The Book that is Keeping Me Sane for Move Number 7 (review of The Nesting Place)

What am I up to over the next week?

Oh not much, just two birthday parties (both Noelle) two graduations (Noelle from preschool, Kel from Seminary) and closing on a house.

This is on top of the church plant, the pregnancy and the normal details of our life.

So honestly, I’m feeling overwhelmed with details. All these beautiful, gorgeous, fun details that I want to give intentional thought to, but lack the time… or energy.

I’m feeling strapped, by both cash and time.

I want to invest a bit of both in our new home but if you review the details above it’s pretty obvious that I am limited across the board. Andplusalso did I mention I’m still in the final stages of my first trimester with baby 3?

Normally I would feel stressed to the point of tear-filled anxiety over all of this, but I’m trying a new approach, some of which comes from this book and its gorgeous tagline:

“It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.”

If you’ve spent much time over at The Nester‘s Blog this phrase isn’t new.

But when it’s implemented? When the seeds of it take root in your thought life? It’s revolutionary, at least it has been to this Idealist.

Kel and I have been married for eight years and this will be our seventh move. Seventh guys. Seriously, I want to feel settled.

We started in an apartment complex here in Grand Rapids, which I painted some of the worst colors imaginable.

Then we moved to a cinder block apartment in a partially condemned building at Seminary.


drinking completely contraband wine in seminary. SUCH a bad girl.

That was depressing my soul so we moved half a block a sweet little yellow duplex, my favorite place that we lived before kids.


Second anniversary, who needs shoes?

Six months later Kel was offered a job in Oklahoma so we loaded a truck and moved across the country where we moved into a rental that had a few bugs (literally)  oh AND a pull out stovetop.

I was newly pregnant and need to nest so we purchased new construction home and finished it ourselves, meaning we told the builders how we wanted it finished. We loved it, brought both our babies through those doors and left with bittersweet feelings to move back home.


Back in Michigan we moved into a rental ranch in a fantastic neighborhood that has been an absolute gift to our family, but where we never really settled in.

One year later we are moving to a lovely two story in North East Grand Rapids which we affectionally refer to as “Our Grandma House” because it’s still decorated with floral wallpaper and pink carpeting.


gorgeous new house preview!

More on this house later, I think I’m going to take a foray into home decor blogging now and again. It’s going to be fun, but like I said there is much to do, to think about and to be overwhelmed by.

So, with all this going on, I bought this book, on a whim at Barnes and Noble with $20 (It’s MUCH cheaper on Amazon) I really should have saved for paint or curtains or milk.

photo copy

My well loved, already slightly dogged eared in two weeks copy.

And I am here to tell you, it is the best purchase I have made in months. I couldn’t put it down or help myself from bringing it on play dates to show all my friends. 

The Nesting Place by “The Nester” IE Myquillin Smith, has infused grace and patience in my thought life as I approach this new home.

As she told her story of their thirteen moves and that all too familiar feeling of “The next house is the one I will really love and work on” I found myself amen-ing, tearing up and reading paragraphs out lous to Kel.

This book spoke to my soul.

If I pick out the wrong paint colors (uh, been there!) it will be okay. Why?
Because “Sometimes you have to make something imperfect before you can make it beautiful.” ~ The Nesting Place

My throw pillows are as flat as pancakes and this should make me glad. Why? Because it’s a sign that people have found comfort there, time and time again.

There is so much lovely imperfection that we find ourselves embarrassed by or apologizing for when in reality our homes are places of love that should be a refuge for those who live there and those who stop by.

I haven’t always been great at this, I get easily discouraged by our home budget, frustrated by the stray legos in the corner and crabby at my husband for always sitting on the couch in such a way that makes the cushions look weird and smooshy.

In reality, this is the place where the bulk of our life will play out and if I want a life infused with grace and peace, it starts with me. It starts at home.

This book is speaking to our my soul about our move
This book is teaching me to be a more understanding mom and a more gracious wife.
This book was a gift, a total splurge that panned out and was worth more than I spent.

It has a story that many will resonate with, grace that everyone needs and practical tips will prove  invaluable as we nest into our new home.

You’ll love it, I’d loan it to you but, I need it, I refer to it, I love it.

And I don’t want to give away the ending, but she shares a lesson about a celebrity death that struck her deeply and taught her a life lesson. This is uncanny because the same thing happened to me, same celebrity, very similar lesson.

This and basically every third sentence in the book caused me to adore Myqullin, her style and her grace-filled perspective on life, faith and home. I will be a regular visitor to her blog and a regular purchaser of this book for weddings, showers and housewarming gifts.

What is the one thing that is holding you back from nesting in your current place? 

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  • Natalie Hart

    I used to read The Nesting Place blog all the time — she is really encouraging. Many (like, ten) years ago, I stopped saving home goods catalogs. I used to keep Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Design Within Reach (ha!), etc. catalogs and read them often. Except that the more I read them, the more unhappy I’d be with what I had. So I stopped. I flip through once and then recycle, except that now I might not even flip through the whole thing. It made an immediate difference in my home happiness. I hope you continue to look at things that lead to home gratitude and peace — for all of you :-)

    • Leanne Penny

      Thank you Natalie, that’s a great rule, I used to have that home dissatisfaction issue too. Still do sometimes…
      This book actually helps with that more than it compounds it, loving what you have with contentment and playing around with your home decor in a way that is functional and expresses your family.

  • Ed_Cyzewski

    The new house looks awesome! One day at a time. Hang in there!

    • Leanne Penny

      Thank’s Ed! I can’t wait to show off more. I’m pretty excited… also exhausted. I will take all the encouragement I can get.

  • Rea

    I still remember when I ran across her ‘It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful’ line. It was like a tiny lightbulb sparked in my brain, because I’m always waiting to do anything until I can do it absolutely perfectly. Which usually means that things don’t get done because I have neither the budget nor (quite honestly) the design creativity to accomplish perfection. I pulled out that phrase again and dusted it off in counseling last fall, when I confessed how much I wanted to write, but how hard it was to just do it because ‘hello! Not perfect!’
    I hope your move goes smoothly and that you enjoy many years to come in your pretty new house!

    • Leanne Penny

      That mantra would be insanely helpful for writing as well, and birthday parties (using it this weekend!)
      Perfection is boring anyway.

  • Julie Davis

    I’m looking forward to reading more of your blog. I can tell we have a lot in common, just from reading this post. I am also a (reluctant) pastor’s wife, we moved around 6 times in an 8-year span (with kids), and I’ve been inspired lately to make our home more welcoming for the people who share life with us (on a minimal budget). More importantly, even with all the little things I don’t like about our current house, the truth is God has brought me into a spacious place, full of His goodness.

    • Leanne Penny

      Hello Julie! Just seeing your comment now (my commenting is weird) and thankful to have you as a reader and fellow pastor’s wife friend. Moving is hard, ministry family life is harder, we must stick together.

      LOVE to hear that God is bringing you into a spacious place, full of fresh air.