Before and After: Winter and Walls.

This winter sure has been.....well, wintery.  I suppose I should have expected it, but I didn't.  The last few years we've penciled in a few extra cold days between the months of November and February and called it good.  It's as if Winter arrived this year saying "It's my turn at last."

I've whispered thanks to God for the warmth of the bright sun that continues to permeate even the darkest and coldest of nights.  Usually on the days when I need it most. 

Winter has captured my heart and attention this year.  It's taught me to slow down and love well.  Days spent inside will do that or make you climb the walls instead. 

It's taught me to have nothing on the agenda but filling up every hour with playing.  Dress-up, blocks, baking, sewing, and art.  So much art. 
The hard parts of winter for me are the voids.  Color in the outside world, healthy food right out our back door, natural ways to exercise (instead of pounding it out on the treadmill each night), outings with friends....all pretty void this winter.  It can seem lonely sometimes, these winter days being in with little ones.  But I'm reminded time and again that if we never had the winter, I might always rely on all those other instant joys instead of my Heavenly Father.  A deep, settling, warmth....a joy that's only a whisper away, even on the coldest of nights. 

And so, this week of snow days is another week I determine that winter memories will be made, tucked in warm and cozy with my two little gals. We'll spread our wings into spring soon enough.
With all this tucking in, I decided I wanted to make a change in the room we spend the most time in-our dining room.  There have been many looks for the dining room over the last few years when we built the house. 

This is one look from the past,
as is this one.  I liked both, but something was still missing.

Remember how I told you a blank slate hit me over the head around New Years?
This was the result!  Wall-clearing.
......and the happily ever "After".

I'd say we wiped the slate clean and wrote the story of our dining room back better than ever before.  We took the blinds down and hung linen drapes instead.  Light and airy and perfect for closing up at night.  The shelves were my answer to the constant changing of decor I like to do.  

Styled with things I already had on hand, they are my favorite. I just can't stop looking at them! 

A rather inexpensive project also.  The brackets were $2.50 each (found on half-off at Hobby Lobby), and we already had the wood from the house in town that Brett grew up in.  Sentimental AND inexpensive.  One of my favorite combinations.
Our centerpiece is a little ode to January/February.  I adore how the little girl in the illustration is throwing her hands wide open, as if to welcome the new year whole-heartedly. 

Both our walls and our winter are getting better over time. 
And that's really what it's about to me. 
Better at being honest, real, giving, truthful, wise, Godly. 
Better at showing myself grace and treating myself with kindness (like when it's been 4 days since I last ran).  Better at loving Jesus.  

What are you learning this winter?