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Craigslist Corral: Blue

This is my second post on Craigslist finds… Ah! This is super fun!  Today, blue is the color of choice.

00K0K_hMa8skL3xbT_1200x900MCM Blue Sofa. $150 (Athens, Ga) // 9ft long! It looks super soft, & the seller says they’ll take off $25 if you buy it the first day you email them.
bluedivider00f0f_3u15hI1KBJm_1200x900Light Blue & Cream Couch. $100 (Metro Atlanta) // I love this! It could go formal or fun.bluedivider00a0a_6Z75A0HhRFg_1200x900Blue & White Outdoor Folding Chairs. $50 (Kennesaw) // These would be great in a garden, wouldn’t they? Or even in a sunroom. LOVE.bluedivider00i0i_fvV1z0PGMtS_1200x900Vintage Blue Velvet Chair. $100 (Marietta) // Formal & cozy. I could see this chair in a reading nook like this, or holding it’s own in a massive space like this or even in some bohemian cabin retreat like this!bluedivider00i0i_1fqx0WH6XeL_1200x900Antique Stove. $800 (Uvalda) // I’m not sure if it works, but if it does, this is a wonderful deal!bluedivider00K0K_kGLv9yh4Arc_1200x900Persian Rug. $75 (Atlanta) // Seventy-five dollars?! Are you kidding me?! It’s 9×12 feet. If I didn’t think my husband would more than a little annoyed with me for buying more things while we’re paying $100/month for a storage unit, I’d be all over this!bluedivider00R0R_6gV0jJfYZcR_1200x900Denim Sofa. $20 (Ansley Park) // Denim sofas don’t get nearly enough play, in my opinion. They’re so versatile. They can go coastal, cottage, eclectic & bohemian.bluedivider00w0w_2SVieM8aOM_1200x900Fisher-Price Turntable. $35 (Athens)bluedivider01212_iutJoJD8fkT_1200x900Blue & White Ginger Jar Lamps. $60 (Royston) // I’m not a fan of the shade on these, but for $30 a lamp, it’d be pretty easy to switch those shades. I’d go for something like this.bluedivider01616_fZOqvSG7BfG_1200x900Peacock Eggs. $10 (Carnesville) // Oh, how I LOVE Athens’ Ga’s Craigslist.

Moving Photo Outtakes: 01 & 02

I call this one, “Paul, I can see you, man.outtake01
& this is called, “Luke, you’re in the shot.

Moving Again (*Photo Heavy Post*)

We’re moving again. This time, closer in. Well, we hope to be moving again. Our house will be on the market Monday. If y’all know anyone in or around our area looking for a 5 bedroom, 2 bath on 3/4 of an acre, holler at me.

Craigslist Corral: Yellow

We’re getting ready to list our home for the market &, with that, I’ve been doing a lot of dreaming about our future space. I like the pinterest world as much as the next girl – with all the burlap, the linens, the neutrals… but, if I’m honest, the little left of center, the sudden pop of color,  a little throw back, a little vintage? Well, that’s kind of more what catches my eye.  I’m trying to take myself (& my space online) less seriously. In an attempt to do just that, I’m rounding up my local finds. I love to window shop – especially second-hand & handmade. Perhaps, you’d like to take a walk with me through Metro Atl & Athens’ current offerings?

Mid Century Dining Table with 4 Chairs. $125 (Athens)
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Pair of Gold Club Chairs. $100 (Athens, Ga) // $50 eachyellow divider

Vintage Chaise Lounge. $40 (Athens) // moving soon; priced to sell
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Yellow/Gold Club Chair. $40 (Atlanta)

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Set of 3 Bar Stools. $85 (Athens) $85 // made in Italy; rattan

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Pair of Lemon Chairs. $200 (Acworth) // Thomasville

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Little Castle Glider/Rocker. $165 (Kennesaw)

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Original Hermes Miller Eames. $300 (East Cobb, Ga)

