sweet lil friend Celine came to visit from Idaho this past week! It was my pleasure to assist in checking a few items off her bucket list. Honestly, I’ve explored the city many times and it’s always a dream for me; however, this time was different and magical for so many reasons. The biggest reason being – the awe and delight on Celine’s face brought me so much joy – she was such a trooper too! So thankful for her in my life – she is one of the best around and I adore her face!

12.5 miles walked | Times Square | Empire State building | Grand Central station | The Met | Central Park | Bethesda Fountain/Terrace | 5th Avenue | Alice and Wonderland statue | Brooklyn Bridge | Statue of Liberty | Tiffany’s | Madison Avenue | Vera Wang | NYU | Hillsong Church NYC | Bleeker Street | NY Subway | Washington Square Park | Macy’s/Herald Square

She definitely got a true NYC experience: drug deals, public urination, piles of vomit, mobs of people, two famous people, the best coffee, the best pizza, a swanky hotel and rooftop bar, and her Gossip Girl dreams fulfilled on the Upper East Side. She kept up with me, power walked like a champ and brightened everyone’s day with whom she came into contact. I can’t wait till next time – hopefully, it is warmer than 23 (“feels like 11”) degrees.

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The thing about adventure is: it is fluid – it is not limited to space and time, and requires an open mind and heart. It will be uncomfortable, at times painful, and scary. But, it can also be life altering – bringing joy and personal growth. Moving to Idaho has been epic in ways I never imagined. The air is ripe with juniper and pine – which, to a gin enthusiast, is basically a dream. The landscape hosts the most extraordinary parts of this country – the conservation of wilderness, the mountains, the massive sky, and the lakes/rivers – it is phenomenal. The people are some of the kindest you will meet outside The South. When they ask how your day is, they actually want to know. Everywhere you go they smile, and offer assistance above and beyond. You might wait 45 minutes at the DMV, and once you get to the counter, you are greeted with a smile and delightful conversation. Honestly – I still cannot get over that part – it’s like Mayberry or a movie lot. For two East Coasters this was the most jarring of culture shocks.

These last four years have been some of the most enlightening of my life. The seemingly organic ways I have grown, perhaps matured, have always felt bigger than me. Even in the trying moments, something in my gut whispered, you are being prepared for so much more. I am still clueless to what that, more, is; however, I would not change a single thing. The relationships we built are of monumental proportions. Seriously. To think in four years we have secured depths and heights with such beautiful souls, makes my insides a little bit mushy and warm. It’s weird…but I kind of like it. These people are kind, generous, broken, loving, forgiving, freaking hilarious, gracious, and stuck with us always and forever.

You may be curious why I am suddenly sentimental, verging on sappy; It looks weird on me, right? Unfortunately, it will continue just a bit longer, bear with me. Our trajectory is taking a sharp right turn – one both unexpected and exciting. In a few short weeks we will be embarking on a new adventure, one taking us back East. It is filled with a lot of excited anticipation, many unknowns, and a constant state of pinching ourselves. If I am being honest, we have been emotionally dehydrated these last two years. We are looking forward to some serious soul feeding times with family and friends. A reset, a filling back up of sorts. Our exit is incredibly bittersweet – it has been a beautiful chapter of life – leaving a permanent bookmark in our story. We are humbled by the love and lives so richly shared with us. It was beyond our wildest hopes to know this place and its people. We will definitely be back here to visit; however, we cannot wait see our Idaho peoples on our coast very soon!

To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life. – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Image found via Pinterest 

house updates | plumbing & drywall

Yep – we’re still remodeling! Let’s hope the next bathroom doesn’t take nearly this long – Life gets in the way and we’re just rolling with it.

Mick rerouted plumbing and electric, took creative license in a few areas to make space work, and got the drywall up! We still need to mud, paint, tile (we’re subbing this out) and finish the vanity – hopefully that’s it and we can move on to the next project!

Most of the documentation has been in my instagram stories (@misiesface) so below is a small gallery of the last month or so –

Mick snagged our faucet from the remodel he was doing (what a joy it must be to do this 9-5 only to come home to a wife staring you down and glancing over at the gutted bathroom). It took some finagling to install but he rocked it – very impressed! Our vanity light fixture is by Allen & Roth from Lowes – we think a double will work but they also make a triple version just in case – this was such a steal too, only $50! The linens are from CB2 – towels and matching shower curtain – not a steal but, they make my heart happy.

The pocket door is framed and set – just need to refinish our old door, change out hardware and we’re good to go! We never claimed to be “fixer uppers” and if this project has taught us anything – it’s quit your day job. Mick has been so stressed creating beautiful spaces for other folks that it’s a chore to make ours exactly what we want. We should probably revisit our priorities; it would be a lot easier to walk away if he weren’t so damn good at what he does.

