Digging out of the snow

We've been buried in what seems like ten feet of snow. Snow high enough to cancel your playdate. High enough to give away your dog. High enough to nap without shame - daily. But we're digging out. And I'm finally digging through what's keeping me from this place here on the blog. And digging through unposted pictures from the last couple months.

If you're like me you have one or two blogs that you read pretty frequently. Blogs by women you've never met. You don't know how you stumbled upon them or who first sent you a link to a post. But now you know the names of all these woman's kids. And you know what she gave her husband for Christmas. And you know their feelings on faith, design and what's for dinner.

Well, I have one of those. She writes about her sweet family of four. And gives mad tutorials on sewing. Anyway, her little toeheaded son is off to elementary school. And a good few months ago she wrote about this sudden awareness that perhaps his stories and his words and his pictures aren't hers to share with the world anymore. Maybe he's not just hers anymore, but his own. (Maybe - definitely - he was never hers, but Gods.) Maybe this seven year old boy doesn't want a random girl in Kansas City knowing that he was so nervous for first grade that he wet the bed for the first time in years.

So she began leaving things unsaid.

But more than the dialing down of her kids' personal stories, she wrote about how this shift toward not documenting every movement revealed a belief she didn't know she held. The belief that if she didn't photograph the snuggle, then the snuggle didn't happen. And if she didn't write about a lesson learned, then it wasn't really learned. And if she didn't blog about the curtains she just hung that it was as though they were still sitting in a pile on the floor.

Because if you didn't facebook it, you didn't do it.

But I'm not writing to say that I think we all overshare. I don't know. To each, his own. But here's my own. I maybe don't overshare. But I do sometimes share for the wrong reasons. And I do often covet what others have shared.

Sometimes I video Annie dancing on my phone but the whole time she's dancing, I'm watching her THROUGH my phone. And by the time she stops, I realize my only memory is now of the phone. I watched a three inch screen instead of watching a three foot kid and now all I'll ever have again is that three inch version of the dance.

Sometimes, I scroll through my Instagram and wish I had more kids. NOW, God. Because a chaotic life seen through a photo filter looks awfully appealing. And I wish that my wardrobe was a little hipper. And I wish I'd actually done my hair that day, because if I had, I would take a picture of Annie and I right now, cozied up on her bean bag. But I didn't, so I don't. People would know the ugly truth about my unmade up state, and I seek approval too much for that to happen.

...I think I'm probably being too honest. But roll with it...

Sometimes, I scroll through Instagram and wish that I was living in Brooklyn and working a desk job with a view. I'd actually have a salary and I'd meet my friends for brunch at places who bake fresh scones and grab take-out before I hopped on the subway to go home.

Sometimes, I leave somewhere - a night out, a dinner out, a date out, a friend's house - and I think man, that was fun. I wish I'd taken a picture to post on Instagram so that I could remember just how good my outfit was today (because I finally, actually got dressed) and how fun my friends are and then I could put it on the Interweb and people would see how cool I am, too.

But, no. Now it's like it never happened. No one's going to know that we did that really cool thing.

People need to know that my life is covet-worthy. 

No one's life is, but let's fool each other nonetheless.

If I had a bigger dining room table, the food would taste better.

If I hadn't gotten that damn degree in French, I might actually know something of value.

If I hadn't spent the money on that desk that fell apart within the first year, we could've bought that sectional.

If we'd just noticed the f-ing leak under the sink, we wouldn't be paying for our downstairs neighbor's new ceiling right now.

Paul says in Phillipians 4:12 I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Someone pointed out to me last night that he says I have learned to be content. He doesn't say that he naturally is. Or that it just happens. He learned it.

I don't know what this post means entirely. I think I thought I did at the outset. It was supposed to be about how I stopped blogging because instead of being a guardian of memories for my family I was more interested in how many people saw my memories.

And this trading of memories - me showing you our evening of cartoons and you showing me your night at the club - well, it was just too much for me. I'm not whole enough to not covet. And the part where I participated - where I posted the pics and the posts - it became too much about me. About trying to impress. About trying to make the day after day, long, lonely time slot of 3-5pm with a toddler more manageable by seeing new likes on Facebook.

I'm a mess. If you didn't know it before, you know it now. I look for validation in others before I look for it in Christ. Never content. And so sometimes, I have to rip away the obvious temptations. The writing of posts. The posting on Facebook. The faces on Instagram.

