Monthly Archives: February 2012

Game On

As mentioned in my “about me” section, I love to play games! The funny thing is, I hardly ever win. I’m not a very competitive person. I enjoy the process of the game–and being with family and friends–more than the actual outcome.

We recently learned a new game from my brother and sister-in-law called Monopoly Deal. I highly recommend it. Great fun. But I noticed that I don’t really like the action cards that “hurt” people. I want to win without infringing on others’ hard work to win as well. Which is probably why I rarely win.

I felt uncomfortable watching the Super Bowl this year because I knew both teams wanted to win so badly. I don’t even care about football, really. But, it kinda upset me that the outcome could only be that one team would win. The other would be completely devastated. I hate that.

When I was a kid, we always had to participate in sports (a fact for which I’m now grateful to my parents). I was not an athletic kid. Really. I quit soccer when I found out I could work the concession stand and make twenty bucks on a Saturday. I was on a basketball team for only one season and the one time I got the ball during a game, I panicked and hurriedly passed it off to another player. Promising career, I know.

I often chose the sports I participated in based on the amount of sweat (or lack thereof) that I would incur, or feel that I was incurring, at least. Swimming and ballet were winners.

At my swim meets as a child, I could not be hurried. It didn’t matter that I was in a race. I needed to stop after each lap because my goggles were fogging. I’m totally serious. Form was there, speed was not. Synchronized swimming would have been perfect if my school had offered it.

For this reason, it is a miracle that I have picked up running over the last few years. I always hated running. I remember the first time I ran 0.8 miles without stopping. I was ecstatic! I have actually come to the point where I enjoy running. Sometimes, anyway. But don’t take that to mean that I want to be pushed.

My husband used to go running with me when I started out. Poor guy. He would run circles around me (literally). I was fine with that, but when other runners (middle-aged ladies) would pass us on a run, Jonathan would say, Come on! They’re beating us! I don’t care! I’m tired, out of breath…and running uphill! What more do you want from me?

I am happy to say that I ran my first 5K last November! I don’t know what my time was. Don’t really care, honestly. But, it felt good to complete, and I hope it won’t be the last one I run.

Last weekend, we went to Chattanooga to watch my sister and her husband run in the Scenic City half marathon (their second half). She tried to convince me to train and run it with them (with only a month’s notice, I might add). Ha!

I will say it’s incredibly inspiring to cheer people on in a race, though. I caught myself getting teary-eyed without knowing why. It’s so neat to watch people strain and struggle to accomplish something that is difficult but worth the pain.

I guess I’m an encourager more than a competitor, but it takes all kinds to make up the world, right?

Oh, and if you want to play a game sometime, let me know. I’ll be there!

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Entertaining Angels

One of my favorite things about owning a home is tackling my long list of improvements, one at a time (Jonathan may not agree). I love to see a space’s potential and then practice patience while I wait for it to come together. Disclaimer: this is a relatively new hobby.

Alright. You got me. I don’t always love to practice patience when it comes to home improvements. 🙂

When we moved into our house last August, the mailbox went on the “improvements” list. It was functional…mostly. But, it had chipped paint, a little rust, and the door was pretty tough to open and close all the way without getting jammed.

Another little fact about me is that I love practical gifts. No, really, I do! So, I was more than pleased to receive a new mailbox from my brother-in-law, Timothy, for Christmas. What can I say?

Last Monday, Liam and I decided to head outside since it was sunny and pretty warm (especially for February) and figure out how to disassemble the old mailbox and replace it with my Christmas present. My goal was to keep the existing pole that it sat upon, so it took more than just knocking it out of the ground and putting a new one in its place.

As Liam sat in the driveway and played with Lola, I started on it. Then, our neighbor, Ann, came out to say hello. She’s a sweet, elderly lady that has lived in her house since the 1950s. While we were visiting, an elderly gentleman (we have young neighbors, too!) came walking down the street, commenting on how he hadn’t seen Ann in a while. I had never seen him, let alone, met him. His name is Marvin. You can tell he’s the kind of man that has been slowed down by all of his years and is maybe sometimes a little forgetful, but definitely still all there. A sharp, active mind.