Nothing too exciting but progress nonetheless!

house update – b!***$ be shoppin

We still have snow on the ground and the forecast is showing a chance for more – insert eye roll here… Mick braved the frozen tundra for a second attempt at locating the main water shut off. Instead of a six hour round of snow shoveling – it only took 20 minutes!!! Guess where it was….under the snow pile he created last time when shoveling. I, of course, find this amusing because I’m dead in side 😉

While he is sealing off the pipes and tearing out the existing tub today, I busted out the Southwest credit card and did some shoppin (heck yes, MILES!). I figure if a 125lb tub and 115 sq feet of tile arriving in less than a month isn’t motivation, I don’t know what is.

The first image is pocket door hardware, by Emtek. Mick plans to take our existing solid wood door and turn it into a pocket door – the below hardware is $$ but totally worth it; it has a secure locking system and is incredibly sturdy and comes in quite a few awesome finishes.

Mick is building the vanity, although I really wanted a mini farmhouse sink, this one is much more affordable and will look better on a piece of custom furniture. That is NOT the faucet we are getting – Mick was able to acquire a modern wall mount from a remodel he is doing in town. 

We already have a sample of the tile and love it’s matte colors and smooth finish. Each tile is 8×8 – Mick will love | hate the puzzle of laying it. [Mission Stone Tile]

We opted for a modern claw foot tub – both of us fell madly in love with this black and white tub – SWOON. I love their streamlined interpretation of the claw foot – so fancy. Tub is AKDY but we found it on Wayfair.

Next up – research bathroom lighting, pick out a mirror, shower hardware, and find the time to get this done!

house update – bathroom stall – as in waiting…

Welp – the bathroom – let’s share the good stuff first. Mick ended up having to gut the bathroom – down to the studs…why? Well – as noted before the previous homeowners drywalled TO the cabinets and fixtures, i.e. lights and mirrors and behind the drywall was 70’s wood paneling in a lovely shade of sage green. We also discovered – they applied additional wood paneling, BEHIND the green wood paneling to cushion it to the studs. Mick also discovered vintage sage green marbled formica counters hidden beneath the tiled counter tops. Fantastic. Once he removed the vanity, walls, and sink he tore the floor down to the original subfloor – this will give us a much more even base once we put the new floor in.

Now, for the reason we are stalled: our tub faucet has a constant drip that gets worse every week. After ripping everything out from around the plumbing, it seems to thankfully be a flaw within the faucet, not our plumbing. The quick fix is: shut off water to the house, remove the faucet and temporarily seal the pipes. Excellent – simple enough…IF…our house had a main water shut off…that wasn’t located on the street under 2 + feet of snow. Whomp whomp! SO – waiting for the snow to melt since Mick already spent six hours trying to dig looking for it…to no avail. So – that’s where we’re at guys – baby steps. If anyone wants to come stay with us – may want to wait till June! Kidding…maybe…

House update – adios tile

The bathroom is coming along…ever be it so slowly. Mick decided he needed a break from demo and chose to demo his finger instead. “Hi Sweets – Don’t want you to worry….but I’m at urgent care…” The skill saw and and his finger had a falling out. It’s been healing up OK – he swears it’s better since he decided to take out his own stitches. I guess when you ask for a strong, confident, self-sufficient man – you realize early on, they don’t ask for help – even that of a professional who can prevent appendage loss. Anyyyywayssss…it’s healing and we’re moving forward.

While I was out Christmas shopping, Micky spent the day busting up tile and trim. Only a couple surprises, and some likely red flags; Yippee! The first – our tub is below the subfloor; behind the drywall is sage green wood paneling; the original floor radiators – although replaced with a furnace years back, still work…and when they’re not attached to the wall and the breaker is shut off – their wires still pop and carry electric currents…….so…there’s that.

The vanity is on it’s way to being in many pieces and the tub soon to follow. Once the room is empty, it will likely stay that way through Christmas and then off to various showrooms to find the perfect free-standing tub/sink/fixtures/lighting, order the remaining tile, and build a vanity. OK, that rehashing got me overwhelmed…I should probably offer more help. [I dream of this tub, this faucet, and this vanity] I’m currently torn between a mini farmhouse style sink and one that rests on top of the vanity and would love the faucet to come out from the wall instead of the counter. I also bought a strange iron hand to hold our hand towels…it creeps mick out but I love it! I believe every room needs one “wtf” accent piece.

On a side note – if you’re the praying kind, please remember my Friend who was recently diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. She is a fantastic person and making all the right moves – send her positive thoughts if you think of it. I know you guys are good for it.