Monday, January 30, 2012

A Room for Valentine's

Pinned Image
Pinned Image
Pinned Image
Pinned Image
Pinned Image
Pinned Image
Pinned Image
I sure do miss all of you and blogging!  We are knee deep in the decision process for the kitchen remodel and packing our entire upstairs to prepare for the floors to be refinished.  I have been a Pinterest fanatic looking for ideas.  I came across some of the most beautiful rooms!  Of course, they have nothing to do with the kitchen, but the red and white color scheme is so good looking.  I love how the bold buffalo check (my favorite!) is powerful in some rooms and subdued in other rooms. 
Wouldn't you love to have a space like one of these for Valentine's?  I would!
Thanks for stopping by!

Pin It Now!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Life's Journey

This is what the Lord says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls."  ~Jeremiah 6:16

Rob and I were asked to give our testimony to a group of people at a marriage retreat.  Each time we prepare to speak, we reflect how our 'story' changes with each year, but the message stays the same.  The audience was a large group of people of all ages; some young, engaged couples, some newlyweds and some couples married for fifty or more years.

Rob and I have walked very different paths on our journey to the cross.  When we share our story, we are sharing what the Lord has done and continues to do in our lives.  Let's face it.  Marriage is hard work, and the ground is treacherous.  Often God uses our spouses to bring our sins to the surface.  Because we don't want to deal with our sins, we fight, struggle, whine and pout.  Eighteen years have brought us through hardships, pain, tears, deaths and births.  Because of God's grace, we have had joy, laughter, adventure and so many blessings.

 We are on a journey.  Because we are married, our paths merge.  Sometimes we walk, and other times we run.  There are times when we fall down and times when we venture off the path.  Sometimes we simply sit down, and we have to help each other up and back on course.  The terrain is rough on the path to the cross, but one thing is certain; we want to be there.  God knows exactly what each of us needs to get to the cross.  He knows what will transform our hearts. 

One day, we will stand at the foot of the cross.  I have this vision of standing beneath the cross covered in soot and dirt.  My clothes are torn; I have dirt under my nails and bloody wounds.  When I look up at the cross, I know that I have clawed and fought my way to it.  When I look at the Man standing before me, I am keenly aware that I did nothing to deserve to be in His presence.  There is nothing I can do to repay Him for what He has done for me.

Rob is covered in dirt, too.  But the funny thing is, when I turn to look at him, he is not filthy from the journey.  When I look at him, he is dressed in garments as white as snow.  He is whole.  I am able to see him as God has always seen him.  When I look back at myself, I am dressed in white, too.  The dirt is washed away, and it all becomes clear.  God was pursuing us all along.  He was there...on the path as we endured the hardships.  He was there during the sweet moments, too.  He was always there encouraging us to press on.

With all its bumps and bruises, marriage is a journey to the cross.  Seek the Lord along the way, and you will find joy.  In the end, you will find a Father waiting to pour 'joy' on you.  It will come down like rain, when we see His face!  Cling to that hope.  Open your heart to see the changes needed in you; not your spouse.  God will take care of him (or her.)  God is right there beside you.  He cannot wait for you to reach your destination; clean and pure...and whole.  

Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel.  The angel said to those who were standing before him, "Take off his filthy clothes."  Then he said to Joshua, "See I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you."  Zechariah 3:3-4


P.S.  Thank you to all of you with your heartfelt responses either here or via e-mail concerning my last post!  I found such humor and truth in writing it, and I enjoyed reading about your own paths.  God's mighty hand is always at work!

Pin It Now!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Do Not Let Your Child Marry Someone Like Me

My daughter, Ashlyn dressed up as a princess.

I am a reformed spoiled child. Rob always adds, "Not quite." He thinks he is so funny.

The debilitation that I brought to the marriage wasn't intentional. In fact, I wasn't even aware that I suffered from the 'spoiled' disease. I was raised in a privileged home. Let me add, too, that I was the baby in the family, which naturally added to the spoiled-ness.  As I am older, a bit wiser and reformed ('not quite’ apparently), I can see how giving so much to a child can be detrimental. I am not faulting my parents for the lavish life I was given; after all, they had us three girls in the sixties, when a generation of parents threw out Grandma’s common sense, and the new postmodern parenting/humanist ideology began.  As I reflect, I count the opportunities to see the world and the material comforts as blessings. I offer this story, in relation to preparing your child for marriage.