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Ceramic Double Gourd Lamps. $80 (Buckhead)

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Hammary Vintage Velvet Lounge Chair. $99 (Marietta)

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Vintage High-Back Chair. $70 (Decatur)

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Off-White with Yellow Trim Bedroom Set. $250 (Cobb County) // Bed frame: Full

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Lenox Melmac Sunbust Dinnerware. $29 (Marietta)


I don’t like to be uncomfortable. My husband can sleep perfectly fine on the surface of the earth with nary a blanket, waking up with a smile & feeling refreshed. Even in my own home, on my own bed, with a fluffy pillow & the feathery down-embrace of my blanket, I can still find myself uncomfortable. Especially if I don’t have my socks. If my feet are cold, it is all over for me. I will not sleep. Cannot sleep. Yes, I have sensory issues, but my obsession goes beyond my senses. I cannot rest if I am uncomfortable.

Because I am obsessed with comfort.

My life isn’t the dream I thought it would be. There are moments are levity. Yes, but also extreme, cascading dives into heartache that border, & at times, dip into & linger in, devastation.  And when I’m there, in that moment, I feel as though I’m destined to drown, choking on deep, deep sadness.

And when these moments happen, I forget the good, the levity. I forget cycle of things; that old truth of what goes up must come down, & what is down, will, eventually, come back up again. I only remember the hurt, & my only effort is in attempting to dismount the dive, & run, full on, away from it.

My aim isn’t always back towards the good. I run blind most of the time, & heavy & hard, towards whatever dream I think will make me more comfortable. And I just keep running further

and further

and further

until all I have left is the memory of what I was running from. It clings to me the way the scent of a restaurant stays in my clothes. Every time I move, the discomfort wafts itself at me, & I remember.

I don’t want to go through hard things.  I don’t want to process them, or experience them. I want to be happy & buoyant & blithe. All the time.

Though I have always sought comfort, there was a period in my life that I didn’t cling to it so desperately. I read this book, When Things Fall Apart, 13 years ago. It was shortly after finding out I was pregnant. I was 20, & single, & it was finals week of my sophomore year of college. I felt like not only had the rug been pulled out from under my feet, the floor itself was disintegrating.

I wanted to run, hard & fast, in any direction that wasn’t the one I was standing in. It was through reading this book, though, that I finally began to realize it was my mindset that needed adjusting, not my circumstances. Pema Chodron helped me understand that though I can’t control my circumstances, I can control how tightly I hold on to them.

She says, “Thinking that we can find some lasting pleasure and avoid pain is what in Buddhism is called samsara, a hopeless cycle that goes round and round endlessly and causes us to suffer greatly. The very first noble truth of the Buddha points out that suffering is inevitable for human beings as long as we believe that things last—that they don’t disintegrate, that they can be counted on to satisfy our hunger for security.”

I thought my freedom would last. The freedom to go & do as I please, the lack of accountability. The security I had in the knowledge that I could leave any relationship that made me uncomfortable. I never, ever imagined myself being responsible for another life.


I felt like the only responsibility I would ever have for another life was to not take it & to not eat it. Suddenly, I was faced with the prospect of having to give it & feed it. It was terrifying, & I was decidedly quite unqualified. I was so afraid, & felt so hopeless, that this really stuck out to me, too:

Hope and fear is a feeling with two sides. As long as there’s one, there’s always the other. This is the root of our pain. In the world of hope and fear, we always have to change the channel, change the temperature, change the music, because something is getting uneasy, something is getting restless, something is beginning to hurt, and we keep looking for alternatives. In a nontheistic state of mind, abandoning hope is an affirmation, the beginning of the beginning.”

I began to see this stage in my life as a beginning, for both my son & myself. I remember writing in my journal that I needed to Abandon Hope. That there really wasn’t an unseen hand to hold, & from that place, I began to settle a bit. I began to accept what was & allow myself to hurt when I was hurting. I was able sit still when I was uncomfortable because I began to believe that life is cyclical, that it wasn’t some huge obstacle I had to keep pushing through in order to find joy.

