Thursday, January 5, 2017

Our Portion of Faith

It has literally been forever and a day since I have posted here, but I felt a tug at the heart. Most of the time this blog is dedicated to DIY and home decor. Occasionally, though, I share my faith. Today seems to be one of those days. I have had a few conversations lately that made me want to dive a little deeper into the thought of "Bearing one another's burdens." Mind you, there is nothing earth-shattering here. Just my thoughts.

We are told in Galatians 6:2, "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." For most of us who follow the Christian faith, we ignore this verse. We really don't want to air our dirty laundry, or hear about someone else's...especially in this day and age when everything posted on social media portrays our "highlight reel." Granted, we probably have a select few in whom we will divulge our secrets, but for the most part we keep our problems to ourselves. When someone is brave enough to reveal their struggles, we tend to listen for just a bit, and then go on with our daily lives. If that brave soul continues to share on a regular basis, we eventually roll our eyes and run in the other direction and hide. I'm sure each of us can think of at least one person who fits that description. If you can' may be that person...I'm kidding!! I remember when I was younger there being certain women in the church who would come forward after the sermon (regularly), asking for prayers. After a few times, it became sort of a joke, and even annoying because it was cutting into lunch time. It was especially irritating if the preacher had been long-winded that day. Shameful, I know, but those thoughts did run through my mind. :-)

Bearing each others' burdens requires slowing down, looking up from our screens, and making eye contact, as well as soul contact. I don't believe that we are required to personally take on someone else's burden as our own. The Psalmist writes, Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved” (Psalm 55:22) In some instances, we can help lessen the load, but other times, circumstances won't allow it. However, there are some very important things we can do. We can listen, and we can pray.

Listening to someone unload can be downright exhausting, especially when they are going through a trying time. As a hair stylist, I get to hear A LOT about someone when they are sitting in my chair. Sometimes it's good news, and then other times it's just awful, and all that person really needs is an ear to listen. Two things I have had to learn as a listener, though. 1.) I cannot make these burdens my own, and 2.) I cannot compare my life to theirs. Those are difficult lessons to learn, and ones that I haven't quite mastered. There have been several times where I have literally dropped to my knees in tears for friends or family who were suffering, asking God to lessen their load. And it can be especially frustrating when you don't see immediate results. The bible tells us that patience is a "fruit."
Gal. 5:22
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
For me, patience is a lemon...still a fruit, but sour to taste. :-) 

We have several examples in the bible where strong leaders were either praying intercessory prayers, or asking for them. Christ, when He was about to be led to the cross, prays for His disciples because He knows the trials they will face. Paul requested from the church at Ephesus  “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains” (Ephesians 6:18-20).
We must pray for those who are burdened, but have the understanding that everything is done in God's time.
I mentioned earlier that we cannot compare our lives to the ones for whom we are praying. It's really hard when we see others who seem to be doing more than us. Who seem to be killing it in God's kingdom. Who are completely on fire for God's cause. And when they become burdened, it causes us to take a moments pause and reevaluate our own lives. Maybe even bring about guilt in what we see as our own shortcomings as a Christian. Why aren't we doing more for the kingdom? Should we be doing this or that to bring more souls to Christ? However, in that moment, we must realize everyone has been given a "measure of faith" by God.

Romans 12 says:
 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members,[e] and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads,[f] with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

We do not all have the "same function" or the same "gifts." We are all wired differently, and it's 100% ok.  We should focus on the gifts that God has given us and make the most of them. Comparison and guilt kill joy, and they cause us to focus inward instead of outward. How can it be possible to help those who are burdened if we are dwelling on what we perceive to be our shortcomings? 

All in all, the only way I have found it possible to "bear another's burdens" is to lie those burdens at the feet of Jesus and wait patiently, while holding the hand of the one who is burdened.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Laundry Room Renovation-Part 4

 Life has been SO FULL these past few weeks! We were in a whirlwind of activity surrounding my sister's wedding, with all of the preparation that is involved with that. I am happy to announce she is happily married, and I couldn't be happier for her. The wedding was beautiful, and my sister was absolutely gorgeous! She looked like a princess, and I am pretty sure her face hurt by the end of the day because she never stopped smiling. She and her hubby went on a cruise for their honeymoon to Cozumel, and I really missed our daily texts. It was kind of sad. 
As soon as we got her married off, we dove head first into VBS preparation. Why is VBS so exhausting?!? A friend and I were in charge of decorating the preschool areas. There was lots of crafting and painting involved, and the kids loved being at the church building playing hide and seek.
 (Pictures to follow soon!)
And then there is school. We are getting to it when we can, but there are only so many hours in the day.
So, we have been extremely busy.
And there hasn't been a lot of time to dedicate to our laundry room, or laundry for that matter!
I will say that it is almost completely finished. All of the painting and caulking is finished. There are a few places that need some touch up paint, but that will have to wait a little bit longer. We are also adding new lighting. I am SUPER pumped about the lighting. It's going to add so much character to the space. 
Y'all are going to love it!!

