Seek and You Will Find

In life, you get what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for the good; you’ll find it. And if you’re looking for the bad; you’ll find that as well.

In past years around Thanksgiving time, I’ve searched for different ways to encourage my family to be thankful to God and grateful to those around them for all the good things in their lives. Last year, I settled on the Thankfulness Tree (check it out here), and I decided to revive it again this year.

So the dogs and I went for a walk and chose a few mossy sticks for our “tree”. I plunked them in a vase, pulled out my cards and pens, and waited for my family to get busy. Baby Girl willingly began adding notes here and there; she’s thankful for everything from wool socks to her crazy dogs.

thankful tree 004

But the MR is another story. He’s not really a touchy-feely kind of guy who loves to share his emotions. So the other day while I was making dinner, I gave him a gentle nudge. OK, maybe I was a little obnoxious and gave him a note and a pen and said it was his ticket to dinner. I’m here to tell you gratefulness can be forced.

As I started serving up, I got a little huffy. All he put down was one word; he couldn’t even finish a thought. Oh well, I needed to stop being pushy and just realize it is what it is. The next day, I, the long-suffering wife, saw my failed attempt at strong arming my guy into being thankful, and I picked up the paper and to put it back.

The word I’d carelessly scoffed at was “You”. I read it again, my heart melted, and humbly I added his note to the tree.


My guy is thankful for his crabby, stompy wife, and I missed it, because I was sure he was going to fail. It reminded me that I need to give people the benefit of the doubt and always look for the good in others–especially those I love. If I’m looking for the good, I just might find it.

As we add notes to the tree, I am thankful for my guy, for my sweet girls, for my family near and far, for good friends, for the many ways God has blessed me, and for the lessons I’m still learning.

Thankful Tree

How are you showing thankfulness?



Fickle Rug Love

How did I get so fickle? A few years ago, the dining room was a big blank slate, and Cocoa was still a puppy.

Dining Room Floor

I decided all that beige floor needed some Warming Up, so I bought a rug for the dining room. It was indoor/outdoor, nothing fancy, a little graphic design, and it was fine.

Rug and Table

At the time, I really like it. And then we redid the floors…

Dining Room After 3

It just wasn’t quite as nice on the gray.

Old Rug

So fast forward a couple years, and we start working with a designer who encourages us to carry the cement-type flooring throughout the great room. Suddenly, the weird angles in the floor have disappeared, and we could use a little extra cush on the floor.

We’ve ordered a gigantic area rug for the main part of the great room, and our designer suggested Surya Banshee for the dining room. So that lovely, impressionistic floral that I shared when I was cheering about the end of October has arrived.

I’ve been skipping the gym lately, but Thursday I felt like I got a work out moving this rug from the front door to the dining room.

The roll

I sent the family a text that I was in love. This rug is gorgeous.

New Rug


I’m sad that all the bright fall sunshine is casting so many shadows and obscuring your view. Trust me; the colors are vibrant and the pile is deep.

New Rug and Table


It’s the type of rug you just want to wiggle your toes deep into.

Cocoa & Rug

We still haven’t decided on a new table, but we’ve picked out russet leather chairs when the time comes.

Without the help of our interior designer, I never would have had the courage to choose a rug with such a freeform pattern. She also chose the next size up–8 by 11 feet. With the old carpet gone, a larger rug helps blur the line between the dining room and great room. It’s nice to have expert advice on those expensive purchases.

Up Close

The silver portions actually sparkle with metallic thread in the sunshine. My photos do not do it justice.

Plush Rugs shipped quickly for free, and I’m very happy with our rug. The only glitch was that the free rug pad they sent doesn’t work well with our flooring type. It looks like I’ll be buying one after all.

On a smaller scale, we’ve added another area rug near the office space.

Hide Rug

This light brindle hide rug with its organic shape brings a little softness to all the harsh lines and angles that give our home so much character. Eventually, the plants will be replaced with a chair and an ottoman.

This will be a great corner to cozy up with a book or my knitting, while the MR is working on the computer.

I can’t wait for all the bits and pieces to fall into place. It’s so exciting to see the great room start coming together.

What kind of changes are you making at home?


Ready for Frost

We’ve had a good run weather-wise. Sure, we had double the regular rainfall in October, but no frost. That means, we still have a whole lot of green around here and the confused azaleas are trying to bloom.

All good things must come to an end, so me and the MR did a little tidying up preparing for the start of colder days. On Monday, I decided to cut back the asparagus. It’d already started turning yellow, but was far from dying, so I gave it a little help.