Marvin introduced himself, asked when we moved, if we had found a church yet, and what my husband did for a living.  Then, his attention turned to my mailbox. He started giving me a few pieces of advice on disassembling the thing, which I appreciated since some of the nuts and bolts were rather rusted and I was having trouble getting it apart. I think he could tell, because he started taking it apart himself and then offering to cut and replace the wood the mailbox sat on. I told him I didn’t want to impose, and he assured me that he enjoyed having something to do.

Marvin told me that he and his wife also moved into the neighborhood around the time that Ann did. He’s been a widower for thirteen years now. He said he hasn’t been getting out lately, and he was happy to have a project. The last wood project he worked on, he told me, was building a china cabinet for his granddaughter. She died last December of a pulmonary embolus at the age of 39.

He said he would head back to the shop behind his house (after finishing his walk around the block, that is) and cut a piece of wood for my mailbox. Marvin came back an hour or so later with his own nails, screws, nuts, bolts, and power drill and put our new mailbox up. It took him a little longer than most, maybe. I tried to help, but he wanted to do it for me. A “welcome to the neighborhood” gift, he said. And when he was finished, he came and told me that I should tell my husband that I did it mostly on my own, with just a little help from a neighbor. I told him Jonathan probably wouldn’t believe that I put a mailbox up on my own, anyway.

The finished product. I always forget to take the "before" pictures.

I was not expecting to meet Marvin. This sweet, old man really blessed me by taking time out of his day to help me, a person he had just met.

Our encounter inspired me to be the kind of person when I get older that takes time to help a stranger. It got me thinking. He likely did not just wake up that way when he got older. Sharing kindness is a learned practice over time. How often do I stop what I’m doing to help someone in need without expecting anything in return? How often do I stop long enough to notice someone who could use something that I have to offer?

Food for thought in this busy world we live in these days.

Did I mention that I love our neighborhood?!

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Filed under home improvements, personal thoughts

Redemption

First, I wanted to apologize for being MIA for a while (my goal has been to post every 5-7 days), but, then, I remembered my post on resolutions. So, I’m not sorry. I guess.

Just to make myself feel better, though, I want to explain that it looks like our Mac finally bit the dust. 😦 We knew it was coming but still feel unprepared. I’ll keep you posted on that. (I know where our tax refund will be going this year!) Besides that, the sad truth is that I’ve had difficulty figuring out how to log into wordpress from another site so that I could write a post. Don’t laugh. I never claimed to be good with computers. Let me just say that my sweet husband left his little Toshiba Netbook (or whatever it’s called) at home so I could still have a computer. It has only taken me, oh…20 minutes or so to write this much because it keeps freezing. Oh how I miss our Mac!

Anyway…

I’ve been thinking a lot about redemption lately, and I figured since it’s Valentine’s Day today, it would be an opportune time to write about it.

Redemption happens to be one of the things I love most about God. And I believe it is His most favorite thing to do. There is so much of it in the Bible. Truthfully, it is the gospel.

Sometimes I think it’s hard to believe in, though, when we look at the world around us. Oh sure, as Christians we wouldn’t want to say that. We don’t want to admit that we have real and deep doubts sometimes. But real life…real people are messy, messy things with dirt and pain and brokenness all over. It can be scary to hope for change. We know that we don’t have what it takes.

Here’s the thing that bothers me about the way our culture encourages us to “embrace who we are” and that “there is no real right or wrong”. I sure as heck know that I don’t have it all together. There are certainly parts of me that I should not be embracing. I know that some of the things I do are wrong. And I think that when I refuse to face that reality, I’m really denying God the opportunity to work His redeeming love in me.