So here are some pictures of the progress.
Hubby cut wooden slats like he did for the half bath walls. It was so much cheaper to make our own than to buy the pre made slats we used in the kids bathroom.

We painted the wainscotting a bright white to lighten the room up because there are no windows to allow natural light in. We ended up with what looks like faux ship lap. That was totally unintentional. I have never really been a huge fan of the white ship lap look. I know, I know...all of you Joanna Gaines followers are probably ready to burn me at the stake...just kidding. 
(I really do love that show, by the way, and it's fun to see someone on TV of whom I have a lot in common with).
Anyway, it has grown on me, and I really do like it, but if we get tired of the white, then we can paint over it....some the very DISTANT future!!
(The walls are "Gravity" by Valspar.)
See that florescent light? It's going bye bye, and I CANNOT WAIT for the new fixture to come to life. It's so exciting!!
I'll give you a little hint...
Barn Wood, and Pulleys.
 I have to find a few decorative items to soften the space up because it's very stark in the laundry room right now. I tried an antique store, and once again was reminded of how cheap I am. And the prices weren't really that bad. I am just a thrift store girl at heart. The prices are so much better at thrift stores and I am so grateful that we have some amazing little gems down here. 

I'll be sharing the lighting progress when we get a few minutes to breathe.

If you missed the first few posts about our laundry room progress, click the links below to see how things have been moving along. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Bachelorette Weekend-Part 2

Y'all, there is nothing worse than going hungry on vacation.
It just ruins the whole experience. You can't focus on the fun because all you can think about is what you're not eating at any given time.
I had that happen, once. At Disney World. 
One Word:
It won't happen again...if I can help it. 
I can assure you that we didn't go hungry during my sister's bachelorette weekend getaway. 
If anything, we were full as ticks the whole time. 
Saturday morning, I prepared a big ole country breakfast so we could have plenty of fuel to tackle the day's activities.
I saw on Pinterest where people are serving Biscuit Bars at weddings, and I thought that was such a cute idea.
A super easy breakfast, that will fill anyone up.
Now, I am a gluten free girl, and it kind of hurt my feelings to know that I wouldn't be eating any biscuits. I love me a biscuit, especially with gravy.
Biscuit and gravy makes this country girl's heart sing...along with a side of grits.
Lip smackin' deliciousness. 
There are days when I crave a good biscuit, and will cave in and eat it,
but friends, I wasn't willing to deal with all of the issues I encounter after indulging.
So, I watched my sister and her friends eat the biscuits.
I felt like Captain Barbossa offering Miss Swan the apple. 
Hopefully I didn't look this creepy offering them their food. HA!
 On the menu:
Buttermilk Biscuits
Assorted Jams
Country Ham
Smoked Gouda Cheese Grits (per request of the Bride)
Orange Juice
I think everyone's favorite dish was the Smoked Gouda Cheese Grits.
I will share the recipe in another post.
They were truly divine.
Once we were full, we went for pedicures.
That was an experience I won't soon forget.
I made sure to find a place that had excellent ratings. The place I picked had a 4.9 star rating out of 5, and there were hundreds of awesome reviews.
I thought we were set.
We must have gone on an off day...
One girl had her legs slapped numerous times with steaming hot towels wrapped around them. Imagine 6 girls all turning, leaning forward and looking to see what the commotion was all the same time. It's not every day you hear somebody being slapped while getting their pedicure. My little guy told me hated me, then tried to flirt with me, and then didn't give me a massage. Booooo! Another girl sat in her chair for what seemed like days because her person was new, and was slower than molasses. She was the first to sit down and the last of the 7 to get up.
It was an adventure, and something to laugh about for years to come. 

We hit the outlet mall in Pigeon Forge, and later that evening, we went to the Dixie Stampede.
When it first started, the spoiled part of me thought, "this doesn't hold a candle to Disney."  Once the show started rolling, it turned out to be really fun.
My favorite part was when a man came out in a chicken suit dancing, and I laughed so hard I thought my food was going to hit reverse.
I had tears rolling out of my eyes.
It was truly a good time.

