The personal blog of Liz Jordan.

Happy! (Mother’s Day.)

Last year we handed out tulips to the lovely moms at Ecclesia. This year we took the cheesy Hallmark obligatory holiday and made it something really unique, a true celebration of all of the women in our community who love on and work hard for the children in our lives.

Every day I get to work with the crew on staff at Ecclesia is one where I’m challenged creatively, logistically, spiritually, sense of humorly(!!), energetically and individually in terms of who I am and what Christ has called me to do here. I can’t gush over these people enough!

Prepping for these 4 Mother’s Day services was the ultimate collaboration – from Carson recognizing ladies would love a mimosa and fresh tulip as they entered the service to Josh Moore rallying his group of brilliant musicians to play the song “Happy” live, accompanying the video featuring as many moms as we could capture that Jess, Haley, Crissy, DK and I worked so hard to pull together, and of course Steven, Mike, Elizabeth and Josh knocking it out and making it happen while Chris offered up a lovely toast to the women who love the children in our community – it was the perfect day of recognition for these women. I too felt so loved, acknowledged and honored.

I have to say though, the best part of my weekend was to stand with DK’s arms around me at the back of the venue and take in the beginning of the service together – the pumping music, the bustling crowd of Ecclesians and this small video project we pulled off together. You can’t not smile!

Mothers Day 2014 from Ecclesia Houston on Vimeo.

Morning, ladies.

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“Good morning Kenai! Good morning Orson!”

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On Jordan’s walls, an old plastic giraffe I thrifted and painted white, a little mirror I found in Austin and artwork for Jordan from my lifetime best friend Tiffany Childers, inspired by memories together.

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Draped in her new cape – completely her doing, I just helped tie it – Jordan opens the fridge and pulls her stool right on up to help herself to some apples.

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Milk just doesn’t taste as good unless it’s poured from a special orange elephant.

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They’re great for a morning brain exercise :)

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Practicing lines for letters and numbers, working on that pencil grip too…

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And her favorite part of every morning, selecting which “pitty jess” to wear for the day!

My Do It.

Every morning, Jordan wakes up before us and wakes me to the sound of her footsteps running down the hallway into our room. The sound makes me smile every time. And yesterday as she approached my side of the bed, she whispers to me “Liz, make my breakfast!” She’s shown so much interest in helping me in the kitchen and the more I let her in on things, the more independent and confident she grows. I also learn a lot of patience in the process. I hear a lot of “Mama, my do it.” And she does. IMG_6153

IMG_6154 I don’t mind a little extra mess at all.

IMG_6146 I found this PSY shirt awhile back and it’s become one of her favorites to sleep in, calling it her “Op op op” shirt.

Resolve To Read.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved committing to New Year’s resolutions. It’s definitely one of the more dreamy aspects of the turn of a new year, like a fresh crisp white piece of paper, the canvas is yours to recreate, recommit, redesign and reinvent.

On January 1 of this year, I sat down with a fresh cup of coffee and built a family tree of sorts, of all my focal points for this year and all the details and aspirations that stem from each. One of my main branches concerns my habits of reading and writing. DK is always encouraging me to write more, because he knows that like running, it’s a great purge for my crazy head. And just like working out, for me, the hardest part is merely getting started. So this year, in addition to my scripture and magazines, I resolve to finish (at least one) book each month.

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This is my current coffee table spread. My Christmas gift from Kim – a renewed Real Simple subscription for 2014, a gift from DK and my latest home design inspiration, Remodelista, my daily reader Jesus Calling (incredible, life changing) and then the book I haven’t been able to finish i.e. my January reading goal, Bringing Up Bebe, a fantastic study on why raising your kids like the French is just… brilliant.

Here’s wishing you great success and follow through in this new year!

Bonne Année!
Liz

It Pays To Wait.

