Haiti 2016: An Update

Haiti-web
On Saturday, instead of packing up and heading to Haiti like we had planned, we’ll be staying home and probably not doing anything remotely exciting. And we’re ok with that.
We were so excited when we announced our intent to head on a mission trip to Haiti. It was a huge step of faith and we were ready for that.
And then we started hearing murmurs of a virus in South and Central America. So, to be completely honest, we’re not going because of Zika. It’s a simple explanation for a decision that wasn’t made easily.
We spent the last couple months researching, praying and discussing the pros, the cons, and everything in between. It took us a while, but once we decided against going, we have been filled with complete peace about it. There is a tricky line between fear and appropriate caution, and we really tried hard to do what was wise and not let panic creep in.
Ultimately, the CDC’s recommendations have been cautionary and the correlation between Zika and Microcephaly in infants is high. There are also known risks to adult and children who contract the virus, including triggering Guillian Barre Syndrome. With all this in mind, we decided that for 1 week in Haiti, these are risks that aren’t wise for our family to make at this time.
We are so grateful for everyone’s support and love through this journey. We’ve learned so much about our family’s heart for mission and we know it will be a part of our life’s vision going forward, whether local or abroad. Even though we aren’t actually going on the trip, the whole experience has been so valuable.

Summertime in Northern Michigan

VSCO Cam-5.jpg

There are few things sweeter than a day spent outdoors. I’ve found that in order to get Dave to relax, the easiest thing to do is whisk him off to a place where he’s far away from cell reception, house projects and his work inbox. This weekend past weekend, we did just that and did some camping in Huron National Forest. Just thought I’d share a couple photos because it was lovely.

Yellow House Adventures: Kitchen Reveal

Oh hey, remember when I talked about updating our kitchen?

Well, it’s been done since Easter and I just never got around to taking pictures. Anyway, I finally remembered to do it and I can’t wait for you to see how great it looks. We didn’t change any of the layout or functions, so I’ve haven’t had any adjustment in that sense. I’d gotten so used to how nice it all is, that I was shocked how bad it was when looking back at pictures. The kitchen was the last room to get a makeover because I really didn’t think it was that bad and really it was Dave’s idea to do anything to it. But now I can’t believe what a difference a couple coats of paint, a new countertop/sink and white appliances can make.

I fall in love with this little house all over again every time I take a step back and realize how cute it really is.

To summarize the work we (Dave and a friend did most of the real work) did, I’ll list it here before you see the amazing results:

  • Paint Cabinets
  • New Countertop
  • New Sink and Faucet
  • Backsplash
  • Valances
  • Coat Rack
  • New (to us)  Stove
  • New (to us) Fridge
  • New Light Fixture
  • New Range Hood
  • Magnetic Knife Board
  • Extra Surface between Fridge and Range (This is amazing, it added 30% more counter space and filled a really awkward gap in the kitchen.)

Starting off with a couple before/after shots:

BeforeAfter3BeforeAfter2BeforeAfter1

And here are shots of just about every angle of the room:

 

Capsule Adventure: Summer 2016

IMG_1024

All done! When we hit fall it will have been a year since I started this. It’s been fun, but I’m also excited to see what comes after the strict rules of the capsule. I’ve been thinking alot about how easy it is to bring things into our home without thinking and that is something I really want to become even more aware of. I wonder what’ll help with that.

IMG_1040

Super happy with the way this one turned out. Added a bit more color back in. I didn’t mind the neutrals of my spring closet, but a little color will be fun for the warmer weather. I bought all my new items from Everlane, Thredup, or thrifted. I really enjoyed filling in some gaps and now that I can easily spot my “needs” it takes no time to fill them.

I considered leaving off any shoes other than my birkenstocks, because those are my holy grail of footwear. I’ll be wearing those 90% of the time. I already had all the other shoes, so I might as well give myself options if I ever want them. Also, I ended up with 35 items, but I honestly didn’t even count until right now, so the number has really become inconsequential and I know that I don’t need as much as I’ve felt I do in the past.

SummerCloset

I’ve really enjoyed this exercise, and am grateful for it. I have never gotten dressed with such ease or felt so good about what I wear. I’d highly recommend it for anyone who is frustrated with the state of their closet.

 

 

Michigan the Beautiful

IMG_0976

I’m sure you’ve noticed how much I love my home state, Michigan. While we may not live in the most interesting place — I like to compare our neck of the woods to a pancake — we’re never too far away from an adventure just waiting to happen. Michigan is one of those places that doesn’t exist anywhere else, mostly because of the Great Lakes. We take them for granted, but we’re they define so much of life around here. During the summer, we find ourselves in many cute shops and art studios all over the little towns and beaches. If I had walls that needed art here are some things I would love to fill our home with. I love these both for their beauty and because I have strong emotional ties to the subject matter. I hope you enjoy them.