 My parents were adventurous.  I learned to snow ski at the age of three and was SCUBA certified at the age of fourteen. By the age of 19, I had taken flying lessons (really just one lesson...I can't even drive a car good. My sister went on to become a pilot.)  Seeing faraway places and experiencing different cultures; these are the things I am most grateful.  My parents wanted to give us many of the opportunities they didn't have growing up.

Although we were given much, my parents didn't suffer to the full extent of modern day parenting. We had to work; usually it consisted of yard work; pulling weeds, planting five million plants and fruit trees, and putting out pine straw.  Oddly, we didn’t have to do house chores.  With three girls, it seems we should have had to learn to cook, wash dishes or clothes and clean our rooms. When I went away to college, I lived alone my freshman year.  I loaded my dishwasher and put the liquid Joy soap-meant for washing dishes in the sink- in the dishwasher.  Suds were everywhere on the first floor of my townhouse; what a mess.  I was clueless.

What does all this have to do with marriage?

I didn’t know the Lord.  And goodness, I don’t think I was willing to share my throne with Him, had I met him any sooner than I did.  By the time I finally met and accepted Him into my heart, I was 21.  Within that next year, I started dating and married Rob.  What? Excuse me?  I can’t wear my princess crown and have the ‘baby’ title anymore?  Getting married certainly knocked me off of my throne and took away my tiara.  And get this!  He expected me to know how to cook something and share in the house chores!

Overindulged and overprotected left me underprepared to live in the real world.  I had a skewed sense of values and an exaggerated sense of entitlement.  I was insecure, had a low frustration tolerance and made bad choices.  I could wing it in college, but marriage would not tolerate my self-proclaimed wonderfulness; God wouldn’t tolerate it either.

Needless to say, those first seven years of marriage were very difficult.  Often I planned my escape to the (lonely) place where I could resume my position of ‘Queen Me.’ When I would put my running shoes on, as I often did when marriage got too hard, He gently brought me back to a husband who didn’t tolerate my royal highness, but always had open arms and walked with me, as God transformed my world where I was the center to one with Him as the center. 

Modern day parenting believes that we should give our children the best of everything; the best education; the best toys, the top universities, and greatest and latest...Overindulgence frequently results in kids who have a shocking sense of entitlement; kids who expect their every whim to be fulfilled; kids who have a disregard for the value of things and even a disregard for the value of other people.  Overindulged children will struggle in life and certainly in marriage.  I know.
God held onto me during those early years of marriage.  I was a new believer in Christ, but it would take years before I understood what that meant.  There isn’t one thing I did to deserve His grace and certainly not one thing I did to deserve the forbearance Rob showed me.  If you have spoiled your child, get on your knees now and pray for a spouse with the patience of the Lord Himself.  He or she will need it.

When my grandparents passed away, they had been married for 64 years.  I have been married for almost nineteen living under the same roof with my husband longer than I lived with my parents.  I left my parent’s house and lived alone at the age of 17.   Our children live with us for only a short time; yet, we have such a powerful influence in to who they will become.  In a sense, we are raising them for someone else.  Next time you have a desire to give in to your child’s every little desire, curb your enthusiasm.  Otherwise, you might be nurturing an unappreciative, unhappy child who will likely have trouble coping with the inevitable ups and downs of life.  Give it some thought:  What kind of wife or husband do you want your child to be? 
Through the tears, the difficulties and tragic events, God has taught me humility and a heart of appreciation.  He has shown me an unbelievable amount of mercy and grace.  He has helped me to see how miserable I was when my only focus was me.  Had I left Rob, I would have toted my crown and throne with me.  Where would I have gone?  Did I really think someone else was going to tolerate me?  I am grateful the Lord took back His rightful crown and throne.  It was never meant for me.

God with His wonderful sense of humor gave me a frugal husband; one who had to break the news to me that money did not, in fact, grow on the trees in our backyard.  Rob is the oldest of three boys and doesn’t quite have pity for ‘the baby.’  He worked hard cutting grass to earn every penny to buy his first car at 16.  Lavishing me with gifts is not exactly his strongest point.  Not giving in to my every whim is not on his priority list.  Fortunately, loving me is.  I don’t know why someone didn’t warn him about marrying someone like me. (Oh, excuse me.  Rob just informed me that his parents did!  Well, I guess they were on their knees a prayin’ every day!)