These girls made this weekend a blast!
I have one more post to share about this weekend. I'll share the welcome bags I made for the girls, and all the loot that was inside.
Stay Tuned!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Bachelorette Weekend-Part 1

My sister is getting married in just a few short weeks, and I am so excited for her.
Last weekend, I got to host a super fun, completely exhausting bachelorette weekend for my sister and 5 of her closest friends.
I was a little nervous planning this weekend because I know nothing of bachelorette gatherings, and when you search Pinterest for anything related to that subject, you will find that most of it is down right raunchy.
Homey don't play 'dat. 
I am so glad I had months to plan this getaway because I was able to find inspiration from so many areas, and I was able to keep it clean and tasteful.
(You can check out my Engagement Party Pinterest Board to see where I got a lot of my ideas).

Saying that my sister is a HUGE Vanderbilt fan is the understatement of the year. Just a few examples of her obsession: she buys season passes to all home games (no matter the sport, no matter how awful they are), just about everything she owns is black or gold, the wedding colors are black and gold, and the wedding is at Vanderbilt. She is such a huge Vandy fan that when she has children, they may be in danger of being named something like Commodore or Anchor. ;-) I kid, I kid...sort of. :-)
Since the colors for her wedding are black and gold, I wanted to keep with that theme. Fortunately these colors are really popular right now, so it made it extremely easy to find the perfect accessories for our weekend getaway.
I hunted high and low on Etsy for an invitation, and this is the one I went with. It's so pretty, and I love anything that sparkles. The shop owner was great to work with, and the turn around was really fast.
 The glitter and the icons on the bottom of the invite were what sold me.
We stayed in an amazing cabin on a lake. It was a very peaceful area. Unfortunately for our neighbors, we made it a little less peaceful!
There was an incident that involved a car alarm and loud cackling of 7 hens that disrupted any semblance of tranquility. 
EVERYTHING echos across a lake :-)

Our menu for Friday night was a Taco bar and Ice Cream Sundae/Float bar.
I brought a lot of stuff from home because I didn't know what would be furnished at the cabin. 
The coke glasses were a Dollar Tree purchase and went home with my sister. The candy jars were also a DT purchase.
This chalkboard frame came from the dollar section at Target. 
I used a picture from Etsy as inspiration to draw the sundae and quote on the board. Don't you just love chalkboards? I think I could sit and draw on a chalkboard all day long.
The glitter boxes, straws, chalkboard picks and ice cream cups are from Hobby Lobby.

I borrowed the Coca-Cola crate from a friend. There was actually a Pepsi crate at the cabin. One of the girls said she was so glad that I didn't put the Coca-Cola bottles in the Pepsi crate; she would've been mad if I had...obviously she was joking :-)
Aren't these little chalkboard picks so cute? You will most likely see these used in every upcoming party I host. LOVE!

We were able to eat dinner out on the covered porch. It was kind of chilly, so it seemed to keep the little bugs away thankfully.
The views were spectacular.

I found the burlap place mats at Hobby Lobby on sale, and I embroidered the W's on them. They went home with my sister after the weekend was over as well.

I had so much fun getting to spend time with this great group of girls. Learning more about each and everyone of them.
  I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.
I love a good laugh, y'all.
In my next post, I will share what we did on Saturday, so make sure to check back!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Old Sewing Machine Table turned Outdoor Planter

Hey Y'all! I am back after a two'ish week break. I needed to focus on healing.
I developed shingles, and let me tell you...that's stuff is NO JOKE!
Thankfully, it's passed, and I have learned so much about myself and how I handle stress (actually how I don't handle it.)
I am taking baby steps, and learning to say no, and learning to just breathe.
It's SOOO hard y'all!

Anytime I am on the mend from an illness, I always have the urge to get up and do something. I don't do well sitting still, but sometimes life knocks you down and you have to listen to your body.
I had plenty of time to dream up different projects with all of that sitting I was doing with those nasty shingles.
So as soon as I was feeling up to it, I was out in the garage tearin' things up.
I had an old empty sewing machine table sitting in my attic that was given to me by one of my mother's friends. I knew I could do something with it, but I just didn't know what.
So it sat in the attic for more than a year.
Hubby kept trying to make me get rid of it because it was taking up space, but I refused. 
I am so glad I didn't throw it out.
I finally came up with a fun way to repurpose the table.
I turned it into an outdoor planter.
This was its original state.
Sans sewing machine.
I used the wood from the stand my porch swing used to hang from, and created a box to slide inside the table. Building the box took 40 forevers!
I went with my tried and true Krylon red. This was the first time for me to use this all-in-one paint and I LOVE it. It was super easy to use!
I made sure to drill a few holes in the bottom of the planter for drainage.
I also roughed up the top with my orbital sander, just to knock off the sheen.
Two coats of spray paint, and she was ready for assembly.
I used the plastic that Lowe's gives you for your car to protect the floor mats as my liner for the planter. Dual purpose, and it was free!
I had some leftover dirt from some previous plantings, and it was just enough. Lucky me!
I also poked holes through the plastic for drainage.
I made sure to get shade tolerant plants, since they would be under a covered porch. I always seem to ignore the suggestions on those little plant tags. 
You know what? Those people from the plant stores kind of know what they're talking about, so I chose to listen this time :-)
I love the varying heights of the plants.
I can't wait until they fill in a little more.
This was an inexpensive build, and I was only out the cost of spray paint and the plants.
I am so thankful for days when I can create what I imagined. It's so fun!
So, who's ready to make their own? I would love to see pictures if you decide to recreate this piece!!

