Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012

What a year! I can't begin to wrap my brain around all that took place this year. You may know that I like to ask God for a 'word' or 'vision' for the upcoming year. Some years I wasn't patient enough to wait and listen for it, other years it's been almost audible. Three years ago He said it would be a 'hard' year, but I felt His presence in it and was not discouraged. Two years ago He said "No yet....keep hanging on. Just wait". Last year He said "a year of blessings"... holy cow was it ever!!!! I can't even list everything on here, but I'd like to try...I want to give Him glory for what he's done.

Our faith and confidence in God's goodness grew by leaps and bounds through our home-buying process. Intertwined with that was the foreshadowing of Lenny being let go from American Airlines. God told me to ask Him for this specific house, even though we were about to lose our income. We were turned down by multiple lenders and many loans fell through. But God had given me 2 verses to stand on. It wouldn't have been so easy to stand in confidence if He hadn't given me those verses. I learned to 'pray and speak scripture'...sending it out with confidence in Jesus' name to not return void. All along we asked God's direction on everything we did. I so thankful for those friends and family that literally prayed over the property with us.

God answered prayers and provided more than we needed when Len was laid off with a severance package and got 8 weeks to stay home with us before finding another job...this time, as a boss, in a totally different work environment than his old cubicle job. (Which we had been praying for him to get out of. That job was an immediate pay increase. Len then got another job opportunity that would initially be a pay decrease but could quickly become a large pay-increase. He accepted that job offer and had to give his job a 30 day notice. They let him go that day without a severance. Here comes my work story...

I had to leave the YMCA due to Kennley not handling missing her am nap well. I immediately found a job doing night reception at a car lot. 27 hours a week. It was a lot of time to be away from my family....I would leave as soon as Len got home from his job. But it provided the money we needed to close on the house and almost everything we needed right away to spruce up the place. (There were no blinds in any windows, that kind of thing) Once we got moved in, we felt that I should quit my was too many hours. I needed to make like $100 to stay in the budget I had set so I thought I would be able to find some way to do that each month. Well, the day after I gave my notice at work, the pharmacist from my extern site called and asked if I could work any hours at all...I was like...*silence...pause....are you serious? :) (You don't typically find flexible hours at a pharmacy.) I started working once a week up to twice a week in the evenings. We Len left his last job I received double the hours each week. It's just amazing how God aligns everything to provide for us, isn't it?! I receive so much joy from helping the customers that come into our pharmacy. It's weird how much of a customer service person I'm turning into. That's a whole other thing...

God has moved again on my heart in ways only He can. I am 200% more flexible than I used to be.  (like spontaneous, not like limber) :) I LOVE change. I LOVE meeting new people! That was my #1 least favorite thing in high school! The joy I get from making new connections with people is making me giddy. I'm afraid I freak people out sometimes...I had a customer jump when I greeted him at work and literally just stared at me from several seconds trying to understand my 'chipper' disposition and called me 'goofy' 'goofy'...has anyone ever called me that? No! I'm sorry, I don't know how to process this either spills out in tears or in my smile and 'goofy' demeanor.

Warning: I know people don't like to talk about finances, but I think it's completely tied to our faith so I will be totally open about it. Two years ago we started the year with an offering. Not tithe, but an offering. It was the first time for us to give a big offering, you know, more than like $20 at Christmas. Last November Len felt led to give all the money in our savings (which really wasn't very impressive) but still, it was our security blanket in a time of job uncertainty. We gave it all and expected God to do what He said he would. "see if I will not open the floodgates of Heaven for you". One year later in Nov, we had double what we gave in that offering. When Len was blessed with his new job after 8 weeks of unemployment, we gave the whole first check as an offering. (and it wasn't even a 'sacrifice'...we didn't need the money...we were taken care of.) Then God provided this new upcoming job that could potentially double what he was making! God is getting ready to finance all the things He put in our hearts!! I don't want to miss a whisper of His direction. I pray that we will remain close to Him, hear his leading, see His heart and learn to better love what He loves.

I can't explain what peace beyond understanding feels like, but you know if you've ever had it. Well I have it everyday. It's like a can't have a bad day...I can get frustrated for a moment, but His joy breaks through that so quickly. Can you imagine what that looks like from Heaven's view where they see in more dimensions than we can. To literally see the joy breaking through my heavy frustration like rays of sharp sunlight until the gray can no longer be seen, but just a yummy yellow glow all around me. Sure, I can choose to block the light, but when you remember that it's right there waiting and wanting to break through, it's easy to remember to let go of what you're holding onto.

