What’s Wrong With a Lil’ “Rose Colored Glasses” Perspective??? A Practical Journaling Experience.

I remember back to 1999. I had just graduated from college, got married, bought our first home, started an AWESOME teaching career, and finally had a couple dollars in the bank!!!! I was on cloud 20!!!! Everything seemed to be perfect and I was only 22 years old!!!! Clearly, I was God’s FAVORITE child!!! ☺☺☺ Unfortunately, shortly thereafter, and for no known circumstance, “reality” sank in. I was inundated with 150 essays from my students, I had real live bills to pay, my house needed to be cleaned and repaired and of course my new otherwise “Jesus Jr.” of a husband started acting like a real live human!!!! 😣😣😣

WHAT HAPPENED???? I was DUPED!!! I had been bamboozled!!! I found myself constantly evaluating my circumstances only to be frustrated. Somehow the zeal of newness was overshadowed by the effort necessary to maintain this dream world. I found myself looking for people with whom to share my “grief”. I wanted someone to corroborate that I had sufficient evidence to prove how awful my overall situation was. OF COURSE, if you are seeking someone to sit with you in your stew, you will always find them.😟 Let me remind you, NOTHING, had happened to me. I hadn’t been sick, I didn’t have any real issue; the bills were paid, the cars were working, the house was fine… I was just… I don’t even know!!!! THEN, I came up with an even BETTER idea. Instead of venting my non-issues to my buddies, I would write them down each night. I would think about the things that happened in my day and vent them on paper…release them…get them out of my system for them to never return.  OMG!!! What a RIDICULOUS idea!!! It actually made things even worse. I stewed in my own mess and rolled around in it and smeared it all over myself and I quickly gave life to my very own nighttime drama.

Thankfully, God rescued me from my SUPER HOT MESS and gently told me THIS:  focus on the things that are lovely, that are pure, that are good. Put the magnifying glass on the great things happening in my life, not the storms, the issues, the yucky stuff. (Cue trumpets, strings, timpani’s)🎺🎺🎺 It was like one of the greatest epiphanies of my life!!!! It literally changed EVERYTHING!!!

I went out the next morning and found the most beautiful “notebook” I could find. One that was inviting. Inspiring. And that night, I started a simple list of the great things that happened throughout that day. I can’t tell you how it revolutionized my day. I made mental notes in my head of the awesomeness that surrounded me, and I couldn’t wait to record it in my book each night.

This small adjustment has governed my perspective. I can say that I just bought my 17th book in celebration of my 17th year of writing in my thankful journal each day. I have learned that no matter how tough things get, how challenging days can be, there is ALWAYS, ALWAYS something good, something for which you can give thanks. If you are looking for a great New Year’s resolution, challenge, idea, or way to keep your perspective rosy… consider a thankful journal. There are too many awesome things happening in your journey to capture!!!! 😘

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SWIPER NO SWIPING!!!! A New Year’s Resolution Suggestion…

Looking for a great resolution for 2017????? What if: you decided that starting 2017 you will live debt free? What if you cut up your credit cards and decided to make all purchases with cash/debit/check only, got out of debt and stayed out???? Sounds difficult I know.

My awesome pastor taught a series at church WAAAAAY back in 1998 about living a life free of debt, maintaining a budget and basing your spending on one salary (after tithes and offering). Since 1998, my husband and I made the decision to tithe and give offerings faithfully, live on his salary alone and to not charge or finance another item ever again. With the exception of a mortgage, (we have a payoff plan for that too!!! Lol!!!) we have maintained those goals without compromise… not for a car, my master’s degree, furniture, vacations, jewelry, clothing… NOTHING. It took a TON of sacrifice, delayed gratification, buying used, and strategic budgeting… But I tell you, we have never missed a beat, never gone without and have gained the true freedom to do exactly what we are called to do.

Many people ask me how I retired at age 37? How we were able to pack up and build a home in the mountains, travel regularly, buy a brand-new car in cash, give generously, etc… It really doesn’t make much natural sense. My husband and I come from low income families. Both of us grew up on welfare. When people see us now, they would never know. I am careful to share our story with others because our success is not based on traditional methods of education, intellect, some great investing scheme. We didn’t collect an inheritance, win a settlement etc…

Simply put, His ways are higher than ours. We’re not perfect, and never claim to be. But He is… When we were led to live debt-free, we simply obeyed. And God simply provided. I dare you to trust Him with your finances… With EVERYTHING!!!! You will soar to places beyond your dreams!!! I hope this blesses someone today… Happy New Year!!!! 🙂

A Rustic Mountain Christmas

Whether an outfit, social media post, recipe or great DIY project, it is so much fun putting your stamp on anything you do. Holiday decorating is of no exception. For me, all things burlap, metal, wood, and evergreen; mixed with a splash of birds and bird houses, sealed with a whole lot of love, make for a rustic mountain Christmas.

