Thursday, August 30, 2012

A gallon of paint that spoke love to my soul.

Over the past three weeks, it seems like everything I read, everything I hear, and everything spoken to me consistently points to the fact that God woos and pursues us with His love.  I find myself questioning it quite a bit in this season of life, but it keeps tenderly stroking my cheek with it's soft message every time I turn around, so I'm working on taking it very much to heart.  That said... I'm the first to admit that I can get a little dramatic about simple things.
 Not so very long ago, this is what my bedroom looked like.  Not bad at all.  In fact, very soothing and such but the walls were a blue gray that had matched with our previous bedding back when we had a king sized bed (and before we decided to sell it but then never did.. oh ya know, like three years ago).  I kept contemplating painting the walls gray. 
 We had purchased a big, bargain 5 gallon mis-tinted paint bucket and used that for the kids rooms which were in severe need of repainting... (Fleur de Sel by Sherwin Williams) and because we had so much left, I used it in our master bathroom.  You can see where I splashed some on the wall here, but it wasn't going to work for me.  It was really light in our bedroom and I didn't like it.  But I wasn't sure what I wanted... yet.
 And then while flipping through a magazine last week I saw it.  A gorgeous, dark slate gray color. (Stormy Sky by Benjamin Moore.)  But paint is kind of expensive and we'd just completed some creative financing and gotten our credit card all payed off etc, so I wasn't sure this would be Dave Ramsey approved.  Heh heh.
 I didn't pray about it.  Because praying over paint seemed a little frivolous, even to me.  But... my heart was like, "Oh.... I so want to see if we can make this work..."  I waited for my man to get home, tucking the ripped magazine inspiration under the mail pile... waiting for the "right moment" to approach my man.  These things need good timing.  You know what I mean... I know you do.
 After he had had a minute to breathe and greet us and dinner was simmering on the stove, I tentatively showed him my picture.  I was sure he was going to hate it.  I'm not a dark anything kind of girl when it comes to decorating so I knew this would seem out of character but I'm also incredibly decisive and when it's right, I know it.  Firmly.  (Sometimes, unbudgingly so, I'm ashamed to admit.)
 He smiled and said, "Hmmm.  Funny you should ask about this today... I just got a coupon for a free gallon of really good quality paint today."

Um. Really?

And it hit me... I didn't even pray about it, but the coincidence factor can't always be blamed.  Sometimes your heart just KNOWS something was specifically timed just for you.  This was one of those things. 

The next day my man brought home my dark gray paint and instructed me to paint the walls before I completed the (never-ending) trim project.  (Of which I'll never EVER paint trim again so long as I live now that I'm finally done. Ugh. Horrible stuff that.) The adorable and cheery Sunshine print is available in my shop.
 Somewhere along the way, I rearranged all the furniture in here, and it's MUCH better.  My studio space is much more functional thanks to new shelving and some baskets with mis-matched house numbers on them.  And yes... I painted my desk a cream color. (Navajo white by Sherwin Williams)  I would apologize for being this way but really, what's the point? (grin)   I'm beginning to get a few things started for my Fall Etsy (and yes this includes the Christmas tree garlands!!)

So I painted, and I love it, and every time I walk in there, I think, "God loves me so much, He gives me free paint. Yes he does."  And that's what I came here to say.  He pursues us with His love no matter what we may be feeling or what our life circumstances may look like.  He doesn't give up.  He doesn't walk away.  And he cares about the smallest details, right along with the big ones like cancer, job losses, infidelity, broken relationships and finances.  All of it.

Have you ever felt pursued by God's love?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

If only every day could be a mountaintop experience...

Two weeks ago, we inquired about my favorite hike.  It's the one I pretty much wait for all season, with great anticipation.  The rangers told us that if we went there, they would advise crampons (metal spikes on your shoes) and ice axes.  So yeah.. not ready yet because I don't do hikes that require scary equipment.

We waited and the snowline finally went down enough for us this past weekend.  I was so excited.  Plus we had weekend guests who had never been up the mountain that far.  I forgot how scary the drive can be... but it's so worth it!  

We packed our sled too because there's always great sledding at the trailhead.  (If you haven't hiked in 70-80 degree weather and then gone sledding after to cool down, you don't know what you're missing.)

Tell me this doesn't look like fun. 

I think the reason I love hiking so much, is because I'm constantly reminded of my smallness.  When you're standing on the side of a mountain, gazing around at sister mountains, you can't help but feel your problems slide backwards off your shoulders like pebbles.  They seem so small compared to the beauty and greatness surrounding you, and the mighty power that created every rise and crevice. 
 I always remember to stop and breathe deeply, thanking God for His beautiful creation.

