A Living Room that Feels Like Home

Home and a Living Space

The physical location of our home has changed more times than I care to count but what hasn’t changed has been my desire to make us feel at home as quickly as possible in a new space.  It hasn’t always been easy building a home.  As a new bride I didn’t have a lot to work with and what I did have was rather random.  Hand me down tables and chairs paired with the cheapest couch we could find to fill a living room with handmade art. . . but it felt like home.

Start with the Basics

Over the years we have collected pieces that we love paired with our old green couch we just can’t get rid of . . because its perfectly broken in and filled with memories of snuggling our babies with bedtime books.  Each new home we move into starts with that key piece and then we layer additional pieces around it based on the unique layout of the home.


After the larger pieces of furniture get added in . . then the fun begins.  I love playing “furniture Tetris” until it gets just right.  Piece by piece it comes together with lamps and end tables.  Lastly, blankets and throw pillows are added in varying textures and colors to make it feel like home.

Knick Knacks

After the layers of texture and color are added with varying fabrics, I add in the unique knick knacks and heirloom pieces we have collected over the years.  Don’t be afraid to use items in unique ways to display flowers or artwork to make it feel like home.

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SAM When Stressed

Stressed then SAM

Over the last few weeks we have talked about the two primary mindsets that you can have on your wedding day. The inward mindset allows us to view people as objects and we are not concerned with their feelings, goals, or desires. In the outward mindset we view others as people and acknowledge that we have an impact on what they do. In an outward mindset we are so self aware of how we impact others, we look for opportunities to reach out and help. This leads us to one of our final lessons for in this series.

There is a constant pull and tug between the mindsets. When we are in very high stress situations we tend to gravitate back to what is comfortable or what we are used to. Unfortunately, for most people in the world, what we are used to is the inward mindset.

How can you tell when it has taken over?

There are some common signs: blaming others, feeling entitled,  or feeling like a victim. These are only just a few signs, but most importantly you need to recognize your own signs and symptoms for when you are in the inward mindset. Once you see you are in this mindset, how do you get out of it? For this, we will have to turn to SAM.

SAM is a cool little acronym we will use to describe the process that will assist us to refocus our efforts and move toward an outward mindset. So here it goes:

S- See others: The first step to seeing others is seeing others needs, wants, desires, or challenges. Then ask lots of questions and get really curious.

A- Adjust efforts: Take all of the needs and objectives into account and adjust efforts to assist.

M- Measure: Ask if you have been helpful and gauge your impact. Hold yourself accountable

This technique may prove to be difficult on your wedding day. Thinking about your mindset on a day that is stressful already is very difficult. I will offer one more word of advice to help keep you in your outward mindset. When you feel stressed or overwhelmed ask yourself: What is your mission for this day? It should be to get MARRIED!! It is not to impress your parents, in-laws, or friends. As long as your focus is on your mission, it will help to keep you in the right mindset.

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Outward Mindset

Outward Mindset

From an explanation of inward mindset last week to a much more positive look at the glories of outward mindset this week.  As you learned last week having an inward mindset can go from a beautiful day about family and marriage to a rain cloud of a “me, me, me” pity party.  That is probably not the way you planned for your wedding day to go.  There is another way with the outward mindset.

The outward mindset, in its simplest terms means that you are aware of the impact you have on other around you. Most importantly, though, I have a connection to the people around me. Regardless of their political views, religion, or any other dicey topic we all have one thing in common: we are human beings. Whether we like it or not, we are human beings with

dreams, desires, challenges, upsets and triumphs.

In this connection we can find common ground and most importantly a common connection. In all situations we thrive on connection rather than disconnection. You have the impulse and need to help others and how you have been wrong or caused problems in situations.

Now that we have discussed both mindsets lets go back to our example we used in the last blog post. So just a review. Your wedding day is progressing and you find out your florist will be about 45 minutes late. So, lets pause and think about this situation for a moment. How do you feel? What are the thoughts going through your head? What are your thoughts about the florist?