I didn’t have peace, I’ll be honest in that, but I did have disciplined, intentional thought. There’s a big, long story about my stepping out of nontheism, into agnosticism, & finally into Christianity. But along that path, I am beginning to realize, I have gradually become less disciplined & intentional in my thoughts. I know I have a hand to hold. I know He cares about me. I know He’s steadfast & never takes His eyes off of me, & with that knowledge, I’ve become a spoiled, complaining, comfort-seeking brat.

I want Santa Christ. I want to always be comfortable & always get my way, & never have to consider that it’s my thinking that needs adjusting, not my circumstances. I still believe that life is cyclical, but I fell into the false gospel of comfort. I struggle with thinking that if life isn’t comfortable, then either God isn’t really all good & all powerful, that He doesn’t see what’s going on, or I’m not being good enough for Him to want to make me comfortable.

But the truth is this, To live is Christ & to die is gain, & in my pain, He will never leave me. He will hold me in His hand on the descent, & He will bring joy in the morning. And to complain as I do, even when I’m just grumbling to myself, it solves nothing. Do I do well to be so angry? No, I do not.

As a believer I’ve become lazy in mind. I’ve become a passive participant in life, & I’m grieved that I haven’t really noticed it until now. So, hope & fear are not a feeling with two sides. They’re feelings on opposing sides. With salvation secure, I can be devastated & still have hope. I can be swimming through sadness, & still have an undercurrent of joy. I don’t have to feel like I am going to choke, & when I do feel fear, I have the power stop that thought. It’s incredible that I haven’t taken the time to develop that discipline in my faith.

Just because I am no longer a nontheist, I can still be disciplined & intentional in my thinking. In fact, as a believer, I am commanded to do so in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” I don’t have to be conformed. I don’t have to be overwhelmed & want to jump off & run away when life’s levity starts dropping. My sense of overwhelm can be transformed through renewing my mind by focusing on the will of God, & remembering His character… I can stand firm in the fact that He is with me through all of it, that He is good & cannot fail, & all will be used for my good & His glory.

In 2 Corinthians 10, we’re told to take every thought captive. My slipping back into desire for comfort, I can take those restless feelings, those needs to change my situation, those thoughts that whisper “it shouldn’t be this way,” “or it shouldn’t be this hard,” I can capture them. Hold them captive & compare them to truth. It’s empowering, & yet, I’ve lived, now 8 years a believer, & have not celebrated this gift. I’m thankful that His mercies are new every morning & that He’s always teaching me more about myself & growing me to be more like him… even if it’s a little uncomfortable.

assemblage of our hearts

I have these huge dreams that are totally unrelated to mothering, & are just for me. My sweet husband says he believes in me.  Says he thinks I can really make a go of it.  Says if anyone is able, it is me.

And I float.

To this gentle, affirming, inspiring place where I feel full to the brim with his words, and my heart hovers there – drinking in the fertile ventures of my imagination and gasping at the vastness of What Could Be…

But before pen to paper, or finger to key, before brush to palette, or any of these, my thoughts are chased out of my head by those of others.  Bombarding&Banging. Clanging. Eclipsing. Deafening the voice once encouraged.

Words of affirmation do little when the full weight of reality pummels me and all the pieces I know of myself scatter across the floor.  Tears, as genuine and haunting as blood, surge forth as I am choked by a raging guilt mingled with want.

Who are you to think so highly of yourself? That you could possibly birth this gnawing, guttural ache to express yourself?

This. Is. Selfishness.

Let it die.  Give up.  What lies uncovered matters to no one but you.  You are frustrated over worthless endeavours.

Mothering is more important.  These lives are exponentially more valuable than your own.  They are our future.  You are the present, which is, at the moment we’ve read these words, the past.  Pour not from yourself for yourself, but into these, for them.

