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…

An incredibly freeing quote…

"perfection is silly!" via maggie whitley

I saw this quote while scrolling through Instagram last week. It has stuck with me ever since, so I knew I had to write it down. The simplicity of the phrase is beautiful and incredibly freeing, don’t you think? What I’ve been noticing recently is how easy it is to sit and obsess over getting something “just perfect”, when in the end we miss the moment completely. When I think about how obsessing over perfection I think of meals gone cold, family moments missed, conversations where we’re only half-present, projects that steal our time  — that sort of thing. And so I totally agree with the quote, “perfection is silly!”

Instead of aiming for perfection, offer your best.

Allow yourself to be you.

Love the people around you for who they are on the inside (we all make mistakes).

Buy the ingredients, and then savor the process of making the meal.

Say you’re sorry when needed.

Love yourself, your whole, beautiful, quirky, quiet, sassy self.

And then lastly, don’t try to document everything. Let some things live only in your memory.

Perfection is silly; real life is awesome.

Wednesday notes…

reading maxwell maggie whitley

we spend a lot of time reading together, which the bookworm in me loves

I know I type a lot of words about finding the good and happy and encouraging and humble moments of mamahood, but the reality is there are just as many hard moments (days?) as the good and happy and encouraging and humble. This mamahood thing is not for the weak, that’s for sure. It’s real and deep and I’m so so grateful for the title. Just recently I’ve begun feeling baby #2 kick, which feels like tiny bursts of popcorn popping — just like we’re told they’ll feel. Sometimes I nearly miss the tiny kicks because there’s just so much going on all the time, but I really love being able to stop time for a moment to bask in them.

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Maxwell is down to just one nap each day, which is really my only time for true quiet ;) I’ve been coaxing myself to lay down and nap each day once he goes down. Often there’s a little list started in my mind of a few things I could/should do, but I usually ignore that list and lay down. I know I’ll feel better if I rest instead, so I listen to myself and grab a book (I’m currently re-reading this), turn on the fan and allow a long, slow exhale to happen. It’s lovely every time.

silly strip maggie whitley

you know you do this with your camera, too ;)

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Once again we’re headed to the beach for the day, yahoo! I can’t wait to gather with other mamas and all our kids, and let the ocean waves cleanse our minds. It’s always worth it to gather every ounce of extra energy for our weekly beach days, especially because it’s only a few miles away. I remind myself it’s just a few extra minutes packing a picnic lunch, making sure we have our umbrella and quilt and plenty of sunscreen and water, but it’s hours of bliss to be blessed by other mamas.

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A few days ago I organized my fabric stash. I recently listed (and sold, thank you!) a bunch of fabrics & materials, but I made sure to save a few things just for me. I desperately miss sewing. Can I just type that out and let my heart sit in the open air for a moment? I am so glad to be doing exactly what I’m doing with my days, currently, but I do miss sewing. Perhaps it’s because Zack’s been clocking hours and hours at work lately, so I’ve been solo-parenting like crazy during the week. And man, the days can feel long when they first start out. I put my feet on the hardwood floor and walk myself to the coffee pot and then I get Maxwell from his crib and he greets me like this, and instantly (truly instantly) I know the day won’t really be as long as I feel it to be. The days are always warm and wonderful. Not having a lot of Maggie time has been making me daydream about sewing, perhaps it’s time to start planning a new sewing project… :)

bauer maxwell maggie whitley

on the weekends we spend a ton of time together as a family, including lots of walks!

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Today welcomes week #22 of pregnancy. Hello, five months! Fingers crossed there will be some time to snap a few photos for a bump update. The Lord knows I’d love a few minutes with my photographer! ;)

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What kind of life moments have you been taking note of? Wishing you a wonderful day, wherever you may be reading from… XO

Where I’m supposed to be.

I wrote this last week but wanted to save it for a Monday morning. I know Mondays can be hard in their own unique way, so here’s a little bit encouragement if you’re in need.

palm trees maggie whitley

Fact: there are days when everything feels like it’s going the wrong way. The day before today was kinda perfect and I felt like motherhood was the easiest job ever. A couple loads of laundry: washed. Floors: swept, mopped, vacuumed. No meltdowns from anyone smaller than me. And the real icing for the day: my hubby was home in time for us to sit down together for dinner.

But then I woke up and it was tomorrow (really today), and it felt nothing like yesterday delivered.

And that’s when I take the time to realize how grateful I am to be a mama first and a blogger/working lady second.

maxwell nursery maggie whitley

Maxwell’s whining was easily remedied if I sat with him on the floor in the nursery to play.

My morning shower that didn’t happen because today was “just one of those days”? Well, now I know what I’ll be doing this evening :)

It’s OK that Max didn’t want to eat his entire lunch, he can have an extra serving of fruit and some crackers after his afternoon nap. Some things simply aren’t worth fussing over.

And possibly my most important lesson from today: nothing is more urgent than my time spent with our children.

I love knowing that (and experiencing it, too).

Sometimes I wish I could sneak off and lose myself to hours spent in a sewing studio, but I know today is where I’m supposed to be and tomorrow will most definitely hold something awesome, too.