We discussed last week how you would look at the florist in an inward mindset, so now we will look at the florist from an outward mindset. Lets first be realistic about this situation, I can’t think of one bride who would not be frustrated with this.

You have been planning this day for months or years and this detail could curtail your whole event. That is stressful. Looking at this from a mindset perspective, how will my reaction affect the florist? Imagine if you walked up to them and said” how can we help.” How will this simple gesture be perceived. Maybe the florist team will work harder and get your wedding back on track.

Now think how you would act in an inward mindset? Next week we will look at a tool we can use to help guide our mindsets from inward to outward.

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Chattanooga Engagement Session

Chattanooga Engagement

Kelly and Ben first met at Dear Run, a summer camp where they were working.  They often would be asked to work retreats throughout the year and during Christmas break, she and Ben headed up there to do just that.  Kelly started to get a bit suspicious when there were no other cars there except a few coworkers.  They headed to the area of camp they first met at and Christmas lights were hung everywhere.  Ben led her to the stage and began talking about how they met and he promised to always love her forever. Then he got down on one knee and asked her if she would do the same – love him forever.

Their coworkers came out after she said yes and congratulated them.  They had been taking pictures behind the stage and had been in on the whole thing.  Afterwards they went and celebrated with family.

Chattanooga Engagement Portraits

Last week, I headed up to meet Kelly and Ben near Chattanooga for their engagement pictures.  Having known Kelly since she was born, we took some time to chat about all things wedding and I got to see the heirloom dress she is considering wearing for her wedding day (It’s GORGEOUS by the way).  We then headed down to Renaissance park in Chattanooga for their portraits.  I loved that they wore their Deer Run t-shirts as one of their outfits since that is not only where they met but where Ben proposed.

He Said, She Said

I always love asking my couples their favorite things about each other.  It shines a light into who they are.  When I asked Ben, this is what he said . . “I love how everyday she brings me closer to God. Whatever we talk about leads us to Him. That, and she is so honest and understanding. We can talk openly about anything and do, and it’s great.”  When I asked Kelly, she shared that “His top priority is his relationship with God. He is goofy, fun, and very honest. We are able to talk about anything and he does not shy away from difficult conversations. He is so loving and shows it very well. He’s a gamer and a nerd, and so am I!”

Kelly and Ben, I can’t wait to photograph your wedding in September with all the special heirloom touches.



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Destroying the Wedding Day

Mindset Can Destroy Your Day

From our blog post last week we discussed what mindset is and how it should be the foundation for your special day. We also discussed in very general terms the two types of mindsets: inward and outward. For this week we will start with the most pervasive one.

According to the Arbinger Institute, the inward mindset revolves around you. It is the thought process where you are doing things that are self-focused and that advance only you. This may sound good and may bring to mind that person who irritates you at work that needs to change and not you. While this may seem logical, it is most ineffective and the most pervasive mindset that will occur during your special day. Lets take a realistic example of a situation that may happen on a wedding day.

It’s early on your wedding day and your planner lets you know that your flowers will be 45 minutes late. What is going through your head at that moment?

“That stupid florist can’t manage their time . . she is out to ruin my day . . she probably is running late because she doesn’t care.”  These are all symptoms of an inward mindset.

At one moment all is one with the world and then, in a flash, you have changed your attitude and perceived the worst of the florist. What caused this?  All that changed was that your florist is late. Does this make her incompetent or a bad business owner. Maybe she got in an accident or her kid is in the ER with explosive diarrhea (happens to us many times). The point is that in an instant the florist went from a person to an object in your eyes. When that happens, you change your behavior and thinking of how you perceive your florist. If this mindset persists it will run into every part of your day. At that point will your day be the day you dream of? Probably not.

This may sound gloomy but there is hope. If you find yourself seeing people in a different light I would ask that you stop and ask yourself why am I behaving this way and what do I really want out of this? Stay tuned to next week to discuss the outward mindset and how to implement it.

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