And the funny thing is, it doesn't even help that much. They say that it's why monasteries fail. It's not the world that is the whole problem. It's not social-media that's going to kill me. It's ME that's going to kill me. It's my rotten heart. My covetous heart. My approval-seeking heart. My greedy heart. My jealous heart. My bitter heart. My very selfish heart. The problem isn't you and your night on the town. It's me. The blog isn't the problem. It's what I sometimes do with it.

Ah, Jesus' grace. His mercy that abounds. His mercies that are new every morning. His mercies that heal. His mercy that I don't deserve. His grace that is the only answer. The only way I'll make it. The only way to be content. 

So I'm going to try to get back to blogging. But blogging differently. Not trying oh so hard to be charming or cute with what I write. Not trying to sugar-coat the mundaneness of life. Not always trying to impress. Or to validate. Or to seek affirmation. And maybe my posts won't look any different than they used to. But hopefully the heart behind them is drastically different.

Here's to blogging for His glory and not my own.


Our Bathroom: Brass, meet Silver.

Annie and I are about to head out of town and spend a week in Florida. But I am for reals excited about an impending bathroom upgrade going down at the Brewer house (er...tiny condo).

It started out as a major overhaul project. New tile. New fixtures. New everything really. Because if it wasn't for our current bathroom, I could stay here a long, long while. And because let me be straight up with you. I'm addicted to redesigning things in our house. And that bathroom was the last thing I hadn't touched. I live for projects. It's a problem that I'm trying to deal with. But every once in a while John appeases me and gives me the go ahead to start ripping things up.

So with a green light, I neglected laundry for days and scoured the internet like a mad woman planning out the bathroom.

Then a whole series of events happened - some exciting and some depressing (like when our sink leaked and caused pricey ceiling damage to our downstairs neighbor...go us!) - and I realized I was getting a head of myself to pour too much money and time into the bathroom of a condo with no yard, no parking spot, no dining room, no lots of things. So to John's complete shock and utter delight, I slashed our remodel to a quarter of the original projection and we are instead moving forward with a freaking awesome, but completely reasonable bathroom upgrade.

Here's what the room looked like last week before we started cutting holes in the wall. (Yes, those are dirty cloth diapers that mommy stockpiles behind the toilet for daddy to clean when he gets home from work. You're welcome, John. Annie loves you. And thanks you. And thinks you da bomb.)

So the bathroom is fine. It's not the worst ever. It's not a hundred years old. It works. But it was cheaply done. There are broken tiles. There's a huge stain in the middle of the shower from before I bought the place. The tub fill faucet got pulled off the wall and just sort of wobbles when you use it. The vanity is crazy small with no storage. That medicine cabinet is from Ikea and it looks terrible in there. We have ten too many half-used bottles of shampoo in the shower.

There's a long list of things that drive me crazy in here.

During that time when we were going to overhaul it, I used Google SketchUp to come up with a new plan keeping all the plumbing where it was to minimize cost.

Here was the retile everything in white carrara that we had a killer deal on, keep the tub, but build some storage and get a new vanity plan.

And here was the forget the tub, go for a walk-in shower, Annie stands the whole bathtime anyway, new tile, new vanity plan.

The tiles we'd picked out were 20 inch by 8 inch, but dear, free SketchUp's choices were rather limited. So imagine tile on the floor and walls like so:

And an overall vibe like so:

Thom Filicia

Then imagine me having that we aren't staying here forever epiphany where I brought the project down from overhaul to upgrade. Or you can read that last sentence as let's wait and go major gangster on the forever-house bathroom.

Here's the new plan: 

one...keep the tile
two...toss the Ikea medicine cabinet (and due to drainage pipes we found after cutting a hole above the sink, lose the prospect of a future recessed medicine cabinet...major bummer)
three...maybe frame out the existing tub with tile matching what we've already got
five...go from a 24 inch to a 36 inch vanity with four drawers and a carrara top
six...keep the shower fixtures, but get a new sink faucet (which is on its way as we speak)
seven...bring the lighting from over the mirror to next to it and buy a new sconce (also on its way)
eight...find a 3x5 rug.
nine...praise Jesus. daily.
ten....keep repeating step nine

So here's my new jam - 

And yes, I'm mixing metals like it ain't yo business. Team brass: faucet, sconce and towel bar. Team silver: mirror and drawer pulls. WHO DAT.

The pictured faucet, sconce and wallpaper are the real deal - exactly what we've ordered. Everything else is darn close, but didn't have a picture.

So there you are. This is all I've been dreaming about lately. I'm way too excited about it. As though it might be life changing. What? Really? Yes, I know. I have a problem.

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