I cut back the long feathery fronds and then decided to use them as mulch to protect the crowns over winter.

Mulched Asparagus

We still have a few beets and carrots in the other bed. Rumor has it that those root vegetables taste even sweeter after a frost. I guess we’ll be able to test that theory.

Listening to the weathermen, the MR added covers to the outside taps and brought in our mini herb garden. The cilantro has died and the basil is looking ratty, but I’m hoping to add them to meals all winter.

Herbs Inside

The apple green pots and planter might be a little bright, but I can always move them to the kitchen window.

With highs in the 40’s and a string of frosty mornings the last few days, it looks like they made it in in the nick of time.

Is your garden ready for winter? Has the cold made it to your part of the world?


Gifts Abound

Last week ended with gifts all around. Technically, we paid for all of them, but when boxes arrive on the doorstep, they feel like gifts.

While chairs and couches can take months to appear, tables and lamps show up immediately.


They show up in big boxes, full of styrofoam, in need of assembly. Thankfully, I know my way around an allen wrench, so this big old mess, soon turned into this.

tables & light

After nearly three years with only overhead lights, it’s fun to add a few floor lamps to the mix bringing in some task lighting making for a cozier space.

The light itself is a little funky. It came with a compact fluorescent bulb, but we both liked the “Edison” bulb it was pictured with online, so the MR ordered one, and now we’re set.

light up close 2

Don’t you love the windows reflected in the shade? Take a look at the tables from the other direction.

tables and light 2

I think I’m going to enjoy this little seating area next to the fireplace.

I wasn’t just getting gifts, I was giving/making them as well. It was Dads’ Weekend at Oregon State last weekend, and Sweet Miss’ sorority was putting on a pancake breakfast to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. They needed gift baskets for a silent auction, and she figured a wine and cheese basket would be right up our alley.

I helped with a Make a Difference Day basket auction years ago, so gift baskets are simple enough to put together.

Gift Basket

Finally, the MR and Sweet Miss shared the gift of family time allowing Baby Girl and I to join them on Dads’ Weekend. We ate at college hangouts, brunched at the sorority, tailgated with the boyfriend and some “sisters”, enjoyed front row tickets at the game, and barbecued at Sweet Miss’ Big’s live-out. Then on Sunday, the MR and Sweet Miss cooked a vat of eggs and a ton of bacon for Delta House of Pancakes, and we headed home with some great memories.

Dads Weekend Collage

Check out the sea of orange in the stadium shot. The Beavers may not have won, but their team spirit is amazing.

With Baby Girl in her final year of high school, I’m not sure how many of these family weekend’s we have left. I’m going to treasure each one of them.

What “gifts” did last week bring you? 



Catching Up with Fall

The sawdust has settled, the dust has cleared, and the furniture is finally back in place. That must mean it’s time to add a little fall cheer to the inside.

When the power was out for two days, me and the MR walked down to the cemetery to scope out the situation. The MR was cutting back branches that hung over the road and clearing all the storm debris; I was searching for perfect leaves in just the right color. I was going to preserve them with glycerin and decorate the mantel.

Well, I didn’t really think things through. Do you want to come home to a chilly house and wash leaves in cold water in the dark? By the time I got around to the leaves they were curly and not quite as pristine. I did dump them in a bag with some glycerin, but I haven’t had the heart to see just how they turned out.

Instead, I decided to decorate the mantel with candles and a little sparkly fall bling. It’s amazing the stuff you can find just sitting around your home. This is the first time I’ve decorated the fireplace since we had the conversation pit filled in. It’s so much easier not to climb up a stepstool just to see what you’re doing. We have just over 11 feet of mantel, so I did a lot of up and down, stepping back, and rearranging in the past. You know we did all this remodeling just to make decorating easier, right?

Fall Mantel Collage

We have a foot or two of empty space between the side vignettes and the center; but with all those corners, it’s nice to let things breath a little. I haven’t been upstairs to dig through the back of the storage room and pull out the fall bin. I have some yarn-wrapped pumpkins that I have a soft spot for.

While I loved the apple green gourds on the mantel last year, and the beautiful sunflowers our first fall here, I like switching things up.

Over the Years Fall Fireplace Collage

It’s crazy how scary white the downstairs used to be, but I’m definitely pulling out those pumpkins and adding some plants and flowers. We need a little more color this year.

Are you all decorated for fall? Ready for the holidays?  Thanksgiving is just around the corner.