This is our second Christmas in our cabin. I added a few items to décor I’ve used in the past to layer and create more depth to our spaces. This year, I made a banner to highlight the window in our living room and wrapped all flower pots and wreaths with burlap and holly. Simple, inexpensive, yet classic.

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DIY #6: The Christmas Tub: An Alternative to the Expensive Tree Skirt…

If you are like me, you have scoured the various fabulous home stores in search of the perfect tree skirt… only to be disappointed by the hefty price tag. $59.99 (or more) is JUST NOT HAPPENING SISTER!!!! I TOTALLY get it!!! That’s like five additional gifts I could put under the tree…. HELLO!!!! Well if this is you, fear not. I have a great alternative and cure for your “Tree Skirt Blues!!!” A super simple DIY project for the whole family to bring a little extra “joy” to your experience.  It is made with a galvanized tub and is especially perfect for the freshly cut trees that will need regular watering.

The first step is purchasing your tub. You can find these at most home improvement/hardware stores, including Home Depot, Ace Hardware and Tractor Supply Co. Look for the Behrens 16” galvanized steel tub. They are usually no more than $20.34ab6ec8-71ac-4728-855d-bdd6e20aa3df_1.aec77a83eb19ed2541aabc65a91d7beb.jpeg Next, you can select a paint color that matches your décor. I would recommend chalk paint as it will adhere to the metal surface best. I find white to be a great neutral color so that it can serve as the base for any decorating you may want to do thereafter. If you put a tarp down, and grab several paint brushes, this could be a great part for the kids to join in and help.

 Once the paint dries, you can use hot glue to add any accessories to match your décor. I love burlap, so in this picture, I wrapped the center of the tub with burlap and then added metal lettering. However, you can add glitter; surround your tub with pictures, letters, ornaments or whatever creative idea works for you and your family. 

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Once your masterpiece is complete, you can carefully place your tree (and stand) inside your bucket and enjoy worry-free watering. Just another way to customize your holiday experience and make it meaningful for the entire family… You can even make changes to it and use it year after year….thus enjoying YOUR journey!!! If you decide to make the Christmas tub, be sure to stop back by and post pics of your creation. Until then, Merry Christmas to you and yours!!!

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The Problem with Blogging…

The problem with blogging is that everyone wants to be a writer and no one wants to be a reader. Everyone has such “insight” and wisdom; and so many great and not so great experiences to share that they become more interested in sharing their thoughts than gathering others’.

It would be okay if everyone in attendance at the bake sale was selling various delicious cupcakes. However, if the only people attending the bake sale are the bakers themselves, and the bakers were not buying the other cupcakes… no one would have a sale… 😮😮😮

I encourage everyone to get out and try some other cupcakes. They are delicious and rich and bursting with flavor! The taste and recipe alone may spawn new recipes in you. You may even shed some of your amazing insight with another baker, with hopes their cupcake recipes become better than ever!!!! Something to think about. Happy tasting… ☺

DIY #5: Create Your Own Picture Gallery: Our New Cure for Toilet Boredom. 😆😆😆

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Ok, before I begin, let me just say, I have no photography skills what so ever; and I don’t own some ridiculously priced professional camera. I am just a regular gal looking to furnish my new home as efficiently, and inexpensively as possible…All with a personal touch of course! So, if I can do this…SO CAN YOU!!! 🙂

My newest DIY project is a picture gallery wall. I’ve never seen this done before, but the idea stemmed from a contest my daughter and I had one weekend about a year ago.  My son was to return from a fieldtrip that evening. We weren’t too sure of his time of arrival, but we needed something fun to keep us occupied and we knew we needed to stay close to home. So, we decided to go get a cup of coffee, turn on some great music and have a “beautiful picture contest.” What is that you say? Well, we put my husband behind the wheel to do the driving, while Kennedy and I took out our phones and proceeded to take pictures of the scenes of beauty that fill our small-town community. Though we had never done this before, I found it easy discovering gorgeous elements large and small, significant and seemingly insignificant all around.  We had a BLAST!!!

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We took a TON of pics. According to my husband, Kennedy won the contest 😩😆; but it birthed yet another great idea. As we were looking for a large piece of art work to put on the empty space across from the toilet in our guest bathroom, it came to me that that very wall could pose as an AWESOME canvas for SEVERAL pieces of art: Our pictures!!!!! Thus the Gallery Wall was born!!!! I immediately dug into my archives from “the beautiful picture” contest and used those pictures, along with new additions I had taken, as well as a few I purposefully sought after. It was PERFECT!!!!

