ode to a wall

For YEARS and YEARS it was my favorite part of our home. A whole wall covered in every day moments.

In an interview with A Beautiful Mess, I once said, “My favorite feature in this room is a large photo wall over our (fake) mantel. The bottom row starts with a picture of an ultrasound when I was pregnant with our firstborn. Each year I add about 30 pictures to the wall. I reached the top of the wall with the pictures from 2012, so I think I might start moving across the wall next. I love being able to see the last nine years of our family at one glance. In an instant I am reminded how quickly time passes, how babies grow into toddlers and how toddlers become kids. The constant reminders that wall provides helps me keep the perspective that my days are numbered, and I want to live in the fullness of my days. I also treasure being able to look up and see so many memories of my family. The photos are just everyday shots that may not stand out to others, but to me they recount the beauty of days past.”

12.14mpixprints-05The wall was an easy conversation starter when guests would fill our home. It was also the backdrop to so many memories happening in the heart of our home.3.12photowall-013.12photowall-023.12photowall-05Eventually, the pictures started extending across another section of the wall. People would always ask how long I was planning on adding to the wall. I always said, “I don’t know. Until I get tired of it I guess.”12.14mpixprints-06I wasn’t sure if the day would ever come that I would want to change it.

And then a few months ago, I started thinking about taking it down. And I thought more and more about it. They say thoughts bear actions, which proved to be true in this case. I took the photos down. And then the fake mantle and fireplace followed. And a hole got cut out and new plans are being made.3.12photowall-07It doesn’t feel like my living room. There is a part of me that is a tiny bit sad, but mostly I’m ready for the change. I think as my kids grow and the house is increasingly full of my own kids and extra kids all the time…I need blank spaces. Visual calmness in the midst of physical loudness. So…I’ve got a big blank space…and I think I’m going to like it.

Thankfully, I take a ridiculous amount of pictures and I can look back with fondness at my wall through them.

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  • Tiffany - What will you do with the all pictures? That sounds like a fun project. I recently found out the term for blank walls on @centsationalgirls blog, negative space. I’m sure you’re supposed to use it strategically but for me, it’s calming and allows my eyes and brain to take a rest.

  • Angie Webb - The day you posted on Instagram that your photo wall came down I received a text from my sister that said “she took her photo wall down!” haha. I immediately knew she was talking about you. We both love the idea and wanted to replicate it in our homes but neither of us has the right wall space for it. Such a beautiful idea. Good thing for pictures to always remember! Cannot wait to see what you do next!

  • Katie - I loved your photo wall, but I, too, understand the need for a blank slate! We just moved, and having a home with empty walls & boxes stuffed into corners for lack of storage is actually kind of nice. I’m discovering what I actually need on a daily basis, & what things I thought I’d want but don’t even miss at all.

    Blank spaces are Nice. 🙂

  • Cathy - I’m excited to see your new plans for the wall! It was a great piece and I’m sure the new one will be just as awesome!

  • kimberly oyler - you know how i feel about change… but i’m excited to see the new plans!

  • Rachel - I think it’s a good time to take down the photo wall since you ended up with somewhat the shape of Oklahoma? It’s like you completed it!

  • Byron - Blank spaces are good; they encourage a quiet mind and silent heart.

    “Ideas of value always shun verbosity, being foreign to confusion and fantasy. Timely silence, then, is precious, for it is nothing less than the mother of the wisest thoughts.”
    –St. Diadochos of Photiki

    “The silence of the heart is not the silence of emptiness or a state of nothingness. The silence of the heart is the sound of fullness. It is silent because no word, no image is sufficient. Only silence can contain the uncontainable.”
    –Fr. Freeman “The Language of Silence”

  • Emily - I can’t wait to see what you put there! Hooray for change!

  • Stephanie - Where can I find that wall paper? Its awesome.

  • sarah - that interview with ABM was when i first found your blog.:) i echo the question about the wallpaper. do you mind sharing where it’s from?

  • Rae - Change is bittersweet; I’m gonna miss that wall as a backdrop to all your beautiful pictures that you post on this blog and instagram!

  • Haley - aw, I loved that wall. I can’t wait to get a house and start a photo wall of our own.

  • Jessica - Oh man, I understand but I was so inspired by that project! I actually did my own recently, in our hallway. Thank you for the inspiration!