The beauty in small spaces.

kitchen maggie whitley

I’ve been a renter for ten years now, renting apartments & homes all over the country.

It all started after high-school graduation. I spent four years at Central Michigan University (2003-2007; where Zack and I met/fell in love) renting dorm rooms, an apartment, and then a house just off-campus. After that I lived in Lansing, MI for almost a year (2007-2008). Zack and I were married June 2008 and shortly after that we moved to Detroit, MI where we lived for a year (2008-2009). We then moved to Minneapolis, MN for three years (2009-2012). And now we’re to the present: living in Los Angeles, CA for almost two years (since 2012).

bathroom maggie whitley

Most of the places we’ve called “home” have been small and perfect for a him & her. For two years we lived in a very generous-sized house in Minneapolis complete with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a backyard, patio and private driveway. At 26-years-old we felt like we hit the rental jackpot.

But towards the end of our time in that large house Zack and I traveled to Tanzania, Africa with Compassion International (truly one of the most life-changing events I’ve ever experienced) — we came home, and pretty much everything about our lives changed.

The amount of space we live in…

The number of physical “things” we own…

The answer to a 14-month prayer of growing our family: your womb is full…

The yard-less yard… (This one is still hard.)

All of these things were suddenly not as they’d once been.

kitchen maggie whitley

When we decided to move from Minneapolis to Los Angeles the size of our home may have shrunk nearly 75%, but our hearts grew immeasurably.

Living in a small space has been really hard for me at times. It’s even hard for me to write that out! :) But it’s allowed me to look deep and hard at what I consider most important in this life…

I don’t share often enough about the struggles that come with living in a small space, but I’m inspired to change that.

Because as I’ve learned: where there are struggles there is also beauty.

accessories maggie whitley

We were not created to be defined by the size of our homes or the number of adventures we’ve been on. We are not defined by how much gorgeous sunlight pours in our windows, or the thick never-ending grass that grows off our patio, or by having a (unachievable) large social media imprint.

There is so much beauty, even in the small spaces of our home, and the best way to find it is to know the asnwers to these questions:

- what is your purpose for this season of life?

- what changes do you need to make so you feel satisfied with the everyday?

- what internal changes would help you feel more confident with where you are right now?

- are you giving your most important people first priority?

From there, however life sorts itself out (in a way that feels totally natural to you), is what you need to be doing. Don’t worry about what your neighbor is doing or what their life looks like.

When all think alike, then no one is thinking, –Walter Lippman

If you’re going to worry, worry you’re missing out because you can’t stop your mind/eyes from wandering elsewhere.

It’s perfectly wonderful to be different, to be brave, to be dancing to your own life beat. And that’s something living in a small rental has taught me.

to be continued…

Blog, home and African inspiration.

20140506-170230.jpg

I’ve been so inspired lately to really revamp my blog and the content found here that last night I finally purchased the Blog Life ecourse by A Beautiful Mess. I bought and completed Blog Love, their previous blog ecourse (written a few years ago) and loved it so much. I knew I would love this one, too, especially with all the new content included.

It feels natural for my blogging career to have highs and lows. After all, this blog is a small reflection of my real life. Some seasons (or years) are harder than others. Some seasons (or years) are incredibly fruitful and inspiring. Even though there are ups and downs I think the main lesson I’ve learned is if it’s important I should keep at it. The same goes for real life.

My online presence has slowed a bit since the new year, but I feel so confident about that decision. I know there will come a time when my family life is less busy, so there’ll be more time to easily sneak away and work on outside projects. But for now it’s incredibly different than it used to be. So rather than work against it, I’m embracing it. And to be honest it’s given me such affirmation and ease. Everything with my personal life seems to be 200% better than before. (I know, right?!) It was hard to make this decision but I feel so brave.

The other day I gathered some stray pieces of art and created a new collage for a wall in our little reading nook/play area (see above photo). It was so fun to have the inspiration to try something new (switch out the art inside the red frame and even repurpose old nail holes). We have some wooden “items” (I think one’s a talking stick?) from our trip to Tanzania, Africa two years ago, and I mentioned to Zack we need to hang them on the wall. I love showcasing non-traditional memorabilia on our walls. It reminds me of our adventures. Zack of course loved the idea. So, stay tuned ;)

I wish you a happy, peaceful weekend! You can find me working (slowly) on this ecourse… Three cheers for inspiring reads. xo

A little window into our new apartment…

maxwell-crib-gussy-sews

maxwell-gussy-sews

zack-maggie-gussy-sews

bauer-gussy-sews

kitchen-gussy-sews

art-gussy-sews

A little window into our new apartment. // We are totally unpacked, and the last of the decorating is happening right now. It feels so good to be in a larger space with gorgeous natural light. And an accent wall in the living room… chocolate brown… can I just say I wouldn’t have selected that color but I am SO GLAD it’s painted that exact color? Because I totally am glad. It’s gorgeous and all of our thrifted things look so wonderful with it :) Now that all of the hard work is done with moving I am exhausted. Does that happen to you? You find enough energy to tackle a huge project, but as soon as it’s over you crash? It’s a good week to be crashing… my mom is here so we’re sipping our morning coffee together and talking lots and Maxwell is receiving over a hundred compliments a day :D It’s lovely having her here. (Hi, mom!) I’m so glad it’s Wednesday. I’ve made it halfway through the week, fingers crossed for a smooth sailing through Friday, then it’s the weekend. Hooray! I’m looking forward to exploring the church that’s across the street from us come Sunday morning…

Item details: flapjack print is c/o Lori Danelle, custom (pink bird) Gussy Sews painting is c/o Casey Wiegand, red double decker bus is c/o The Land of Nod.