And in the midst of the chaos of my thoughts being chased away, I am weak.  A fractured vessel. Once full of  lush dreams, rich thoughts & poetry. Inspired. Now, leaking guilty thoughts of Not Qualified for Any.

Not a good enough mother, because Good Mothers don’t mind interruptions. Or lose their patience. Or their tempers. And always place their childrens’ needs(sssss) above their own.

Not a good enough writer, because Good Writers are able to write whenever they find the time, & pick up & leave off with an effortless fluidity wherever they were.

In the midst of this, I tell myself, I have no space for my thoughts in this life, much less room to learn new things. In these moments, I realize that it is a stupid dream – to find My Self again.  This life is a spinning, insurmountable, fortress of Immediate Need, where there is little time for reflection, or savouring that which nourishes.

And then my husband holds me. He freezes the spin, & softens my pace, &  speaks peace into the depths of my ache. It’s in these moments I understand how precisely God planned the assemblage of our hearts.

3 year old blessings.

3 is not my favourite year… by a long shot. it might be my least, but since we’re only to 11, so i can’t fully weigh in on that yet… but(!) when i am able to tap down my desire for only kindness & love to flow from the lips of my littles, listening to the chatter of my 3-year-old can be really enjoyable. Sharing some snippets with you. Be blessed!

ABDTEFD, next time won’t you wing wit me.

(alphabet song)

Hey, Mom, I have my madick tar.

(magic star)

puddit in my widdow, wook.

(put it in my window, Luke)


(i’m not little)

attend i for wheel.

(pretend this is real.)

where’s your penis, mom? it in your ear?

(…that doesn’t need an explanation.)

whut dat amazing mell?

(what’s that horrible smell?)

Open Hearted.

The voice message was short. Upbeat.

“Hi, Julie. It’s your mom. Gimme a call. Bye.”

She also called my husband, though, which meant it was more than just a check in.

I dialed, late, on the way home, with the vehicle full of children running only on adrenaline. My husband hushed them, as she answered the phone.

I remember her words as shards. Our conversation in fragments.

“We’re in the hospital.”

“…but they’re keeping him over night…”

“…we were on the way to a funeral, but he asked me to go to Emory instead…”

I listened. Ben was driving, but my world stood still. Life sped past my window, driving through tiny towns, but it seemed like all that mattered was frozen while I tried to understand. To really gather, ingest, and absorb the information I was being given. I knew if I showed the slightest urge to emotionalize or make big what must be made little, the information given to me would lessen.

I succeeded.

“Would you like to talk with him?”

Yes, please.

“Well, hey, there!”

His voice has always been dark velvet. Soft, deep & warm. I swallowed the crack in my voice before I tried to speak.

“Hi, Dad. How are you doing?”

Hi, Dad. My dad. Don’t leave me, Dad. Not now. Not ever. Please. I’m not grown yet. I don’t have your voice recorded nearly enough. I can’t not be able to call you whenever I want. I want you to always be here, Dad. Please, Dad.

“Well,…” He went on to tell me about enzymes & potassium levels, & lungs – one side clear, the other, not. They were keeping him over night because they wanted to give him a stress test in the morning.

He was OK, & was thankful for such a good hospital. I asked him to have Mom text me when they start his test, & he said we’d work it out. He said he loved me. I echoed his sentiment, & we hung up.

I exited the car. Ben already had the boys inside the house, getting them dressed for bed. Neighbors on their porch called to me. Asked how my weekend had been. We made hard-to-decipher small talk before I finally said out loud for the first time, “My dad is in the hospital. Something is wrong… Maybe… with his heart.”

The words hung in the air like heavy balloons. The distance between us, & my lack of certainty, refused to let the words travel farther than a few inches from my mouth. They smiled & nodded, not understanding, but being polite. We waved good night, & I closed the door behind me.

Later my Ben asked me.

“Are you OK?”

