Monday, June 4, 2012

So much for a busy week...

...would you believe it was a crazy month or two?  Obviously, what kicked things off was Baby G-O's 1st birthday which was crazy-hectic in and of itself.  I made all the decorations and a couple family members joined us to set everything up the day before at the hall where we held the shindig.  After that, we spent a little over a week entertaining family members who were visiting from a ways away.  Then, we were stuck in a quagmire with our escrow with delays in paper work leaving us living in chaos being semi-packed and ready to move and facing the daunting challenge of speed-packing and moving as soon as our escrow finally closed.  (Now where is that cookie sheet?  Oh, yeah...the box under those other five!)  Yeah, and did I mention that we had already given our landlord notice, like, a month ago???

Originally, we got the okay from our lender and our realtor to submit our 30-day notice with our landlord.  We even talked to our landlord when we gave him notice asking if he would be willing to be flexible if we needed a little bit more time, although we didn't anticipate it.  His answer?  NO.  Absolutely, NO.  He needed a firm date so that he could get new tenants in there.  Ok, well, we asked and we didn't think we'd need extra time, and we also understood his side.

Wait...wasn't this supposed to go smoothly?

Flash-forward to the week our lease ran out (due to our 30-day notice) and our escrow still showed no signs of closing.  WHAT?!?!

Mm-hmm.  We seriously thought we would end up homeless for at least a few days.  Thankfully, our landlord had a change of heart and let us stay a few extra days (we of course paid a per diem for those days) and, hallelujah, our escrow closed the day after our 30-day notice expired.  We were able to get everything packed, moved, and thoroughly cleaned out in three days thanks to the help of four of our blessed friends.  The Mr. and I switched on and off between watching Baby G-O and packing/cleaning.  I'll admit it: it was HARD and I was mega-stressed over all of it and lacking sleep with all the hard work it took between vigilantly prioritizing our little one's sleep schedule and trying to make the change as seamless for her while getting as much done as quickly as humanly-possible.

This last month has blitzed by as we've settled in to home-ownership, attempting to unpack and organize things with a walking, talking, climbing one year old, and trying to make this house feel more like a home.  We still have a L-O-N-G way to go, people....a looooooooooooooong way.  Still, it's feeling more and more like, well, like US.  We've painted Baby G-O's room and gotten that fairly set.  We've put up curtains and blinds.  We've been working on keeping up the yard and figuring out our sprinkler system and the Mr. has even switched out several sprinkler heads and done multiple other fix-it projects.  I guess he just needed a house to bust the tool man out in him!  Way to go, Babe!  We're also getting used to the new sounds our house makes...and the sounds our family makes in it, too.

There's so much more to do.  Our bedroom is pretty disorganized as we lost some plush closet space from our old rental.  Another bedroom is utter chaos as it has become the catch-all room for boxes yet unpacked and the garage is another dumping post for all tools, outdoor gear, and holiday decor.  At least our furniture is all where it should be, right?  (Please, humor me on that one.)

Now, life is slowing down as we pace ourselves with the organizing and just figuring out what we want our house to be.  We know we want this house to be a blessing--not just for ourselves--but to our friends, our family, and our neighborhood.  We've already met several of our neighbors and we are so blessed to see several kids in our little cul-de-sac that come out to play almost every day.  We have a few ice cream trucks that drive by, so we try to resist the temptation.

As for this week, we'll be celebrating the Mister's birthday.  I'm excited because we'll be going camping for the first time with our, now, 13 month old...who's almost 14 months old now. feels good to be back here.  It's really a sign that normalcy is returning to our schedule...and that's no small thing.  :)

Monday, April 9, 2012


This week kicks off a busy (but fun) week for us.  We don't live very near to our family so this will be a treat.  Our G-O Baby will be turning one in a matter of days and both of her grandmothers and an uncle will be visiting.  We are so excited to see everyone...and we can't wait to see how they all respond to our little one.  She has grown and learned SO MUCH since last they saw her.  Seriously...her uncle hasn't seen her since the DAY SHE WAS BORN.  Yeah.  I think it's safe to say she's changed just a smidge since then, don't you?

