The Bookshelves

One of the wonderful features of our little rented home are the built-in bookshelves which frame either side of our front guest room. Our home is small (less than 800 sq feet.) but for it’s size it has ample windows which leaves little space for displaying home decorations. That is why this built-in bookshelves are such a treasure. In them we can store our most frequented books, pictures, and other home decorations we don’t have the space for anywhere else.


The key is that it is both functional and eclectically decorated. It provides little samples of our lives and memories. Curious?  Let’s take a look:


On the top shelf of this first side of our built-in is a bright coral fan I bought while in the Philippines at a fish market. These fans are mostly used to keep food clear of bugs while cooking or selling. Beyond it’s color I keep it as a reminder of my time in the Philippines and those I made connections with there (for more on my travels see mandasadventure ).


Next to it is a vase my father made me made of purple heart wood as a Christmas present my first year of college. I have kept it on my bookshelf in my dorm or apartment ever since. Sitting beside this are a few modge poged boxes displaying travel destinations-some I have been to some I’d like to visit. Inside I store pens for my fridge white board (see what the fridge tells us) and coins/money from my travels. In the corner are a few books that I have read many times over, some which would be considered classics.


Next shelf is more simple. One of my close friends made this tea-stained Chinese symbol picture displaying hope, faith, and love reminding us of some of the simple key elements of life. The small votive glass candle holder sitting next to this I bought in Damascus, Syria.  Now more than ever my thoughts are with Syria, this item reminds me of time before the most recent civil war and to pray for a return to peace. Last item in the corner is  a green vase of my mother’s I have used many times for floral arrangements.


Third row down in the far corner is a glass container filled with dried red roses. Luke bought a bouquet of a dozen red roses for me for our six month anniversary of dating after realizing I’d never received flowers (at least none as a romantic gesture) before. Leaning up against the glass is the guest book/album from our wedding that my maid of honor made us (for more on this see sentimental wedding details).


On the other side is a small hand painted turquoise change dish I bought in Turkey, another small token from my travels. Behind it is an icon depicting the last supper and crucifixion. It was bought at one of only three communities left in the world that speak Aramaic. While there I was lucky enough to hear “The Lord’s Prayer” spoken twice out-loud in Aramaic. Talk about a once in a life time experience, an almost dead language spoken to a well known text!


The last shelf on this serves almost a completely practical purpose. housing our incoming mail. On the other side of the shelf we keep the many pens that seem to float around the house and keep a small tray for keys.

Note:  I know many of these items are mine from travels. Don’t worry Luke has more items of his own but many of them did not fit into the height dimensions of the shelves.


On the other side of the door on the top shelf is our main living room clock. This I also bought in Damascus and it marks the hour with arabic lettering. Next to it is a recent picture from our wedding with my mother and father-in-law and Luke’s grandmother. If you have been reading  my posts for awhile you may recognize the next item.  A guests who could not attend our wedding gave us her framed invitation as a  gift (for more about this see: invites and thank you cards). Last of  all is the mason jar I used to hold my bridal bouquet. Now it holds the rest of the dozen roses from the six month anniversary. Wrapped around the jar is an orange bow which came from a small display of orange roses (my favorite) that Luke bought and placed in our hotel room on our wedding night.


Second shelf is where I keep a bright photo book displaying pictures from my semester in the Middle East. (Again to learn more about my travels see here:madasadventure) Next to it is a vase I bought and used all through college-especially when we got flowers from Pikes Place (for more on this see little norway and the emerald city).  In the corner is a frame my mother-in-law gave us at our wedding reception in Oregon showing a fun shot of our wedding party.


Third shelf down houses my and Luke’s most current books. In the center is a photo with my family: parents, brother and wife and us at our wedding and a photo of Luke’s from his mother’s MA graduation from seminary. In the middle is one of three boxes my father made us for our wedding rings. (For more on this see Happy Father’s Day!).


Last of all, the bottom shelf houses workbooks and other miscellaneous materials. Here also we house our speaker system offset by a collage of pictures of Luke and his brother.


That is what’s on display in our built-in bookshelves.

Does it give you some insight into our valuables and treasured memories?

What do you have on display in your home? Why?

Snapshots: Halvorson wedding behind the scenes

This will be my last wedding related post for a while ( I promise). But I thought you might enjoy seeing a few more behind the scenes pictures collected from iphones (along with a few professional shots) that have come in from Matt and Stina’s wedding. If you haven’t read up on the wedding events then you may want to skim these posts: The RehearsalThe WeddingThe Reception,  before scrolling through these extra snapshots.