“No. I’m trying to be. They say it’s not a big deal, but, I’m scared. I know he’s going to be fine no matter what happens, but… me. I’m afraid I might unravel. I can’t not have my dad.”

This world keeps throwing such heavy blows. It seems the more I get to know the people in my life, the more I see how much hurt the heart can carry.

& it’s immeasurable.

Every person breathing, is inhaling, in spite of great heartbreak. The more I learn of people’s stories, the more I see how prevalent suffering is. To live without a mother, or with a dying husband. To bury your child, or watch your best friend live it. So close, it’s your own pain, but doubled, sort of. A quarter at the least; the weight of your loss for her, yourself, & bearing the weight of her burden, too.

Communal life hurts.

Life. Hurts.

Because death hurts. Because we weren’t meant to live this. And when we must, our bones cry out for peace. For cease. For suffering to end. For celebration to begin, & never… end.

I think of life, here, on this planet, without the father God gifted me with, & I want to burn the whole world down. Because he’s mine, & I want him. I want to always be able to hold his hand, & hear his jokes, & watch him swing a golf club & listen to him tell me how much he loves my boys & my husband. And me.

I don’t want the memories of his arms around my mother to dim. I don’t want to forget the scent of his skin. Or the scruff of his 5 o’clock shadow. Or his laugh.

At the end of this week, he will have open heart surgery. And when they open his chest, they will be opening mine. And my mother’s. And my sisters’ & my brother’s. Nieces’, nephews’ & my sons’. All open at the same time.



The machines that will breathe for him, & beat for his heart, will be working not just for his life, but to keep together those who feel like unraveling without him.

His doctor told him that even though he’s 80 (81 in July), he has the body of a 50-year-old, so he should recover nicely. I’m told it’s a common procedure, but it’s not common when it’s your father. It’s personal. Communal. It’s my procedure, too.

Just as the man sentenced for a crime he didn’t commit is a sentence for his family & friends. Just as the wife who mourns, daily, the depreciation of her husband’s quality of life, is a depreciation for their children, grands, friends & neighbors. We think our suffering is unique to us. That our hurt is not felt outside the four chambers of our heart, but the world aches with us.

He designed us this way.

To bear burdens. To cry together. To walk a hard path once, so we can walk the path with a friend later.

He entered into this. He wept. He cries for our losses. Even when He knew He could (& would, &will!) dry every tear. He wept because we weep. Because this wasn’t what He wanted for us.

But he does bring joy in the morning. In the mourning, too. He is always showing us, shouting at us, through the thick haze of our pain, “I am here. I am steadfast. I will never turn my face from you. Even now. I am here.”

The hands that held my own when I learned to walk this earth are a treasure and a gift. And I want to say, “It will all be ok, no matter what,” but if I don’t get to hold them this time next year, I will be unraveled. And if I am unraveled, & his hands are wrapped around those of my savior, He will still be here. I will be allowed to mourn. A Christian mourning doesn’t make God less powerful.

If there is one thing I know about my Heavenly Father, it’s that He will surely turn my mourning into dancing.

I do hope, though, let’s be clear… I hope & pray that my sweet, earthly father will be dancing with me, here, for many more years. And that the scars we all gain from his surgery this week will bind us closer to each other & our Lord.

broken breath & beauty.

This day is not unlike every other day, with its ebb and flow, its stop & its go. Its rhythm being what is, leaves little space for pondering or whispers, or me. Waking to hands fingering my eyes, begging for technology & breakfast.

Waking after little ones always seems to start my day a pulse behind. Always catching up, always running after, scrambling. I tinker with these thoughts of creating, of releasing that which is pent up in me. Breathing new life into new worlds into new eyes once dull. Inspiration, fleeting. There’s little time for sitting still or hand folding, or connecting to & releasing that which twists & burns inside of me.

My ears’ drum throbs at the beat of technology’s pace & volume. More. Go. Yes! Now! Room to room, all lights on, full energy, full force, full run until it’s a full scream from a partial break in a tiny foot that I was supposed to protect.

