Monthly Archives: March 2012

Treasures in Heaven

Periodically, I have an inner dialogue with myself (uhh…not sure how that works) where I ask myself if I’m getting too attached to my stuff. I’ve had that “conversation” a little more frequently since we had a baby and bought a house, and have subsequently been accumulating more stuff.

I feel like it’s important for me to take my pulse on my love for my possessions.

Now, I don’t feel like there’s anything wrong with loving or feeling pride about the things I own (especially when I worked hard to create them). But, I know that for me, I never want to love them so much that I couldn’t let go or get rid of them if that’s what God was asking of me.

Why would God ever ask me to do that?

Well, things are things. They aren’t going to fill me up or give me purpose (although I may feel tempted to believe that for a little while, I eventually feel that longing for something more). They won’t last forever. I can’t take any of them with me when I die. So, I guess I wonder what’s the point in putting all my eggs into a basket that’s only for the here and now?

I’d rather put them into one that will last forever and ever and ever. Not to mention, a basket that also gives my life real and lasting direction and fulfillment. No comparison, really, when I think about it that way. I believe that’s how God feels, too. He’s the only thing big enough to satisfy my heart’s longings. And He’s interested in me storing up treasures that I can enjoy for more than a lifetime.

Recently, I was at a Bible study where one of the women was expressing her frustration with the way we Americans live. She felt like maybe it would be better if we all just sold everything and moved to a poor country to share Jesus. (My amazing brother and sister-in-law have done just that, sacrificing lucrative careers practicing medicine in the states to go and help those who could never otherwise afford medical care in the tiny country of Burundi. I have overwhelming admiration and respect for them.)

Would I be willing to do that if God was asking me? Even though it would be very difficult (on many levels), deep down I think I would.

I thought a lot about what she said, though. And as a disclaimer, let me just say I’m not commenting on what she’s supposed to do–that’s really not for me to decide. Also, moving to an impoverished country is not just a means to learn how to live without. But, I feel like maybe sometimes we (or I, at least) can glorify the idea of giving everything away, as if that would solve all of our problems and make us “holy”.

But, truthfully, it wouldn’t. I know that my self-centeredness, my tendency toward impatience, my difficulty forgiving those who wrong me could transcend the change in lifestyle.

If I moved to Guatemala to escape my character flaws, I believe I would just find them applied to new situations. I’m sure I could find a way to feel envy for something someone else has even if we both had next to nothing. It’s part of my wretched nature (that I’m slowly learning to shed).

That’s why it’s really not about the stuff. It’s about my heart, my motives. God wants to help me change from the inside, out. And if I held on to my stuff so dear, then He may ask me to let go of it. To help me change. Not because the stuff is bad in and of itself. But because stuff does have the potential (a very strong potential without Him intervening) to make me believe that all that matters is the here and now.

But, oh friends, the Good News is that there is much, much more than the here and now. And, because of the faithfulness of God, I can work at storing up my treasures for forever.

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Filed under faith, personal thoughts

DIY door coffeetable

Well, we did it! One of the things we wanted to accomplish when we first moved into our house was to build a coffee table from an old door.

We moved in last August, so….that’s pretty much first thing, right? 😉

Our house, which was built in ’47, had a lot of renovation work done before we moved into it. Good bones, for sure. But we had dreams of changing even more things for aesthetic appeal. The living room has a really nice, open floor plan and lots of natural light from its windows.

Here’s what she looked like when we moved in:

 Then, here, after our initial decorating:

Looking good, but something’s missing. Like…a place to rest a mug of tea when you’re sitting on the couch, you say? Yeah, us too. Largely because of this reason, we found we weren’t using this room very often.

I don’t remember where the initial idea came from, but Jonathan and I knew we wanted to build this thing from an old door. We visited the Habitat ReStore many a time, looking for the perfect door (i.e. cheap and with character). One time, we thought we’d found it, but when Jonathan went back with his brother’s truck to get it, it was sold. We were sad, but determined to be patient.

