Friday, July 27, 2012

Dresser Upcycle

Whoop Whoop!  My dream has come true!  I have finally painted a piece of furniture!  {Happy dance.}  Amelia came to town...we shopped flea markets, attended the antique show here in town, ate mexican, and gave my dresser a little love.

It's official.  I like painting furniture.  Taking something borderline ugly, working with it a few hours, then falling in love with a totally new piece of furniture is just priceless!

Here was the dresser we worked with.  It was passed down to us years ago by Eric's parents.  While we've been thankful to have it, I have never really cared for it.  So, I picked it first to upcycle.

Now, this product is the key.  It is change-your-life-awesome.  We are talking no-sanding, no-priming, just slap on some paint and then sand a little distressment and then slap on some wax.  Real easy-like, which was going to be the one and only way I was going to get into this furniture painting business. 

Another good thing about this paint is that it is fumeless.  Which means you don't even have to leave the comfort of your air conditioned bedroom, folks.  {Enjoy sweating I do not.}

And the big reveal!!!
 The distress marks look better in person, but here is a close-up.

 And a little night action.  I never dreamed I would like these old-school brassy knobs on this piece, but I think it works beautifully against the white shade.  It's almost, dare I say, classy.
 Here's my painter-teacher-helper-extraordinaire.  She is one talented sista. She reminds me of God in that she can look at the ugliest of ugly and think about what she can do to transform it into something beautiful.  Creates and transforms, she does.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hopelessness Exaggerates the Adversities

We've had a few weeks of emotional drama around here. Or spiritual warfare.  Or just plain old life being lived in enemy territory.  Whatever you call it, is so easy to give into despair and hopelessness.  I know that for me, once I start to entertain those thoughts, everything goes south.  And stat.

I found this quote.  Perhaps it meets you where you are, as well.

" I implore you to not give into despair.  It is a dangerous temptation, because our Adversary has refined it to the point that it is quite subtle.  Hopelessness constricts and withers the heart, rendering it unable to sense God's blessings and grace.  It also causes you to exaggerate the adversities of life and makes your burdens seem too heavy for you to bear.  Yet God's plans for you, and His ways of bringing about His plans, are infinitely wise."  Madame Guyon

I think I should paint this on my wall.  Or write it on my forehead.  Or cross stitch it. 

Or, I could just live it.

{last photo from pinterest}

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Favorite Things

Hey there!  It has been a long time since I've rounded up a few of my favorite things.  I always enjoy seeing what products people like to use...kind of like consumer reports via mom-bloggers.  It saves me money if I know something works!  Here's what made the cut for my favorite things!  Enjoy!

1.  Merle Norman's Daily Moisture Cream--I can't say enough about this.  It smells good and even works on my crazy-dry skin!  I use it morning and doesn't have SPF, but my makeup does, so I guess it is OK.  
 2.  Lysol Toilet Bowl "complete clean lime and rust remover"--we have suffered from rust stains in our toilet bowls forever and day.  I had tried everything...Magic Eraser, straight bleach, products designed to get off lime/ no avail.  I saw this new product, gave it a whirl, and the stains came off immediately.  Amazing product.  Thank you, Lysol!  Now people don't have to think I never clean my toilet!
 3.  Kemp's Frozen Yogurt Cookies and Cream---let's face it, I am an ice cream addict.  But, in order to keep the pounds at bay, I needed to find a flavor of frozen yogurt I like.  I am sure it is still chock full of sugar, but maybe a tad better for me?  Please say it is...
 4.  Downy Unstoppables--mmmm.  I am a sucker for products that smell good.  I think I have no less than 12 bottles of lotion that I currently rotate through.  I love candles, good perfume, house spray, and just-bathed boys.  Enter this product.  It is pricey and doesn't last long, but there is nothing like crawling into bed with fresh lavender sheets at night.
 5.  Fake Bake Sunless Tanning Spray with Mitt--I do like color on my skin but I hate tanning beds and the cancer word scares me.  Enter this stuff. Usually, I hate tanning lotions due to the smell, but this stuff really doesn't smell at all (and I am pretty picky about the after-smell they leave.)  It gives instant color but it doesn't really last after you've taken a shower.  Pros:  great smell and actual tan color instead of orange.  Cons:  must reapply daily (I get lazy.)

6.  International Delight Heath Flavor--I like coffee.  So does my nine year old, but don't turn me into the authorities.  We looked over all the flavors at wallyworld and decided to give this one a whirl.  I actually like it!  It doesn't beat out my fave...CoffeeMate Italian Sweet Cream, but it kind of tastes like dessert in a cup.  (Sometimes if I have a sugar craving, I will make some coffee...I figure a bit of sugar in the creamer is better than binging on something else...)
So there you have it!  What are a few of your favorite things right now?

