Tuesday, January 3

Some Tough Questions for Chip and Joanna Gaines

Hello lovelies and Happy New Year! Let's all let out a huge sigh of relief that we survived that trainwreck of a year that was 2016. Am I right? We are now 3 days into 2017 and I want to ask my old friends (loose terminology) Chip and Joanna Gaines a few tough questions. 

First - some background. If you've read my post from a few years ago, I Want To Be Joanna Gaines, I love these two and their show Fixer Upper on HGTV. They are funny, they are best friends to each other, their family is ridiculously sweet and they are fantastic designers. I love their show. I love their style. I love their dedication to making their community a better place. 

Photo courtesy of HGTV.com

In November, they came under fire for being members of the Antioch Community Church in Waco, TX. This church, and specifically the pastor, Jimmy Seibert (who apparently really IS friends with Chip and Joanna) have taken a strong stance on homosexuality and gay marriage. According to this Buzzfeed article Jimmy has been quoted saying: 

“Truth No. 1: Homosexuality is a sin. The lie: Homosexuality is not a sin. The statistics say that 90% of people who are in a full-blown homosexual lifestyle were abused in some way. Physically, sexually, mentally. We have people and young people that never had any intention of a same-sex attraction et cetera, who have seen sexuality up front in pornography and now are trapped in the addiction of it.”

While Chip and Jo chose to remain primarily quiet after the article was first published, yesterday Chip put up this blog post. Click on the image to read it. 

In it, he talks about learning how to lovingly disagree. While he doesn't say it directly, one has to assume that either Chip and Jo don't agree with their minister and that is the harmonious discord that he refers to. OR that they do agree with Pastor Seibert and they want us all to accept that they have a different point of view on this particular topic. Meaning, they too believe that homosexuality is a sin.

So let's break it down. 

Let's say it's Scenario 1: Chip and Joanna go to a great church that's become a major part of their lives. Like many of us they find comfort and community there and a place to talk to their God. Presumably, they use the church as a place to teach their children how to be faithful, loving little human beings. But there are certain aspects of this church that they don't agree with - ideologies that are old, out of date and that make them uncomfortable. 

In this scenario, wouldn't it have been incredible for them to use the blog post to say to the world, "We love our church but on this topic we respectfully disagree." Or go a step further in their conviction and ask the Pastor to set a true example of acceptance and understanding of those who are different by eliminating dangerous and unfounded statements. By staying silent initially, and then publishing a vague blog post, they have missed a fantastic opportunity to effect real change in the hearts and minds of their most conservative followers. 

But let's say it's Scenario 2: that Chip and Joanna agree with their church that homosexuality and gay marriage are condemnable acts that lead you away from God. Their faith and their background, their strong belief in traditional values have led them to the conclusion that being gay is, like the minister says, a sin. They are certainly entitled to their opinion, but to then post a blog about understanding and acceptance, saying that they as a family want to "operate from a position of love in all things" while inherently believing that certain types of love are sinful, is hypocrisy. 

Chip says in his blog that "Jo and I feel called to be bridge builders. We want to help initiate conversations between people that don’t think alike." Ok..so start at home. If you don't agree with your church's stance on this issue, encourage a public conversation with the church asking them to consider the damage their controversial statements can have. 

If though they agree with Seibert's statements, such as the one where he calls the Supreme Court's decision to legalize same-sex marriage in 2015 a "biblical admonition", then they must own it. Do not hide behind grand proclamations of acceptance and understanding while practicing discrimination and exclusion in your own home. 

So my dear friends (again, loosely used and not intended to produce a restraining order) Chip and Jo - what do you really mean when you say "fear dissolves in close proximity. Our stereotypes and vain imaginations fall away when we labor side by side"? Are you speaking to your real friend, the minister of your church, asking him to open his heart and mind to the concept that members of the LGBT community are not sinners, and are instead misjudged and persecuted widely? Or do you, deep in your heart, believe that they our gay brothers and sisters are dangerously close to being beyond redemption based on their life "choices"? 

Uniting a house divided as you suggest requires clarity and the work cannot begin until the depth of the differences are truly understood. Yes, you are correct when you say that "disagreement in not the same as hate" but the judgement and condemnation that the LGBT community has endured, partly because of vitriolic remarks like those of your pastor, has been nothing short of hateful. 

I fear you will not say where you truly stand on this issue because you are afraid it will damage your brand and you may lose fans. And that is certainly a possibility - either way.  But part of the reason for your huge fan base, and the subsequent success you've had, is because you wear your hearts on your sleeves and share everything. 

So share this, Chip and Jo, so we can all fully understand the differences between us and work to bridge the divide - as you say you have been called to do. 

