Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fearful Grief

"No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear." 
C.S. Lewis A Grief Observed

Man, this quote taken from the book I'm reading on grief sums up the way I have been feeling lately. 

Last night I actually laid awake for a while thinking,

"Oh God, I don't know what I would do if something happened to my husband or children. 
God, please don't let anything bad happen to my husband or children.  God, please don't take my husband or children."   

It is a strange place to be.  Begging to God from Him to keep you from heartache again.  Pleading with him to not take your most precious gifts. 

I always thought that I would be old and gray when I first experienced this type of loss.  I was not prepared for the loss that came so quickly, like a thief in the night; stealing away my mother and all the memories that we were yet to make.  Stealing my peace and at times my happiness.  Taking my joy and replacing it with grief.  Deep, dark, fear-filled grief. 

At times the grief has such a tight hold that I cannot breathe comfortably. 
I do not want to be in this place.
 I do not want to be gripped by fear so that I lie awake praying that no one else be taken from me.
 I do not want to keep holding my breathe waiting for the next unexpected tragedy or loss. 
I do not want to be the teary-eyed, weeping woman at bible study. 

 I want to be able to live again.  Daily live in confidence, not fear.  I am confident that my God is in control.  I am confident in His plan and in His timing.  I am confident in His plan for our lives and my mother's.  And I am most confident in the healing power of His son, my Savior Jesus.  So, each day I am trying, really trying to break free from the fear.  I am.  And as I daily muddle through this fear I am holding fast to His Word.  Many are the words that provide relief and comfort from the fear and grief.  Today I find relief in the psalms where it says that our God daily bears our burdens. 

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. 
 Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.
 Psalm 68:19-20 

So each day as I try to live again He is bearing the burden for me. And I am sure that I am not the first person to beg to be saved from more pain and heartache.  The good news is that the Lord does save, in more ways than one. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Walking Carefully

The message preached yesterday at church was one that I have been struggling with lately:
Walking carefully and with purpose. 

As our pastor spoke I wrote this prayer totally inspired by his words. 

Help me to look carefully at the way I walk.

Help me to first ask you for direction.  Let me be sure it is the right way and then go ahead.  In each decision let me seek you, in ALL things.

And Lord when I have sought you and still feel unsure of the direction, please send me someone to ask.  Someone to speak truth to me.  Someone to navigate me through those times.

Help me to choose daily to walk in your ways.  Your ways are sure and certain.  This is the place I want to be. 

I love you.

"Be very careful, then how you walk-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity."
Ephesisans 5:15

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Morning Chore Charts

Morning Chore Charts:  Recently, I pinned a similar chore chart on pinterest that was made from an actual door hanger.  Mornings at our house are absolutely insane!!  I have tried planning and have put LOTS of effort into laying out and preparing all items the night before and it still seems that I spend the majority of time redirecting my children to "GET DRESSED"!!! 

As I was clearly needing assistance with this whole morning routine thing, I was pleased as pie to see an easy clip-system chart that I could create with items we already had at home.  I only included chores/tasks that needed to be done before school. 

We will worry with other chores later.  Currently, my main focus is on getting to school on time without mom (ME!!!!)  blowing a gasket.  So far, all is working well with the charts.  It is certainly helping my children to see clearly what they need to do.  Also, the moving of  the clips once a task is completed is providing that sense of accomplishment that was lacking before. 

This system is helping to keep everyone on-task in a timely manner.  Yay!!!!

Fun New Pics

A few days ago I took some fun new pictures of the kids in silly hats. 

We lucked upon a cheery yellow wall downtown that truly made the pictures "pop".  Today I finished painting the hallway and hung two of the pictures.  Here they are hanging in the 11x14 frames I picked up at Goodwill for $5.99 a piece.  All I did was windex the glass! 

The before of the frames.

And the after, complete with silly kids. 

New Bulletin Board

Since the day we moved into our house I knew I wanted a message board area in our kitchen.  I wasn't sure how this would play out, what it would look like or what it would contain,  I just knew I wanted one.  So after a year and a half (ish) of being in our house I finally have my message/command center.  The command center began with the painting of the door that leads to the garage in chalkboard paint and was completed this week by making the adjecent wall a bulletin board.  I am still thinking a magnetic area would be nice but not sure if we will actually take that step.  Anywhoo, today I am posting a few pics of the area that I am so pleased to finally have. 

A few comments here: I wish we would have extended the board further towards the floor and yes that is my "to-do" list for our house.  We have lots left to check off.  : )

Saturday, November 19, 2011

First Batch of Ornaments

The kids and I made our first batch of Christmas ornaments tonight. 
We used shower curtain rings, yarn and decorative stars from Target. 
The kids were able to do the ornaments themselves with minimal help from me. 
We followed the tutorial from Christopher & Tia here  

A few photos from the night

Tia used styrofoam rings in her tutorial but I found the shower rings for $1.19 a 12 pack at Target and thought they would work just as well. 

It was a tedious job so we watched a movie to keep us entertained. 

Our boy was able to crank out 4 ornaments in about an hour but then reached burn out.  There is ALOT of wrapping involved. 

I think our girl finished 3 in an hour.

