Day 30 They Really Are Lovely

Besides being a wife and having children, all I ever wanted was to own a little house with a garden and make it pretty.

I loved making beauty out of something scorned and unexpected so much that I thought it would be fun to help others in their homes.  But we never settled down and kept moving around and renting and moving and what’s our zip code again?  And the one thing, the only real thing I thought I wanted was to own our home and grow things.  And that’s the one thing I’ve never really had.

It wasn’t until I got that print with all the street names of the places we had lived that it hit me.  Those crappy limitations.  Those way too many days of packing, barely getting settled and packing again. Those rental homes with the old carpet and poor lighting. Those days of trying to make a house a home using only what time and resources I had at my fingertips, they all prepared me for this.  This hobby? career? opportunity of a lifetime that I never knew could even exist.  This has changed me.  This is the dream.

Nesting Place was birthed out of hated, unwelcome limitations. It only took 16 years for me to see it.

And I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Thank you.  I cannot thank you enough.

I wonder what your limitations will turn into one day?

For those of you interested, Donna from Funky Junk has a little interview with me about blogging as a business.

One more day of 31 Days!  Thank you to the over 700 women who joined in 31 Days of Change!


  1. Thank you so much for posting this. We are currently moving from home ownership for the past 8 years to renting a very small 2 bedroom apartment until we can find a rental house in our price range (In Chicago, they are few and far between). We hope to one day pay cash for a house. But I know it will be YEARS until we can do that. I have been throwing myself pity parties over not being able to paint walls and change light fixtures. But it will make me be more creative with the space that I have. Thank you. You are an encouragement to me.

  2. Yes, thank you. We owned for 10+ years (what I’d say was pretty much my dream home and definitely in a dream neighborhood), before deciding on a completely different route for our lives … going debt-free! So now for the past 3 years we’ve been in rental homes. Wow, have my eyes been opened to the ugly side of pride I placed in my own home, and its been a struggle to embrace the limitations of renting (ugh … especially the stained carpet just discourages me!). We’re starting the next phase of our dream, which is to build a small home(1000 square feet for our family of 6) on property we bought with the proceeds of selling our home.

    I also made a street art to celebrate our many moves. Each one reveals a little more about myself that shows me what needs to be eliminated from my heart. And there are many good memories about each place, not tied to the actual structure.

    I am almost done with my kitchen makeover. I took doors off of 90s oak cabinets, placed a rug over the light gray tile, used white and black damask wrapping paper to line the cabinet backs, and updated four light fixtures for $15, and only actually replaced one fixture.

    Limitations … I’ve really enjoyed your series. I had an art teacher in college who said mistakes can be made to look intentional, resulting in even better art than planned.

    My next project is to try to use up what I already have … curtains from past homes are especially on my mind.

    Thanks, Nester!

  3. and thank you for hosting it – it has been so much fun and resulted in a 30 days of tutorials starting November 1st

  4. You did grow things. Sometimes our dreams are camouflaged….:) From someone who has never been a homeowner, I relate to this completely. I finally decided that perhaps I was meant to be a gypsy all along. I have moved oh-so-many times, but many gifts, skills, and lessons have been revealed because of it. The creativity that comes from re-decorating on a regular basis, learning how to create fabulous decor that is temporary and you can take with you when you leave, and learning to be flexible and embrace change. But perhaps the biggest lesson I’ve learned is to relish in and make the most of where you are at the moment, because you never know what tomorrow will look like. To always remember “What if this is as good as it gets?” Too often we focus on that coveted destination, and in the process, miss out on all the wisdom and insight we were meant to gain on the journey…..:)

  5. You’ve done an amazing job making your temporary home beautiful. I truly needed to read this today. All this month I’ve been writing on thankfulness and, wouldn’t you know it, today I was complaining about my lack of a laundry room. When we bought our house, my one request was a laundry room. It didn’t happen. In case you are wondering the w/d is in my bedroon closet. I have to remind myself to be thankful because I don’t have to go to a laundry mat or wash outside. Thanks for the lovely limitations.

  6. Thank YOU, Nester. This has been a terrific series of posts and I’ve read every one of them. I do own my own home and now that it’s 21 years old, built in 92, it needs some work after we’ve raised 5 kids in it. We’re planning to update the kitchen this winter and I must say, I am so totally overwhelmed by the choices *out there* that I’m fairly stumped at what to do with it. I know a few things that I want to do, but I want to do it “perfectly” and yet I’m realizing that there’s no such thing as the perfect kitchen.

  7. this was a beautiful perspective- thank you for sharing.

  8. gasp! i am totally obsessed with gallery walls and this is beautiful. can you tell me what the 31 day project is all about? i’m kind of lost :)

  9. Such a great post! I was just listening to Don Jacobson, former owner of Multnomah Publishing, tell his story about how a hunting accident forced him to quit working in construction and led him down the road which would eventually enable him to become a major influencer in the publishing world. As he was sharing, it made me think about how negative things in my life turned out to be the hand of God. It really is amazing how God knows us better than we know ourselves and how to lead us into the place where we are completely fulfilled.

