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Monday, December 31, 2012

A Time to Reflect and Give Thanks

As 2012 comes to a close, I wanted to spend some time reflecting on the year. It was a good year. Ben and I sipped some coffee and went back and forth on special moments and thanked our God for all His goodness and faithfulness to us.
First of all, we are thankful for our beautiful daughter that brings so much joy and sunshine into our lives. She is such a blessing. She makes me laugh all day. I'm so thankful that I get to be with her all day every day. She is truly my sunshine.



I can't believe this picture was taken at the very beginning of the year..Thought the Redskins shirt was fitting! Cause they're going to the playoffs!! Whoop Whoop!


I've also got a smokin hot husband that I am so blessed to have as my true love and life partner. This is has been a tough year, but I feel it has strengthened our marriage tremendously. I hope to have lots of fun together this year. He is the best man I know.



2012 was a year for stepping out and up in somethings. I stepped it up with the blog. I still would not call myself a "blogger" but I definitely have vision for it and hope to step it up even more this coming year. I also have stepped out with different business ideas that I hope will evolve a little more this year. Honestly I think that becoming a mother has grown me tremendously. I have heard women say that being a mother has boosted their confidence. I would not say that I lacked a lot of confidence. Maybe confidence isn't the best word, but belief in oneself. Actually believing I can do something enough to actually do it. Being a mother demands a great deal out of you and it develops a strength inside. I'm so thankful to be a mom. 
This was a big year for my family. I got two new sister in laws! And a new niece!!




I have done a ton to improve my house, and others! My bathroommy headboard, living room, and a little boy's room just to name a few. I'll be posting my living room soon and also the little boy's sports room. I've loved having opportunities and that creative outlet. 
We are thankful for our sweet home group and church, good health, amazing family, a roof over our heads, provision, His Great Love and Kindness that he displays every day. It has been a wonderful year and I am really looking forward to 2013! 
My prayer for all of us is that we would believe His Word. That we would seek Him and that we would find Him this coming year. 
"For know the plans I have for you, declared the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you." Jeremiah 29:11-13


Monday, December 10, 2012

For My Surviving Mamas

When someone asks how you're doing, do you ever respond, "We're surviving," and then add a little sarcastic chuckle directly following? Well, I have...more frequently in the past year than ever. Life is full of trials and hardships, challenges and disappointments. Financially scraping by, barely making it emotionally, running on coffee and Pinterest (hey Pinterest energizes me!). Well let me just say, SURVIVAL MODE SUCKS.

We are not destined to just survive. We are destined to Flourish. We should have an abundance of joy and peace no matter how much money we have in our bank accounts, no matter how much sleep we've gotten, and no matter how many things have gone our way that week. So...why don't we? Why don't I?

First I think it's because we are humans..We know in part, we see in part and gravity tends to keep us from looking up at Jesus. I think that is the key to living according to the Kingdom--setting your sights on things above (Colossians 3).

I came up with a list of things to help keep focused on what really matters. Thought I'd share it with you:)

1. Spend time daily in the Word. Even if it's 5 minutes. The ideal start to my day is coffee in one hand and Bible in the other. Meditating on truth for me is the beginning of intimacy with Him. It opens my ears to truth, to His Voice. It opens my mind for revelation from above. I'm going to start trying to end my day in the Word also, or even with a good book about Him.

2. Know thyself. Socrates was wise. It is wise to know your weaknesses. How do you get weary? More recently it was we all got sick. Before that, it was having a lot of different events going on. Sometimes I can just feel the weariness creeping in. I begin to think I don't need to spend time reading, I need to do that load of laundry or make another hat! That should be the red flag. When that happens maybe turn to the Lord and say, "Remind me that I need Him and help me desire what I need the most."

3. Slack! I picture this rope being pulled extremely tight..I'm on one end. Pulling or being pulled. The rope being my life and all the things I have going on. Too tight for anything else. This is a harder one for me.  I love all the things I do. But then there's no room for time with Ben. Or time for myself. Or time to dance. Or just simply be. Whether it's giving responsibilities to someone else or saying to heck with the laundry one day. We all so desperately need to simplify our schedules.

4. Habits. Check out Ann Voskamp's blog. She has so many great articles on building habits, which to me is really having discipline. Doing the same things everyday at the same time every day. Like meditating on Scripture. Exercise. Play an instrument. An activity with your children. Praying for your husband. You get the point, but seriously. www.aholyexperience.come will rock your world in all the right ways.