Would I do the backstroke through Crate and Barrel and buy one of each if I had the funds? Possibly. But waiting for the story of your place to be built around where, when and how you found each perfect piece keeps proving to be far more fulfilling.

In Taylor Swift’s “22″ music video the chandelier in the end party scene caught my attention and made me gasp. Naturally, I took a screen shot and sent it to my brilliant interior design friend Stephanie Gahm asking her where on earth could I find this fixture. She alerted me to this holy goodness by Jonathan Adler and I nearly wept. Because from the time you enter the front door, you can see straight through the dining room and into the kitchen, I didn’t want to use a pendant or anything that would completely shut down the flow visually and aesthetically throughout the house. This was perfect. But I couldn’t figure out a way to justify the cost.

So I waited. I never stopped looking. I read a lot online, I perused every store within my grasp.

And then yesterday, I was in one of my favorite local haunts and saw this brass pipe stuck in a dusty corner. It kinda happened like it happens in the movies: I reached in, untangling other wires from it and once freed, pulled it out. My heart was racing as my eyes and heart took in the fullness of what I’d found. Price tag read 60% off original price. But because I’m a considerate team member, I took a picture, bid her farewell and raced home to show DK.

This morning we went back to retrieve the fixture and afterwards at Home Depot, we found the bulbs to complete it. And then DK installed it.

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Technical side note: being the lighting guru he is, it’s standard for DK to install dimmers in every room of whatever place he’s lived. It’s easy to do and really affects the aesthetics of every room in a dramatic way.

This has been a great day. It definitely pays to wait.

C’est la vie,
Liz

Life As A House.

The house had only been posted on HAR for a couple hours when I scrambled across our little rent house, burst through DK’s studio doors, placed my laptop front and center and breathlessly exclaimed “DK, I’ve found our house. This is our house.”

We’d only been searching for a couple months and were thrilled to finally bust an official move with our good friend Josh Hill, he’s a realtor and the most resourceful, open minded, enthusiastic and energetic guy you could ever hope to have help guide you in this huge life decision. I frantically texted him begging “Can we go see it today?!” He was out of town but promised we’d get on it first thing Monday morning. But I couldn’t wait. I dreamed about it, memorized every detail and measurement, and prayed, mostly giving thanks. First thing after church the next morning, I drove DK and Jordan to the house and my heart was racing.

Parked outside, across and down the street a few houses, my heart soared and I began imagining our life in this house. Kids in the yard, Jordan learning to ride a bike, parties underneath the Magnolia tree out front, I was spilling over with tears and disbelief. See, I was so certain during our search that we’d know that we knew that we knew that God had set aside the perfect house for us that now we’d found it… and I was overwhelmed by the fruits of that faith.

We drove by very slowly a few times. DK was excited too, but being the balance to me that he is, tried to calm me and be somewhat realistic. We decided to head home, but a surge in my heart had me flip the car around and tell DK “Just one more pass!!” And that’s when we first saw her. She must have seen us stalking her house but here came Sandra down the front sidewalk to retrieve her Sunday paper. “DK, roll down your window!”

I pulled up in front of the house and hollered over DK through the window. “Hi!! I’m sorry if we’ve freaked you out, but we’re the Kilgores and we’re coming to see your beautiful house as soon as possible!!” She waved and said some polite things back and then we waved goodbye. We’d later learn she went back inside and told Rick, her husband of 48 years, “I just met the family that’s going to buy our house.”

After seeing the house first thing Monday morning, it was unanimous between the 3 of us. We made an offer. With our offer, I wrote a letter to the owners explaining who we were and what we dreamed of for the house. From there the details are as you can imagine. The waiting, the finances, the paperwork, the waiting. I kept reminding DK about the need to every day let go of this house and trust. Because we were both self employed at the time, it took awhile to work through the process and jump through the hoops of proving we were capable of a mortgage. And as a result of this process taking so much time, they accepted another offer and we lost the house.