We added the sparkly little star from a 12 pack purchased from Target.  The pack was $3.00.

It would be nice to add a scripture tag in scrapbook paper to it as well.  We may do that later. 

Star of wonder, Star of light . . . . . .

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Spray-Painted Bathroom Countertop

Yes, you read that correctly.  Spray-paint. 

This week I finally finished the countertops in the kids' bathroom.  The old countertops were white laminate, original to when the house was built.  They were in great condition but just seemed dated and boring.  Of course I would have loved to have granite or even new laminate put in but I thought I would try a much less expensive mode first.  I secretly thought that if I messed it up good enough we would have to get new ones FAST.

  But, overall I am really happy with the way these turned out and they were SUPER cheap.  I have not finished organizing and decorating the bathroom so the pics are not great but they do show a good before and after of the countertops. 

So here's how I did it.

Let's start with a before photo, shall we, white laminate with a white laminate backsplash.  I wanted to remove that backsplash and tile the wall but it seemed too much to do for now.  Maybe later.

I used these supplies:
120 grit sandpaper
Rust-Oleum Mulitcolor Textured Spray Paint
(This one has the textured look I was hoping for.  I did not really want a smooth
surface laminate look.)
MinWax Polyurethane Clear Semi-Coat (OIL BASED)
Small foam roller
There is a can of primer in this picture but I did not do a priming step.  It just wasn't necessary.

A close up of the surface before.

First, I sanded.  Really lightly sanded.  Took a whole minute or two just to rough the surface a bit.  Seriously, you don't have to put much effort into this. 

Next, I covered the cabinet and mirror and began spray painting the countertop.  I must admit I was plum excited to spray that first bit of spray paint onto the top but then I got downright nervous about what I had done when it looked like this. 

Really I thought my hubby was going to kill me when he came home and saw what I had done.  I was smart enough to cover the sink and fixture so that we wouldn't have to replace them later due to paint splatter.

Luckily, I got a few good coats on before he came home so it looked presentable.

For most of the day, I would spray a coat, give it an hour to dry then go back in for another coat.  I am not sure how many times I did this but ended up using about 4 cans of spray paint.  Each time it covered more, looked darker and better. 

When I finally got good coverage and was happy with it.  I gave it a day to dry really well. 

Then I came back with the poly.  I knew it would need to be coated well since it would be a highly used area with the kids and water would be involved.  I made the mistake of using the same poly I 've used in the past which is water-based.  Don't do that!! When the counters got wet they showed white water spots.  So I had to research a bit more and figured out that I needed to use an oil-based poly instead. 

 I used the roller and a brush to repoly the surface.  I did this twice and let it dry at least a day before we started using it.  This time when we got it wet there were no water spots and I could also spray cleaner on it to clean the countertop without any funny film appearing. 

Here is a closeup of the surface after completion.  It is rather durable.  I am so pleased!

I am approximating here but I think this is very close to the cost breakdown on this project.
4 cans of spray paint at about $4.00 a can = $16.00
1 can poly ( I didn't even make a dent in this can so I have plenty left.) = $14.00
I had everything else at home but if you did not you could figure another $10.00
So total cost: $40.00

$40.00 and a newish bathroom counter.  I like how the new darker color makes the sink and fixture look new too. 

I actually am planning to do the same thing in our master bathroom but maybe use a different color.  So there you have it, a $40.00 counter top update using spray paint.  That stuff is so versatile.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Photo Memory Chalkboard

When I first pinned this lovely chalkboard/memory/photo board from
Under the Sycamore
I knew that I wanted one somewhere in our house. 
 It was a happy place of sweet family memories and reminded me of my old mirror from high school that I would tape pictures and funny sayings to daily. 
I know that may seem a bit juvenile but this one was done in such a tasteful and mature way that I knew I could imitate it. 

Isn't it lovely?

So, I collected a few pics, put a few nails in the wall and had fun arranging until I got a board that resembled her work.  I thought it would be fun to add the phrase "make today beautiful,"  because the members of this family do make each other's days beautiful.  Unless a certain two are fighting and calling each other "lovely" names.  ; )

Just for the record, this was a zero cost project. 
I simply collected and rearranged previously owned items.

Smallish wall in BBP's Room

I had a few minutes this week to update an important wall in BBP's room.  It is the wall that you first see when you look into his room.  It is a smallish wall that is snuggled between a large window and a corner.  It was hard to decorate as I wanted it to make a statement but not be too fussy or busy.  Before this week he had a bulletin board hanging above the shelf, but the cluttered papers and pictures made the room seem messy (whether it was or not) because this was the first view you got into the room. 

Well, I am happy to say I found a home on this wall for the large letter "B" I bought at Warrenton for $10.00.  I had also taken this great picture of our boy just casually relaxing on the ranger wearing his cowboy hat.  It captures all of his handsome, boyish innocence.  I just love it! 

 And wouldn't you know Goodwill had this perfect green picture frame.  I like this arrangement so much better.  Seems cleaner and gives a more personal feel of just who makes his home in this corner of our house.  Oh, and I didn't trash the bulletin board.  I actually moved it to a better location next to his desk.  Makes more sense there anyway.