5. Schedules.  This has helped me immensely get a grip on the domestics. I try to have a meal schedule and cleaning schedule. www.imperfecthomemaking.com has some great printables for meal scheduling and grocery list making. I found an awesome cleaning chart that has helped me big time from this fellow blogger: http://tipsandpix.com/?p=76. I have stayed way less overwhelmed this way. I never follow it perfectly but it is better than no list. Doing a load of laundry automatically every morning helps. This even goes along with the habit thing. Try to do a load of laundry every morning for 2 weeks. It will help build that habit into your life. It can be as simple as that. It may seem a little trivial, but even being caught up on laundry frees mind space to think about higher things... :)

I love the number 5 so I'll stick with that. I seem to fall away from these things that have helped me in so many ways but I believe as time goes on, I am getting better and better. Isn't there some scripture about that somewhere? We are a work in progress? That he is faithful to complete?? :) Hang in there. I don't want to simply survive.
May I say a little prayer for us?  Lord, revive us from that state of surviving. That we would be fully alive and awake to all of your goodness within every moment of our days. Lead us by quiet streams, far and help us to stay near to that quiet place with you, with our eyes on things above.

Please Please Please feel free to share anything that helps you live more abundantly!

Friday, December 7, 2012

DIY Headboard

Can I just say that I love my best friend, Blaire. I sent her a picture of my finished headboard and she was so excited, more than me. She was so proud of me. It made me proud of myself. She texted, "Jen, You do it! You are an official DIY-er!" I guess this is a pretty big project to take on. It wasn't as hard as I thought. And I think that with most DIY Projects, you just have to DO. IT. Friday night i looked at Ben and just told him. We are doing this. We have the pallets. We just need to friggin get it done. And As I type, right behind me over my bed is my glorious headboard.

Our good friends came into town this past weekend. I was so excited because Ashton loves crafty things. It is hard to find people that really want to take on ambitious projects like myself. I often bite off more than I can chew. But I'd rather have a bunch of bitten off projects than none...lol. Anyways, she was so helpful. She is great with Lucy and just so sweet to be around. She helped and so did her husband, my husband's favorite person in the whole world, Brennan. Brennan just happens to be pretty experienced in carpentry...Oh I love how things just work together and go my way sometimes.. :)

How about I lay it out in steps...

STEP 1: INSPIRATION
I looked everywhere for pallet headboards and all sorts of different types of wood headboards. I definitely wanted wood. Nothing held a candle to this beauty:


This is a great blog all together. This look is definitely what I was envisioning..Rustic yet elegant. Slightly coastal but just plain ole rustic! I love it. PLEASE check out her blog. She has great tutorials and ideas for DIY.

STEP 2: GET PALLETS

Every weekend there is at least one post about free pallets on craigslist. I got lucky and found a guy in my neighborhood that was flipping a house and home depot delivered a bunch of stuff on pallets to his house. So we picked them up, wagon style.




Das Right...

It was a lot of fun..Good thing it was just in our neighborhood. 

STEP 3: DISMANTLE PALLETS

 This is extremely hard to do without power tools. I love my neighbor. She has everything. So I borrowed her sawsall and Ben cut the nails from the boards..


Yep he's pretty hott.

We pulled them out from the middle. You can shimmy the wood and twist it and the nails pull out. It's hard to get the saw down in the middle brace.  

Then I hammered out any remaining nails from the bottom.

Then I threw them very bad-A like into a pile 

STEP 4: PlAN OF ASSEMBLY

I read a bunch of different tutorials of how to actually build the headboard. The Rooster and the Hen just nailed them right into the wall...We don't actually own our house and would love to one day take our beautiful headboard with us and also do not want to put a ton of holes in the wall. Also, I didn't really need the headboard to be floor to ceiling. So my brilliant husband had the idea of just nailing them to a piece of plywood and then hanging the plywood on the wall..DING DING DING. And it worked perfectly. Plus, a piece of standard plywood is about the size I needed. I wanted it to be 4' high and 7 feet wide. Plywood is 4' x 8'. So, we had our plan. 

STEP 5: GATHER MATERIALS 

We made a trip to home depot and purchased our plywood for $15. They cut it to size there. We also bought a pack of screws 1 1/4 " long. Long enough to go through the pallet wood and plywood but not completely through the plywood. The nails did stick out just a little bit. You may be able to get away with getting 1" screws...but either way works. 


STEP 6: MATCH 'EM UP

Pallets by width....This is the meticulous part. There is always a meticulous part of DIY. This is it. Even if the wood boards came from the same pallet, because of water, weight, the sun, whatever, they could all be slightly different in size. Ashton and I had to match up by width so you could have an even row. Because it would add lots more meticulous if you didn't have an even row...