Friday, April 29, 2016

American Girl Doll House Inspiration

Raise your hand if you have a daughter who is obsessed with American Girl Dolls.
Sister LOVES A.G. dolls, and I will have to admit, I really like them too.
The dolls were first released in 1986 (when I was 5), and have been going strong ever since.
I had friends growing up who had them, and I always wanted Samantha.
However, the dolls are very expensive, and always have been, so I never got to own one.
I survived, obviously.
Anyway, Sister fell in love with the dolls, and we started with the Target brand of Our Generation dolls. We weren't investing in something that expensive if she wasn't going to play with them.
She did play with the dolls, and really didn't notice that they weren't the real deal. She did get frustrated with the hair though. That's the biggest difference between the cheap dolls and the real dolls. The hair is WAY better with the real American Girl line.
After realizing that she truly would play with these dolls, we stepped into the real world of American Girl with a Bitty Baby. 
Bitty Baby is so precious. 
I miss those days (sniff). 
For those that don't know, Bitty Baby is the line geared towards the younger girls. 
We graduated from Bitty Baby and now Sister has two American girl dolls.
At first, we had all of the kids' toys upstairs, including the dolls because I don't like seeing toys strewn all over the house.
However, one of our lovely guests decided that Isabelle needed a trim last year, (grrr) so all of the A.G. stuff is in Sister's room for safe keeping.
Which has created a bit of a storage issue, as seen below.

There isn't a good way to store everything she has, so it's tucked away in little pockets everywhere in her room which is driving me bananas!
I needed a solution!
I knew that Ana White would have some plans for a doll house. I have used her website for plans before. We built a dollhouse bookshelf which is currently being used as a Barbie house, and I built a see saw for the kids.
Her instructions are easy to follow, and there are PICTURES!
This particular build is massive, and it has pocket screws (which I don't know how to do), so hubby is going to have to help me build this one.
He just doesn't know it yet!
I'm thinking this will be a great project this summer after we finish the laundry room and get through some of the yard work.
I found this picture under the brag posts from Ana White's website. Isn't this adorable? Someone took a tremendous amount of time in making this dollhouse special.
 People are so creative when it comes to making doll house accessories! I love this little living room set.
 And there are some really crafty mommas out there.
Look at this amazing washing machine made out of a baby wipes container! So clever!
I can't wait to get started with this project! Hopefully Sister's room will look a little more organized once we complete it.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Donuts

Ever since I had my gall bladder removed, I have had issues with gluten. I have no idea why, but I have. I also can't eat things that are high in fat without severe stomach issues. My diet is high in fat, but it's the good kinds of fats that you find in things like avocados or olive oil.
Even though I have these digestive issues, I haven't quite been able to quit bacon...because, well let's face it, bacon is DE-LUSH-US!
I miss being able to eat a good piece of bread, or cake, or a cookie, or a DONUT!
I truly miss donuts, friends. 
Being gluten free really has it's sad moments, but because it's become such an issue with so many people, there are tons of options out there for weirdos like me. Or as Jim Gaffigan refers to us: terrorists :-) (that guy is so funny!)
Recently, I started doing a good portion of our grocery shopping at Aldi.
I used to be really afraid of Aldi because their tomatoes used to last for 4 weeks, and their cucumbers can be the size of a small football at times, and that's just not natural.
But times are changing and they have started offering a large selection of organic items AND gluten free items.
Gluten free items are so expensive, but at Aldi, they are much cheaper.
Most of their gluten free items are the "live G free" brand.

 Most gluten free baking mixes are really grainy, and when you bake whatever it is you're baking, it always turns out dry and hard.
Friends, not this brand. It's almost like eating the real deal.

So, I decided to pull out my donut maker 
and see if this mix would make some good donuts.
I followed the waffle instructions and I also made substitutions.
For regular milk, I subbed with coconut milk, and for the oil I used coconut oil instead of the vegetable oil.
I made a few donuts for me that were plain because I can't eat chocolate. I developed a nice little allergy to chocolate (I have my father to thank for that one...he suffers from the same issue).
For the kids, I added a few
Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate chips

The mix worked perfectly in the donut maker and the kids thought they were delicious!
So we have a winner!
Now we have a nice go-to treat for special occasions.

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