My first step was to collect 3 different frame sizes from Hobby Lobby. Of course, I went during the 50% off sale, so I got size 11″x14″, 8″x10″, and 5″x7″ frames, the largest costing $2.50 after the discount!!!! I decided that though the frames were beautiful as is, I wanted them to be a little darker in color, so I stained them.

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After staining the frames, I went to Walmart’s one hour photo lab to instantly print the pictures to fit the frames. This was a pretty neat experience because I could play with color, (black and white, sepia, bold etc…) zoom, and other editing features to ensure the look I sought. The prints ranged from $2.00 – $5.74 based on size. I took my time with this process, going back several times to preserve money as well as making the most of my experience.

Once all the pictures were printed, I decided I wanted to create a name and title sign for my photo gallery. After much consideration, Heavenly Grounds was PERFECT; thus HG Gallery for short.  We drilled four wooden boards together, added metal slats to the sides and a chain link for the top for esthetics more than anything. I even soaked the metal pieces in vinegar overnight to achieve more of a rusted look.

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Once my husband attached the sign to the wall, we continued to hang each picture frame. I considered forming a pattern for the pictures, but I went with a more random approach.

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At Home Depot, I found some metal plates ($.40 each) which seemed a perfect way to name-stamp each photograph. I’m not even sure what the metal plates are traditionally used for, but they were the perfect size and material to create an authentic “gallery” look.  I gave each photo a name, added the location and finally the photographer (which was either me or my daughter). I simply typed it up in a Word document, printed it on card paper, cut them out and attached them to the metal plates with hot glue.

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In total, I have 29 pictures. They sit right across from the toilet in our guest bathroom. I know it seems odd, but, so far, it has been the PERFECT cure for toilet boredom.😨😨Lolol! Though you may not need a magazine alternative for your bathroom, you can certainly use this idea in your hallway, stairway, bedroom, dining room or play room. Just another way to note super points while enjoying your journey…

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DIY: #4 Custom Wall Hanging Made by the Whole Family (DIWF) :-)

So, EVERY Friday is family night in our house. We go to basketball games, movies, dinner, bowling, skating etc… No matter what, whatever we do, we do it TOGETHER and we have done this since the kids were babies. However, THIS Friday was special because my daughter just found out she made the basketball team, she was named student of the month AND she got a 96% on the honors science test she had been studying for all week. PLUS, my son did very well on his test and some other goals he set for the week. So needless to say, I had to really BRING MY A GAME for the Friday night agenda!!!

Well, it just so happens that around the same time the kids had been experiencing alllll their success, I had my eye on this beautiful wall hanging I saw at one of the premier home furnishing stores. I had been eyeballing it for weeks and was all set to spend the $499 PLUS $50 shipping and taxes I had attempted to save for a while now. However, the amount was just not practical. While it would certainly be an easy swipe with a credit card, my husband and I committed to never using debt or credit for anything, so I had to consider another way to get this piece of beauty on my wall. A-HA!!! THAT’S WHEN IT HIT ME!!!!! THIS FRIDAY, MY FAMILY AND I COULD MAKE THE WALL HANGING!!!!  I could employ all our skills and talents and ATTEMPT to create this masterpiece right in our home for a FRACTION of the cost. And by golly, that is just what we did! :):):)

This is a picture of the piece I wanted for the wall.

 

I knew that somehow, together, we could work this out. So, after discussing the measurements and materials needed, we went to Home Depot to get 14 8’ 1”x 3” of untreated wood. We had them (unevenly) cut and looked for brackets to attach in the back. We finally got the stain needed to make our masterpiece complete. We cashed out at a total of $21!!! AWESOME!!! I was SO excited; I could hardly wait to get started!

We first laid the wood pieces down to create our perfect variant arrangement of the wood planks. Once assorted, my husband screwed the wood together with metal brackets.

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Later that evening, I glued and stained the pallets and left them out to dry.

The next morning, my son and daughter drew the map onto the stained wood with chalk. This way they were able to erase and correct any errors. They actually did it freehand, which was so impressive to me!

Once the kids were finished with their part, I added water to some chalk paint and carefully painted inside the lines.

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After the paint was dry, my husband added brackets to the back of all 4 pieces in preparation for hanging. He measured our space and carefully hung all four sections of our map…and VOILA!!!!!

