The Teal Takeover

I am slowly covering over all the red in this house, one brush stroke at a time!

If you ignore the foot, you can see the red shelves and cabinets in the background. When I was in the hospital, some friends primed all of that for me, which was so sweet. It really jump-started the process and saved me a LOT of time.

I painted them with two coats of Balanced Beige, which is on the walls of the kitchen. The dining/family room walls are Accessible Beige. There wasn’t quite as much contrast as I was hoping for, but it still gives it a nice, neutral look.

TA DAAAA! I’ve been looking forward to revealing this project. It has been the most time consuming one so far. I have been trying to fit in coats of paint and top coat at night. That way it can dry overnight before the kids touch it.

I chose Liquid Jade for the background. Lowe’s upgraded me to their premium paint because they were out of the medium quality, and man, that stuff really does paint on like butter, just like they say! You can tell the difference in quality.

I want to change the color of my table and chairs, so I’m open to suggestions! Dark brown? Distressed white? We bought the set on Craigslist in 2010. It was originally cream, but I painted it blue in 2013 with the help of a friend. It’s nice and solid, so I’ll just keep repainting it until it falls apart, I guess!

This is Pip and His Sea Treasures. He’s a giclee print I picked up at Rookscroft and Co. on San Juan Island. I loved how the artist created a little world out of her oil paintings. They all had names and a story. It was so cool to see an artist who had totally found her niche. I still haven’t made it to that point- I don’t know what direction I want my art to take in the future. Oh, and that painting hung in the middle will be painted over one day soon! Don’t feel sad, I have another one almost just like it in my bathroom. I painted two for Seattle.

Our Seattle family room, 7-17 thru 6-18.

Lyla helped me paint over an old painting to prep for them. As you can tell, I recycle things often. That one definitely needed to go.

I bought this gorgeous hammered copper bowl at an antique mall the other day.

I put two topcoats over the Balanced Beige. A stink bug fell in while I was working. He was a goner in 30 seconds flat, before I could save him… that must be potent stuff! It made the cabinets feel smooth and washable. Luke has already tested them out by slinging peanut butter on them.

Speaking of my precious little 18 month old, here he is having a tantrum. You can also see toys in the living room and a mess in the kitchen. I had to include this to keep it real. I don’t want anyone to get the false impression that I have a perfect little house. Far from it!

Ginger has a knack for making the house look cozy.

Someone once said about my clock, “Why is there a bird on it??” And my answer was, “Why WOULDN’T there be a bird on it?!” That’s my decorating style- if there are birds, flowers, butterflies, or leaves involved, it’s perfect.

I’m turning into quite the rug collector. When I read Nicholas Sparks’ book Safe Haven a few years ago, I loved his description of her house with colorful rugs layered all over it. It sounded happy and fun. And now, rug layering is actually a decorating trend, so I was ready to jump on board and try it out for myself.

The green one ties in all the colors. It’s a trooper wool rug that I’ve been using since my college days, and it survived our worst Code Brown episode. Then I have this jute rug to keep the room earthy and grounded, although I’m sad that it lost its initial mulch smell. Haha I’m serious! It made me feel like I was gardening, but I’m sure visitors will prefer it without the smell. The fringe kind of reminds me of my curly hair- spunky and a little out of control. The faux sheepskin rug is great for snow angels in the summer and snuggling on in the winter!

I just added the curtains yesterday. They need to be steamed and raised a few inches before that area is done. This room is almost all complete! It’s very warm and homey.

I still haven’t figured out how I want to decorate the wall over the couch, but I’m sure I’ll get to that eventually. Don’t be alarmed, that’s just a gorilla on the rug. 😉

We’re having a blast in our new home! Thanks for taking the tour of the dining and family room with me!


Guest Post- Mary Grace Bennett

Today I am so excited to tell y’all that I am hosting my first Third Thursday Guest Post!!! And it’s good timing, too, because my brain seems to be on leave today. I took the kids out to run errands, and I drove a few miles past my exit before I realized it.