AFter we finally matched them, we trimmed the edges to make them fit and to give it a scattered look.



Then we nailed them to the plywood...well Brennan mostly...


 Then we heard the icecream truck and Ben took Lucy for her first treat from the truck...It was sweet.



Then I gave it a white wash. 


And then we oooo-ed and ahhhhh-ed over it for a while.


Then nailed it into the studs over our bed. Only put about 12 wholes in the wall. Much better than 100. I'm thankful to rooster and the hen for their inspiration! I love ideas. I love sharing my ideas so that others can use them to make their lives more fun and full. This project was so much fun, especially to do it with good friends. Now my room feels much more like a bedroom and my next project will be lampshades...Post to come. Hopefully it won't take long! 


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Inspirations



Everyone needs inspiration. I need it every day. In fact, I often times pray, "Lord, inspire me to walk with you today." As humans, we run out of gas so easily and quickly. Most days I have to fight to be productive. Some days it comes easier. Lately I've found some inspiration I'd thought I would share with hopes to inspire you. I'll break it down into categories.



Exercise
Find an outlet to be active. It doesn't necessarily have to involve lifting weights, running, or pushups. I cleaned out my garden for 45 minutes the other day. Hey that frog was getting a workout while I was pushing all that dirt around! I checked it off as a workout. It was hard work! I was squatting, reaching, lifting, walking here, and there...It was work! I love to join my man in his workout when Lucy is napping. He has created his own crossfit gym that he sets up in the backyard. Tires, bags, weights, all kinds of things. Switching it up and getting outside can be very motivating.




                                                        
Spiritual
Memorization = Meditation. I decided to take on Anne Voskamp's challenge of 100 days. You can read a little more about it here: Building Habits. One of my items that I wanted to do every day for 100 days was memorize Philippians. Honestly, I have a hard time with meditation. Let's face it. It's hard for a lot of us to focus on one thing in such a stimulating world that pulls on our attention from a thousand directions. But as I began to memorize Philippians verse by verse, I realized I was in fact meditating. I was thinking about it, trying to understand it so that it would be written in my mind and on my heart. And, I think about it throughout the day. I didn't do it today, and noticed my thoughts dwelling on petty, negative, meaningless, worrisome things...And I had an epiphany, so if it's not truth that I meditate on throughout the day, this is what I dwell upon...I'm tellin' ya--memorization leads to meditation which leads to a sanctified mind, happy heart, and better living. :)

Home Decorating
THRIFT. Pinterest can be pretty draining. It's really fun but there's just. so. much. When I am trying to be creative in my home, following someone else's idea doesn't always leave me satisfied. Don't get me wrong--I love being inspired by the ideas of others, and inspiring others with my ideas :) But sometimes you just have to find your own dang inspiration! So go to your local thrift store. Find something cheap and make it amazing. Then blog about it or pin it! Like my mirror I thrifted..I didn't even do anything to it...Just gave it a new home and it made my home so much better! :) I can check myself out as I walk out the door. A serious need for us mommies.



I really like the number 3. That was three areas of inspiration. Think that's good for now :) Next time I'll have to bring you some Lucy love. 18 months is a tough age, i need to focus on the great. Bye for now;)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Guest Bathroom Makeover

   

My best friend, Blaire, came into town in the beginning of September. She lives in Kansas City, way too far away, so when she comes we try to pack in as much as possible. We met during our DTS with YWAM and have been besties every since. We went to college together after that. She's my girl. Our birthdays are two weeks apart, so as a present to me, she helped me redo my guest bath...it was my least favorite part of the house. Now it's my favorite.

We rent. We would love to own our very own house, oh man the plans I have for our own house!! But until then we will make our home as beautiful as we can :) The bathroom was painted yellow when we moved in. As you can see the the towel racks were falling out of the wall. If you look closely, you can see that large whole in the wall. It's where the other end of the rack hung... And the yellow.... it's AWFUL. Ugh. It gets worse...




These over the toilet things are a nice idea..But don't really store very much and are just, sorry to say, ugly. But don't you love the picture of our feet and African wooden bowl (from Blaire's travels) filled with christmas ornaments? Yikes. They've been there since Christmas last year.


My counter does't normally look like this but we were about to start painting and I almost forgot to take before pictures! Everything is builder-grade. The mirror, light fixture, hand towel fixture....Yeah...