Anyhow, I'll try to stay on top of the blog this week, but if I take an extended vacation from the blog while we live it up with our folks and continue packing and (hopefully) moving in these next couple weeks, consider yourself warned.

If I'm a bit spotty on the posts, don't worry--I'll be back!


Friday, April 6, 2012


Planning out the rooms for our new home has become really fun since I discovered Olioboard.  It's practically a Pinterest for decorating.  In Olioboard you can create virtual inspiration/mood boards using pictures that you've uploaded, items already in Olioboard from a variety of vendors, or even items you find on the internet along the way.

Here are a couple samples of what you can create that I found on the site (currently trending):

(boudoir glam by livluvdesign)

(NP Nursery (peacock blue) by alamodemaven)

(english bedroom by olgaflamuraj)

So, check it out and play!  It's free for most features.  Here's the direct link.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


This last week I have struggled to memorize my verses.

Call it what you will, but it is just plain laziness.

Yes, I have legitimately been busy with life as our lives are incredibly busy right now, but I don't want to make excuses.  It really is no-holds-barred laziness.  The fact of the matter is that I will do what I deem to be a priority.


I need to realize it's okay to skip packing one more box in order to sit down before or after my Bible study and take those several extra minutes to work on memorizing my verses.

Or I need to stop cruising through Pinterest and instead fill my mind with God's Word.  Even if I'm looking at scripture wall art on there, it's not the same as working to inscribe it upon my heart.

Even in this, God is teaching me.  He's teaching me to persevere and be diligent even more--especially when I really don't feel like it.  He's revealing to me the things that I make a priority over Him.  He's graciously convicting me and showing me how I still make so many truly unimportant tasks "have tos" in my daily life, thereby robbing time from Him to do as He wills.  It may be time spent surfing the web even after I've grown bored with it.  I do not believe it is sinful to surf the web in and of itself, but when I feel prompted by the Spirit that it's time to log off and I don't, well, then that's sin.

I want to be hyper-sensitive to the Spirit's prompting.  I want to be so attuned to God's voice (and equally importantly obedient to His voice) that I don't go anywhere or do anything without His leading.

Seriously, the more I learn of Him, the more of Him I realize I need and the more of me I need to get rid of.  At the same time, I am His child and I am so blessed to have victory in Jesus Christ.  I am bathed in His grace, His mercy, and His forgiveness.  He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30).

Now I leave you with this:

Ephesians 3:14-21~
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Monday, April 2, 2012

DIYs to try

I have a long list of things that I want to try to do myself, but I've got my hands full with family visits, a first birthday party, and prepping for a move.  As such, these things will have to be put on the back-burner for now.

I still wanted to share a few with you., I actually have the time to do this one once we move and will likely NEED to do this one.  All you need to do is punch a few holes in the cap of a milk gallon and--voila--you instantly have a functional watering vessel for your plants.

(found here)

We also have some mismatched furniture that we were given by family over the years and I finally want to do something about it:  Paint!  Here are couple DIY tutorials that I've got a hankerin' to try out...hopefully sometime this summer.

(Tutorial found here)

(Tutorial here)

Lastly (for now, anyways), I know we'll need proper doormats.  I just don't want to spend a lot of money on fancy-schmancy doormats considering their sole purpose (no pun intended) is to get the dirt off your shoes so you don't traipse it into the house.  Instead I hope to find decent and paintable doormats that I can customize as I like.  I dig how this:

 ...turned into THIS:

(Original post found here)

That's all for now!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Photo Friday - Tilt Shift Generator

Have you seen those cool pictures that look like miniatures?

I tried looking up how to do it and I found out it's mostly done in Photoshop, which I don't have, but sometimes wish I did.

I kept searching and, lo and behold, there's an app for that.

The app is called Tilt Shift Generator and you can get more information on it here and here.  You can try out the free version (like I did).  In that version you have to take your photos directly IN the app and you are limited in how many you can take and how you can share them, yada, yada, yada.

Or, for 99 cents, you can buy the full version and play with images you already have and you can email them, save them, etc.

