Saturday, August 31, 2013

Before and After Curbside Cabinet

I have been busy with school prep for my preschool class but had time to squeeze in a DIY project that I have been wanting to do for quite some time.  We live in a cozy little cottage (988 square feet) that I love. It was built in the early 1900s and has such character and charm... it is also a work in progress.  With five people in our family, a dog and cat, every inch counts.  This is where my project comes in...

I have been looking for a cabinet for our TV, stereo, and miscellaneous things.  This cabinet was in our living room and served us well for over ten years and our old apartment and now our cottage.  The problem with it was its depth... we didn't need it so deep and it really cut into our living room space.

(I took this picture after I had taken stuff off the cabinet, but you get the idea)

I had been keeping my eye out for a new cabinet everywhere... thrift stores, curbside, etc.  Last week when I was on home visits for my new students I got to talking blogs and DIY projects with one of the moms.  She has a great eye!  When I mentioned I what I wanted as my next project, she said she would keep her eyes out too.  And, then I got the call... less than 24 hours later, she spotted this baby!

It was just sitting out on the curb with a free sign in a neighborhood about 10 minutes from me.  When my sweet husband got home, we took off to see if it would be what we were looking for and, more importantly, if it was still there.  Indeed it was a resounding yes on both counts!  We loaded it up into our VW wagon (it fit perfectly too), and hauled it home. 

All this cabinet needed was a little TLC... out came the sander

My youngest loves DIY projects and took a turn with the sander!

After putting on three coats of paint, we took a quick trip to Lowe's
 and picked out some new knobs & handles - which my husband installed for me after work

Here in the cabinet with the updates.   I chose to use white to go with the cottage style of our house
(it also helped that I already had white paint on-hand)... the hardware is brushed silver.
(I love that the hardware I liked best was also a great price - $7.83 total)

My dad is a loves all things audio and was kind enough to come over and
 hooked up our audio equipment once we had it in the new cabinet.  Thanks Dad!

The cabinet fits perfectly in our living room and gives us more space to move around too!

This is what the room looks like now... we are planning on painting the living room so nail holes will be filled and pictures & wall hangings repositioned...
but for now, I am so happy with the way it all turned out.

God's provisions come in all kinds of ways!  And, for that I am so thankful.  I had way more fun fixing this cabinet up the way I wanted than if I just bought something already done. Can't beat the price either!   And, we have a great story about how we got it!

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Seeds and Weeds

Wow!  Feels like I haven't written in quite a while.  That is a good thing... life has been full with VBS (Vacation Bible School) prep and back to school prep as well.  I have been learning my limits more each year and trying to balance the things I do... and the things I don't do.

This week is one of my favorite weeks of the year as our church hosts VBS.  We have about 90 children come through to doors to laugh, sing, play, and learn about Jesus.  I don't know how many volunteers we have but I must say it is a beautiful sight.... truly the Body of Christ put into action.  We have some many youth and adult volunteers using their gifts to serve... we are being stretched out of our comfort zone and working together all for the glory of God. 

Yesterday our lesson was based on Matthew 13:1-23, The Parable of the Sower

I am not a gardener by nature (no pun intended).  I love having plants, flowers, fruits, and vegetables growing in our yard and house.  But, I have a history of killing plants.  I don't mean too... but sometimes they perish from lack of care; sometimes they perish from over-care.  And then there was the summer that everyone in our family went with my husband to pick out seeds for flowers they wanted to grow.  We each had a big plant pot, seeds, and soil.  This time, I knew things would be different.  Oh, how I cared for those seeds.  I tended to them with water and sunlight.  I was "feeling the love" as my seeds sprouted and up came beautiful green growth.  The nurturer in me came out full-force, not to mention my pride.   I had finally succeeded in growing something beautiful!  The bigger it grew, the bigger my pride grew.  That is until my husband, with some botany knowledge from college, informed me that my beautiful flowering plant was in fact ... a .... WEED!  I was deflated.   Makes me thing of times in my life that I have tried to chase after and "grow" beautiful things that are not of God but of this world.  Things that seem so beautiful but are in truth, weeds that crowd out God's Word and purpose for me.  Just like those weeds that choked the life out of my plants.  It is all too easy for this to happen. 

Ah, but there is hope.  Each year I grow older, I am learning to recognize the weeds more easily... and learning, what needs to be tended too.  In fact, right now, I have 4 living plants in my house that I am the sole caregiver of; they have been thriving for at least a  couple of years.  And, in my daily life, I am learning to hear God's voice more clearly... making room for Him by clearing out the weeds.  And, as I told the kids at VBS yesterday... God is still growing up all of us whether we are still children or not.

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Thankful Thursday... Choosing Joy

Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

This call we have seems to me to be something we have to do intentionally.   Think about these words... rejoice always (always?), pray constantly (constantly?), give thanks in all circumstances (all circumstances?).  This does not come easy for me... or for anyone I know for that matter.  I think it goes more like this in our lives "rejoice sometimes (when I feel like it), pray sometime during the day (unless I am too busy or too tired), give thanks when I get what I want or when things go my way".  Living out these words truly is work... a choice... trust... belief...