It's impossible not to grasp a measure of perspective, while being cradled by a mountain.  It seems so much easier to KNOW that God's got you in the palm of His hand when you're walking up here.  And how quickly I forget, in light of every day struggles when I'm back down in the valley.  I suppose it's the valleys that make the mountaintops so extraordinary though, isn't it?  Can't have one without the other. 


 As we hung out for a bit, I realized JJ was missing.  Being on top of a mountain, there's not a lot of places a kid can go, then I heard, "HEY MAMA!!!"  And he was up in the trees.  Oh that kid.  Keeps me forever on my toes.
Prettiest view I ever did see...

"For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken," says the LORD, who has mercy on you."
Isaiah 54:10 (NLT)
Can't you just drink that all in?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

As ready as I'll ever be.

You didn't hear it, but I just let out a big sigh of relief because my "to do" list for the week is looking pretty good so far.  This past weekend we took our overnight guests on a gorgeous mountain hike and got "last hike before school" checked off the list. 
 As of today I have officially finished back to school shopping.  (Is anyone else completely overwhelmed by how incredibly expensive it is?)  I just checked off "Stock up on food for kids lunches" and now I'm working on the final things like doctor and dentist apts, getting the kids to clean rooms, and returning all our summer library books.  It doesn't sound like a lot.. but it feels like a crazy week so far!
I don't know about everyone else with 9 year old daughters, but we seem to have before-school morning outfit issues.  Ava isn't very into fashion as she'll tell you... and so consequently tries to wear one thing.  I find myself sending her back into her room to change for variety's sake over and over again.  In hopes of streamlining things for her this year, we did a little fashion show (her idea believe it or not) and weeded through what clothes went with what.  We came up with outfits and accessories that she approved of,  mixing all her old clothes that still fit, along with the few new items we gathered this year, photographed them, and put them into a laminated collage so she could pick one each morning and use it as a guide.

(To be honest, I feel like I need one of these charts.)

I found some other fantastic ideas for streamlining things out there and wanted to share.
 I can't tell you how much I adore this idea.  (I found it on Pinterest and couldn't find the original site)  I'm getting ready to finish our hallway beadboard project next week (beadboard being installed by me, on the opposite side of our guest room space) and I'm going to incorporate this idea into it for my JJ and Ava. (I'll be sure and show you once it's complete.) I just ordered little lowercase letters for them and will be soon creating little cork boards.  Super cute idea and I can't wait to share!
And this idea... well it's fantastic.  I still haven't fully figured out what I want to do about Ava's many hair, jewelry, headband, and other accessories.  But this is a good start.

There are a bunch of great ideas here, from Martha.  Where would we all be without her?  Really.  Let's ask ourselves that.
 I found this on Pinterest... such fun ideas for making first day lunches.  Last year I made these fun lunches and they were a big hit.  I think the biggest hit were the notes I tucked into their lunches through out the year.  You can get yours here.  (Or just make your own.) I like to tuck a fresh supply into my cupboard this time of year so I can pull them out while making lunches whenever I want them.

So here we go... the countdown begins. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Everyone tells you it goes fast...

 Every now and then it hits me.  I'm a mom. 
 My man was standing behind me tying his necktie as I finished editing a few of these.  I turned around and looked at all six feet of handsome standing there and said, "We made these..."  (Of course we didn't really... but you know what I mean.)
 Little personalities... funny quirks... hilarious faces and words.  My kids. 

I almost deleted this one... but it looked like an old fashioned, miserable child being photographed.  So I kept it for laughs.
 Oh I love these two. 

 I'm not sure how this happened.  I guess I blinked... and now they're getting so big on me!!

 But no matter what... they're still my little hoodlums.  Always will be.
 It does make me feel a little bit old... realizing how long I've been a mom now....
 But of course if that didn't make me feel old, the fact that my first baby sitter got married yesterday surely cemented the fact.  She was a mere twelve years old when she began babysitting for me.  She has such a precious place in our hearts- all of us.  My kids were thrilled to get to go to her wedding. 
 We had to kind of squeeze it in, as we had weekend guests and plans.  Getting to see her marry such a sweet guy was special.  And of course she looked gorgeous.  There's just something about a bride, isn't there?  Absolutely beautiful. 
This moment... oh how I remember this moment.  On the arm of your father... about to change your life forever.  I even got some butterflies in my stomach just remembering. 

Yep.  It sure goes fast...