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For a FRACTION of the cost and some great time together, we have made not only a super piece for our wall, but fond memories along the way. Surely there are imperfections, but we had a BLAST working as a team!  In the meantime, I’m still trying to get a portion of the savings from my husband!!!!! Lolol!!!! ☺☺☺ CHA-CHING!!!!! $$$$$ Next time you are looking for a great way to spend time, save money and let your creative juices soar…DIWF (DO IT WITH FAMILY) ☺☺☺

DIY: #3 CUSTOM BOOKSHELF/LIBRARY

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We had a chunk of wasted space on the side of our fireplace just BEGGING for purpose. That coupled with boxes of awesome books piled in our basement storage, led me and my husband to our latest creation: A homemade bookshelf/library of course!!!! Here’s how we did it:

We went to Home Depot and bought the wood. We wanted the shelves to be 12” wide and 2”thick, however, those boards were WAY too heavy. So we bought 2”x6” boards with the plan to attach them together. We had them cut to our desired length and got started by sanding down the rough edges.

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I combined two different colors of stain: dark walnut and kona, to get the look I was going for.

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Here is the space that was looking for love. Now that we have completed the bookshelf, I can’t believe I left it empty for so long!!! 🙂 However, it used to be the PERFECT spot for our Christmas tree!!!

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We used a simple metal attachment to join the wood together. Same look and affect as a 12″ board, though much lighter.

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Next, my husband and I had to decide the details that worked for us. How high up should we start the first shelf? How many shelves do we need?

 

How tall are most books? How far apart should we put each shelf? I love that there are no rules. Whatever works for you and your space is what you do. 🙂

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I ordered 10 corbels to fit my 12 inch shelves and my industrial/rustic style from TiredTruckDesigns on Etsy. I LOVE these corbels!!! They are beautiful, sturdy and work PERFECTLY for our design.  Thankfully, my husband is a master mathematician 🙂 so he measured 17” between each shelf and drilled them in accordingly.

 

We wanted to add a cool touch to the top shelf, so we went to Ace Hardware to come up with a creative way to attach it to the wall. After we chose our hardware, I spray painted it a flat black.

 

My husband carefully connected the hardware to the wall.

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I found some really cool ottomans from Overstock.com to fit under the shelf. They are SUPER comfy, chic and light enough to move freely. They were also very reasonably priced.

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And here it is. After great team work, a little time, and less than $200, we created a customized space in our home for all to share!!! HAPPY READING!!!! 🙂

2 Vs. 20 : Practical Weight Loss Part One.

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“WHOA!!!! HE’S HUUUUUGGGE!!!!” “OMG!!! SHE HAS GAINED SO MUCH WEIGHT!!!!” “WOW!!! SHE USED TO BE TINY…WHAT HAPPENED???” …We’ve all been there. (Though, of course, hopefully, you didn’t vocalize it…YIKES!!! Lol!!) After attending a class reunion, scrolling through an old buddy’s Facebook page, or running into a friend you haven’t seen in a long time, you notice immediately how they have “picked up a few pounds.” If only five pounds, it is so easy for us to recognize the slight “expansion” in another’s physique. Interestingly enough, when those same pesky pounds invade OUR otherwise amazing self, we look in the mirror every day and give ourselves a pass:

“I don’t have time to cook or workout – I work all day.”

“I have 4 kids- what do you expect?”

“Healthy food is way too expensive – you know we are on a tight budget!”

Big runs in my family – it’s in my genes to be this size.”

“Hmmm…the dryer must have shrunk these jeans again!!!”

Lolol!!!! I TOTALLY get it!!! Been there! However, consider this: if you only gained 3 pounds a year, (you know, from the big holiday seasons, potluck dinners at the office, vacations, cruises, birthday desserts etc…) after 10 years, you would be 30lbs heavier!!!!! YIKES!!!

I recently lost those pesky few pounds that have added up over the years. Though I never got to a place that was too out of control, I wasn’t comfortable with myself and knew I had to make some major adjustments.  What I realized in the process was two things:

  1. Weight loss is much easier to control when it is at the “two-pound stage.” Anyone can shed 2 pounds!!! TOTALLY DOABLE!!! However, it is easy to get discouraged and overwhelmed, when you look at the scale and it is 20, 35, 40 more than what it used to be. So, check it in at 2 vs. 20! 🙂
  2. It is even easier to maintain a healthy weight when you consistently live healthily. Of course we are all busy, but it can’t be at the expense of daily choices that promote LIFE itself.

Stop giving yourself a pass to practice a continued lifestyle of lack of self-control. Get your body in check and let it know that YOU run it, it doesn’t run you! Set the pace for yourself and family so that all of you can be here doing the amazing things God has created you to do for a LONG time!!!  My next post will give a few simple steps to maintaining ALLLLL your gloriousness in simple and practical ways!!! STAY TUNED!!! 🙂

WAIT!!!! Did You Just Say, “I’m Bored????” A Super Summer Schedule For Your Kids.

