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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!