Here they are:

Getting ready:


Post-picture lunch/brunch break with family and bridal party:

My mom’s mother and my cousin Paige


My Dad’s Mom and the sixpence for Stina’s wedding shoe

Stina waiting for the guests to arrive watching them from the upstairs window and entertaining the flower girls:


Prayer time for Stina with all the bridesmaids and female relatives:


Time to line up for the wedding:




The ceremony (and singing):







The processional:


Matt’s best friend from high school and I

Celebrating after:




My mom, my Aunt, and I
Cousins iphone moment
From left to right: my father (in law), my dad’s dad, and my hubby


Matt and Stina snapshots:

Something borrowed-hairclip from me
rainbow polka dot socks so my brother wouldn’t get cold feet


Details from the reception:

at the trail mix bar
family wedding photos


mailbox to fill with advice and wedding cards
wall of pictures of Matt and Stina growing up

Let’s Dance!:


Traditional Norwegian folk dancing



Saying Goodbye!:



Thats all for now! Thanks for reading and sharing in this wonderful family event!!

The Wedding

Today marks one official month since my brother’s wedding. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. I know that our first month of marriage flew by with so many changes and transitions-I know my brother and Stina must be feeling the same way.


Saturday morning, finally the wedding day: I got up bright and early to curl my hair at the hotel (it’s always odd to me to have to curl curly hair). I got all of my bridesmaid items together and met my parents in the lobby. We headed to Stina’s favorite coffee shop where I filled in a large order for the bridal party’s caffeine wants. With to-go carts in hand, we carefully got into the car and drove to the Moseng house.


By the time we arrived all the bridesmaids were up and getting ready. The the wedding coordinator was  helping with hair alongside Stina’s hairdresser. I doled out the coffee then my parents picked up one of Matt’s high school friends and drove to Stina’s brother’s house to take pictures of the guys getting ready.


I joined in getting makeup done and then spent a good deal of time letting the wedding coordinator pin up my long thick hair. The atmosphere was pretty relaxed considering the days events, everyone was excited and enjoying themselves including Stina.


When the groomsmen and groom arrived around 8:30-9:00ish  Matt and Stina did their first look. I helped watch her lace train as she came down the house steps and around to the bridge over the coy pond.  All the close family and bridal party stood around (but far enough away to not be in pictures).  It was a beautiful moment.



After this, we started in with the bridal party pictures followed by family pictures around 10:00am.


Then all of us crowded back into the house for a late breakfast/early lunch before the wedding. We watched from widows of the house as guests began to arrive and fill up the white chairs in the garden.


During this time Stina was confined to an upstairs bedroom and enjoyed  reading child stories to the flower girls. Right before the wedding was about to start, all of the female relatives and bridesmaids gathered around Stina to pray.


Then the bridesmaids lined up behind the bushes ready for our musical que. The brick path was covered with a white runner. Shepherds hooks with potted fuchsias hung along the path as well as fresh flowers from our Pikes Place trip were laid on the side of the path.


By the time I walked down the aisle the garden was crowded with people. So much so that although we had a sign saying there was plenty of room some had to stand along the trees for most of the ceremony.


The three sibling flower girls came down in a bunch all similes in their matching dresses and hair. The oldest passed the wood ring box my father made onto the best man. Then came Stina in a beautiful lace covered wedding gown smiling all the way.



My brother’s pastor from his college in Oregon was the officant for the wedding. As usual the giving away, prayer, and a short sermon were done in front of a beautiful gazebo filled with fresh flowers from the garden. Behind Matt and Stina was a table with a large bouquet of flowers, two candles, and the Moseng’s  family Bible where all marriages have been written down for generations.


The Pastor (whos name is also Matt) shared about how love becomes a choice not only an emotion through the years of marriage and on the importance on choosing love and the behavior of love even when it is not easy. We all were handed hymnal inserts from the program and sang among a very musical audience. (Matt and Stina were heavily involved in the music department at their school) A wonderful chorus rang out with Great is Thy Faithfulness. ( I was happy to get through almost the whole thing without crying).


The rest you probably know: the exchanging of rings, the vows, the announcement, kiss, and processional (to a surprise Star Wars song for Matt). As we waited for family to exit the bridesmaids, my brother, and Stina waited behind the same bush we had waited behind as we shared tears, smiles, hugs, and looked at their wedding bands.


Following was an enjoyable time of greeting guests, friends, and family talking together while waiting to see who would leave first for the reception. After some informal photo shots we all started toward the field waiting in line to leave the Moseng house and head to the reception downtown Poulsbo.