A Super Simple Summer Schedule For Your Kids:

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Ok. Well by now, most of your children have received their awards, cleaned out their lockers, collected signatures in their yearbooks and hugged their favorite teachers goodbye. IT IS SUMMERTIME!!!! For most kids, the greatest time of the year!!!! For most parents, you are stuck wondering what you will do with them during the next 3 months of time. Some will go to camp, others will go to daycare, summer school or some sort of “holding ground” until they move on to the next grade in the fall. That is a TON of time. And for the parents whose kids will be at home, this can be difficult to manage. As a former teacher, I can attest to how long it takes to crank up the idle minds that have laid dormant for the past 2 months. How long it takes to review important material covered just a few weeks prior in order to prepare for the new material to come. If you struggle with how to keep your super awesome kids at their awesome-ist during the 8 weeks of summer, FEAR NOT. I bring you tidings of comfort and relief!!!!

I have created a summer schedule for my own kids that they have been following for the past several years. Now that I have my chalkboards in the main area of the house, I decided to put the vision up on the wall for all to see, so we all know what is expected. Now, I will humbly share this super simple schedule with you, with hopes that it will foster ideas for you and your family.

Though, most kids are allowed to stay up late and wake up late, I find that ALLLLLL kids thrive when they have structure. They generally spend 16 of their hours awake, so, I have found this a healthy way to help them balance their time. Each day, both of my kids must complete the following:

  • 1 hour of physical activity: You must keep that body moving. Unlike the days of old, kids can be found regularly sitting down, watching TV, playing video games, laying around on their phone and the like. They need to get up!!! They need to move their bodies. When I was a kid, we would play outside until the street lights came on!!! We were playing basketball, riding bikes, climbing trees, skating, swimming ALL DAY!!! It is important that kids stay active, get up, and get their heart rate moving. Have them go on a family walk, go to the gym, ride their bikes etc… whatever the case… KEEP IT MOVING!!!!

 

  • 1 hour of academic-ish stuff: Just as important as keeping their physical muscles in shape, their brains need a daily workout as well. I like to take my kids to either the book store or library once a month. You would be surprised how much they get into reading when they are able to have their choice of what they can read. It gives them ownership over an area otherwise governed by teachers (who in their eyes pick boring books!!! Lol) They can read each day. Do a puzzle, play chess, build a robot, write a letter to Grandma, or even play on the various academic websites to help their minds stay active.

 

 

  • 1 hour of chores/help: No matter how young or old your child is; they are stake holders in your home. They live there, use resources, make messes and add wear on their space. Not because YOU need help to manage or maintain, but because as a parent you are training them for their adult life, they need to participate in the general management/care of the home. In other words, THEY NEED TO HELP!!!! Give them a general task or tasks to complete each day. Show them how you want it done and make sure you are loving and forgiving if it is not done EXACTLY how you would do it. Redirect them. Help them feel like they are an important part of the overall care of their home. Even if your child is 4, he/she can learn how to sort clothes, put toys away, etc… Do their future spouses, roommates, colleagues a favor…train them early to care for their space!

 

  • 2 hours of media/electronics/TV/video games etc…: Though electronic devices reign supreme in most kids’ lives, they need to learn how to temper their time, attention and desire for them. Just like a great tub of ice cream, without obvious health consequences, most kids would eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, if allowed. They are even more attracted and attached to their devices. Unfortunately, whether on social media, TV, YouTube or the like, if given limitless access, those sources will become the vessel that shapes and governs our kids’ ideals and beliefs. We must be actively involved in balancing their time. I know it is tough. For many parents, technology is a way to keep children out of your hair for large amounts of time. In essence, though it serves as temporary relief for you, it will produce greater challenges in the future. Put the limits on them. Your kids may not show their appreciation for limits on their media time, but they will thank you for it later.

 

  • 8-10 hours of family fun: Though it sounds that with all this structure, the kids will seem to be back in school, I promise, there will be plenty of time for meaningful activity both individually and as a family. As a mom, I use summertime as an opportunity to love on the kids, come up with creative ways to keep them involved all while building their character. This doesn’t require a ton of money, or for you to be at home fulltime, but each day, you can look for ways to include them. Examples are family walks with the dog, a trip to the mall or the movies (they have a ton of spots that offer dollar or even free summer movies.) vacation bible school, baking cookies and cupcakes, making crafts, journal writing, building, gardening etc… Whatever the case, kids know and love when their day is filled with a creative, intentional, thoughtful agenda. It trumps TV, video games ANY DAY!!!

 

  • Daily devotional/prayer: I believe prayer, meditation and time with God is an essential part of every person’s life. What better time to instill these practices into their lives than when they are children?  There are super daily devotionals for kids of all ages. The content is suitable for each age level and gives super biblical reflection and annotations for each day. There are great praise and worship collections, videos, TV shows, radio stations and even movies that can help give kids a way to connect with and help develop a relationship with God. Though I don’t like to govern that space for my kids, I certainly encourage it and make the resources available to them, while modeling time with God in my own life. Praying and studying together as a family is even more meaningful for everyone.