I have experienced what can only be described as a redemptive power in my life (on more than one occasion). Let me back up. I’ve walked in a few sobering situations in my life. I have felt overcome with hopelessness. I know how it feels to lose control (or, rather, realize that I was kidding myself into believing that I ever had control). I remember not knowing which way was up anymore. I’ve cried and prayed and thought certain things in life were never going to change.

I know that redemption isn’t something that I have the power to accomplish. But that doesn’t mean it that it doesn’t exist. Even as I write this, I’m choking back  tears remembering where I once was and where I am today.

God is making all things new. Even the things that you think to yourself…except for that. Even that. Especially that. He is able. And He is doing it. One day we’ll all see it, and it will be beautiful.

I’m reminded of this truth as I look outside this winter: everything must die before it can come back to life.

“The joy of seeing something hopelessly dead brought to life is the greatest joy we can know.” Stormie O’Martian

**P.S. I’d be happy to share my story(ies) with anybody who’s curious. In fact, I rather love talking about what has happened in my life. Maybe one day I’ll post some of it. Maybe.

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DIY Jewelry Rack

Okay…the long awaited homemade Jewelry Rack…for me, anyway 🙂

It all started with this frame.

I was having second thoughts about giving away/throwing away this old frame because it had housed my baby pictures for so many years, but the glass had broken and the matting was yellowed.

I never took a picture of it while it was still assembled, but here are the baby pictures of yours truly:

All I can say is that if Liam looks like me, he's a much cuter version of me as a baby!

Anyway, I was looking to buy a jewelry rack for the wall, and then inspiration hit! Talk about upcycling! I knew what I wanted, more or less, but I wanted to see what other people had done so I looked up jewelry racks on Pinterest. Ahh, Pinterest.

Without further ado, here is how I made my very own jewelry rack for…67 cents, I might add!!

The supplies included:

the frame

sand paper

spray paint/primer

wooden dowel (the only thing that I did not already have)

hooks

felt (and hot glue gun to attach it to the frame)

First, I sanded the frame. It had a little bit of a glossy finish, and I wanted the paint to stick.

Next, I bought the smallest wooden dowel I could find at Home Depot (this is where the 67cents comes in) and cut it into pieces the width of the frame. It happened to fit rather nicely into the grove where the glass pane used to sit, so then all I had to do was put a little glue on either end of the dowels to “seal the deal”. Haha. Get it??


Now on the painting! First, the primer spray paint (I forgot to take a picture) and then, the white spray paint. It didn’t have the polished finish that I was hoping for, but I decided I was okay with more of a rustic, antique-y look.

So, the dowels would work nicely for all of my dangling earrings, which is the majority of my jewelry. And, I have a little box on my dresser for my stud earrings. However, I have a few necklaces. Originally, I was going to put a wooden knob on the front side of the frame, but the frame was too narrow for that.That’s where the hook on the left comes in.  In the end, I added a hook to each side, just for good measure.

The other problem with my design was that I needed more space between the dowels and the wall (once it was hanging on the wall, that is). Also, I didn’t want the frame to scratch our walls. Enter, felt. Two birds, one stone. I just put felt on layer by layer until I reached the desired thickness.

No idea why the gray felt looks like steel wool. It's soft, actually.

Aaannnnddd, Voila! Finished product!

There she is, nestled between the two closets in our bedroom, hanging above the hamper.

Lessons Learned:

I am a total amateur with all this craft business, so I thought I’d share the things I would do differently next time around:

I wish I had spaced the dowels out a little more (for my bigger earrings)

There’s no need to have all that empty space at the top of the frame, so I would start the first dowel up higher

I should’ve measured the distance for the hooks (instead of eyeballing it) on the sides so that it was completely even

Better yet, I would put one hook significantly higher than the other so I could avoid exact measurements altogether

In other news, I also recovered my big pillows in the den!

I’m really happy with how they turned out, and I think the orange is a cheery addition to the bed!

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Filed under DIY projects, home improvements