Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Decorating with Intention

I'm a big fan of Houzz, and I don't think I'm the only one.  All you Houzzers out there, raise your hand!

[My one complaint is that if you comment on an article or respond to a question that someone has thrown up on the site, every.single.comment.forever.more.on.that.article is then sent to your e-mail. I commented on a couple pieces before realizing the ramifications, and am still getting e-mails several months later. BTW, does anyone know how to leave a comment on Houzz without getting a flood of other comments sent to your e-mail?!]

But back to the point of this post...

A recent article on decorating with intention caught my eye. Now I'll be honest, the subtitle almost caused me to move on without reading it: "Could a Mission Statement Help Your House". Huh? What a silly idea!

But then I took time to read the article and this comment about how a mission statement could help made a lot of sense: "So the next time you are waffling about a purchase, looking for a new home or even changing a paint color, you can let your mission statement remind you of your priorities and vision for your home and life."

With high prices and sky-rocketing inflation here in Argentina, we have to be thoughtful about every peso we spend. And that applies to everything from construction materials to furniture,  appliances and even decorative items. Which led me to think, "Why not develop a mission statement for my home?"

Because I'm a hard-copy kind of girl, I wrote the seven questions in a notebook, and then worked my way through each one. Oh, and half-way through I decided to get Ivan's input too, so I asked him to answer questions #1-4. It actually turned out to be a very beneficial exercise, and I think it really will help as we contemplate our future home, as well as any other projects we tackle for the casita.

Since I had so much fun with it, I thought some of you might like to play along too. How about it? First up: the seven questions (abbreviated by me)...

1. Explore your style: Look at images you've saved and see if there's a theme to what you like, or are drawn to, that could become part of your mission statement.

2.  Tap into your values: What are your priorities? How can you welcome them into your home?

3.  Define how you want your home to feel: How do you want to feel (or have others feel) when they walk in the front door? Brainstorm words and then choose the top three.  How can you incorporate them into your home?

4.   Clarify the purpose of your home: What role does your home play in your life (beyond basic shelter)? Feel free to add one or two additional roles that support the main one.

5.  Refine your answers: Make a list of key words and phrases from your brainstorming and style folders.

6.  Imagine your ideal day at home: What do you see, hear, smell, touch and taste throughout the day? Who else is there? What do you do?

7.  Write your mission statement: "My home is a place where..."

As I worked through the questions, and then talked to Ivan, it was easy to see we had a very clear idea of what we want our home to be like.

I ended up with almost 25 items in response to question #1 about exploring my style: everything from white spaces, to touches of rustic mixed with modern, and lots of baskets... I definitely have a certain style. What was interesting was how closely my list aligned with Ivan's. We both like:
~ an open floor plan, but cozy spots created within the wide open space
~ have the things we use at hand, but not necessarily always visible (that includes cords associated with various electronic devices, uncluttered kitchen counters, and so on)
~ lots of big windows
~ for lack of a better word: organic pieces (log beams, handcrafted items, etc.)
~ architectural art, because our taste in pictures (whether drawings, paintings or photographs) leans toward places we've lived or visited

Question #2 about our values also found us in agreement; our priorities include delineated private and public spaces (including outdoors) so that we and our guests can feel comfortable.

And that led naturally into answering question #3 about how we want our home to feel, with our top three words being: welcoming, clean, and comfortable.

Without even discussing it, our response to #4 was spot on! Ivan answered that he believes the primary purpose of our home is to be a "haven" and I responded "refuge" --two words with the same concept.

We didn't spend a lot of time describing our ideal day. We did agree that we like to have time to do the necessary cleaning/maintenance, spend time with people, have time for just the two of us, and for me the ideal day would also include time to be creative.

It took about an hour to work through all the questions and brainstorm, and then I came up with this mission statement:

Our home is a haven for family and friends, a place where they feel welcome and comfortable. Our home is a light-filled, open space, clean and uncluttered, with beautiful things that have special meaning and speak of the people we love and the places we've been.

It's rather general, but I believe it will help as we think about the materials we want to use when we build, and the pieces we'll be buying to furnish or decorate our home.

So what about you? How do you determine whether to buy something for your home?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cold and Hungry

Day Two of cold, rainy weather and you'll find me bundled up out in the garage, thankful the internet is finally working (after several days of inaction), so I can get some work done. It's time for those dreaded expense reports once again and I always have to look up some info online in order to finish them.

It really isn't too bad out here in the garage, especially since I dried a load of laundry in the dryer, which generated some heat while it was going. But that load finished a while ago so I'm still wearing a sweat jacket under a light-weight winter coat and have a fleece blanket draped over my jean-clad legs.