  10. What a beautiful post, Nester. Those ugly limitations led to a special place for all of us to glean from your expertise, your talent, your gift. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  11. Love the blog!! Found you by accident today (or is anything ever really an accident?)! I needed this. I would totally buy it if you turned your ideas into a book!

  12. I have really enjoyed this month. There are limitations all around us in all our situations. Jobs, relationships, talents, and homes. It is always an important reminder to look beyond them and create joy and love with what we have instead of mourning what we don’t. God Bless your talents Nester.

  13. This post gave me chills! I am so glad that your lovely limitations turned into an opportunity to inspire us all and remind us that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. Thank you. :)

  14. This one made me cry. I love your story. : )

  15. Another blessing is that the street names all sound like somewhere you might want to live. You know, it could be worse….. :) just imagine

  16. This is good. I like it when things flip-flop around, just when we least expect it. Well said, Wendy. (Can I call you Wendy? Just for tonight?)

  17. gosh, i’m so refreshed reading your posts, nester! thanks for this one especially, being thankful for my limitations tonight. :)

  18. The only home decor blog that makes me cry.

    I love you more than a little, Nester girl.

    xoxo LJ

  19. You always inspire me to keep going, even though things haven’t always turned out as I dreamed!! God is still in control and has a destiny even when I think life has not been what I wanted it to be!! You are so very encouraging!! Thank you!!

  20. Oh my I love Dee’s prints! What a fun one, I would have never thought to put all the names of the streets I have lived on. So fun. 31days has beeen such an amazing journey for me. I was so busy writing my own series, no I’m looking forward to catching up on everyone elses ; ) thanks for linking us all up!

  21. what a beautiful and inspirational post but what I think your reader was probably trying to tell you is that when one subscribes to a decorating blog and it becomes something else there is disappointment…I know that personally I can find inspiration and reasons to be grateful around every corner but when I escape to blogland I want just that, an escape. Just a thought but congrats on finding your place in this world and well deserved contentment with your life. I will continue to enjoy your blog but do hope we can return to some decor ideas vs. reasons to have a messy house, be grateful etc. I hope you dont take this the wrong way.

  22. I totally can relate to your situation. I moved out on my own at age 25. I have moved in and out of rental apartments and homes so many times that I have lost count. All the time, I kept dreaming of owning a small home, with a yard, and a dog. I married late, we had a baby right away, and we bought a condo. FINALLY a home of our own. Then we decided to move to a better school district, and the week we sold our place, my husband lost his job. Back to renting again!

    Fast forward 5 rentals later (yes, 5!) we are homeowners once again. We found a tiny fixer-upper,with a big yard. Words cannot express my gratitude that we can once again settle into our own home. Yes, it is rundown, with a tiny kitchen, and none of the fancy stuff many homes take for granted. But the journey here has made me a better person in so many ways. I love your blog and the way you encourage us to enjoy the present, with what we have RIGHT NOW. Please keep up the good work!

  23. One of my most favorite posts of yours! Thank you for looking beyond your limitations and helping the rest of us to do the same. Love your attitude!!

  24. It’s amazing what a difference 31 Days can make.

    A month ago, I was running 2 etsy shops and barely giving my blog the time of day. I signed on for the 31 Day series, and I actually found myself filled with ideas. Too many ideas!

    I’ve already put one of my shops on “vacation” – and I’m considering that with the other. I think focusing on the blog might be the answer.

    And, I’m considering writing an ebook focusing on the crafts I had been selling. (Hmm, anyone just have a flashback to Nester’s Tassle shop?)

    This is a work in progress…but, I think there’s some clarity over the horizon.
    And, I have Donna at Funky Junk and The Nester to thank for it.
    ~Dana At Cooking At Cafe D
    “31 Days – 31 Minutes to a More Organized Life!”

  25. Love your story – LOVE you – thanks for being so awesome:)

  26. I just have to say a huge thank you for this post. It blessed my heart to pieces because of the following: 18 months ago, we thought life was going one direction and we were very excited about the possibilities. We had our home on the market and it sold with a cash offer! (WHOO!) Then days before the moving van (and an entire house full of packed boxes) the buyer admitted that she’d been convinced of winning the Publisher’s Clearing house sweepstakes and didn’t actually have the cash since she had just realized she hadn’t won. We were shocked, devastated, mad, and had to unpack. Over the summer my man was transferred to a job in a different city and we found ourselves thanking God that we hadn’t locked into a house an hour away. We just listed our home once again, and are hoping to move closer to where my husband’s new job is. Through the process I have yelled, “It was supposed to be different,” but when I stop and look back, I can see that it really wasn’t. It’s all happened for a reason (and is still happening for a reason) and I’m grateful… Sorry for the book, I just loved your words.


  27. Great post :) It’s amazing how phases of our life can create something that stays for the future :) Thanks 4 sharing!

  28. Thank you for your posts, and your blog….they warm and inspire me. Your comment about all the “crappy limitations” preparing you for the season you’re experiencing now touched me deeply. As military wife we moved, but not nearly as many time as you had, but it was a timely reminder today that God allows us to experience these challenges, trials, and crappy limitations, to prepare us for blessings to come. Thank you.

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