Division To Friendship

Division.  The act, process, or an instance of separating or keeping apart.  The condition or an instance of being divided in opinion or interest.

Something that has been on my mind lately is how divided we are as a people.  In the world, our country, our families, and even the church.  What is so wrong with actually TRYING to be friends?  Why do we have to search for the similarities and differences in each other?  Why can’t we just see them for people who God has given us as a gift to love?  There is beauty in everybody if we would just actually look for it.  Let’s attempt to move from division to friendship.  We will all benefit from it.

So, as the song below says, will you take my hand and be friends with me?  =)  Be Blessed!

 

The Start of A New Venture

As most of you know, I’m a SAHM.  I went back to work in 2013 at a gas station and I worked 3rd shift for a year.  It was tough on my family since I did nothing but sleep all day and was not mentally present when I was awake since I was always exhausted.  I struggled toward the end with whether it was the right decision to keep working or not.  Needless to say, I got my answer.  I am back at home and every time I have talked about going back to work, Hunter melts down.  It creates too much change in our house for me not to be here and managing things.  So, what can I do?  I need to do something.

I’ve have been praying for awhile now about what the answer would be and I could never get peace about me going back to work outside of the home. Well, Tevis works at a place where he has access to discarded furniture. Every so often he would call me and say, “Hey!  There is this _____.  Do you think we could use it?”  I didn’t pick up on it then, but over the last few months it started dawning on me that maybe we could just start repurposing these things.

He brought home this coffee table one day.  It has sat in our basement for a few weeks while I tried to figure out exactly what I wanted to do with it.  I decided on a bench.  Pinterest is a handy little tool!

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I went to Hancock Fabric and found a piece of upholstery that was 90% off AND I got to use a 15% off coupon, too!  Then we went to Michael’s and bought some black spray paint and got to use a 50% off coupon for it.  And we were ready to go!  Oh, forgot to mention that the padding for it, Tevis got from work too.  We were able to put a memory foam seat on it!  Sweet!

First things first…Time to dismantle the thing!

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Next, we had to measure and cut the padding for the seat cushion.  We used a thin piece of regular foam for the bottom and then memory foam for the top.

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After cutting the pieces to size, we sprayed an adhesive glue to the table top, just to hold it in place while we maneuvered it around.  Tevis lined up the pieces of foam on the material before we placed the top down.

Then, as Tevis pulled the material taut, I stapled it down.  He made sure that it was just taut enough to where it didn’t dimple the fabric around the edges.  We started on the short sides, then the long sides, leaving the corners for last.  We gathered the corners together and then stapled them down after we got it shaped in a way we liked.

Now, we get to paint!  We tried to get it done in one day, but we just couldn’t see since it had gotten dark and we noticed that the paint wasn’t liking the finish on the wood.  Tevis took it all to the shed and sanded it a little to give the paint something to adhere to.  I ended up having to finish the painting the next day in the basement since the temperature was too cold outside for the paint.

Once everything was dry, it was time for the fun part!  Putting it back together and seeing how it turned out!

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And then….TADA!!!

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It turned out great!  It wasn’t that hard to do.  It was a fun project and we will definitely be doing it again.  I just have to keep reminding myself that I can’t keep everything!  HA!

Tevis called the next day and said that he had found a dresser and head & footboard.  The dresser was not salvageable but the drawers were.  Now I have drawers in my basement and I can’t wait to show you what I plan to do with those!  As far as the headboard and footboard goes…it may end up as another bench.  Who knows!  I think I’m going to like this new adventure and I think I understand why I’ve not been given a “yes” about going back to work.  Is it going to be a huge income producer?  No, but it will supplement the same, if not more, that I would be making it I did go back to work.  And, I get to stay home and take care of my family still.  I think it’s a win all the way around.  =)  Be Blessed!

 

Run Your Race…Don’t Give Up

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Over the weekend, I received several messages from you.  They covered the spectrum of things you’ve overcame, ways that my journey has encouraged you in some way, and then also the trenches in which you are walking right now and asking for prayer.  You have been a huge encouragement to me, in ways you will never know.  I wanted to tell yall that.  It gives me direction in how to pray, not just for myself and what God is wanting me to do with this, but also in how to pray for those it is impacting.  Please, keep letting me know what’s going on in your lives.  Message me on Facebook or comment below.  I love hearing from you.  I have been really surprised at how this has made such an impact.  Know that I am praying for you.  Praying that you will continue to press on.  Praying that you will not lose hope.  Praying that you will overcome.  Thank you for all the support that you give me.  It pushes me to keep fighting.