 

  • Dressed, washed, groomed by 10:00am: Though I can TOTALLY appreciate sleeping in, as an adult, you can attest to how much more productive you are with your day when you are up and at em’, rising and shining earlier than later. It gives kids a false sense of reality that they are able to just lay around in their bed until 2:00pm after staying up all hours of the night. It makes it very challenging to make the transition when school starts back up when they have formed these sleep patterns. Besides they can’t engage in all there is to offer in a day by sleeping it away. Up and at em’, the world awaits you!!!

So there you have it. Nothing overly complicated, but super effective. Know that your kids are looking for structure. They need to keep their creative minds and bodies moving. As parents, utilize these next couple months, not to keep them entertained, but to help develop them physically, spiritually and mentally. In turn, we will be cultivating little people that will make an impact in their world while making meaningful memories throughout. In the meantime, HAPPY SUMMER EVERYONE!!!!! 🙂

My AWESOME Visit to the Magnolia Market!!!

Like most of the planet, I have completely fallen in love with Joanna and Chip Gaines and their awesome show Fixer Upper on HGTV. It’s not just the fact that they build and design amazing homes, but their downhome spirit, charisma and faith seem to exude in everything they do. For my birthday a few months back, my amazing husband planned a surprise trip to take me to the Magnolia Market in Waco. As a person who LOVES interior design, decorating, restoring and the like, it was the PERFECT trip for me. Of course, we took a million pictures, so I decided to share the experience with you!

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First, Waco itself, comes off as a basic city. It is small, has basic homes and basic business. The difference is, you can sense the spirit of the people and believe it or not, the spirit of Magnolia, in every facet of the town. Waco is a short and beautiful 1 ½ hour drive from Dallas. We stayed at a nearby hotel, SpringHill Suites  (Which by the way, I highly recommend!!! Free breakfast, new facility, hot tub in the room, super staff, affordable, and close to everything.)

The first day, we went right over to Magnolia. I must say, you are immediately greeted by the idea that you are not alone in your love for the Gaines!!! WOW. This place was PACKED!!! There was a line outside the door to get in!!! And we were EARLY!!!  Thankfully, there were friendly staff members at the door welcoming visitors, even passing out snacks while we waited.

Once we entered the building, we were surrounded by beautiful flowers, dishes, wall hangings, apparel, soaps, containers… DÉCOR GALORE!!!! Everything was better than I could imagine. As a home goods shopper and design enthusiast, I admit that if you shop at other interior, vintage, antique or restoration shops in your area, you will find similar products, however the collection that Magnolia offers, the ambiance of the building, the staff and the overall experience is one of a kind. Though the odds of you running into Joanna herself are ZERO, you can easily see why people come from all over the world to experience Magnolia. As a matter of fact, there is a guest book where you can sign and put from whence you came. While I signed it, I did a quick browse to see the various destinations from where people traveled. It was amazing.

We visited the garden area outside and sat in the antique truck that sits on the property. There are food trucks and an open area for kids to run and let loose. Upon looking, I actually saw many husbands sitting out there waiting on their wives to come out of the shop! Lol! The bakery and furniture store were in the making, which by now I believe are up and running.

I did make a couple purchases, but because we traveled by plane, I was limited in what I could buy. I was hopeful that I could just purchase some of the items from my wish list online once I got home. However, I was saddened to find that some of the really nice items, you can only purchase at the store.

Though the shop was pretty large and was packed with people, there seemed to be enough room to make the experience enjoyable and staff members were constantly replenishing items to the shelves. I can imagine the following will only grow over time. Thankfully they have added on other shops now which may help with overcrowding.

It was pretty neat to see the impact Magnolia has made on Waco, and how much Magnolia reflects the spirit of Waco. I think the residents are just blown away with the tourism it has drawn to their small town. After spending a couple hours at the Silos we ventured out into the city. We enjoyed an awesome lunch right around the corner at The Backyard. We had a great cup of coffee at Common Grounds (owners were filmed during Season 2 of Fixer Upper). There, we met the owners as well as several students from Baylor University (which was right across the street)… BEAUTIFUL by the way. We even caught a movie at an awesome theater near our hotel and enjoyed date night Tuesday (1/2 off) frozen yogurt shop, U-Swirl.