All of life: Pause.


Broken. I was trusted with him.

Breathe. Me. Now.

Self, to me, “breathe, now.”

Exhale, then, guilt. Guilt, the only thing that moves, drips, masquerading itself as tears. Should Have. Would Have. Could Have? but God(!) help me, I can not keep up.

It is through Him only that I am sustained for longer than heart’s beat, or a bone’s snap. And do I praise Him enough? Do my children know that when their worn down mama anchors herself to the kitchen chair & writes furiously, that the words from her heart are pouring into the Hands that knitted them together in her womb? That no man could ever comfort or console or uplift or encourage the way her Father does when gently rocks her back to peace?

Whispering Promises, up from the Holy Flame that burns, and into the place He knows she needs it most…

Do they know?

I wake up behind, but He is in front & He is guiding me, helping me ride this life through. Not gracefully, on my part, but He is ahead stitching together all the pieces He knows I will snag upon my selfishness. For His Own Glory, He picks up the pieces of my heart & anchors them back inside my chest, but this time, beating not for me, but for Him. He picks up the bad, comforts the aching, & breathes beauty into the broken.



And then I hear the laughter. He gives strength to the broken, and freedom to the guilty.

See this, my boys, & remember this. As you grow taller & stronger, & find your place in this world, remember: every single thing breaks. And some times it will be your fault, & some times it won’t, but it will happen &, in an attempt to make sense of it all, you will be tempted to blame. Do not slip down this slide into madness. Breathe. & remember, there is One who can comfort you & heal them, & turn broken pieces that, in present, pause the whole of your world, into areas for beauty.

Like that of a boy who can’t be kept down by the weight of a cast & a broken foot… He keeps dancing.

“There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”
-Leonard Cohen

sharp truths can break spirits.

“I need a break,” is a recurrent echo in my thoughts, bouncing around when my joints are achy & my feet are grimy from floors I haven’t washed.

A Break.

To stop. To breathe. To take time for myself; it is both encouraged and discouraged by the sphere of women, universal.

And there have been moments when I have articulated my secret ache, only to find myself shot in the heart with an arrow of shame.

“They are only young once.”

“Remember, they are a gift.”

Stating a sharp truth to a hurting mother is not a balm to her heart. It is isolating & guilt-ladening. It is neither freeing, nor inspiring.

They are only young once, that is true… Any mother with a child over 2 knows the adorable, quotable, slightly-garbled variations of vocabulary sharpen every day.  Every human knows the ache for yesterday. For Should Have. Would Have. Could Have, & the bulging swallow of guilt that is “…but didn’t…”


We know they are gifts & are not to be taken for granted. We know Mothering is an honour, & that life is fragile & children are precious. Many of us know, intimately, the bloody tears of a hollowed womb shed for the baby it should still be growing, protecting; & the dryness of eyes too worn to produce more tears, mingled with a heart so bruised it shocks us at its ability to beat. We’ve known the face & shape of the child delivered, but never born.


As a culture of women, we need to stop speaking out of both sides of our mouths. We say Mothering is the Hardest Job, but inwardly shame those who are struggling in its trenches. We say take time for yourself, but make cruel statements about those who do. We need to stop compartmentalizing one another.

It is possible to be Grateful For & Overwhelmed By at the same time. Every soul knows this, & we need to stop pretending this isn’t reality.

Life is too complicated for poorly-timed clichés. I am beginning to understand that most sharp truths are to be given only after much thought & prayer; from one close friend to another & delivered with much love.

We need to remember each of us is vulnerable. To another’s opinion, yes, but mostly our own.

If the culture of women were to shift its gaze away from the mirror & off of the clock, we could stop choosing self-protection in preference of solidarity. When we meet another in her weakness, with gentleness, love, & compassion, we are given the honour of truly knowing her, and helping her live more freely in skin, knowing she is, finally, understood.

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