Hebrews 12:1 says, Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.  And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.

Every single one of us are in a battle.  Whether is be spiritual, physical, or whatever else, those valley’s can seem painfully long and never ending.  They can push us to the brink of breaking.  No matter what fight you are fighting, KEEP RUNNING WITH ENDURANCE!  Know that God is running right beside you.  Even when you can’t feel Him there, He is.  Keep running. The moment that you give up, is the moment the enemy gets the upper hand.  Every step you take gets you one step closer to breakthrough.  A lot of the time the moment when we give up is when we were just one step from that breakthrough.

So, when you feel like giving up and you are hearing all those voices screaming at you (give up, you’re a failure, don’t waste you time, why even try), know within all that, there is a voice (albiet small) that is shouting with all its might, “KEEP GOING, YOU CAN DO IT, I BELIEVE IN YOU!”  Find that voice.  Strain your ear to hear it.  Keep finding it, keep listening to it and it will eventually get to where it is the one that speaks louder than all the others.  Know that that voice is God cheering you on.

I’m rooting for you!  Take that next step…even if it is small.  It’s one more than you had before.  =) Be Blessed!

The Bucket List – it keeps growing…

I have started a bucket list.  I have come to realize that it might be slightly important to have one.  Mainly just to keep me on track with a goal.  Crazy as it sounds, I think that Tevis and I would enjoy having one together, but I figured I would start my own first.  So what is it that I would like to do???

1) My first one would be to take piano up again and refresh my skills at it.  I miss playing.  If I would be honest with myself about it, I really did have a great time playing.  I loved it when I competed in the IMTA (Indian Music Teacher’s Association) competition.  I also feel like I could then be of some use to my wonderful husband.  Why I have been avoiding it is beyond me, but I love the piano.  What a beautiful instrument.

2) Travel to several different countries.  Mainly: Ireland, England, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, and Italy.  I’m sure I will come up with more as time goes by, but these are ones that i would love to see.

3) To learn at least 2 other languages.  I’ve already started this one with Korean.

4) Lose a lot of weight.  Stupid for a bucket list, but hey, I’m the one making the list.  It needs to be on here.

5) Take a 10 second (or faster) car down the track.  I love speed!  The faster the car the better.  I WILL get this done at some point in my life.

6) Adopt 2 kids (possibly 3 if we are unable to have another of our own).

7) Speak before a large crowd of people.

8) Record an album with Tevis.

9) Publish my book.  haven’t decided on which one but I want to make sure at least of them gets published.

10) See my son perform on stage in a play at least once.  I honestly believe that he would be great at Theater.  He is so animated.

11) See my daughter publish her first manga.  I know she is more than capable of doing this.  I just wish that she would believe in herself enough.

12) See my husband record his first album.

13) To fulfill my purpose according to God’s plan.  This is a lifelong thing.

14) To walk more in the confidence that I should have.

15) To write my first screenplay.  Whether anything happens with it or not, I want to at least get it written down.

16) Have the songs I’ve written recorded.

17) Publish my poetry.

18) Start a restaurant.

19) Send Destiny to study abroad for a short time.

20) Build a hot rod.

21) Live abroad for an extended period of time.

I think that is a decent start.  I would like to get to 50.  Not suer what my deal is with my lists having to consist of 50 things, but it feels like a good number.  So, what are some things on your bucket list?  I would love to hear about them.  =)  Be Blessed

The Potter & His Clay

Six years ago today, we had a beautiful little girl.  We named her Faith Elizabeth.  Faith because that is what it took and was going to take to walk the path that God was taking us on.  Elizabeth because we believed and prayed for that child.  Our Valentine’s Day will be forever changed because that is the day that we were induced to have a child that we knew God had taken back home.  Thankfully, labor took long enough so she was born on the 15th.

I had to have a blood transfusion before they would induce me because my overall blood volume in my body was low.  The day they put me in the hospital to have her, it so happened that it was a full moon, so everybody in Louisville was going into labor.  It was interesting to have a doctor come in and tell you that you had to wait to have your child because they had to take the women who had “viable” babies first.  I totally understood that, but it was still unsettling.

