what’s in a name?

a little corner of my blue room

Several years ago we had the first floor of our house painted—living room, family room, kitchen and dining room. We chose a rich blue for our dining room, and it was my favorite color of the ones we chose. The trouble was, we never used the dining room. We’re just not in a formal dining stage of our lives. With three small children, we’re into simpler fare—tacos on the everyday plates, not tuna tartare on the china.

For me, the dining room became a source of low-level stress, a 180-square-foot monument to the lives we weren’t living. I finally realized that life was too short to be held hostage to the Should.

So, during the Snowpocalypse of 2010, we shoved the dining room table up against a wall, moved in a desk, organized all of our arts and crafts supplies into baskets and bins, and transformed the dining room that we used two days a year into the Blue Room, which we use every day of the year.

The Blue Room is where my daughter Caroline goes to work on her homework, or where we make beads together. It’s where Margaret will slip away to draw yet another series of smiling princess drawings. It’s where toddler James pounds on Play-Doh. And it’s where I write, work on sermons, read, knit, and do other creative things.

After several years of generating musings on the Internet, whether on Facebook or other online venues, this blog will be my online Blue Room—the place where I put my favorite stuff, and generate new stuff as well. This is where I’ll link to and reflect on writing projects, share progress on these books I’m intermittently writing, ruminate about life as a part-time solo pastor of a lovely, quirky congregation in Northern Virginia, and more.

30 thoughts on “what’s in a name?

  1. Susan Ariale

    I love the idea that you made the space work for you and what your family needs right now. While formal dining spaces are wonderful it is true they are not often used, even when children are older than yours.
    So glad that the boundaries of the Blue Room have extended to the internet and that we can stop by from time to time. 🙂

  2. Lorraine

    Blue is my favorite color, and your Blue Room looks wonderful! Wish I could do the same thing here, except that our kitchen is so small that we have no room for a table there. So we have to eat in the dining room. It’s perfect though, for you with small children. I mean, you can’t very well tell James to go off into his room and play with playdoh. eek…. If he’s anything like my son was you’d find that playdoh for the next ten years, stuck in corners, on books, in the clean laundry… 🙂

  3. Kally

    We have the Red Room. Our once green formal “dining” room that was really the “walk into the house and dump your things on the table” room was painted red (by Bryce) while I was at the Montreat College Conference a few years ago. Since then we inherited a large 2-person desk and several book shelves. We moved a toy bin, craft crate, our computers, many, many books, and an old rocking chair into the space. The room now serves so many more functions than it once did as a dining room – it’s not just the “dump your things and move on” room and we use it so much more!

  4. nuevacantora

    I love the name here, but I’m wondering… is tuna tartare on china a stage I skipped before toddlers, or is that for later?

  5. kathrynzj

    Loving the blue room, both virtual and actual. What some of my friends have been doing with their dining rooms has me wishing we had one!

    Glad to keep up with you here!

  6. Laura

    Congratulations on bringing this blog to fruition – another step in your journey as an author – looking forward to your online musings – blessings – l

  7. Jan Culpepper

    Ah – I found you on my own! You can ignore the email I sent earlier. I love the whole idea of the blue room. It sounds like such a happy, creative place for the whole family. Look forward to stopping in this blue room on a regular basis.

  8. esperanza

    Yay, so glad to see the new place. In a previous house, we turned the formal living room into our office/creative space/treadmill habitat. A much better use, though I kept wanting a door for the space to hide the mess!

  9. Kelley

    And I love your Blue Room, too. Both the room in your house and your new blog! I look forward to your posts.

  10. anne

    joy in the morning—to find an old friend in a new place.

    we use our dining room, for dining and much more. because we turned our kitchen eating space into a sunroom or an indoor porch w/ wicker rockers and a nice conversation area, etc, whenever we have folks over we use the d.r. for main courses after app-ing in the sunroom. if it’s just us we use small personal tables (larger than the old ‘t.v. trays) at the rockers. on a daily basis i use the d.r. as a wonderful spreadoutable workspace for computer projects, writing projects, etc.

    i look forward to ‘visiting’ your blue room on a regular basis.

  11. Greg G

    I added this to my RSS Feeds as soon as I saw it!

    I look forward to reading everything 🙂 And good luck! I know how hard it can be to keep up with a blog…

  12. Sherry

    Love the room. Love the idea. My dining room is covered in sewing projects and mending that needs to be done.

  13. MaryAnn

    Interesting to read about other people’s dining rooms.

    I first got the idea to redo ours after reading The Not-So-Big House, which talks about how many traditional homes (especially those built during certain periods) don’t really match people’s lifestyles today. Dining rooms are from a former era of family life–Sunday dinner after church or whatever. Now the emphasis is on the kitchen as the place for gathering, and they’ve become these huge spaces with places to eat. Are we seeing the decline of the dining room?

  14. Lee

    Congrats on your new blog! Our dining room table also often doubles as a craft table, a use to which it is better suited, since the table itself belonged to my husband’s parents and was his craft table when he was a kid. I have occasionally thought that we should just give in and turn the whole place into the art room. Good for you for doing so.

  15. Kelly

    I am beyond excited about your new blog! And the blue room suits your family much better than a formal dining room does. I can hear the happy sounds now!

  16. sko3

    My kitchen is too small to eat in, so we eat in the dining room, which is sort of part of the living room (it’s an L shape, but no walls sort it out). Before Selam, I never ate in the dining room. But my piano, guitars and all my music books were there, so it was the music room. And for a while, it was also the office, as the computer and what not was there as well.

    Now we eat there, too. And the crafts supplies are there, in big baskets, along with all the aforementioned music stuff. It’s sort of an extension of the living room, without the sofa.

  17. Shala

    MA, love the blog.
    Also love the idea of the physical blue room. Our dining room is red, and like one of your other readers, its doomed to be used as a dining room since there’s no room in our kitchen for eating. But we also use it as an art room, and have taken our entertainment center (which was one of those hutch things with the doors that hide the tv and electronics when you aren’t watching it), tossed out the tv and installed lots and lots of art supplies in it.

    Needless to say, the rug in there are a mess. 🙂

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