I, obviously, sprang for the full app after doing a dry run with the free version.

Here's a peek at some of my photo fun.

Original photo:

 Edited photo:

Original photo:

Revised photo:

Fun, right?

I can't wait to use this app more.  I don't have any real purpose for it, but it brings me joy.

Let me know if you try it out and what you think!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I'm learning...

...I hope.

But it ain't easy.

As I work to memorize the book of James, the scriptures are really beginning to penetrate my heart and my mind--praise the Lord!  There is so much crammed in such a small book and it is SO rich.  I happen to be doing the Beth Moore study on James, which encourages the memorization over 5 months.  Whew...I'm glad that I'm working on memorizing this over a year.  I definitely need the extra time to just meditate on the depth of these 108 verses!

Talk about zingers of truth!

I am getting cut to the very marrow of my being.  I am learning more and more how vile I am and how much I need Jesus to consume me.  I am humbled and blessed and encouraged and torn down and built up and overwhelmed and...well, it's a lot.

As Beth Moore so succinctly put it, the summary of James on faith is: LIVE IT!

When he says not to show favoritism, I am fully convicted that I show favoritism in a multitude of ways, some subtle and some glaringly obvious.

When he says the prayer offered in faith brings healing, I question if I'm praying with true faith.  Sometimes I pray kind of wishy-washy prayers because I don't know what God's will is in a specific situation.  I don't need to know...that's why I'm praying.  Duh!

When he says that the religion of someone who cannot keep a tight rein on his or her tongue is worthless, I recoil.  Seriously.  It's not mediocre.  It's not alright.  It's WORTHLESS.

When he says to ask God for wisdom, okay...I do that consistently.  But when he says to believe when you ask and not complete honesty I do often have some doubt.

Have you ever seen the movie "The Polar Express"?  Well, I am learning that I'm "the doubter".


Believe me...I can relate to Thomas (a.k.a. DOUBTING Thomas).

Now, let me explain.  I don't doubt God.  I don't doubt that He gives generously to all of His children.  I don't doubt that He is omniscient, omnipotent, or omnipresent.  I don't doubt that He can do anything and everything that He wants and that He can use anyone or anything that He wants to, when He wants to.

What I DO myself.  I guess this study of the book of James is revealing to me that I don't really have a firm grasp of my identity in Jesus Christ.  I thought I did.  I am also reading "Absolute Surrender" and recently read "Intimacy with the Almighty".  Both have reinforced that I regularly fail to claim the full victory and power that God has given me through Jesus Christ to do His work.  Sure, I have been claiming some of the victory and some of the power; I just haven't been claiming all that He's offering.  God can use my prayers, offered in faith, to bring healing.  God will give me His wisdom when I believe Him for it and I search Him and His word for it.  God will rein in my tongue if I am willing to surrender it to Him.  God will completely consume my heart if I surrender it fully to Him.

I pray this year will be revolutionary in my life.  I pray that God will change me to be more like Him.  I must decrease and He must increase.

Oh, my.  I have so much to learn.  I will always have more to learn.  I pray God will never quench my thirst to learn more of Him and I pray for His empowerment to absorb it all.

Monday, March 26, 2012

James Memorization Accountability

If you remember, I wrote about how my hubby and I are trying to memorize the entire book of James (Bible) over here.  Well, as a follow-up, below I am going to type out, FROM MEMORY, chapter one.  This week we are beginning our work on chapter two.  In advance, I am asking you to forgive my poor punctuation and any jumbled up words.  Midway through the chapter I switched versions of the NIV to memorize from (yes, there are different versions of the NIV...and the one I began memorizing from changed after I started).  So here I go:

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:  Greetings.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

But when you ask you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.  Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position.  But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position because he will pass away like a wild flower.  For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed.  In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.  Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

When tempted no one should say, "God is tempting me."  For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.  But when tempted, each person is dragged away by their own evil desires and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death.  Do not be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this:  Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not bring about the righteousness that God so desires.  Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.  Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word and does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does.

If anyone considers himself to be religious but does not keep a tight rein on his tongue deceives himself, and his religion is worthless.  Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:  to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.


