by christina britt lewis
remember when the student became the teacher?
when i wrote about how i thought i had ruined my son's life, you helped me see the light.
you are my therapy.
one of our favorite people wrote this about the biggest mistake i ever made...
This is terrific! It would have been so boring to hear a story about how Cole got into a great school and blah blah blah. In true Lewi fashion, following the principles of his terrific parents, he is going to create his own path and awesome life. I can't wait to read the next chapter! Congrats for not getting into school, Cole! I have a feeling it is going to be one of the best things that never happened to you.
the next chapter has begun.
when his college dreams came crashing down, cole opened his mind to possibility.
he explored possibilities in california, australia, vermont, thailand, charlotte, and the caribbean.
he decided on charlotte and the caribbean.
he will make his home at UNCC in the spring, and made his home on this sailboat yesterday...
what back to school shopping looks like when school is on a sailboat...
he flew to tortola to study abroad for a seamester yesterday morning. 16 students and 4 instructors sail away for the adventure of a lifetime today. classes in oceanography and marine biology are taught on deck and underwater. they learn how to navigate the big blue sea and earn sailing certifications. cole is already rescue diver certified and will complete his divemaster certification. but what i love most about seamester is they take students out of their comfort zone, give them confidence in their own abilities, and show them that they do not have to follow some preordained path to success.
as we said goodbye to our babyboy at the airport yesterday, we didn't have a whole lot of words to say. just hugs and happy tears and this overwhelming sense of accomplishment and gratitude.
the story of our lives seems to be...
the best stuff happens when the stuff you thought was supposed to happen, doesn't.
that life lesson started for us 18 years ago. the thing is...don't laugh...ok, you can laugh... tim and i were never going to have kids. that was our plan... hehe... the stuff we thought was supposed to happen. you know that thing about if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans? hehe... yeah. so, along comes COLE much to our surprise. this alone was a big enough thing for us to get our DINKy heads around, but THEN they told us that this little life that was not supposed to be had down's syndrome. every test said so. our doctor told us to "seriously consider terminating the pregnancy." so we fired him.
the last few months of my pregnancy changed our lives forever.
we grieved for the life we expected and learned to love the life we were given.
we were beginning to see the truth that would guide our life work, everything has beauty
all 10.5 pounds of cole flipped while i was swimming in my parent's pool a week before he was due. i had been begging, pleading, and praying for a c-section ever since i found out i was pregnant (please don't hate me for my complete lack of earthy crunchiness). a BIG breech baby meant my wish had been granted, so tim and i headed to legal seafood in boston to celebrate with lobster rolls and onion strings. the next morning we headed to the hospital. cole entered the world with a perfectly round charley brown head and no down's syndrome. every doctor and every test was wrong.
so it seems that the student became the teacher before he was even born.
cole taught us to never allow the big voice of others to silence the still, small voice within.
he taught us to question authority and listen to the whisper.
when life is not what you expected,
grieve. we grieve with you. you are not alone.
the shadow proves the sunshine,
but sometimes devastation and humiliation are dark clouds that never seem to part.
sometimes the darkness overshadows the light within.
sometimes life is so hard.
learn to love the life you were given.
learn to see the beauty in everything.
maybe your best teacher is eating a bowl of cereal at your kitchen counter right now.
christina and tim
this family. their kitchen. those bar stools...
i love them all madly.
kelly and i spent so much time at that kitchen counter while we redesigned this whole home.
we planned, organized, brainstormed, and ate here.
i also may have played house a little and pretended i lived here.
my kitchen is ugly.
when i see kitchens like this one, i hate my kitchen.
and that is why i don't read design blogs, do pinterest, or watch hgtv.
comparison really is the thief of joy.
well, i do read one design blog...
the nesting place
myquillyn's mission is to help us see,
it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful.
she helps me see the beauty in my ugly kitchen.
cole literally sails away for a semester at sea on sunday.
(remember when i thought i ruined his life? you were right. i was wrong.)
all he wants before he leaves is to sit at our kitchen table with people he loves one more time.
we will pray and talk and laugh and eat homemade fettucine alfredo and grilled chicken.
candle lit kitchen table conversations that go long into the night are our best memories.
when you break bread and drink wine with the ones you love...those are holy moments.
i admire DIYers who solve an ugly kitchen problem in one weekend with a few cans of paint.
but tim and i are not DIYers and paying professionals is pricey.
we lived on so little for so long, that was not an option for us.
living well on very little meant...
camping instead of cruising
hiking instead of shopping
going for a bike ride instead of going to the movies
dinner in instead of dinner out...
we thought these were sacrifices at first. wrong again.
we became people who value adventure and experience over things like painted kitchen cabinets.
(how fun and happy is this little dog bed that uncle bill built?)
and now that we are people who could pay somebody to paint the dang cabinets,
we don't. and we won't.
we would rather go see the world with the people we love.
we can't do both. we gotta choose.
we choose adventure and experience. every time.
when i don't compare my kitchen to kitchens like this one...
i love my kitchen. it is the heart of our home.
my ugly kitchen is the most beautiful place in the whole wide world.
because what really makes this kitchen beautiful...
the thing that really makes this house a home...
the best part of every redesign...
the people. home is about the people. the people matter.
so sit at your kitchen table with the ones you love tonight.
turn the lights down, turn the music up, light a candle,
break bread (pizza is bread), drink wine (water works too), and give thanks.
everything you want, you already have.
christina for all
somebody told us they chose us because every photo we posted on houzz made them happy...
i have a theory regarding why we hear that so often...
we do not consider ourselves interior designers.
we do not consider ourselves pickers of pillows,
arrangers of accessories,
finders of furniture...
we consider ourselves creators of happiness.
we are artists.
your home is our canvas, your things are our medium, your redesign is our art.
sulley senses this...
showing people the beauty in what they already have and love...
makes people happy!
but here is the thing...
YOU ARE AN ARTIST TOO.
it is a choice you make. a decision. a mind shift...
an artist is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to challenge the status quo.
it is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue,
and so to make a few objects beautiful;
but it is far more glorious
to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look...
to affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.
from walden by henry david thoreau
i think everything in life is art.
what you do.
how you dress.
the way you love someone.
and how you talk.
your smile and your personality.
what you believe in and all your dreams.
the way you drink your tea.
how you decorate your home. or party.
your grocery list. the food you make.
how your writing looks.
and the way you feel.
life is art.
whatever you are, be a good one.
when you choose to be a creator of happiness,
the work you do, whatever it is, makes people happy.
and you get what you give.
christina for all
by christina britt lewis
sooo much designing and directing by kelly lies
photography by angela statzer
people who refuse to pretend to be perfect...
people who refuse to find their worth in climbing ladders and keeping up with joneses...
people who find their worth in how worthy others feel in their presence...
people who seek and find the beauty in everything...
these are those people.
they chose us to help them transition from a busy life in a busy city
to a beautiful life in our pretty little city.
we LOVE this story because we share this story.
knew we were kindred spirits when she said they chose us 'cause they saw this in our home...
this was our BIG summer project and why i've been so unbloggy lately.
we poured our hearts and souls into making their new house their home.
we used so many of the beautiful things they already have and love...
'cause that's what makes your home feel like YOU.
but they gave us tons of creative freedom to find them some new things too.
first, the laundry room...
can't wait to show you every other room
and sweet sully who loves his laundry room cafe!
christina for all