Let me introduce you to my good friend, Mary Grace Bennett. We have been close friends since the eighth grade, and the distance that has separated us in recent years has not changed the fact that we are kindred spirits. Mary Grace has traveled the globe following the Lord’s calling on her life, and now she is on a new adventure in Georgia- married and close to having her first child. She is one of my role models, and I am proud to share with you what was on her heart this week:


“I didn’t see it coming. Fear. Life had shifted into a season of beautiful promises fulfilled. We were finally married with a baby on the way. So much hope and excitement. Honestly, my 30 year old self had been yearning for this season for so long that there was incredible peace. I was finally there and soon so would this sweet baby. The farther along I got in the pregnancy the more questions got asked. Questions about doctors, hospitals, immunizations, feeding, sleeping positions, on and on. There are just SO many opinions. As I researched and read others opinions, I quickly found this thread of fear that wove through everything. This pressure to make the exact right collection of decisions for my baby or something really bad may happen, and if something does happen it will be all my fault. It makes logical sense, this is parenting after all. 

In the middle of working through these questions, my husband and I felt strongly that The Lord was asking us to go to Costa Rica on a mission trip before the baby was born. Costa Rica, where the CDC says don’t go if you’re pregnant. On top of that we would not be in cities or in hotels, but in the mountains, in a pastor’s house, with mosquito nets and out houses. I know the voice of The Lord. Yet after years of traveling and living overseas, I paused. I’m a mom now, its not just me. I am making decisions for me and my child. So what now? I did more research, talked to our doctor, prayed and talked to my husband. I wrestled over and over. The Lord kept bringing me back to the same question, “Does my obedience to God change because he has blessed me with a child?”

I trust God with me. All day long. He is faithful and he is good. Do I trust him with my baby? Do I truly believe for me and my family that the safest place to be is in the center of his will? Over and over I felt fear and pressure sneak in. I kept thinking, is this what all moms deal with all the time? Yes, motherhood is a huge responsibility but it does not make me God. He is still in control, and the moment I think I am in control I am inviting fear to consume me. 

So we went to Costa Rica, 28 weeks pregnant. God was so faithful. I learned that my “yes” to God does not get to change with this baby or any other gift he gives me. My life of obedience must be lived out in front of my children or what chance do they have of living a life without fear? I must trust that I was made for this and that God knows exactly what he is doing even if I have no clue. Yet, I have a funny feeling this may be one of those lessons I get to learn over and over again.” by Mary Grace Bennett

Love this girl and her sweet heart!!! I’ll be doing a Third Thursday Guest Post each month from now on. I think it will be great to hear from friends about their life experiences, joys, and trials. There are so many things we can learn from each other.

Heart, Mind, & Body

Angel from Below

A few weeks ago I shared a special memory that I go to when I need to relax. It’s an anxiety coping strategy. Last night I couldn’t fall asleep, so I decided to look for a new memory to enjoy. I thought of a good one- a unique and colorful memory. I enjoyed pulling all the details out of my mind one by one and gradually assembling them into order. It takes time to fully recover an old memory, but I think I dredged up most of the pieces with a little help from my dive log. I would love to share it with you as well.

Saba, Netherlands Antilles, The Needle Dive 

I clutched the regulator to my face and stuck a flippered foot out into open air. For a brief moment I hung suspended until my heavy gear yanked me down, plunging me into the ocean. The cool water shocked my whole system, and the thrill of the unknown sent my heartrate up. I sank downwards into a blue world. It enveloped me like a cocoon, a hug I couldn’t escape. My movements felt sluggish like syrup, but that was okay since the purpose of the dive was leisurely surveillance.

Our dive revolved around a pinnacle that descended to the ocean floor. A myriad of colors danced before my eyes. There was so much to take in, so much life to witness. Everywhere fish were feeding or resting, playing tag or guarding their hideout. Squirrel fish with giant black eyes sulked under dark crevices. Tiny red shrimp skuttled back and forth waving angry antennas at us. A spotted eel poked his snout out of a hole. He gaped at us with an open mouth and lazy eyes. Fish zipped around in all directions. There was a lot of traffic in this city!

There were few noises, though. I had left behind the world that often hurt my ears with its harsh sounds to enter a softer, more peaceful realm. The dominant sound was the constant KEER, KUR, KEER, KUR as I sucked in oxygen. It was my lifeline and a loud reminder that I was a stranger in this land. I heard bubbles rush out as I exhaled. They wiggled and bent, morphing shapes as they fought their way to the surface. All the while, the fish madly chewed away at the coral, producing a click-click-click. It came from all directions. Such hungry fish!

We slowly swam in a downward spiral, mesmerized by the flashy show. I was weightless here. I had perfected my buoyancy- I could hang motionless upside down, and it felt right side up! I pulled my depth gage close to my face and read 110 feet. I was shocked! It was still so bright, and the color had not diminished at all! I didn’t feel any deeper than I did at 30 feet. Amazing! Our dive master, Kat, signaled that it was time to ascend.