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Banqueting Table

He brought me to His banqueting table. His banner over me is love. 

I grew up singing this little song and when I read Psalm 78, I hear the Israelites singing anything but. 

They are stuck between sin and dis-remembering.  They have forgotten who they are and what their God is capable of.  They are teetering on the dangerous line of rebellion that can only fall into discipline and consequence.  What got them to this point?

Verse 11 says it simply:  "They forgot what He had done, the wonders He had shown them."

My mind is blown away by this.  How does one forget walking between two walls of water.  How does one forget a rock being struck only to have drinkable water come forth?  How does one forget bread being rained down from the heavens?

Is it ungratefulness that leads to forgetting or is it forgetting that leads to ungratefulness?  Either way, once they were on the path, sin and bitterness took root. They weren't content with what God had provided and they weren't content with God being God.

They wanted more.  They lusted after meat.  In their sin, they created an appetite for something that God didn't have on the sovereign menu.

In their sin-clouded vision, their belief in God stripped away.  What they asked resonates deep.

"Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?"

You mean to tell me they have seen the cloud by day and the fire by night...they have been fed daily with manna...they have clothing and shoes that have not worn out...they have seen pure water trickle out of rock for crying out loud and they still question God's power and goodness??? 

"Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?"

Have I not muttered the same thing?

We recently were blessed with a small raise that was not even asked for.  After calculating what it would provide, my mindset quickly started adding up all the things that it would not take care of.  Not braces, not more space, not a newer vehicle for one day, not this, not that, not even quail.

I knew I was the same as the Israelites.  I love the Old Testament because I know I have much to learn from God's people, my lineage.

I quickly repented and remembered God's blessings of provision.  It didn't look like what I had desired.  It was manna instead of quail, but it was good and straight from His hand.

When we speak against God and His desire to take care of us, it can quickly lead to bitterness and unbelief.  All the sudden, we forget that it was God who made a way for redemption, gives us His Holy Spirit for guidance, and daily loads us with His benefits.

When left unchecked, He deals with us as He did them:  He gave them their lustful desires. Sometimes it takes a taste of quail to surrender, repent, and remember that God is indeed, in charge.  Only then would they remember {zakar:  to mark, to make mention.} {This story reads really well in Numbers chapter 11 where we find that God strikes down those that craved the meat and the people later named that camp "Kibroth Hattaavah" which means "graves of craving."  Man, I don't know if I wanted to know that.  What am I craving that might lead to some sort of death?}

"Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?"

The point of it all is this:  God had already spread them a banqueting table.  They had all they needed.  They simply weren't content with it anymore.  They were looking ahead instead of being satisfied with their present and daily allowance.

Lord, create in us minds and hearts that choose to worship and remember your acts of goodness towards us.  When we see roots of discontentment creeping up, let us hack away at them until only peace and gratefulness are left.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Masterpiece

His masterpiece hangs on the fridge.  Sam broke out the acrylics yesterday and filled in the sketch I offered.  The outline of a tree became brown and green and full of apples.  The nest all the sudden housed a mother bird and tiny eggs.  The ground sprouted tufts of lush grass.

He told me this morning that he wished there were people on the ground looking up at the birds.  I told him we could add those today.

He paused and said, "But, the paint is already dry."

I told him the painter can always go back and add more.  When people paint, they do a little work each day, allowing their portion to dry.  As each day passes, they can add new details and new characters. 

A masterpiece is never finished in one day.

But, my spirit wrestles against this.  I want the results now.  I want the finished product now. 

The Painter knows a better way.  He simply applies a few brushstrokes of grace each day, allowing each to dry and become a true part of our canvas.

What a mess we would be if He threw up some paint and then left us on our own.  Instead, He revisits us each day, looking at our individualized grace-canvas, adding the fine details of laughter and mercy and beauty and hope and joy.

He keeps at it until we all look like His Son in the end.  Each of us unique, each of us mirroring His beloved One.

We are His poiema, His workmanship. His masterpiece.