Maybe I am not completely reformed from my old ways, but God has transformed my heart.  

My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you.  Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.  Job 42:5-6

Note:  I want to teach my kids everything, but I never want them to lose sight of the cross.  One day, they will grow up and write a post about me titled, “Here is What Not to do that My Parents Did.”  I thank the Lord that He is in charge and that He will use my mess-ups for good in their lives.

Blessings to you!

Thank you, Pippa for the correction of 'thrown' to 'throne!'  It was so funny, I almost left it! 
Terry and Gayle, if you have stopped by, I hope this brings you some laughter!  Miss you and so glad you visit!

This is the second post of my series on marriage.  To see my first post, 'Two Lumps of Coal' click here.
Pin It Now!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Start of a Kitchen Remodel

Pinned Image
I like the overall feel of this kitchen...simple, not fussy, loved...
This is just eclectically cool.  It is the details and accessories that stand out; treasures collected over time and carefully placed...
Pinned Image
A Swedish kitchen...ahhhhh.  I have one item in this kitchen; the silver food dome.  I wonder how I can incorporate it into our new kitchen.  I love those double vintage refrigerators, but I don't think I can talk Rob into those!
My cousin Lesslie's kitchen
We have looked at hundreds of kitchens and my husband still likes my cousin Lesslie's cabinets and counters the best.  They are so beautiful with a hint of gray.  The walls are painted gray, too.  She completely remodeled the space in this uptown Atlanta home.
Pinned Image
I am hoping for this under mount apron sink with this exact faucet.  I like the mix of hardware on the cabinets, too.
Sally Wheat's gray kitchen
I love her eclectic arrangement of plates over the bar and the color of her cabinets with the dark floors.  We are refinishing the floors, too, which is why we started this process in the first place!
Pinned Image
I like this space; the mix-and-match chairs; the paint on the walls with the white cabinets and dark floors; the table and that chandelier.  This won't work in our space, but I sure do like it and hope I can achieve the overall look.
Pinned Image
This is probably the closest to the 'look' I am hoping to achieve.  I like several of the features; the dark floors, the white cabinets, the different drawer pulls; the apron sink and faucet; and wow, that frig!  Are the counters made of concrete?  I love that!  Husband? No, he wants granite or quartz.
Edit: Kim from Savvy Southern Style gave me the correct link, and gave me the answer to the counters.  Thank you Kim!  The counters are soapstone.  So lovely...
Pinned Image
Our ceiling looks very similar to this.  This has a nice overall look.  I love the center island that is probably a piece of furniture with an added, extended top. The barstools and chandelier are nice, too!  Always drawn to the details, I like the use of the silver containers on the bar, as well.  Silver plated bowls and vases are easy to find and relatively inexpensive.
Pinned Image
I would love these Swedish chairs!  We will keep the French ones we currently have, but they are in need of new seats and a fresh coat of paint.

I hope to recover some of the upholstery with a tan and off-white large check, similar to this one.  This fabric is by a Swedish company.  We plan to change the color scheme to a more neutral palate.  The black and green has been very popular at Houzz and here at TPL.  In fact, it is one of my most viewed posts.
Pinned Image
My kitchen
When I have posted my kitchen, I have had to fight the urge to shout out all the things that need changing!  There is a fine line between wanting to share the things I can't stand and also not wanting to seem ungrateful.  If we never change a thing in this kitchen, it works just fine; except that the refrigerator broke and leaked water on these old floors and the garbage disposal is held together with duct tape!  The appliances are about fifteen years old and need more repairs than we felt worth it.  We hope to change some of the layout, as the actual prep and cook space is pretty tight.  When the refrigerator door is open, it almost touches the bar!  We hope to solve some of these issues.
Pinned Image
The other side of our kitchen
Not to mention, the counters and brass knobs could stand an update!  The cabinets, sadly, are falling apart and do not close adequately, so they too will get an update.  I hope to install shutters around all those windows to go with the rest of the house, change the ceiling fan over the table to a pretty vintage-looking chandelier and paint the walls.