Sincerely, Your Best Friend That You've Never Heard Of - Allie 

Thursday, November 24

Saturday, October 15

It's Fall Y'all!!!

My mother just read that title and felt faint. I am Canadian born, New Jersey bred, Chicago educated but now fully ensconced in the SOUTH, and this DC mama has adopted the term y'all! Can't help it. I always absorb the accents of the places I've visited and lived. It's a bad habit but funny as hell. Just ask my sister about my excellent British impression when I visit her. It's somewhere between 007 and Dick Van Dyke. Brilliant!!!

Anyway...back to the topic at hand. IT"S FINALLY FALL! Wooo hooooo. Here's to crispy weather and falling leaves and new beginnings. And most importantly to some not-so-spooky decorating. Despite having to lug about 30 giant tupperwares out of the attic, I really do love putting up holiday decorations. I am still trying to convince my hubs to turn one of the rooms in the basement into my dream room - lined with shelves filled with the tupperwares! Alas, he has not folded yet. Give it time.

Here's how it came together this year. ENJOY! And Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 6

Dining Room Makeover...Again!

As promised...it's time to get back to the fun, fluffy design stuff. Real life is still complicated and hard but one way to get over it is for me to make our living spaces pretty. And then to completely redo those same spaces a couple of years later. Ha! So about a year or so ago, I went shopping to finish decorating the office for Mr. Difficult (OH...which, because of my extended hiatus, I still haven't shown you...more to come on that!) at our local Restoration Hardware outlet store and found this - our dream table on super sale for less than $1,000!

I literally hopped on it and bought it without hesitation. Big mistake. First, I found out it was way too big for our room. Later we realized the reason for it's ridiculous markdown (normally more than $5,000) was that the beautiful reclaimed hardwood was warped, which makes for a fun nightly dinner game of "who can avoid spilling their drink on the curvy table" each night. But did I mention it was like 1,000% off? Oh and that I am the world's most impatient person? But you know that by now.

Anywhoooo...it seated more people than our old, very banged up black Pottery Barn table that we bought for our first apartment and it is gorgeous, so we overlooked it's flaws. When it was delivered, I realized a total dining room makeover was necessary. Yay! And recently, I decided to finish the room. Here it is....ta daaaaa!!!

I love love love the way it came out! It's cozy yet still kind of formal. It's useable without being worn down looking. So let's break it down...You already know about the table. The chairs are all from Homegoods and were a steal! I was really iffy about chairs in this room. I wanted fabric but I have a 9 year old son who is MES-SY. So finding these chairs on sale means that if he messes them up (which he will) I won't be heartbroken. Ok...I will a little bit.

The bookshelves are Restoration Hardware  and are called the Parisian Cornice Single Shelving. And get this...if you join their membership program (like $100 for the year) you save a TON of money on everything on their site. These were normally $850 but as a member they were reduced to $637 each. You can do the math...totally worth joining. Here's a pic from their website. You can see that it's not really a typical choice for china but because the table is so darn big, I couldn't fit a huge cabinet. So I thought there were perfect.

As for styling them, that was easy. I finally broke out all of my china and crystal that we got...ahem...17 years ago when we got married. And while I'm living on the edge when soccer balls tend to fly around my house, it's worth taking the chance to have them on display.

The curtains were the biggest challenge for me in this room. I have purchased, no exaggeration, 8 different sets of curtains and then returned them all. The dark ones made the room feel small and the light ones made it feel like a hospital room. Some were expensive and some cheap. Just couldn't get it right. And just when I was about to give up, I found these panels at my favorite place on Earth....Target. Alas, because nothing is ever easy, they didn't come in the length I needed. So I ordered 5 panels instead of 4 and cut the extra panel into 4 and sewed them on the bottom of the others. And by sew I mean I used that webbing adhesive stuff and ironed them together cuz nobody got time to really sew. Here's a close up. Can you tell????

After all the pieces came together, I added the orchids and candles that I had elsewhere in the house and purchased a great platter (is that the right word?) on super sale from Pottery Barn.

And here is the evolution of this room. I still really love the most recent look - the teal blue with the black table but as I said before, the table wasn't big enough and had been rehabbed so many times it was starting to fall apart. The blue geometric chairs were cute but totally impractical because you couldn't sit on them and squeeze under the end of the table.

After we moved back into the house (2014)

Before construction (2012)

During Construction (2013)

When we first moved in. (2005)

How it looked when we bought it (previous owners)

So there ya go! ANOTHER version of this room. Former versions are all pasted below. Let's hope it's the last, but I think we can all agree it won't be.