He just isn't done yet, that's all.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cousin Crazy

You can tell it is hot and summertime!  All I have the energy to do is post a couple of pics now and then.  The boys have had a fun time with their cousins this week!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Bodyguard

Sam has made it known that he is baby Lily's bodyguard.  He is so madly and fiercely smitten with her that it melts my heart every time I see them together.  He will be her "big brother" protector, for sure!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cookie Dough and Purple Highlights

Enjoying my time with my sis-in-law Kelli!  We share a love of many things...cookie dough, writing, good photography, mothering, Jesus, and silly Stuart men. I'm blessed to have her with me on this journey! You can read about her crazy and fun life here.  Did I mention she's brave enough to put purple highlights in her hair and leave for Tanzania for weeks at a time?  A cool soul, she is!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Gulf Shores

We've been at the beach!  We vacationed with our good friends, the Huffords this year...what fun!  This first pic was my view the whole week...except when raining.  That foursome of kids loved the waves!  I was constantly counting 1,2,3,4....making sure I saw 4 heads bobbing up out of the water.

The weather was so nice (well, except for 2 days of rain)!  It was in the 70's and 80's and so nice for mid-July!  I even wore a sweater one night when we went out to eat...crazy!

I am just so thankful for some time away...time to see wild dolphins, eat lots of shrimp, read a ton, visit with precious friends, and watch the kids be kids.  Thank you, Lord!

more pics at lulu!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Secret

Pssst.  I have a secret.  Lean in a little closer.  Ooh, that is some good Bath and Body Works lotion you've got goin' on!  OK, are you ready for this?  I have read a whole lot of books on faith and Christianity and growth and discipleship and knowing Jesus.  Guess what?

This is one of my faves!

The book is "The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life" written by Hannah Whitall Smith way back in the late 1800's.  But, don't let the thees and thous of this book make you miss a masterpiece!  I still have a grandmother that prays with her thees and thous.  I think it makes her holier.

It is a book that concentrates on two main things that will lead you to a happy life.  First, consecration.  We've got to fully surrender or the rest is futile.  Second, faith.  We've got to trust God to make good on what we've given up.  Remember...step one:  entire abandonment; step two:  absolute trust.

Got that?  I didn't think so.  That's why you need her explanation and all the thees and thous beautifully dispersed throughout.

You know it is my year for fruit and God revealing Himself as the Master Gardener, so I will leave you with a taste of Mrs. Smith's insights until your own copy comes in. 

God wants us planted in the soil of grace so that we will know His heart for us and have the ability to rest in His love and ways.

"...when once planted in grace, the growth of the soul in one month will exceed that of years in any other soil.  For grace is a most fruitful soil, and the plants that grow therein are plants of a marvellous growth.  They are tended by a Divine Husbandman, and are warmed by the Sun of Righteousness, and watered by the dew from be planted in grace is to live in the very heart of this love, to be enveloped by it, to be steeped in it, to revel in it, to know nothing else but love only and love always, to grow day by day in the knowledge of it, and in faith in it, to entrust everything to its care, and to have no shadow of a doubt but that it will surely order all things well."

"It is to be so satisfied with our Husbandman, and with His skill and wisdom, that not a question will cross our minds as to His modes of treatment or His plan of cultivation.  It is to grow as the lilies grow, or as the babes grow, without a care and without anxiety..."

"You need make no efforts to grow; but let your efforts instead be all concentrated on this, that you abide in the the Vine."

"Do not seek then to choose your own soil, nor the laying out of your borders; do not plant your own seeds, nor dig about, nor prune, nor watch over your own vines.  Be content with what the Divine Husbandman arranges for you, and with the care He gives.  Let Him choose the sort of plants and fruits He sees best to cultivate..."

I told you I had a little gem of a secret!  I hope you enjoy her wisdom as much as I have!

*picture courtesy of google

Friday, July 6, 2012

On Pleasing God

He never saw death.  That blows my little mind to pieces.  Enoch walked with God.  He pleased God.  He was taken up to be with God.

He simply didn't have to take the usual route of death to get there.

What a detour.  I am slightly jealous.

I guess we are all looking at ways to be the model Christian.  I mean, who knows, if you please God, then maybe He'll beam you up like He did with Enoch.

But, after thinking about what it means to please God, I realize it isn't so much what we do as it is who we are.  Or maybe, Whose we are.

Enoch was "translated" which means he was transferred from one location to another.  One moment he was walking the dusty path of earth and the next the golden streets of heaven.  All we know is that he walked with God and that his testimony was this:  he pleased God.

To please God is "euaresteo" in Greek and it means to be fully acceptable before be fully agreeable and to gratify entirely.

I think the key for us is the blood of Jesus.  The sacrificial blood makes us fully acceptable before God the Awesome.  He can now look at us and be gratified.  I think He even smiles.