A week after Faith was born, I had to go back for a checkup.  This was one of the hardest things I had to do.  Needless to say, there were A LOT of women in for their checkup.  I sat there and listened to some young (late teens) mothers complain about how they had to get up every 3 hours to feed their babies and how tired they were and on and on.  I so badly wanted to point out to them how selfish they were being and how they should be grateful that their child was even alive!  And how having to feed every 3 hours is nothing.  Try doing it every 45 minutes with a premie!  (Hunter was a premie and would eat that way because it wore him out so quickly.  Can you tell I was angry???)  I finally got called back to my room and my doctor had been paged for a delivery so I had to wait.  Down the hall they had a mother having a Fetal Stress Test done, so for an hour I got to sit and listen to a baby’s heartbeat.  I left the doctor’s office broken and hurt.  I went and bought my first pack of cigarettes in 5 years.  In my mind, at that moment, it was either smoking or drinking.  So, I chose the lesser of the two evils, so to speak.

Over the next few months, I grew more and more bitter the more I thought about it and the things that I witnessed around me with new mothers.  I couldn’t understand WHY God would allow drug addicts, young teens, irresponsible people (the list goes on and on) to have babies.  I can honestly say that I was so angry at God that I hated Him.  I was mad at myself and Tevis.  Why was I having to go through this?  What good could possibly come from this?  I was at a pivotal point in my life where I had to make some decisions about the direction I was going to go.

It all came down to pottery.  Potters have to do a lot of work to the clay to make it into what they are trying to shape.  Pottery is made by forming a clay body into objects of a required shape and heating them to high temperatures in a kiln which removes all the water from the clay, which induces reactions that lead to permanent changes including increasing their strength and hardening and setting their shape.  Prior to some shaping processes, clay must be prepared. Kneading helps to ensure an even moisture content throughout the body. Air trapped within the clay body needs to be removed. This is called de-airing and can be accomplished by a machine called a vacuum pug or manually by wedging. Wedging can also help produce an even moisture content. Once a clay body has been kneaded and de-aired or wedged, it is shaped by a variety of techniques. After shaping it is dried and then fired. (Wikipedia)  

I was (am) a very bull-headed person.  I don’t like being moved from my comfort zone.  I like to be in control of things.  It gives me security.  What I learned through Faith’s death was I needed to be refined.  And for stubborn pieces of clay, they take some extra work.  Extra HARD work, because they are difficult.  They have to be broken down to be able to build back up.  Once they are finally workable and are shaped, the piece is then fired at temperatures between 1800 – 2500 *F.  That’s hot!  The product that you get in the end is one of treasure and durability.  But it has to go through the entire process to get that way.

I can now say that I am thankful for the trial that we got to walk through with her death.  The bitterness has subsided and I’m no longer angry at God.  I still have those nagging questions as to why us but I understand a little better for what purpose.  I have had the opportunity to talk with other women who have just lost or are currently walking through that same hurricane.  He gives us each our own storm so we can bring hope to others going through the same thing.  Though I am struggling this year with it, I know the good that can come of it.  I just have to let the process continue and trust that in the end, the piece of pottery I will become will be something worth treasuring.  The storms come and the storms go but God’s loving hand is always their even though we may not feel it at that moment.  He’s crying when we cry, laughing when we laugh and He’s still always there, cheering us on.  “Take another step my child.  Trust me.  Take another step.”  So, on I walk.  Praising Him through each storm He sends.  =)  Be Blessed!

The Fun of Conspiracy (aka Birthday Dinner)

Today is my birthday.  Well, not actually.  This is the day that my dad says that I was born.  He has always teased me about it.  Mainly because he missed me, his first-born, emerge into the world because he went and got coffee since it was taking so long.  So, he calls me on Groundhogs Day every year and sings me happy birthday…and to aggravate my mother (who reminded me this week how close to 40 I was), since every year she tries to correct him about the date.  I love it!  It’s our thing.  My father is quirky.  He has a lot of little things that he does or says that make him special.  Like, I am his “Number 1 Daughter” as so he calls me and Ruthie, my beautifully blonde sister, is “Number 2 Daughter”.  Anyway, I digressed.

