Because Choosing Your Battles Saves Your Sanity :: How Having One Decent Space Makes all the Difference

night stand

The first room in our house that was kind of livable/done-ish was our bedroom.

I knew we’d be knocking down walls (they were knocked down in the kitchen before we even moved in) and living without a sink or stove or ceiling in the kitchen. We needed a place where we could close the door and pretend like the mess didn’t exist. When you move to a new place it’s so nice to focus on one space where you can quickly feel sane and at home.

Even today, our room still doubles as my office. We (Chad) just finished painting the barn and office exterior (photos coming soon!) and my office has been taped up with plastic and no air conditioner all summer. Right now that dinky window unit is looking pretty great.


It’s not fancy and it’s hardly organized or sanitized with three kittens a dog (and did I mention the mouse?!). But one trick I’ve learned that helps keep me un-crazy-fied is to keep my floor picked up and free of clutter and random hairballs. It does wonders for any space.


My mom (who has an impeccably clean house) always says “If the floors are clean then the whole house is clean.”


I also try to always evaluate what is working for me. For months I had this desk in our room. And then I made a discovery. I had never, not once sat at this desk and done one thing. And also, the desk only looked clean and tidy like this that one time when I took this photo. Yes, I used it to hold all sorts of piles and the chair was the perfect place to hang sweaters, but this desk just served as a great place to put stuff “for now”.

That desk was helping me keep my room messier! So as much as I love the desk itself, I cleaned it off…

real desk

…and we moved it out. It sits in the basement now, but I’ll use it in the barn in a few months.


Clearly, all of my problems aren’t solved. But this photo was taken yesterday when I was in the heat of two days of doing a little photo shoot that took over our entire house, a Christmas photo shoot for a company where I needed to pull out Christmas decorations, send in photos, then wait to clean everything up until the photos were approved. My house was in a half mess/half Christmasy holding pattern for 48 hours. But even I have standards…

hall mess

Here’s the hall outside our room…


There was an imaginary barrier at the threshold of our room. I knew from experience that I needed to have one calm space where even if I had to have a mess that looked like Christmas threw up in our hall, I’d have one uncluttered space to retreat to.

Here’s more of the mess from my instagram, click the play button to see the little video (& there’s music).
wherever you are
I’m trying to remember to start where I am, with what I have, and to sometimes do the least amount required to avoid catastrophe. So while my blinds might be dusty, my bedroom floor is clean and tidy. Because sometimes you decide to know thyself and choose thy most important battles.


God, grant me the serenity to accept the dust I forget to chase ,

The courage to clean the things I trip over,

And the wisdom to know the difference.



Sometimes (every time) we have to choose the easiest road to rest. For me that means dusty blinds and at least one uncluttered floor, preferably in our bedroom.

for you

A Giveaway

I’m so grateful for companies that partner with Nesting Place, who give me free rein to show my imperfections. Today, you have a chance to win a great little helper in your home. Dyson, who basically has a cult following for their innovative technology–for vacuums is sponsoring this post. Thanks Dyson!


One person will receive a Dyson DC59 Motorhead it sounds like a fancy car but this is the latest “digital” slim cordless (!!) vacuum. Who cares about the blinds, let’s clean the floors and forget about the rest! Oh wait, I think this thing cleans the blinds too!

254_5c3ffe3ae7366882d6cf39c7c208d2d7(white uniform, empty, clean white home and vehicle not included please insert your own colored clothing and possessions that need vacuumed)

WINOne rule to enter to win, pop over to the Dyson DC59 Motorhead site (it will open in a new window), scroll through the info and then come back here leaving a comment what feature would be the most useful for you and what space in your home you try to keep the most sane–and then you’ll be entered!

Winner chosen August 18th, prize value: a cool $549.


The Rest of the Summer & The Summer of Rest


I’ve been summering well. I think.

After two years of fun, needed, work related, home related, dream related, unplanned YESES, I’m requiring myself to rest and say no. I’m having the rest of my life. Or at least trying. And I hope to continue it for the REST of the summer. What are you doing the rest of the summer? Maybe you need a REST of the summer too.



There have been late nights in hotel rooms with close friends, hosting a shower with dear friends, pool woes and pool side reading. We currently have a broken washer (again), a water softener waiting to be installed and only two living chickens–the ones who refused to coop and prefer to sleep in trees. Also, my car smells like a frat house.

at the cottage

This weekend is the highlight of our summer when we get to sit around at my favorite place, The Cottage, with Caroline & Greg. This is the cottage that is my muse, that I wrote about in The Nesting Place–it’s a vacation spot that feels like home, the most thoughtfully prepared place you’ll ever stay.