Why the neutral pallet?  I actually love the black and green in our kitchen, but Rob is not big on change.  For that matter, neither are my children.  They are not terribly excited about changing our kitchen.  We have lived here for eleven years and it is all they have known.  Kitchens have such memories.  Much time is spent around our table and I think it is a bit sad for them to see this space transformed.  They all just need a little vision!  If I keep the space neutral, I can decorate with pops of color in the small things around the kitchen; pillows, canisters, wooden containers, tarnished silver, etc...these are all easy things to change in a space.  This will allow me to still 'decorate' with many different colors long after the kitchen has been completed!

Bloggers: Help!

Do you have any suggestions on appliances?  I am not much of a cook, but do so out of necessity to feed my family.  I don't have a clue in this area, but do want the appliances to last a long time and grow with our family.  I have done some research, but the options are endless.  What works in your kitchen?
Want to follow my Pinterest kitchen board?  Click here!

I am sure my ability to blog will be delayed as we begin this project.  We have to pack up and move everything from the upstairs into a storage unit, so the floors can be refinished first.  Our powder room will also get a facelift, along with the kitchen.  I will photograph along the way!

Thanks for stopping by!
Pin It Now!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Marriage - Two Lumps of Coal

A lump of coal is dirty, a product of decaying plants, a pollutant and produces soot.  Some studies indicate that, through intense heat, pressure and time, a lump of coal can become a priceless gem.

The Wedding Report, a market research publication indicates that the average American wedding cost $29,000.  Keep in mind, the median household income in America is around $46,000 a year. 
If I asked you to board a plane that had a fifty percent chance of crashing, would you still get on that flight?   The divorce rate in America hovers right around fifty percent.  One in two marriages is likely to end in divorce.  Why do so many people get married, spend exorbitant amounts of money on a one-day event and take lots of pictures to remember it with only a fifty percent chance of actually staying married?  Why are so many young people misguided to think they will be the other fifty percent; the ones who stay married?  Why are they boarding a plane with only half a chance of survival? 
Through a Prepare and Enrich program at our church, Rob and I counsel young couples who are engaged to be married.  Often, I think after they have left our home, we have scared them away from the altar!  The program is intended to help these young people assess their beliefs about marriage, discuss issues such as careers, children, faith, finances, house chores, etc…Many of these couples have been brought up in Truth and in loving, nurturing homes. They are bright; they have good morals, good intentions and great big hopes and dreams for their marriages. 

The most common problem we see is that these couples do not think they will ever have major problems.  Rob and I are a part of the program to give them a different perspective.  It is not our goal to scare them, but to encourage them to be prepared.  Isaiah 43:2 says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.” Notice it says “when” and not “if” you pass through the waters.  We will all pass through the raging waters.  We will all endure the intense heat at some point in our lives. 
While we hope to give a real snapshot of marriage, we also try to remind them that God does not want to make our lives miserable with our spouses.  He intends for us to have joy in our marriages.  But, His ultimate goal is to see each of us at the foot of the cross with a transformed heart; a heart that can glorify Him fully.  Often He will use our spouses to bring about the transformation, and often it will come out of struggles, difficulties and the pressures of life.  Let’s face it; without our spouses, we like ourselves just the way we are.  Walking down that aisle to get married at the seemingly invincible age of 22, I liked myself and didn’t see the need to change.  God had other plans. 
The truth is that we don’t grasp the concept of how depraved we are.  We are all lumps of coal. 

We shouldn’t discourage young couples from boarding that plane, but we should prepare our young people for what lies ahead.  First, they need to recognize their natural, sinful state and understand that the heat and the pressure are necessary to transform their hearts.  They should be aware of the turbulence and possible disasters that loom.  They should have resources to help them deal with conflict and the names of great Christian counselors to help guide them should they not find resolution.

Through intense heat, pressure and time, a lump of coal can become a priceless gem. 