I remember it clearly. Sitting with DK in his studio, Josh on speakerphone. “I’m so sorry guys.” We all sighed heavily and took a moment.

I walked out of the studio and into our guest room where my studio was set up at the time. I put on my headphones and listened to some Brooke Fraser. I said another prayer of thanks to God for showing us what we could have, that we are capable and that He would carry us through this to find another house. I began to feel this crazy peace settle over me and I could really feel the Lord smiling down on me. A moment later, I jumped out of my chair and ran across the house, bursting through DK’s studio doors. “Babe. (heavy breathing) We’re not supposed to give up on the house. It’s still ours.

A week later, that offer fell through.

We closed on December 28th of 2012.

We think we just bought a house. We just bought a house. We bought a house! Let's kiss.

The Stages of Shock – Moments after closing on our first house together.

The experience wouldn’t have been as rich without the opportunity we’ve had in getting to know the owners and learning about the history of their lives in the house. Built in 1944, this house has been in their family since 1954 and they were married under the archway in the living room. (It’s also believed the house is haunted.) We walked the yard together and they taught me about the plants and shrubs, where each blossom came from and how to care for it all. We had dinner together in the house and Jordan fell in love with them. We’re so blessed to know them and we love to see them each time they stop by while swinging through town. Josh says it’s very rare for owners and buyers to have a relationship like this, but considering the life of this house, I think it only makes sense.

Though the last year has been extremely trying and difficult due to the strained process of completing the restoration, we still truly love this house and are more connected with it than we’d ever imagined. We changed a few major things (I’m excited to post about the process) but have maintained and stayed true to the original structure, charm, design and spirit of the house. We are ecstatic and feeling beyond blessed to continue on the life of this house.

C’est la vie,
Liz

Liz, Interrupted.

Do you say shoulda coulda woulda? Or do you follow more of a woulda shoulda coulda order? Either way, I shoulda started writing about our house process from the beginning and woulda if I coulda had more access to the interwebs. That and I’ve been so wrapped up in thinking this upside down and inside out chaos is almost over.

Yesterday, now that we have the internet in our new old house, I was sitting on the front porch researching ceiling finishing techniques. I learned a lot! And the sources from which I gained the most confidence and know how were mostly from homemade Youtube videos and DIY blogs from those that have gone before, by trial and error, learning and failing, growing and now teaching. And then it occurred to me I am in a position to be doing the same thing.

I don’t want my house posts to be tainted with complaints, irritations, annoyances or the idea that I’m so over this project. To be honest, I fight it every day and want so badly to scream and yell and kick and complain about these injustices that are so inconveniencing my life, my ability to entertain and keeping me from moving on to where I’d prefer to be in my life. But like James 1 preaches, this is a growing and pruning phase for DK and me and we’ve got to allow it to change us the way the Lord intended. To even *gasp* celebrate this rough time of our lives.

We feel we were pretty realistic about this process from the beginning. We knew it would take longer and cost more than initially understood. It’s hard to put to words the valley we feel we’re stuck in now, at the mercy of a contractor who promises and assures, only to stall and leave us hanging. Sure we’ve considered going another route but have been so confident in his ability to provide great work in our dream house and switching tracks at any given point would only prolong the process. We like him as a person, we care about his family even, but are at such a loss as to how we’ve gotten to this point. And yet somehow we find the strength to keep moving.

To give you an idea of where we’re at, we closed on this house, built in 1944, a few days after Christmas of last year. The story of how our house came into our lives is one I’m giddy to share with anyone who’ll listen. It’s one of those stories about love at first sight, that I knew that I knew that I knew it was ours before we even visited in person. We met with our contractor even before closing and had seen his work in other houses, he came highly recommended from trusted friends. Immediately after closing, they started the demo on our beautiful house and we were thrilled to learn more about the structure, history and design in the process. Because we were renting our current house, we worked out a realistic schedule with our contractor and he gave us the go ahead to put in our notice or March 1. We told him we needed a working bathroom, new roof and hardwoods refinished before we could live there. He said no problem.