Our deep dive required a rest stop on the way back up to let the nitrogen slowly filter out of our system. We didn’t want to get the bends! We took our stop right above the pinnacle. We watched a seven foot long reef shark cruise along underneath us while we paused for a few minutes.

All I could see was blue— endless, fathomless blue that went so far it began to look flat. All of a sudden a sharp metallic sound jolted my eardrums. I spun in a slow circle to search for its origin. I saw a knife in Kat’s hand. She banged it against her air tank three more times and then wildly gestured down. I even heard her screaming!

A shadow emerged from the depths. Dark wings took form as a beast soared towards us. A manta ray. It rapidly increased in size as it neared us, and our eyes grew wide in amazement. The other dive master swam down near it for perspective. He spreads his arms and was dwarfed by the behemoth. We all slowly let out our breaths as it glided away. Wow. Wow. Wow. An angel from below.

When we surfaced, everyone was shouting and cheering! Kat had never seen a manta ray before, and this one had been 16 to 18 feet in wingspan. We realized what a big deal this was as we watched them freak out and radio the other dive boats. What a noisy place it was topside! There was so much air to fall in to, so many reactions to my actions. I wobbled dangerously across the boat with my flipper feet and then plopped my air tank down with a bonk into its holder. I freely sucked fresh, crisp air into my lungs. It felt GOOD. I was thankful to be safely back on the boat, but thrilled that I went face to face with a majestic creature of the deep. 

Heart, Mind, & Body

The Nitty Gritty About Holly Fister

Let’s get down to the Nitty Gritty about Holly Fister.

Here are 12 Things You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Me:

1.What ends up in your dryer’s lint trap?

Gum, green berries, and lots of hair

2.Who is your inspiration?

Cicely Mary Barker, author and illustrator of “The Complete Book of Flower Fairies” She was a sickly young woman who worked hard to create something beautiful with no guarantee that anyone else would value it. You can tell she was truly inspired by the innocent beauty of children. Her poems are clever, and each painting is unique and lovely.

3.Where would you like to travel to next?

I would love to go to Ireland, ramble around the countryside with the sheep.

4.What scares you?

Living a life that doesn’t touch the world somehow and make it better.

5.What is your favorite movie?

Pride and Prejudice

6.Coffee or tea?

Both! One cup of coffee in the morning (cream and sugar, please!) and a cup of hot tea at night. This is my new favorite:

As a matter of fact, I’m drinking a cup right now!

7.Weirdest thing that happened to you yesterday?

I found a fluffy grass seed in my ear at bedtime. The kids shook them over my head earlier in the day.

8.Pet peeve?

When people in cars don’t yield to pedestrians when it’s RAINING!

9.Best friend?

Easy- Thomas Fister!

10.What song always gets stuck in your head?

“Time For Your Checkup” by Doc McStuffins. It’s a classic.

11.What is your good luck charm?

Well, today I saw my third albino squirrel in two weeks! That’s gotta be good luck, right?! They’re so cute! I want to catch one and make it my pet!

12.What one thing can you not live without?


This last one is crucial. Seriously, I would be a hopeless mess without Jesus.

Would I have hope for the future without Jesus? I don’t think so. This depression and the tough toddler years are overwhelming. I know people say that this is just a phase, but seriously, some days feel like they’ll never end. I know that this is a formative time for my kids when they’ll soak up every little thing I say and do. My job often feels trivial, but I’m investing in a future generation that will impact the world. And I still have time to impact the world too. Please pray for guidance for me as I continue to write and seek out what the Lord wants for me.

 Would I be at peace about my dad’s death? Nope. My dad loved Jesus so much, and I know I’ll see him again one day in Heaven. The day he died, I asked him if he was disappointed every time he woke up and wasn’t in Heaven. He said yes, he was so ready to meet Jesus. I am confident that happened.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” John 5:24

Could I forgive myself for my shortcomings? I could forgive anyone before forgiving myself, but Jesus died for my sins, so there is no need for me to punish myself again. My hateful thoughts towards myself were often the start of downward spirals during my depression. I need to claim my inheritance as a Daughter of the King! I want the love of Christ to shine in my life for others to see. My darkness of spirit this past year was definitely blocking that light from shining.

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 Surely that applies towards ourselves too.

I pray every day for patience. And I still handle things in a less than perfect manner, which is why I’m so thankful for forgiveness and grace. I try to use my flaws as a teaching tool for my daughter. When I mess up, I tell her I’m sorry, and we talk about it. I hope she will understand God’s forgiveness personally one day.  I strive to be like the woman described in Proverbs 31:26, “She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” It’s good to have goals!