Overall, I had a BLAST!!! Visiting Waco was the perfect gift for me. I was inspired on so many levels and will continue with my own design adventures. Every place we visited was first class. We enjoyed sharing conversation with both the tourists and the locals. As God continues to elevate the Gaines Family in their endeavors, I can only imagine how it will bring attention to this awesome hidden gem. If you are looking for a super charming trip, visit Magnolia Market and Waco, Texas. You will NOT be disappointed!!!

 

DIY: #2 Chalkboard Panels: Operation Decorate the New House on a Budget in Full Affect!!!!

If you haven’t read my prior posts (boy, you are missing out!!! :-)), I will remind you that we recently downsized and built a new home and are tasked with decorating it on a very tight budget. Ok, so I admit that this was among the first projects I completed. I finished it in October, however, it is probably one of my favorite pieces and I must say we use it daily. It is a panel of chalkboards. They are HUGE and take up most of the wall in our dining room. I know there are a ton of chalkboard models out there, but this was an original piece to accommodate an interesting space, so my husband and I kinda winged most of the project in order to figure out our unique design and all for the less than $75.

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We went to Home Depot and purchased 4 chalkboard panels. They were $10 each. On the same trip, we measured the perimeter of the chalkboard and had them cut several pieces of thin wood to attach to each panel. We also cut a large piece of wood to act as the base for the piping. Later we came back with new measurements to purchase the piping and flanges to attach the panels to the board. Our dilemma was, how to hang the chalkboard panels to the piping. We scoured Ace Hardware and found some clamps with screws that allowed the panels to hang.

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Once I stained the wood for the perimeter and painted the wood to use as a base, I charged my husband with the difficult task of drilling it all to the wall. That may have been the most challenging part as once all panels, perimeters, clamps and screws were attached, they were hung by one piece of plumbing pipe…and they were extremely heavy!!! YIKES!!!  My husband used his bulging biceps to miraculously drill the loaded pipe into the wall… and VOILA!!!!! Our newest replacement to sticky notes and refrigerator magnets!!!

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I use the panels daily to write reminders, words of encouragement, scriptures, weekly menus…you name it!!! I think the kids feel really special when they wake up to a sweet note left especially for them. Not to mention a welcome note to guests when they visit. One of my FAVORITE projects to date!!!! 🙂

Every Now and Then you Have to Stop and PLANT the Roses!!!!

SPRING IS HERE!!! The weather is BEAUTIFUL!!! We decided to capitalize on it. No phones, TV, video games, music, etc… (well a camera of course!!! 🙂 ) and not even a ton of money. After a family trip to Home Depot and Walmart, we set a small budget and chose some flowers and trees to plant in our new back yard. We eventually want to work up to a garden, but plan to take it slow while learning a few of the ins and outs of this venture. :-)Everyone was able to select a plant; then dig the holes, fertilize, set and water them. We had a BLAST. Each family member’s talents shined throughout different parts of the process, but ultimately, we set a goal and worked together to accomplish it. We successfully planted a couple rose bushes and an apple tree, while making memories along the way. Mission accomplished! Super fun for kids of all ages!!! Happy Spring and blessings to you! 🙂

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“I Want to be a Baller’s Wife!!!!!”

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“I want to be a baller’s wife!!!” I remember this being a common response from my female students when discussing future endeavors post high school. With so many opportunities, talents and gifts the girls had before them, I was disappointed that they were reduced to this option.

Oh, what is a baller’s wife you say? Well, I’m no Webster or anything, so don’t quote me on this, but my definition would be: an opportunist, a woman who latches on to a man at the height of his career with hopes of optimal gain.  This idea really bothered me, especially with the continual images on cable TV of seemingly wealthy women living a life of excessive glamour, fame, prestige and drama. I guess I can’t direct all my frustration on the Housewives of Atlanta (or the like), when Disney and other big name production companies have been pumping our heads with these images for decades. The Cinderella story, Rapunzel, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty… the idea that somehow a man is going to sweep an otherwise distressed damsel out of her misery. Save her. Take her on his white horse and whisk her off to a life of wealth, ease, and happiness.

Well, what’s so bad about this? I mean a man is supposed to be the provider, the protector. He is supposed to take care of his wife and children right? Of course he is, however the baller’s wife leaves women burdening the man with excessive provision. Burdening the man with rescuing her from all her problems. Burdening the man with relief from debt and other financial stressors. If we consider God’s plan for man and woman, it would change the entire trajectory of the mate selection process.

First of all, a man should have his stuff together. He should know his purpose in this life. After careful examination of his gifts and talents (over several years) and close relationship with God, he should know what he is called to do. Every step he makes after high school should line up with him getting closer to that calling. Unfortunately, men too, are inundated with the overwhelming requirements to gain status, wealth and a name. They settle for a goal with monetary reward vs the goal of fulfilling the call on their life. Ultimately this leaves him to a life of complacency, regret, envy and lack of true accomplishment.