Truthfully though, yesterday was my real birthday.  Oh what a wonderful time we had last night!  Mind you, I had no idea that there was conspiring going on behind my back.  I had a “plan”.  I had coupons!  Birthday coupons!  So, I went on about my day, being none the wiser, until I was informed that there was to be a dinner and game playing later.  I have to be honest about something here.  Those that know me well will be shaking their heads in agreement.  I struggle with having nice things done for me.  You can ask my husband, I don’t like for him to get me stuff for Christmas, because I fear his disappointment in my reaction.  Same thing goes for compliments.  Maybe that’s the underlying thing with all of it.  Fear.  Who knows.

Anyway, It was great!  Brad & Connie (our Lead Pastors), Cody & Stephanie (our Youth & Children’s Pastors) and all our chitlins (definition:children).  Merriment abounded!

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Clockwise: Cody, Stephanie, Brady (on Steph’s lap), Brad, Connie, Myself & Hurley the Dog


I have come to realize that memories are, most of the time, made unexpectedly and for the most absurd reasons.  I think sleep deprivation is the cause of a lot of it since 2 of our 3 families have babies and we are sleepless over making a decision about a house to buy.

We played Logo after dinner.  It’s like a trivia game.  I don’t think that I have ever laughed so hard or so much in my entire life.  There was tears shed by nearly all of us.  Tevis and I had a headache by the time we left.  One time in particular, we were laughing so much we couldn’t laugh anymore or breathe.  It made poor Hurley the Dog so nervous, he started eating my pants legs.  NO KIDDING!  He just laid beside me chewing on the bottom of my pants.  Reminded me of the mini-dach we used to have that would suck on his tail to go to sleep.  You can’t make this stuff up!

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Stephanie serving said delicious cake.

Then we had cake.  Wonderful, delicious, scrumptious chocolate cake.  It was really, really good!  Too bad the kids didn’t have any.  Okay, well, maybe two of the kids had cake.  They had more important things going on, like Minecraft (whatever that is).

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Tevis devouring said delicious cake.

Overall, I am so thankful with who God has placed in my life.  I still become awestricken when I really think about it.  We have only been here 2 months and to me it seems like we’ve been here forever.  The way we’ve all just melded together and fit like a glove.  It’s been effortless in one sense.  We’re family and I am so thankful to have them in my life!  Home.  What more can I say!  =)  Be Blessed!

Household Notebook (Part 3)

(Continuation of the series on creating a household notebook.  Read Household Notebook (Part 2) here.)

Today, I will cover the Menu Planning section in creating your notebook.  This is my favorite section.  Mainly because I love to cook.  I  love to try new things.  The sections I used in our notebook (Financial is a separate binder for us) are:

Goals

Calendar

Schedule

To Do

Menu Planning

Ministry

Blogging

Contacts

     Menu planning can be a huge asset to your family.  Not only is it a money saver, but with some careful planning, it can be a time saver as well.  It is also healthier.  I have used several methods over the years.  I have done the bulk cooking where you cook everything for a month and freeze it, planning for 1, 2 & 4 week periods, and I’ve done no plan at all.  Normally the no plan method doesn’t work real well for us.  We would end up eating more convenience and quickly type stuff.  Not real nourishing.  

     In this section, you can have different types of things.  You can have subcategories also which would include: grocery list, restaurant menus, favorite recipes, recipes to try, holiday plans.  You can plan for all the meals you have in a day or you can plan for just supper.  It’s really your preference and depends on what your schedule looks like.  

     To start, find a menu sheet that you like.  Some suggestions are:

Fab-N-Free – 20 great  printables, mainly for weekly planning

Money Saving Mom – Great list of all the different ways (weekly, biweekly & monthly)

Holy Spirit Led Homeschooling – Love her site!

     Once you have your printable, get your calendar out and plane the busy days first.  For us, those days are normally crock pot cooking.  It’s easy to whip together and just toss in and it will be ready when we finally get home.  When you figure out those days, then you can move on to the rest of the days.  We like to leave a day of “Fend For Yourself”.  Those are our leftovers days and they fall on Sundays typically.  It all comes down to your schedule.  We even have built-in “dining out” days.  Those fall on Wednesdays since we have evening service and worship rehearsal afterwards at church.  Once you get the hang of it, you will find that it really does help with the flow of the family.  And it’s a huge stress reliever to you.  

Please let me know how your notebooks are coming or if you have any tips, ideas or things that you do that work wonders for you family.  I would LOVE to hear.  =)  Be Blessed!