Then, whammo! We found a beaut of a door for only $12! It was a little warped, but we felt like that could be leveled out as a table (we’re not exactly the carpentry experts, but it worked out).

We talked a lot about design, and found this inspiration from…you guessed it: Pinterest.

There were many things we wanted to do differently, but we especially liked the knob placement, the shelf along the bottom, and the sides also made from the door.

So, Jonathan and his brother, Michael, got to work! Michael graciously let us use some wood that he had gotten for free (hence, why we used black wood when we were just going to have to paint over it). First stage complete! But, alas, it was too tall 😦 Much too tall, considering how long of a table it was.

The guys cut it down another 4 inches or so, and it looked sooo much better! I was excited.

Now it was my turn to get to painting! We decided to go white with the table since our walls our dark in the living room. We wanted to pick up the baseboards, crown-molding, and frames above the couch.

First, I primed the whole thing (and by whole thing, I mean everything except for the door). Let me tell you, it was a pain to paint! I really should’ve painted the black wood before we put it together. There were so many nooks and crannies that were just about impossible to reach with a brush. And if priming all those awkward spots wasn’t enough, I painted it white (2 coats)!

When I was done painting it white, I tried a few “aging” techniques: sand paper and steel wool soaked in apple cider vinegar. I wasn’t having much luck with the table top (and maybe I was feeling a tad bit frustrated with the pace of progress) so I decided to do some “light” aging on the legs and base and call it quits.

Maybe it’s not noticeable in pictures, but there is some brown staining from the apple cider vinegar that didn’t wash off. A little frustrating, but the good news is that we were going for an imperfect look! After 3 or so coats of a polycrylic sealant, we were done!

I think the room looks a lot more complete now, don't you?

...and from the other side.

Isn't the knob fun?

Complete with baby toys!

 I’m learning my lesson in patience with each project I complete hurriedly out of frustration and/or eagerness. One day, I’d like to go back and do some more “aging” to the door, but I’m learning to deny my perfectionistic side. It’s a fully functioning, completely original coffee table! And we made it! Yay!

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Filed under DIY projects, home improvements

We went to the zoo!

Today, Liam had his first visit to the zoo!

For his first birthday, Omi and Abi gave him a year membership to Grassmere. Or rather, a membership for the rest of us since, though he has free admission, he can’t drive himself there. Let’s be real, though. He’s never going to drive. I had a talk with him, and he agreed that one year old is as big as he’s gonna get.

Sadly, there was rain on his first trip, but that’s the beauty of a membership! It’s not a wasted trip 🙂

Here he is feeling big standing up against the glass of the fish tank.

Watching an iguana swimming in the water.

Liam made a friend who took a real interest in him. And by that, I mean she took a real interest in petting his head over and over.

Liam with his faceless friend.

He had difficulty noticing anything that wasn’t moving a lot. So, he loved the bats!

Enjoying the bats with Omi.

Oh, and there was this really creepy alligator just sitting there smiling at me. Creepy with a capital CREEP. Not a good picture, but if you can see him, you know what I’m talking about.

See?

Liam and Abi reading some placards.

Thankfully, the rain stopped in time for us to make a little trip to the petting zoo. Liam preferred to watch.

We tried to get Liam to pet the goat. Yeah...not so much.

Camels! Poor guys were pretty matted and yucky from the rain.

Monkeys (NOT at the petting zoo)

Mimicking the "oo-oo, ahh-ahh" monkey sounds.

Thanks to Omi and Abi for a fun birthday present that will last all year!

Camel, Omi, Liam, Abi

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Filed under Liam Knox

Liam is one!!

Today is my baby’s first birthday! Yesterday, though, was the day we celebrated with family since Jonathan has school on Monday nights. All in all, I think it was a very successful celebration. He was happy (for the most part), liked all of his presents, and did not disappoint when it came to the cake eating 🙂

Family shot on the big day!