Let's did I do?  Well, I definitely missed / changed some punctuation and there are a few places where I used a couple different words (like bring about instead of produce).  The one verse I still managed to get the gist of but really jumbled up is highlighted now.  All-in-all, not too bad...definitely not perfect.  It's a work in progress by the empowering of the Holy Spirit.  Praise to God, alone!

Let's bring on chapter two!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cherish Your Time

(Image from here)

A couple days ago I had a very scary morning with my G-O baby.  It was a whirlwind of a morning, but everything turned out fine.  Praise the Lord!

Suffice it to say that it made me even more thankful for each day of life I get and for each breath I get to share with my loved ones.  I hope I haven't taken for granted any of the time I've been blessed to share with my husband or my daughter, although I'm sure I have.  I'm just so humbled and full of gratitude.

James 4:14 says, "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes."

I know what it's like to lose a loved one.  I also know how it makes you remember how fleeting life really is and how important it is to truly cherish every moment with loved ones...and how, over time, that sense of urgency is supplanted once again with the hustle and bustle of daily life.

So, for now, I want to treasure each breath, savor each smile, love each laugh, and reflect once again on what really matters--relationships.  May you be inspired to do the same.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

That's Pinteresting! - Growth Chart

I did not have one of those childhoods where your family has roots in a community and you grow up in one house in the same neighborhood with lifelong friends.

We were more like nomads...moving from apartment to apartment, city to city.

Don't get me wrong.  One upbringing is not better than the other.  I enjoyed many benefits from moving fairly often.

One of the things that I missed out on, though, was the stereotypical markings in a door frame to note your growth through the years.  You know what I'm talking about?  They often show it in family-type movies.  I know it's such a small thing, but it became kind of a symbol to me of growing up in a real community.  It's not just in the movies, either.  I remember going over to friends' houses and seeing the markings on their walls or doorways noting the dates, ages, and names of the kids as they grew.  It always held a special place in my heart--dunno why.

Being a new mommy in a metropolitan area, knowing that odds are we'll move several times, I still want a way to track our family's growth.  I just need something portable.  I found this growth chart on Pinterest:

(The Brimfield Growth Chart by Karen on Etsy, found here)

My hubby was trying to purchase it for my birthday earlier this year, but it was back-ordered.  Being impatient and all, I decided to try and make my own personalized version.

Off I went to JoAnn's (again), with coupons in hand.  I knew the growth chart above was printed on artist's canvas.  I had already looked at rolls of primed canvas, but knew I would never get around to using that the price was way too high for my smaller project.  Instead, I purchased a half-yard of 60" outdoor canvas and asked the cutter to cut it in two equal pieces (each piece finishing 60" long by 9" wide).  Woo-hoo!  I now had the basic fabric for my custom growth chart.

At first, I thought I might use iron-on transfer paper.  I bought a pack at Michael's (using another coupon), but after a quick test learned that the white areas that are not cut off the transfer remain completely opaque and glaringly white.  Bummer.  The font I planned to use had WAY TOO MANY jagged edges to make that a hassle-free endeavor.

So then I tried permanent marker on another scrap.  Nope.  It bleeds.  A LOT.  Lastly, I tried acrylic craft paint.

It worked.

So here's what I did: 1) I stitched the two pieces of canvas together on one seam, short-sides together to make one really long strip of canvas. 2) I used stitch-witchery to iron seams on all sides to keep the fabric from fraying.

3) I used pencil to mark out the inches on each long side of the canvas and to freehand the numbers at each foot mark. 4) I hand-painted the measure marks, numbers, and letters on our growth chart.  Here's the finished product.

I still need to decide how I want to hang it, but that's for another day.  Right now I'm just thrilled I got it done.  (That's a big accomplishment right now...)

I gotta say, I'm actually really pleased with how it turned out!  We now have a portable growth chart, specialized for our little family that coordinates with our style--and is 100% unique and handmade with love.  It's not professional by any means, but I kinda like that about it.  I can't wait to find the perfect place to hang it in our *hopefully* new place.  Hurrah!  I get to start a new tradition with my family.

I love it!