Wednesday, January 22

Giving up on balance

In contemplating what word I'd like to be my "word of the year," I realize that there's a word I need to lose even more than a word I need to gain.  

Surprisingly, the word I need to get rid of is one that I've already seen many people embrace as their word for the year.  It's a word that gets bandied about as an ideal, and it's one that I myself have tried to attain.  Honestly, it sounds like a great idea.

My UNword?  Balance.

Now why would I want to get rid of such a nice idea?  Isn't it the key to success, the secret to a happy life? Shouldn't I be striving for more of it??

No.  I don't think so.

Because real life isn't balanced.  Day to day, week to week, season to season--sometimes we're relaxed; other times we're rushed.  Sometimes we're snowed under with work; other times we have an excess of leisure.  Sometimes we have good amounts of work time and rest time; other times it's all we can do to snatch a moment of respite.

Honestly, striving for balance sounds more like walking a tightrope or working with a chemical equation than living a real life.  Who wants life to be like that?

So instead of balance this year, I'm going for another word: rhythm.

God created the world with natural rhythms--the rising and setting of the sun, the ebb and flow of the tides, the passage of the seasons.  Our bodies have natural rhythms, too--the beat of our hearts, the pulse of our blood flowing through our veins, the rise and fall of our breaths.

Instead of a delicate balancing act or a difficult chemical equation, the idea of rhythm brings to my mind thoughts of music. Sometimes we waltz through our days with ease.  Sometimes we must put on our boots and march.  Sometimes we sing the blues.  But whatever the background music, we make it through if we learn to keep time.

Too often I've struggled against the beat, trying to superimpose some kind of artificial "balance" into my days rather than going with the flow of the music of my life.  I've wanted to control my circumstances.  I've resisted the leadership of others, wanting to march to the beat of my own drummer--and I've often ended up out of step.

So this year I'm giving up on balance and working instead on rhythm.  And I figure that, with God as the conductor of the symphony, I can trust that the soundtrack of my life will be good.

How about you?  Do you have a word for this year?  How about an UNword?

Wednesday, January 15

Help with kitchen design decision

Decisions, decisions!  I have some design decisions to make, and I'd like to ask for your help!

Our house was built in late 2004, so it's now nearly 10 years old.  There are so many things about this house we love, but we'd like to make a few updates, particularly in the kitchen.  Here's my kitchen as it is right now:

I'm not going to be making huge changes, but I do want to update the look of this room.  For instance, I've grown tired of the tumbled marble backsplash.  I'm thinking I'll change this out to a lighter tile, such as an off-white subway tile.  I think that would look good with my granite (which is not changing--way too expensive!) and help to provide a lighter, brighter kitchen.

At the moment I'm trying to decide what to do with my range hood, and I'd love your help!  I've been thinking that I'd like to go with a large stainless steel hood over the range, perhaps like one of these kitchens:

I snapped this photo in a showroom.
I especially like the photo below.  As you can see, this kitchen is warm and homey, not at all industrial-looking.

Or perhaps I should have my range hood cabinetry made smaller and a range hood installed below it, like this:

Or maybe I should think of having the range hood cabinetry altered into more of a focal point, like this one:

Another option would be keeping my current wood range hood but perhaps painting it a complementary color or something to make it stand out a bit more.

So many choices!!  I'd love your opinions:  do you think I should go for a stainless steel range hood, or should I do something with wood?   Is it a downgrade to remove a custom wood hood and install stainless steel?  If you have a stainless steel hood, do you like it?  Any suggestions for me?  Any photos you think I should see?

Thanks so much for your help!