We also broke down and turned on the wall heater in the casita. Or should I say Ivan got tired of my incessant whining and lit it up?

[Although even he's layered up in an effort to ward off the cold while he studies.]

It's not even that it is that cold (by Michigan standards, anyway). It did get down in the 40s overnight, but was 55 degrees by mid-morning (and 60 degrees inside the casita) but it's the damp kind of cold that seems to penetrate your very bones.

Okay, enough about our damp, chilly days. Let's talk about food!

I'm in a food rut. I haven't been motivated to do much in the kitchen since our return from the states, so we've gotten by on a lot of homemade bread (made by Ivan, not me) and what I'd call pick-me-up meals. Egg salad on bread, open-faced broiled sandwiches, peanut butter and banana sandwiches... Pizza is on the menu for tonight -- which, if you think about it, is basically a ginormous open-faced sandwich of sorts.

I should go look at my Pinterest boards for inspiration, but you can bet that by the time I finish this post (or before) the internet will go down again. Plus, a lot of what I pinned I can't really make here. I pinned them to try while we're in the U.S. where I can get the ingredients.

So tell me, what's been your favorite meal lately? You get bonus points if it's suited for cold, rainy weather!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Precious Memories

Most, if not all, who read this blog are aware my father-in-law passed away on February 21st. Thanks to the generosity of some special people, we were both able to go to the states for the funeral. We were so blessed by that time with the family!

Right away our daughter began collecting and scanning photos, creating a video to be shown at the viewing and later the funeral. Then she started adding photos that people were taking as we gathered together. The album currently boasts well over 500 photos and continues to grow as different ones contribute their own. It's been precious to look at both the old and the new... to remember dad and reminisce together, and create new memories in the process.

I decided to include just a few here, because I know when I look back I'll want a record of the event on this blog which serves as my journal. Plus there are probably some who read this who can't access that album, and might be interested in this part of our family history.

First of all, dad as a young man:
He and mom met at Bryan College in Tennessee and were married a few years later.

One of the first family photos I remember seeing was this one (I think it was in an old pray-for-your-missionaries booklet) when Ivan was about 5 years old:
A lot of you also read Rita's blog, Meemaw Moments. Did you know she's the oldest and the only girl?

Dad and mom were just a little older than we are now when I met them for the first time:

When dad and mom celebrated their 50th anniversary in 1992, all their children were there:
That was the first time in 21 years that dad, mom and all the siblings were together! On many occasions they would all be there, except one. That's what happens with missionary families who are all over the place.

In recent years two strokes meant that dad had to move into the medical care portion of a retirement village:
Mom faithfully went over to feed him lunch and supper; first from their home which was just down the road a piece, and then from her own apartment within the same facility.

After the funeral someone thought to take a photo of mom with her children:

Mom had requested that the boys sing at the funeral, so they did: "Face to Face", with Rita accompanying them on the piano. The oldest son, Lynn, also sang a solo. Each of the grandchildren that were present read scripture. Rita read two poems she'd written (which are included on her blog), and following by birth order, each son shared memories. At the end, the pastor opened it up so that others who wanted to could briefly share. Several spoke about what an impact dad had in their lives.

Even before the funeral the family was inundated with calls, cards, e-mails, facebook messages... evidence of dad's testimony and influence that spread across the U.S. and Argentina. Beautiful tributes that meant a lot to mom and the rest of the family.

There are more photos I can, and will, share on my next Project 365 post. But this is enough for now. Just a little walk down memory lane, as we celebrate the life of Solon Waverly Hoyt.

His obituary:

Solon Waverly Hoyt, 91, of Grace Village Retirement Community, Winona Lake, Ind., passed away at 10:15 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, at Grace Village Health Care, Winona Lake.
He was born on April 2, 1921, in Dallas Center, Iowa to Clarence Lyman Hoyt and Anna Leola (Dorsey) Hoyt. On Aug. 22, 1942, he was married to Kathryn Ruth Hirschy, who survives in Winona Lake.
He was a resident of Kosciusko County, Ind., for the past 30 years, where he was a member of Lakeland Grace Brethren Church of Warsaw, Ind. He attended Bryan University in Dayton, Tenn., for three years; studied for a year in Huntington University in Huntington, Ind.; and then attended Grace Seminary in Winona Lake for three years. Solon was a missionary in Argentina for 43 years.
He is survived by his daughter: Rita (Michael) Koch, Upland, Ind.; four sons: Lynn (Mary) Hoyt, South Carolina; Aldo (Alice) Hoyt, Denver, Colo.; Ivan (Kimberly) Hoyt, Argentina; Alan (Sharon) Hoyt, Warsaw; 15 grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, four sisters and six brothers.