I often have a hard time expressing what I believe to others, but today I wanted y’all to know. And that’s the Nitty Gritty about me.


My Little Pumpkins

A stomach bug hit our family this weekend. No fun! We managed to avoid it for three and a half years. Boy, were we were in for a wild ride.

It’s one of those things that totally catches you off guard. Luke started off the show for us. I gave him chili for the first time, and he didn’t seem to like it, even though this kid eats everything. He kept making faces and spitting it out, so I thought maybe the spices were too much for him. Then the puking started.

This was my thought process with each consecutive upchuck:

1. Woah…?

2. Oh my gosh.

3. This. Is. Bad.

4. Get it all out, dude. Just get it out.

Too much? Okay, I won’t talk about it anymore. I’ll only add that it provided good incentive to do a THOROUGH house cleaning.

This afternoon everyone seemed perky and ready to go on a little adventure, so we headed to a pumpkin patch!

There were farm animals to pet, giant pumpkins to climb, and a tractor ride to deliver us out into the pumpkin patch.

Jersey cows are the cutest! And so are these two kiddos!

Luke is obsessed with tractors. He was thrilled that he got to “drive” a big green stationary tractor AND go for two rides behind a blue tractor.

Trust me, he was thrilled, despite that face.

“It is not everyone,” said Elinor, “who has your passion for dead leaves.” Jane Austen


Can you tell Lyla is saying the word “corn” here?!

It finally feels like fall! Apparently this is typical Ohio weather- in the high 80s one day and drops down to 35 degrees the next night. Craziness!

This heavy munchkin wants to be carried 90% of the time, unfortunately. I think my back needs to visit the chiropractor.

The kids got a free wagon ride.

They even got a free cow ride.

“Picking up a pumpkin is like giving Fall a hug.” Holly Fister

They looked like little ducklings trailing after me today. They stayed close to mama and never strayed too far.

Bye bye!

Heart, Mind, & Body

“Midnight Visitor”

One night I left the door unlocked,

And someone snuck right in.

I didn’t see or hear him.

He was as black as sin.

In his hand he carried

Poison of the worst kind,

Which he wasted no time dispensing,

And it seeped into my mind.

His lips twisted with a smile,

A truly evil smirk.

His face contorted all the more

As he watched the potion work.

“Sweet dreams, my dear,” he hissed

“For tomorrow they’ll be gone.”

He gave my cheek a kiss

And sang a chilling song.

In the morning when I awoke

My brain was in a fog.

I hardly knew my husband,

My children, or the dog.

Depression stayed right by my side-

A thorn, a weight, a cage.

I tried to get away,

But I saw no place to hide.

His fingers wrapped around my heart-

They were as cold as ice.

The less I felt, the more he squeezed

With his life-stealing vice.

Depression leaned in closer

And whispered in my ear

“Honey, you are worthless.”

And confirmed my greatest fear.

My eyes were pools of misery

reflecting the gray clouds,

And all I saw was darkness

as I looked through his black shroud.

He became a jealous lover

And my only friend.

He shook his finger at me,

and said, “Let no one else come in.”

He introduced me to his sister-

Anxiety was her name.

She quickly let me know

That she wasn’t playing games.

She scared me silly, I must admit,

Sometimes I couldn’t breathe.

She made my body shake and twitch-

I thought it was the end.

But depression wasn’t done with me.

He said, “Oh no- not yet.

I would like to play with you some more.

You are my favorite pet.”

He chipped away my confidence

As He spun his lies with skill.

I forgot my identity

And lost my power of will.

He roughly sewed my lips shut

With fiery, burning thread

So I could barely speak,

And I wished that I was dead.

Finally, one morning,

After a night with no rest,

I threw up my hands

And cried out in distress:

“Help me, please, someone!

I can’t do this anymore.

Take me to the hospital!”

And I walked straight out the door.

The doctors gave me medicine

Underneath bright lights.

Depression shook his fist at me,

And said, “I will FIGHT!”

I shrunk back in fear,

But this was my new path.

Depression was exposed

And would be dealt with at last.

With a healthy dose of medicine,

I shook off his icy hands.

I felt my heart beat again,

And I began to grin.

“This feels good!” I laughed,

as hope warmed my chest.

That night when I went to bed

I finally got some rest.

The morning brought clarity-

I could beat this evil beast.

Depression circled me and snarled,

But I would not retreat.