I wish I could tell you that it always comes easy for me... that with practice, it will become natural to do these things.  And while I do believe practicing these disciplines does change us;  it will always be a battle between who were are and who we want to be.   God knows our hearts... I think that is why we have these verses.  He knows on our own, we are fickle... we act on our emotions... and we grumble... we fall and we forget.  The good news here is that as we daily start again, we are grown more and more into who the Lord wants us to be.  So, here I am remembering so many things to be thankful for...

 twenty years ago, I married my dear husband... we have seen much joy and sorrow, plenty and want, sickness and health... and the Lord has been faithful... knitting us together...

"a cord of three strands is not easily broken" Ecclesiastes 4:12b

for our 20th anniversary, my husband surprised me with a getaway to a beautiful inn...
totally unexpected and so wonderful... I didn't even need to plan childcare... he took care of it all

isn't the room so pretty?  we don't go away often and this was such a blessing!
We enjoyed a scrumptious brunch the next morning...

earlier in the week, I took a walk with my youngest while we were on Cape Cod for the day...
we saw this adorable bunny       

we also saw this boat... the scene was so peaceful

and then this view of the water...
 water is always so calming and I find it hard to be stressed looking at views like this

then we had dinner on our porch on the day of our actual anniversary...
sometimes it is moments like this that are the most joyful
our youngest, bought us this cross as part of our anniversary gift...
the thing that made me tear up is that each year we have a verse of the year for our family...
 one that I feel the Lord has for us... the verse on this cross is our verse of this year... she got it at the local dollar store because when you are 11, you don't have a lot of money & that is where you shop...
she told me they had two crosses there and that she thought for sure this was our verse of the year...
I don't believe in coincidence... truly a God-moment 
Each time I am thankful and rejoice, my heart is glad and I see more and more the many ways I am blessed.  I hope you will try this too... in doing so, you are choosing joy!
Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday - and a Proverb to Clothe Yourself In

Good Morning!  Linking up with Lindsay from The Pleated Poppy for  What I Wore Wednesday.  I think as women we tend to compare ourselves to others and also we can be our harshest critics.  We pick ourselves apart at times... and see every flaw.  You know the inner dialogue; it goes something like this... "If only I was thinner, taller, prettier... or had curlier or straighter hair... if only I looked like her (whoever her may be".   The details may be a little different but you get the picture.   I don't think that is what God wants for us.  We are His creations... He made us well in His image.  And so, I am trying to put a little effort into my outfits each day... it makes me feel good. Instead of seeing all of my flaws, I am trying to be thankful for who God made me to be.   I want to do this for myself, my husband, and my family.  And, I am risky feeling a little bit vulnerable by putting my pictures on here with my outfits in the hopes I can encourage you. 

This "putting ourselves together"  doesn't have to cost a lot of money.  Just use what you have... mix and match... try to wear different things together.  Try... what is the worst that can happen.  I have had some fashion fails for sure:)  And you know what... that is okay.  If you are not sure where to start, try looking at someone whose fashion sense you like... not to copy them but to be inspired.

Posting my oufits each week also helps me to realize how blessed I am to have the clothes I do but also points out to me that I have more than I need.   Instead of buying more and more, mixing and matching what I have keeps things fresh and taps into creativity.  Most of my clothes are either thrifted or bought a super low prices... you don't have to spend a lot on what you wear so don't let a limited budget stop you.

Here are some recent outfits:

comfy outfit for a long drive to pick up my two oldest from camp...
adding a pretty necklace and earrings, and a couple of bracelets
makes a simple outfit just a little nicer

my dear husband surprised me with an overnight trip to a nearby inn to celebrate our 20th anniversary... this outfit was perfect for brunch...
 I have never worn this outfit with the skirt and scarf so it was fun to mix it up

isn't the room so pretty?

this picture is blurry but I love this maxi skirt I got at a thrift store last summer

I usually wear this dress with leggings and flats or boots..
thought I would try it with sandals this time

And, here is a Proverb to clothe yourself in since true beauty comes from deep within:

I will instruct you in the way of wisdom
and lead you along straight paths.
Proverbs 4:11

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Summer Update and Bathroom Redo Sneak Peek

"There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born, a time to die,
a time to plant, a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away.
a time to tear down, and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace."
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

These verses sure describe this summer for my family.  It has been a time for these things.  July saw the loss of three people who were so significant to the faith of both my husband and I; this was a time of mourning.  I feel so blessed to have known them... and although I know death is not the end... not the final word... still. there is mourning and sorrow in losing them for now.

We also have had lots of joy and rejoicing during this season... kids going to camp, beach time, pool time, movies, ice cream, laughter, singing, dreaming, creating, and more.

There has been a time for my husband to build up a workshop space for himself... and a time for me to declutter and paint our bathroom. I have learned to spackle too!  And, I have learned that fixing up an old home comes in stages and is done a little at a time... I mean, who has the time or money to do it all at once?  I am learning to enjoy that process and bloom in the transformation.  Here is a little sneak peek at our bathroom update... I will share more later this week.




We have rejoiced in times with family and friends... and a surprise getaway for our 20th anniversary...
My husband has been working on our garden (he has the green thumb in the family) and we have helped with weeding and there has just now begun some harvesting... gardening is good for the soul... it teaches us so many lessons about sowing and reaping, good fruits and weeds, soils that helps grow and that which destroys...
Now we are regrouping at our house after some adventures... and getting ready for VBS... and decluttering... and more painting... and the list goes on...
Well, this has been my rambling to catch up... hope your summer is going well and that you are blooming where you are planted!
Praying you have many blessings and much joy!