After almost a year of living here, I finally got around to painting the bay window in the kitchen the same way I painted the other windows in the dining room & family room months ago.

I even painted that orange door a nice shade of white. I considered black or a color for the door, but in this dark house with thin windows & a huge wrap around porch that shadows two sides, we need every ounce of white we can get. I went white again. For the door it’s just a coat of primer then two coats of paint. I think I used a satin finish.


Now that the door is white, it acts more like a frame to view the trees outside.


It’s a much prettier background for photos and for life. Why did I wait so long to paint the window & door? It took only one afternoon (including dry time) and my home feels brand new and sparkly.

white door



I also painted the hutch on a whim. It’s been years since it’s been painted and right now all of our work and money is going into the barn, so this hutch sits where phase two of the kitchen (a pantry, and lower cabinets & shelves) will one day reside. Since we’ve moved, that left door won’t close. Of course.

I’m not a furniture painting expert, I’m a furniture painting risk taker. I stay away from shiny paints and use left over wall paint and maybe some eggshell or satin paint. The hutch is leftover Simply White wall paint in an eggshell finish–same paint I use on our walls. I just painted right over the previous paint job.




I’ve lost track of the number of feathers I’ve found (or have they found me) in the past few months. Maybe they are sending me a special message, or maybe I finally have room to notice them.

under the power lines

Things are good here under the power lines. Not perfect. But that has nothing to do with good.

The trees and grass are green. The sky and pool are blue. I hope they stay that way for the REST of the summer.


Why You Must Yes and Also No

yes and no

I’m in a season of No. It’s not near as glamorous, impressive or blogable as being in a season of Yes. At least, I’ve heard that some people’s Yesses are glamorous. This summer, one of the books I’m reading is Let’s All Be Brave and of course I get to the chapter called Say Yes […]

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Weekend Links to Inspire & Encourage


This tour of a neutral home is stunning  :: Design Sponge  It’s not about whether or not it’s your style, we are so past judging if we can enjoy a space based on its ‘style’. Remember, the way to be inspired online is to look at everything you see online SELFISHLY–which really isn’t selfish at […]

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During July….


During July, The World’s Worst Barn is beginning a full shake-down, scrub down, paint all over, makeover. This thing is going from a hillbilly tractor barn to a beautifully imperfect gathering space for us all to come and simply BE. I’ll tell you much more about it later but for now, I couldn’t resist to […]

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Weekend Links to Inspire & Encourage


Gumball Drink Stirrers // studio DIY Our Mini Home Makeover: Before & After // Candace Cameron Bure The Upside of Downsizing // Be More With Less What I Learned from Painting a Wall // Conversion Diary A Bit of Instructions on How to Live a Good Life: How to be an Artist, a Parent, a […]

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Alison’s Thrifted Makeover:: All the Details

alison room

photo: Alison after before I wanted to show a little more of Alison’s lovely house from our $250 thrift store makeover with Lysa. My job for this project wasn’t really to take photos, but to do the work of putting it all together so forgive me for the lack of lots of great finished shots, […]

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The Decorating Truths You Won’t See on HGTV

what can be done with less

Time. White Space. Imperfections. I know. Not as glamorous as Buy New Stuff, Paint New Stuff, Knock out Your Kitchen Walls With a Sledgehammer While A Camera Crew Watches and it all gets done in one week. But we are real women, with real fries on the floor of our cars, without big furniture budgets […]

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Turning a House Into a Home on a Thrift Store Budget

house into home

I’m joining the How to Decorate Series 25 bloggers sharing great tips all week. If I were a billionaire, I’d still shop second-hand. Pair of chairs $35 each from Salvation Army, Dresser: $18 yard sale, Lamps: $8 each Thrift Store, Chalkboard: $1 Yard Sale with a $12 sea fan from HomeGoods spray painted white and […]

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Weekend Links to Inspire & Encourage

dear lillie

Night Stand Tutorial : Ikea Tarva Hack @ Dear Lillie (and that LAMP!! I love everything about this!) Did you see Emily’s Summer House Tour? It’s a breath of fresh air. @ Jones Design Co. about beauty in the mist of it @ Sweetwater Put on that Swimsuit! written by my beautiful friend Jessica Choose […]

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