The verse right after Enoch pleasing God is our key verse. This is all in Hebrews 11.  It says that without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. 

The key to pleasing God is faith.  A life of walking with Him because He is the only One worth walking with.  A life of abiding.  Rest.  Intimacy.  Trust.  Fellowship.  A life shared with the Life-Giver and Life-Sustainer.

What I want to jump up and down for is the fact that even faith is a gift.  {It is by grace you have been saved...through faith...and this is not from is a gift...Eph. 2:8}

"Faith is a settled confidence that something in the future--something that is not yet seen but has been promised by God--will actually come to pass because God will bring it about."  ESV study bible notes

Sure, we believe that God exists. But, do we believe that He is a rewarder of all who seek Him?  Rewarder in Greek is "misthapodotes" and means to let out wages or to give away as in paying out. 

Do we see God in this light?  Not as a genie in a bottle, but as a God who desires our seeking-out and desires for us to be blessed and to know Him as our all-in-all...our very portion?

Enoch pleased God because he lived a life of faith.  He walked with God and communed with God.  He trusted in God's plan, even when it meant skipping death.  He had a very sweet relationship with His creator.

"Faith is an absolutely necessary element in the reception of any gift; for let our friends give a thing to us ever so fully, it is not really ours until we believe it has been given and claim it as our own."  Hannah Whitall Smith

She says, "until we believe we are loved, it never really becomes ours."

Do we really believe we are His precious, priceless, irreplaceable children?

Lord, give us the settled confidence of what your blood has already proven.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th

Thankful for freedom today...

owning my own business
owning a home
owning two paid vehicles

worshipping where I desire
whenever I desire
without fear of threat

teaching my children
choosing the right education
watching them laugh and simply be kids

trash that gets picked up every single week
toilets that flush down
roads that are paved

friends that I get to choose
the Word that I get to study
healthy menus that I get to plan

the Blood that sets free
the Spirit that guides
the God who beautifully creates

thank you, Lord
for the many facets of freedom
let me not take a single one for granted

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Adventures in a Foreign Land

She was 10 the day I married.  She wore a halo of baby's breath on her head that had already been adorned with beautiful blond curls.  I took a big gulp because I knew deep down, that this what it.  This was my last chance to come home and live with my family and watch my siblings grow up.

I chose marriage instead.

I know it was God's plan, but it still haunts.  I tried to come home for the the bigger events, but it put a huge whole in my heart not being able to be a part of their every-day lives.

I won't ever forget the time I was visiting home from college.  Amelia tucked a note into my Bible while we sat in church.  It said "Please, don't go."  I still have that note.

An eleven year span separated us then and it still does today.  But, God seems to be graciously allowing the years to evaporate and simply let us enjoy each other as sisters.  Not me as the big sister, changing diapers and keeping her safe, but just sisters.  Friends.

I like that.

We found ourselves on a little adventure this past weekend.  Into all things flea-markety, the Brave One talked me into heading to Dallas.  She was to already be there, all I would have to do is fly myself to Dallas.  I grimaced at the thought of asking, but I had to ask Eric as he was driving me to the airport.  "Ummm, when I get off the plane, how will I know which way to go?"

"Signs, Babe.  Check the signs."  I think he was more nervous in setting me free than I was in leaving.

While on the plane, I battled my ears popping the whole time while I watched the lady to my left down a Jack and Coke.  It wasn't even lunchtime yet.  So, this is what the real world looks like...

I found my luggage, found my sister's camaro, and we found ourselves in a store that sold huge elephants for 18 grand.

I called Eric and told him I was in a foreign land.

I know that girl is my sister because we ate Mexican every chance we got.

Canton.  That's all I have to say.  Have you been to Canton, Texas?  Because really, that was what this adventure was all about.  Well, maybe except for the run to Macy's, which may have been worth the trip all by itself.  Two pair of jeans that fit in one day?  Yes, a glorious and foreign land for sure.

Canton.  Population 4000, but over 100 acres of booth after booth of amazingness.  Furniture?  check.  Jewelry?  check.  Junk?  check.  Luggage, purses, art, antiques, clothes, accessories, food?  check. 

It was something, that is for sure! 

Amelia loaded up her husband's truck with goodies for her flea market booths and sent him on his way while we braved the 100 degree temps and only one building with air conditioning.

But, we were on an adventure in a foreign land, so that was OK.

Tuckered out completely, we found ourselves sharing a big king sized bed and laughing our heads off at a Tyler Perry movie and wondering if there was anything on earth more fine than Shemar Moore.


I hope we get to share many more adventures together...