The shower curtain we've had since we've been married. Still in great shape, but not the direction I'm wanting to go. For now it will be stored in the closet. The curtain rod must go.

And now the fun part!

So first we had to pick out the paint. I definitely learned a TON about decorating through this project. I learned that i LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I was staying up late working on it. I had a blast. There was much trial and error during this project, which I appreciate because that is where you learn--through trial and error. Originally I was going to do the same colors I had in the living room and hallway, a really pretty blue and a few shades up from the blue. I wanted to paint stripes. Like this bathroom from one of my favorite blog's: Young House Love



 Blaire is really good at getting me out of my shell. She urged me in her I'm going to change your mind tone, "Jen, let's get away from the blue...It's in every room in your house. Let's do something Bold." She was right. I'm an aquaholic. It's everywhere in my home. I'll show you another day. The bathroom is a small space, so you can get away with going bold. I decided I wanted something bold yet whimsical because it is Lucy's bathroom. We were flipping through a magazine on the way to World Market and saw this really pretty plum. I love plum, let's do plum...with pops of Chartreuse (Chartruese is another way of saying warm, mossy green)  So we had our color scheme. Couldn't really find a shower curtain that had those colors in it just yet. So we went to home depot and got the paint. We wanted to find something sort of purple-ish, peach-ish to go against the plum.

First we painted the entire bathroom the purple-ish pink-ish color. I would have more pictures but I'm a dummy and dropped my iphone in coffee soon after we finished the bathroom and lost a lot of pictures. Thankfully Blaire took some from her phone. After we painted the bathroom we began to figure out the chevron pattern. We used ideas from three different tutorials:

1.  The Grid

2.  Funny Pregnant Lady

3. Tall Chick

It took us four days to figure out the chevron. It is much more complex than you would think. I may just save how we did the chevron for another post. We really liked the grid the bloggers from tutorial #1 used. We attempted the pattern idea from the pregnant lady's blog. She did her chevron pregnant....yeah. She's a champ. We loved the thickness of the chevron from the Tall Chick's tutorial.

I believe the above picture is from our second or third attempt.


Paint is up!! Already looks so much better...


You can really see the color in this picture...



Oh and the shower curtain. We finished the paint and then went looking. Can you believe we found it AFTER? It's nearly the same exact colors. We prayed. We asked the Lord for the perfect shower curtain. You know what? God loves blessing up with things that may seem petty...He loves being involved in our every day.
I also very much like Ikat. That's what the type of pattern on the curtain is called. I love mixing patterns and styles!

Like I said...I had a ton of pictures from each of the steps of the bathroom. But like I said...I dropped my iphone in coffee...the day before my birthday...yeah. But we spray painted the shower curtain rod a brushed bronze color. Found dark brown bronze shower curtain rings at TJMaxx for $4.99.

--Towel Hooks DIY. $6 each!

Oh, the Light Fixture...
Installed it myself! Got it from Habitat For Humanity's Restore for $8. Just painted it my satin bronze color. It made a big impact. 


BEFORE BLEH...


AFTER AAAAAHHHHH..... 


Painted wooden frames you can get at Michael's and put leftover scrapbook paper from the light switch project:


Gotta love Kohl's $10 gift cards. Got one in the mail and bought the soap dispenser for $2.


Candle and Holder $2, yard sale.


DIY Shelves. Total of $20! Notice how I match the room? :) 


Here is anothe picture I took this morning. I've moved things around a little bit. I know...I can hear your voice Blaire...The feet. But it's our feet from our wedding day. Maybe in a new frame??


Very cool mirror tray, thrift store, $3.



VERY cool Vintage Reader Digest Books found at Habitat Restore. $1.50 each.



Free printable from www.thehandmadehome.net to go in $5 frame from TJMaxx.


Medallion Place mat $2.99 TJMaxx. Yeah I'm a Maxxinista. Another $10 Kohl's gift card landed me this white chevron towel. DIY Light Switch Cover inspired from one of my favorite blogs: Jones Design Company




Yeah we were pretty proud of our chevron. It looks friggin' awesome. And so do we...We may be nearing the end of our 20's but I think we still got it goin on!



 BEFORE:
 AFTER:

Total Costs:
Paint: $55
Accessories: $80
Shower Curtain: $28 (with 10% coupon)

Phew...This post has taken me forever. But my bathroom is a different, better place!! Lucy loves taking her baths in there. Well she did before too. One day she will understand. Thanks B for my awesome Birthday Present! We make a great team!

Hope you are inspired to makeover a space in your home!