God knew that men would struggle with accomplishing their true purpose alone, so he created a woman. A woman is called to be a help mate. One who will work hand in hand with her husband to help him achieve the call on his life. They then, would enjoy success, fulfillment, wealth, and wisdom from the journey together. There is grace on this plan. Though it is contrary to popular belief, it works. If a woman was working on herself spiritually, emotionally, educationally, financially, getting her stuff together, she would not need a man to rescue her. She would be willing, and able to provide her husband with the help that he needed. Unfortunately, if a husband is distracted from his calling to perform the tasks of paying off his wife’s debt, working around her insecurities and making sure she is whole, he can’t possibly be all he is called to be. He is forced to use his entire check/salary to feed her whims. Her desires for $400 purses and drawers of makeup and racks of shoes used to fulfill her deeply rooted insecurities that are camouflaged as desires/needs. Unfortunately, this never works so it is wasted effort.

After 17 years of marriage, I guess some could say I appear to a baller’s wife. My husband is a robotics engineer, and a minister of music. He works from home, earns a nice salary and has provided a comfortable life for my children and me.  The difference is… He didn’t wake up like this!!! Lol. I met him in college. We were married soon thereafter and all the while, I have been by his side, hand and hand, helping him to make decisions that help lead him to his goals. Helping him with the behind the scenes tasks that allow him to shine. As he pursues the Word, he has all the components that allow him to fulfill his dreams with ease, which ultimately benefits us all. They say behind every great man, is an amazing woman. I believe that to be true. And any married woman can attest to the idea that her husband probably couldn’t put a good looking outfit together without her help.

My main point is for women to understand that they are designed to help their mate. It is not the other way around. The provision that a man will provide is a benefit of him reaching his true potential. But he needs you to help him do it. Often times, we are so willing to put the attention, time, care, effort into the visions of our bosses at work, in order to help him/her fulfil their vision for the company, yet we are reluctant to help our own husbands. Help him. Your efforts are not in vain. They will not go unnoticed. Whether you are a stay at home mom holding down the fort, or you help pack your husband’s lunch each day, help fill out resumes, or make necessary sacrifices for him to go back to college, there is grace on your ability to help him become all he is called to be.

While the Cinderella story, the woman standing on the sidelines at the basketball game, or the ladies on the hot reality TV shows seem glamorous, if you study them carefully they are merely a facade. A complete counterfeit of God’s real plan. We should strive to become all God has called us to be, so we can help our mates become all they are called to be. Together, with God at the head, there is nothing we can’t accomplish. There is no enemy or weapon formed against us that can prosper. And THEN, the happily ever after can commence… 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

DIY: Operation Decorate/Accessorize New House on a Budget in Full Affect!!!

So…we have been here for little under a year; our cabin retreat in the mountains. We sold all of the furniture from our last home which means we are completely starting from scratch with furniture, accessories etc… I love the challenge of that because, not one piece of furniture from our last home would physically fit in here, but it also wouldn’t stylistically fit either. The style and size are TOTALLY different. I love that I am able to put my unique stamp on this new home and take it one room at a time. I do have a small “renovation budget” if you will, (and I do mean SMALL) so I have to make each dime of that stretch. I love that challenge as well because it forces me to get creative.  This home is a custom build. Most every square foot of it was made by one’s hands, so I must admit, I am merely accentuating the beauty that is already here. Not to mention, we are smack dab on the top of a mountain, which needs no accentuation what’s so ever…

My latest piece is a barn wood sign over my master bedroom window. I plan to create a sign with a personal phrase over each major window in all the rooms. Interestingly, they all face the mountain so therefore my goal is to put a cherry on top of each amazing ice cream sundae.

This is our master bedroom. After careful consideration, I chose the phrase right out of the bible: 1 Corinthians 13:13 … but the greatest of these is love. I toyed with other ideas, but love is a theme throughout our home and I thought what better place to reference love than directly from the scripture.

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I went to the local antique junk yard and bought an old 8ft piece of barn wood.

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I painted it white. However, I wanted the wood to show through, so I added water to the paint to thin it out a bit. wp-1460700113866.jpeg

I then ordered some rusted metal letters from Etsy (LOVE LOVE LOVE ETSY!!!). I considered the size and wording and ordered accordingly.

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Once the letters arrived, the greatest task was measuring. My husband and I measured the size of the letters against the length of the (uneven) board and glued them accordingly. I attempted to hot glue them, however that did not work, so we used industrial strength wood glue to attach the letters to the board.

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After the letters dried, we finally drilled the sign to the wall. In order to maintain the integrity of the old wood, we used the holes that were already in the wood and successfully drilled it in. And Voila!!!!… our finished product!!! 🙂

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