Coming Next: The reception

A Picture’s worth: Heritage and Sentimental Wedding Details

picture above our bed in our bedroom
picture above our bed in our bedroom

Luke and I love to plan and host events and at these events we feel it is important that people are comfortable being themselves. When planning our wedding, it was just as important that our friends and family felt welcomed, like they belonged, they were home. But how do you make a wedding venue feel like home? In the family heirlooms, the personal crafted gifts, or the framed pictures of significant moments. Here’s what we did:

Significant Pictures:

picture sitting in built-in bookshelves in our living room

We all know a picture is worth a thousand words. Taking that to heart, we let several frames placed throughout our wedding space tell stories for us. Borrowing mismatched frames from family, we printed pictures highlighting significant moments while we were dating. Moments that display our interests, values, and the type of events that marked our relationship. Such as a picture of us on a morning kayak venture on Yellowstone Lake, or a snapshot from our MA graduation. Pictures as simple as these showed guests our love for being outdoors and time with our families or our how we shared in celebrating and encouraging each other’s personal goals and accomplishments.



For those guests who didn’t know our story well (or knew only one of us) these pictures provided an opportunity to glimpse into our relationship and personalities. Our wedding venue had an outdoor fireplace with a natural stone mantel perfect for placing these snapshots where guests could notice them as they warmed up by the fire.

Family Heirlooms:


Heirlooms are valued items or memories passed down from one generation to another. For us this is not confined to physical trinkets. I requested a framed picture from Luke’s parent’s wedding, collected one from my parents as well, then placed both on either side of an engagement photo of Luke and I on the guest book table.



These pictures signified and celebrated a great heirloom passed down to us: strong marriages; a relational heritage we plan on continuing. To guests viewing this memories it was clear: Luke and I valued our wedding day as the celebration of two families permanently becoming one with our marriage.

Memory scraps and well wishes: the guest book


I gave my maid of honor, a talented scrapbooker, creative license to make my guest book. She bought a picture album and filled it with engagement shoot snapshots. When I told Luke about this he came to me with an additional idea. Handing me an old hiking boot box (the contents of which he had been keeping a secret), he told me he thought it (whatever it was) might be helpful for the scrap/guestbook.  My mom and I were shocked when we opened it to find concert tickets, our school ID cards, amusement park passes, movie stubs, and metro passes  memorabilia present from our first date to the weekend we got engaged.


So while the bridal party was doing their photo shoot, guests wandering the terrace took cards and pens from a mason jar and wrote personal well wishes to Luke and I, which later were fitted into the spare photo sleeve slots. As they wrote, guests flipped through pictures from our engagement shoot and saw glimpses into our dating life.


Framing the Reception:

Since heritage and pictures were central to our wedding, we continued the framed theme throughout the reception space. This included the table numbers, favor dessert bar instructions, and the guest seating chart table, all displayed in an eclectic collection of vintage frames.




Personal crafted gifts:


In other blog posts I have highlighted my families personal talents such as: upholstery see sleep after marriage . . . ,  woodworking see happy father’s day,  and quilting see happy mother’s day . In addition to these hobbies my mother also avidly crochets.  So to highlight my mom’s work, like you would in your own home, we made crochet doily runners for the guest book table, the guest seating chart table, and welcome/gift/program table.


The venue also provided us with a few comfy couches facing the dance floor. To personalize the space I asked my  mom to bring two of her homemade crocheted afghans to the wedding. She topped this off by making some neutral toned pillows. Between the pillows and blankets these couches were very popular lounging spots for guests to cuddle up on during the crisp fall night reception.


Being surrounded by items familiar to me on such an important yet stressful day provided me with confidence and a peace reminding me I was surrounded by a great collection of family and friends who cared about me and about us as a couple.


If you are wanting to make your wedding venue comfortable and welcoming think about your hobbies, talents, interests, values, personality, or interests. What physical objects or pictures could say better than words these concepts to your friends and family? These small items are usually not expensive and although they may require   digging up an old photo, visiting an old candy shop, antique store, or digging a box out of the attic they may help make your venue feel like home on your special day.

Birthday in picture review

Thought I would follow up my b-day outing plans with some picture proof.

After a walk down to the library, I went to Walker Cake Co.and realized I was hungry for more than a treat. So I got a gluten-free artichoke avocado bacon turkey sandwich with flaxseed tortilla chips and grapefruit juice and yes it was very good. 🙂


Then I walked down to Soul Full Cup. Indecisive about what to order I looked at the specials and decided on the dark chocolate iced coffee. It was rich dark yummy awesomeness great for accompanying my good read.


Next I walked down to the grocery store to pick up a few items and some new kitchen goods then headed back home.

thunderstorms predicted thought an umbrella would be a good caution
thunderstorms predicted thought an umbrella would be a good caution

After cooling off from the humid 90 degree weather I treated myself to the dessert I picked up after lunch: mocha doughnut cupcake. It was so rich and crumbly good I only ate a quarter of it.


To top off the day, Luke came home after work with a present for me too beautiful for wrapping.