062_MI_twilight.jpg

Found Here These prints are stunning. Unfortunately I can’t afford them all.


il_570xN.419559184_rau0.jpg

Found Here This is the cutest. Wouldn’t it’d be perfect as wallpaper too.


Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 2.05.13 PM.png

Found Here Dave and I spent so many hours on this beach in the UP. It’s even more beautiful in person.


original.jpeg

Found Here This artist’s work is so complex and enjoyable. I love his detailed drawings as well.

Wedding Photography: Morgan & Greg

gregmorgan140Happy Friday! I thought a wedding might be a cheery way to end the week. Hope you enjoy.

As I mentioned before, Dave and I spent one Saturday in May photographing some dear friends’ wedding. It was a small wedding and simple enough not to overwhelm us. Capturing such an important day for people we care about was no small task! We were a little nervous about messing up (or at least I was, Dave had the time of his life).

I struggled the most with lighting and keeping noise out of the pictures. However, with some help from Photoshop and Camera Raw, I am happy with the results. I keep reminding myself that I’m an amateur and to hold myself to a standard of grace not perfection. My first inclination would be to never show these to anyone, because I only see the mistakes. But just like the wedding isn’t about the photographer, these pictures aren’t for me or about me. They’re for Morgan and Greg. They tell a small but important part of their story. And I pray that my contribution will help them fondly remember their special day for decades to come.

Greg and Morgan’s love story reaches all the way back to high school. I have memories of third wheeling with them on the way to classes and at our senior prom. They got back together after college and quickly achieved old couple-like relationship status. It has been one of my biggest joys that they like Dave and that all 4 of us can be close. Finding old friends is hard and keeping them is harder. I couldn’t stop smiling as I took these pictures.

Since these two are usually a more privately affectionate couple, it was so sweet to see their love for each other on their wedding day. Morgan and Greg are such down to earth and genuine people that I have no doubt they will bless those around them for years to come.

Congratulations, friends. Thank you for sharing your wedding and your lives with us.

Well, that’s a wrap: the craziest May

May was insane around here. I think we did enough in 3 weekends to fill an entire summer. We’ve declared this upcoming weekend a “mandatory weekend of rest” and will be staying home for some well-deserved quiet time.

When we made the plans for May, we didn’t quite realize what a whirlwind it would be. Every time we tried to figure out what we could cut, if anything, we realized that nothing was worth sacrificing. So we just zipped around the state like a pair of sleep deprived maniacs (I got sick twice) and soaked up all the moments with special people that we could.


Weekend I: gearing up for what we knew was coming. It was the first weekend we had Hudson and did some work on him. Nothing out of the ordinary, but we did have to squeeze in a quick trip up North in on Sunday to visit Dave’s parents.


Weekend II: Part 1: My little sister’s college graduation. She was a freshman my senior year, so it was a little crazy to think of her being done with school. We’re all so proud of her.

Magdi

Part 2: We headed up north to celebrate our first anniversary in Petoskey at Stafford’s Bay View Inn. I was expecting it to be kinda old and stuffy, but it was so nice. It was so pretty and the room was very comfortable. We enjoyed a long dinner and had breakfast on their enclosed porch. The chance to relax and unwind without having to set up a tent or cook for ourselves was amazing. We kept saying it felt like a mini honeymoon.


Weekend III: Dave’s oldest brother was in state with his family. I took a day off to spend with them and it was so fun to get some time with our nephews, niece and sister-in-law that wasn’t because of a wedding or funeral. Just chill time to play and chat was so relaxing and fun. The only problem was it wasn’t enough time.

DSC_7655

That Saturday we zipped down to photograph the wedding of my  high school best friends. Dave helped me and we worked as a team. It was a little stressful to be responsible for someone’s wedding pictures, but in the end I think it worked out well. We’re still amateurs, but we captured their day and got some really pretty shots. And we’re so happy that they’re married!


Weekend IV: This past weekend we only went to one place for a change. Hudson the Camper got to go on his first trip up north. We camped in Wilderness State part, where Dave had reserved the group campsite, so we had our own private campground to share with about 12 of our friends. Saturday morning we ran the Mackinac Bridge 8k. It was one of the coolest experiences — both for the views and because it was the longest race I’d ever accomplished. We spent the rest of the day on Mackinaw Island and enjoyed some of the best planked whitefish for lunch. Highly recommend the Village Inn on the Island. The rest of the weekend was relatively quiet filled with lots of food and chatting around the campfire. It was so nice to have Monday off to leisurely make our way home.


Here’s to a quiet weekend putting our home back together and enjoying some activities closer to home. June will feel like a breeze after May.