Reenactment of his 3 week old picture 😉

The party food

I made a birthday banner. One picture for each month. Thanks to my mother-in-law, Bekcy, for all of the monkey pictures this year!

A close up. The one year picture on top--compliments of my sister, Mariah.

Happy Birthday, "Spud"y! A little creepy-looking? Perhaps. But Liam loved it.

Liam checking out the cake for the first time.

My first attempt at cake pops!

Liam with his Mimi and Bapa

Feeling sad about the birthday hat. But, oh so cute!

Some of the party guests: Uncle Tim (Tunkle), Daddy, Omi, Mommy, and Aunt Merrill

Why is everyone singing??

Nose...Eyes...

...and the nose goes first. Just as I predicted 🙂

Mmmm...I like chocolate cake!

A contented face of approval.

Aunt Merrill enjoying Liam's new gift from Aunt Jena and Chunkle. (The names...I know. Don't ask.)

Chunkle helping Liam to get buckled in to his new ride! Thanks, Mimi and Bapa!

Finishing off the party with a wagon ride around the block. For some reason, Liam would freeze whenever we put his hat on backwards. Maybe he was afraid it would fall off if he moved?

Happy Birthday, big kid! We love you SO very much 🙂

Making his favorite new expression.

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Filed under Liam Knox

DIY Cardigan

Hello, friends! I’ve been up to my eyeballs this week in all kinds of painting projects due to self-proclaimed deadlines (before Liam’s birthday party on Sunday). Don’t worry if you didn’t get an invite, it’s for family only. He doesn’t even know what birthday parties are…or birthdays, for that matter, so we’re keeping it simple. Anyway, I hope to have some fun “before and after” posts to come soon!

For now, I wanted to share a simple little project that I think most anyone could do.

It’s from Pinterest.

That’s right…my addiction. And I’m okay with it because it encourages me to DO STUFF. From cooking to cleaning, house projects to gifts, Pinterest has a multitude of ideas. (Not like they need my endorsement. I think there is a waiting list to get an account!) But the best part to me? The ideas on there are largely inexpensive and encourage you to make old things into new ones. Love it.

One of the things I pinned to my “do-it-yourself” board is turning a too-small sweater into a cardigan, found here: http://deliacreates.blogspot.com/2011/11/cardigan-conversion.html

I just so happened to have one such sweater in mind, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. Delia explains the steps in detail, so I’ll let you read her blog if you’re interested in making one, but here’s how mine turned out.

I apologize for not having a picture of the sweater before I cut into it, but, currently, all of the pictures taken before last month (when the Mac died) are unaccessable. 😦

My sweater was a v-neck, so the first thing was to carefully cut the sweater straight down the middle. Then, I washed my chosen inside fabric, so it wouldn’t pull when I wash the cardigan. Next, I cut my inside fabric (which I got for free from my mom, who won it at some sewing function) into 2 inch strips.

Now, I was ready to sew the strips to the inside of my sweater.  Again, she explains how you do that very well, so I won’t repeat.

I decided that I didn’t want my cardigan to overlap when buttoned, so I used a regular, black ponytail holder (that I already had) as my fasteners. I just cut it in half and sewed it into the strips while I was attaching them to the sweater. That was definitely the hardest part. That is, getting my little sewing machine to go over the rubber band while keeping it in the correct placement.

Then, all that was left to do was to attach the buttons. These were two that I had as extras from another cardigan I had. They may not have been my first choice, but I was going with the free theme. So, whammo! This little project cost me NADA!

You could seriously do this. And if it doesn’t turn out well…that sweater was too small anyway, right? A win/win.

P.S. I am conveniently wearing a Concerning Lions shirt under my cardigan. They are this awesome band, whose writer/guitarist/mandolin player/etc. happens to be my husband. I’m one of their biggest fans (and not just because I’m related). Check them out!

www.concerninglions.com

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Filed under DIY projects