I am wrapping up this year in a warm fuzzy blanket of great memories, in a wonderful 'testament house', with a new heart and a fantastic little family! I am so curious to see what God has for 2013. What is the vision? I can already feel a desire to be about more than just my little get outside of ourselves. We are starting the year off, on Jan 1st, by having a student stay with us for 4 months. He has not given us any indication that he knows Jesus. I really am excited to have him join our family for awhile. Len starts his new job on the 7th and we'll go from there! God bless you as you try to draw near to Him and seek His desire for you and your 2013...well technically, it's His 2013, we just get to live in it. Use His time wisely. :)

You can read last year's New Year post here:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A little paint...a big impact! And some other things...

The stairs BEFORE:

The stairs AFTER:

I LOVE it!!! It is so much brighter and cleaner! The white makes the wood look even more beautiful. Two products that rocked this project were:
Guardsman Wood Marker (comes in 3 colors-I used the lightest color) and Bic Wite-Out EZCorrect
The roll-on white out was PERFECT for covering the hundreds of finishing nail holes and some rust spots that soaked through the primer. The marker, which is made to fill in scuffs in wood, was so easy to use and it covered all the scratches on the steps and they look so good now!

I also worked on curtains...I took the 2 long panels from the living room and turned them into 3 valances in the kitchen nook and 2 valances in the living room.
 This nook SO needed some valances!
 Living room window where the long panels used to high valances. Look so much better!

 I just love this fabric!
All fabric I had on hand, in the form of other curtains. I purchased some wood and L brackets to mount the valances to in the kitchen nook. Some other things I used: sewing machine, rope (to make the piping on top), hot glue gun (to keep the 'pressed' edges looking pressed), staple gun, metal drill bit, and wood screws.

One last super easy thing I made with an empty frame I had:
A memo board for "up-and-coming" events or special items to display. Used: bendable thick wire (that came with a flower bouquet I got) and some adhesive to glue it to the frame. Easy peasy. :)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fall Decor Time! Yippee!

I recently bought an antique window and was so excited to use it in my living room to replace the shelf that was above theTV (b/c it was way too small for that large wall) It took a couple days to chisel and sand it smooth and then paint it white. So here it is in all its nakedness...
Then I made a banner out of scrap fabric...too cute. :)

 I want to decorate it differently for each season so I started thinking what I could do for the Fall... so I found an old book, cut out some leaves, and hot-glued them to some thin rope.

Then I decided it needed something big in the middle like....a wreath! So I went to hobby lobby and an hour and 3 glue sticks later had a new, and very "fall", wreath.
Before: the supplies:

Then I hung it up...

But then I thought the banner was too much so I moved it to the fireplace mantel and was left with this clean looking window:
I'll probably change it tomorrow, but hey, that's the fun of it! And the old shelf from above the TV was moved to the entry way and I think it looks great there! Lots of possibilities for decorating it too...

I just love how the frames fill up that wall! (Though you probably wondered why I had empty frames hanging the past couple months.)  :)
Worked on filling some of those frames recently...
This quote made me chuckle and yet feel empowered at the same time. :) I printed out the words, cut them by hand and sorta glued them to scrapbook paper. (Don't know how long it will stay seeing how in our family, we don't say "freakin" it may only stay until Ry can read what it says.)  :) 
That one I just made on a Word document...about as easy as it gets! You could personality to anything!

Hopefully a post on new curtains will be forthcoming, but I am having trouble committing to a fabric so that project keeps getting postponed. Thanks for viewing!...You weirdos that, like me, love to examine how other people decorate their homes! hehe :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Kitchen Cabinets Reveal

Our cabinets are no longer nasty!!! :)

I shall remind you of what they looked like...
Removal of the red wall paper...
(Had the faux-finish wall technique done earlier this summer)

 Had to get some drawers custom made to fit in the missing spots...
 All the cabinets had bad wear marks from where you grabbed the cabinet doors to open them...
 ...and them some of them had this build up that, I kid you not, smelled just like vomit!...
 ...and lots of unidentified splatter marks that ate through the varnish...
Well, a lot of scraping and sanding, priming and painting, and staining, sealing, and handle-installing later...
Sorry they look SO dark in these is a dark brown, but in some pics they look almost black.
The island front:

 The island back:
The sink area:

 The 'vomit' cabinet:

 LOVE those knobs! ( is HALF the price of Home Depot...and has free shipping!)
A little bit of the process: scraped off nastiness, sanded smooth, primed, applied 2 coats of brown (same color as dining room) then 1 coat of custom made stain mixture...
 Then applied 1, then 2 coats of polyurethane (depending on the amount of traffic the area would receive)
 And that's it! Beautiful!  :)
 Same shot, just 2 different light settings...

Next kitchen to-do is to replace 2 of the small brass pendant lights with red marble ones and then later the light above the kitchen table. Oh, and then eventually....replace the pink countertops!! :)