That was 3 months ago. We jokingly but truthfully call ourselves “homeless homeowners”. It devastates me that I’ve become obsessed with and that my dreams are haunted by poorly laid tile, ridiculously cut and placed marble countertops, weeks gone by with no work done to our house… the list goes on. I cried on the phone yesterday to my mom, asking her to pray that I can continue to give proper focus and attention to the things that are most important to me: my family, my friends, my church, the ladies ministry at Ecclesia, my job at Air1… and she told me I need to stop discounting the fact this is a really rough way to be living and maintaining and juggling.

So the big news at our beautiful house is that as of a couple days ago, we do in fact have a toilet. A WORKING toilet. DK shot a video of me doing a ceremony for the maiden flush and while you’re thinking we’re totally weird and have completely lost it, for us it was everything.

We woke up yesterday morning in our very much unfinished and unfurnished bedroom, our view of the most incredibly green and lush backyard and I asked DK “If you could change anything about our situation, what would you change?” We both thought long and hard and tried to come up with at least one thing, but couldn’t.

With every passing day of no one coming to work on our house, with every night we fall asleep to the summer breeze because we have no a/c yet, with every moment Jordan shows evidences of her growth in her strength and ability, with every extravagance we’ve learned you don’t need to survive and with every day we grow more intimately intertwined with the spirit of this house, we feel grateful.

There She Goes.

Yesterday, I stopped and asked DK “Can you believe we have a kid?”

I really can’t believe it myself. It really really really blows my mind. She is unreal! Every single day I get to spend with her is truly a dream and that I get to be her mom, wow.

Lately, she needs me to hold her and rock her before bed until she falls asleep. The noise in my head is getting quieter each time too as I shut out my lists of what I need to do once she’s asleep and instead whisper a song or a prayer over her. She clings to me, her arms around my neck and her head resting on my shoulder. Knowing I’m the one she needs in those moments makes my heart soar! What a beautiful love.

Raising a Monkey.

Last Sunday morning, I dropped Jo off at the nursery and one of the girls working there says to me “She was hilarious last week, climbing up and down and up and down the padded stairs, clapping and shrieking, so proud of herself!” I laughed and nodded, because I know this well.

I’m raising a monkey.

We’ve now entered the phase of Jordan’s toddlerhood where DK and I question What Is Funny and What Is An Opportunity To Teach? Climbing on top of the coffee table and dancing in circles? Hilarious. But dangerous. Climbing out of her high chair and on top of the table? So inappropriate.


I’ve caught her a few times devising a plan of escape from her crib. But how can you resist that face?


DK and I try to stifle our laughter as she talks on and on with such conviction, such determination to get her point across. Sitting across from her, she’ll point towards something she wants you to notice and then ramble on with a furrowed brow and convincing inflections about how you too should be aware of whatever it is that is so important to her. “Ogie ogie og. Gogie, gogie go? Oh oh?”

At 14 months, she’s also aware of how to start the washer and dryer, she puts my oven mitt on her hand like a pro, finds the keys and tries to insert them in the doorknobs, fills the toilet with paper towels, brushes her teeth, brushes her hair, kind of, and is fully aware of how to control TV remotes and iPhones. For the most part anyway.

I close my eyes and breathe in the moments I hear her footsteps coming through the house, and the sight of her at full waddle towards me into my arms is like a dream. She fights me on getting dressed, she fights me on getting undressed. She wishes she were 4 feet taller so she could see everything happening on countertops and she thinks putting Papa’s shoes in the trash is hilarious.

When she sleeps, I miss her desperately and when she’s awake at full force I wonder if she’ll ever sleep again. She lives to be outside with her doggies and could spend hours in the yard with them. And I’m certain she and Orson scheme together about getting him inside the house to play.


This is such a great season.

xoxo,
Liz