When the monster lunged

My dagger PLUNGED

Straight into his heart!

Depression clutched his gaping wound,

Then to his knees he fell.

I shoved him out the door

And told him he could go to hell.

Anxiety tried to linger,

But I shook my head at her.

She clung to her dying brother

As I kicked him to the curb.

Victorious, I walked away from them,

Threw my hands up to the sky.

I gave a joyful SHOUT!

Thankful tears filled my eyes.

Depression was a goner-

I would get a second chance.

I spun in a circle,

Even did a little dance.

Then I waltzed up to my husband,

Kissed him smack-dab on the lips.

My children ran into my arms,

My spirit was doing flips.

As they snuggled up against me,

They felt so soft and warm,

Kaleidoscopes of color

Quickly shifting form.

When I took my husband’s hand,

He smiled down at me.

I am safe and loved.

I’m brave.

I am FREE.

by Holly Fister

I want to finish by saying that I know depression is a complex issue that isn’t resolved instantly with medicine. While a lot of factors can cause it, a lot of things are also needed to help someone heal. Some people struggle with it their whole lives. It comes and goes during different seasons of their lives, an unwelcome friend. So I want to be sensitive to that. Likewise, depression obviously doesn’t pour poison down our throats and BOOM! we’ve got it. I just thought it would be fun to personify it and express the way it felt to me sometimes.


Glass Cabinet Redo

Welcome to our diner!

That’s what our glass cabinet doors with curtains reminded me of.

We have seven glass doors in our kitchen, including this little can pantry. Very interesting!

I knew this had to go when we moved in, because not only is red not my color, the curtains felt a little frumpy to me.

Let’s just say that the clear glass wasn’t a good option either. The kiddos got cranky every time they saw cereal and snacks they couldn’t get to. Way too tempting!

Making faces through the clear glass was about the only benefit.

Fun for all ages! That’s MY mommy!

Our first attempt at covering them involved static cling window film with a crackled glass finish. But it was still see-through! If it had been on a bathroom window people could totally still see you naked! We returned that and decided to try wallpaper.

I found a fun bird patterned wallpaper. I was going for wispy and light, the opposite of what the kitchen was before. Originally I looked for peel and stick removable wallpaper, but that stuff was expensive! I wasn’t willing to spend $100+. This roll of traditional pre-glued wallpaper was $33, and I used maybe half the roll. Anyone want the extra?!

I put this project off for a couple of weeks because I was intimidated by the glue process. Thomas finally got fed up with my messy island workspace and said, “Let’s do this, NOW!” And we just went for it.

We plugged up the sink, submerged the cut pieces one at a time following the times in the instructions, and then plastered them on the outside of the glass. You should have seen us on the first try. We both had a scraper, and we were scraping out bubbles willy nilly as fast as we could! Arms were flying all directions and getting tangled in knots. We perfected our technique on the subsequent windows.

Well? Much better than curtains, in my opinion. At first, there were no bubbles. Then, after 24 hours, it was like a bunch of microscopic bubbles congregated to form some giant bubbles. When I discovered them, I was pretty disappointed. You can kind of see some bubbles in the pic above. BUT WAIT FOR IT— after a couple more days the bubbles disappeared again, and the wallpaper turned completely flat and lovely! That was a great surprise!! Maybe the bubbles seeped through the paper??? I have no idea, but I am pleased.

After tackling the wallpaper, (which wasn’t too tough on a seven windows, but I can’t imagine doing a whole wall) Thomas put up some curtains I bought on Kohl’ I wanted something geometric to counter the floral nature of the wallpaper and my future stencil on the main kitchen wall.

Then my favorite helper became an electrician and put up a new light for me! We sold the rooster chandelier and bought a more modern semi-flush light on Overstock.

Here’s a before pic in case you forgot:


Isn’t it cute? It’s coming along nicely. Two projects on hold are: painting the island teal and stenciling the focal wall. Did you notice the baby leopard in the thinking chair? She’s also my little helper. She helped me plant these succulents in owl pots.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep them alive, but they’re cute right now. We’ve given a few away as presents. If my remaining ones die, I will be putting in fake ones that will last forever!

I’m keeping these two owls. They go well with these green plates I made in a ceramic class in college. I have a few more plants around the house. This one by the sink seems really happy, probably because it gets the most light.

Well, there you have it! That’s the update on our kitchen! It looks like a totally new place. It feels big, fresh, and happy, and I like cooking in it, which is important. 👩🏼‍🍳👍🏼