The next time you have to buy a wedding gift, give a pressure cooker; maybe a crock pot.  Wish the couple a happy marriage, but tell them to endure the heat, the pressure and by all means, put the setting on low and endure the time.  Don’t we all want to be a diamond, instead of a lump of coal? 
Twenty years later, Rob and I still experience the heat.  The difference is that we expect, in this fallen world, the trials will come.  We resolve conflict differently, and we know our resources if we can’t.  There are times we adore each other and times when our hearts are sinfully full of contempt.  Either way, we are on a journey to the cross, and the Lord has decided that we need each other to get there.
Approximately 100 tons of mud must be mined to produce one carat of diamond.
Diamonds are beautiful, light refracting gems that do more than shine and sparkle, they create optical magic.  A diamond is the hardest known natural material on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, where hardness is defined as resistance to scratching.  Have you ever wondered why we wear diamonds when we get married and vow to wear them the rest of our lives?  Maybe, just maybe, with endurance through the heat, the pressure and the time, it is a permanent reminder of what we can become. 

Blessings to all of you in your journey!

Edit (1/18/12): One reader pointed out that the divorce rate is not as high as 1 in 2 marriages.  Most of the articles I read stated it was as high as 50%.  This link gives a breakdown and additional information.  Thank you, Michele for sharing!
Buzzle; USAToday; Wikipedia

Pin It Now!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Threads of Life

 God has woven each one of us
 into a quilt of the world.
Each thread a uniform part,
 and yet, also a unique individual.
Alone, we lack structure,
 but together beauty is created.
By the way He connects us,
 our lives are determined.
He is our compass needle
 and we, His threads of life.

by HiddenPoet

I love to look at these quilts and think about how God has carefully and lovingly woven each of us.  We are all different; and yet, He has sewn our lives together to make a beautiful quilt or tapestry.  Somehow all the colors and patterns mesh beautifully together!  We need each other and we need Him.
These are a few of my quilts.  I do love a pretty quilt; and although mine are not old, they do seem to tell a story.  If not my own childhood story, they remind me of times gone by.  Quilts usually have pretty colors, soft fabrics and many times are made by loving hands.  We use these quilts on our beds for extra warmth or to make pallets on the floor for the kids; we carry them on road trips; we use them for picnics and to make forts in the playroom.  These quilts may not have a story from the past, but one day they will for my children. 

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. ~Psalm 139:13

May the colors of your life be bright and the threads in your life very strong.  ~Genie Barnes

I plan to do a series on 'Marriage' each Sunday leading up to Valentine's Day as part of my 'Life Lessons' series; certainly not because I am any expert, but because of how great His mercy and grace has been during our journey to the cross. That journey to the cross, at times has been smooth walkin'; other times, there have been huge boulders in our path; and still other times, we have felt like hurling huge boulders at each other!  I hope you will join me!  Rob will be writing one of the posts about marriage from his perspective.  That should be interesting!

Pin It Now!

Friday, January 6, 2012

353 Days Until Christmas...

This is the last of my Christmas decor!  I could have waited another 350 days or so to share, but I will be on to something else!  Which is probably where all of you are right now with Christmas 2011...onto something else!  Those of you visiting, thanks for hanging in there with me!
This is my challenge space - the dining room.  It is the room where I put the (free) French country hutch (below.)  The problem is the oak table and chairs don't match the hutch.  I put some French chairs from around the house and the Swedish bench from my daughter's room at the table. I need a much bigger table cloth and an oval one would be nice!  There are some beautiful ones on ETSY. The split oak basket is very old and holds a vintage street sign.  I ran out of time to figure out where to hang it, so in the basket it went.  25th Street...Dec. 25...that is where I was going!
This mid-century reindeer is one of my favorite decorations.  Many people inquired about him from last Christmas, but there are no markings on it.  I purchased it at Summer Classics.
Next to my armoire is one of the oak chairs that was around the dining room table.
My friend Jenn gave me this wonderful pillow made of a coffee grain sack for my birthday.  Her friend who has a sweet little business called, "High Cotton" (here) made it.  She is very talented!
Here is our little Jesse tree. We all loved doing this and it really helped us to stay focused on the meaning of Christmas.  I printed some of the ornaments and purchased a few others.  You can check out Pinterest for lots of different ideas for your Jesse tree ornaments.
This is supposed to be our 'formal' living space, but there isn't anything formal about it.  We pile into this room most nights.
 I found this pillow at Belk on sale for $20.  I love it and what a deal for a needlepoint pillow!
This smallish tree sat on our porch.  The season has been warm enough, so I put out a few decorations to enjoy the milder Christmas!  The container came from Tuesday Morning; small lights from Restoration Hardware.

Thanks for hanging in there with me!
Pin It Now!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...