 

Capsule Adventure: beginning of the end

IMG_0970Officially my spring capsule should have ended in 2 weeks (Mid-March to Mid-June), but with the arrival of the 80s on our weather forecast, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t tapped into my summer box a while back.

I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to capsule for the summer, but I think I will to finish out the year (that’s my type a personality shining through). It’s been a great structure to support building better shopping habits and a functional wardrobe. But I don’t need to continue  counting, strategizing, photographing, and sharing the items like I have been. Capsuling has been a great tool, but the habits it’s taught can now sustain themselves without the strict rules.

All this to say, my season of capsuling is drawing to an end. I’ve learned so much that I’ll use going forward and can only recommend going through any part of the process yourself. As I’ve thought about it, these are the biggest lessons and advantages I found:

  1. Budget. I never went over mine. Even the times we decided on a smaller budget, once I had a strict budget I stuck to it. And the boundary of a budget was more freeing than restricting. Weird, right? But true and so great.
  2. Shopping impulse. It’s gone. I used to get a feeling of panic in my stomach when I walked into a store, like I needed to find the deals or else. These days, I only shop at the beginning of every season. I look at stores as a place to peruse and maybe get some inspiration to note for the next season, but I feel so free these days. The deals are there for me, and they will still be there when I need them.
  3. Style. I think I’ve found mine. I used to buy things because it was on sale, it was a color I didn’t have, I felt like I should, etc. Being so disciplined helped me cut through the crap and give myself permission to just wear what I love every day.
  4. Authenticity. I’m being true to myself. For example, I love Birkenstocks with a fiery passion, so I wear them — almost daily. I think before I dressed more for others and according to expectations I assumed other had of me. Letting go of those is so great and I couldn’t be happier.
  5. Comfort. I honestly just feel good in my clothes. I don’t know that I ever could have imagined saying that. I like what I wear and I wear what I like. And I feel damn good in it.

If you’d like to know what I’ll shamelessly be wearing on repeat this summer, it’ll be some variation of the below outfit:IMG_7044

 

 

Happy Friday

VSCO Cam-3.jpg

The best thing I did this week was make the ginger sesame chicken coleslaw above. I made a huge batch and ate it throughout. So yummy. (I made a combo of these recipes: one, two, three)

These look cool. I’m not sure how they’re different from normal dishtowels. But I think having a bunch of the same towels and just feeling ok throwing them in the wash after one use would work for me. I know cloth diaper material is awesome for cleaning and such, I just don’t know where to find the fabric.

Iced coffee always feels like a treat, even though it’s just the cold version of my morning cuppa joe.

Continuing that whole rejection of perfection thing, when trying to do fair trade/green/healthy living, it can get overwhelming, but this was a nice perspective. Just a good reminder, that if we don’t take the first steps, we’ll never get anywhere.

We’re running this tomorrow. Wish us luck. There’s supposed to be a huge thunderstorm during it. We’ll see how that goes.

Have a great long weekend! We’re taking Hudson out for the first time, so hoping that’ll work out.

 

 

Gray

VSCO Cam-1-1.jpgThis past weekend Dave and I were back at our old college to watch my sister graduate. Going back to places like that always inspire quite a bit of contemplation. This time it was on a topic that I’ve been thinking about for a couple months now.

I would never have said it, but looking back I realize when I left college I believed there was a way to achieve perfection, to “arrive,” to “make it” and I was going to do just that. I was on a mission to live my life the “right way.” The change that has occurred in the past three years is essentially: “I found out life was complicated, more grey than black and white” (from Hide Away, Ben Rector). From my limited perspective I can’t make judgement on something as absolute black and white. Especially in the daily messiness that is life, relationships, and communication.

There will never be THE ABSOLUTE EXACT RIGHT WAY TO DO EVERYTHING. And more importantly, even if there were, who am I to think I would be the one to find it?

More and more, I’m realizing that the only way to approach anything is with love. It’s so simple, so cliche and something that everyone must discover for themselves before it clicks. I think it’s starting to click for me.

I hope to increase loving people for who they have been created to be. Too often I see them as competition, enemies, losers, weirdos, or worse voices that should be bolstering my pride. I don’t want to be so concentrated on appearing perfect that I miss opportunities to love people for who they are, to try to understand their story and treat them with compassion instead of pride and self absorption.


As I’m thinking through and coming to terms with rejection perfection, these are some things that have popped up and bopped me in the nose. When you’re thinking about something that topic shows up everywhere:



“Because what else are we going to do? Say no? Say no to an opportunity that may be slightly out of our comfort zone? Quiet our voice because we are worried it is not perfect? I believe great people do things before they are ready.” ― Amy Poehler


Redemption is not perfection. The redeemed must realize their imperfections. John Piper