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for His pleasure: April 2011

This Page

has been moved to new address

for His pleasure

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
for His pleasure: April 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011

God's Plan for the House

There is a verse that I post often, quote often, and remind myself of often. Do you know why? Because it is quite literally the story of my life and I shall share it with you.

Proverbs 16:9 - " A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps."

I just started a Bible Study with an awesome group of gals out here in Owasso, Oklahoma: Jonah: The Interrupted Life. Wow! It's like God just said, you still need to learn this lesson so we're going to go over it and over it until you get it. =) Hmmm...I am a stubborn one sometimes.

You see I like to be a planner. I like things all lined up in order. I like to know what's going on. I like to be prepared. "But the Lord directeth his steps." And God hasn't directed my steps the way I had it planned. I didn't plan on getting pregnant on my honeymoon. I didn't plan on having 3 kids in 3 years. I didn't plan on living without my husband because of how much he had to work the first couple years of our marriage. I didn't plan on only having one car. I didn't plan on having to pinch pennies so carefully. I didn't plan on saying goodbye to one of my babies. I didn't plan on moving to Oklahoma.

"But the Lord directeth his steps." I thought if I did the right thing and obeyed God than I would get in return only what I had coming to me. Now, I wouldn't say that to you if you asked me, but that's, in essence, how I thought about life. To be honest, I still think that way sometimes. I remember looking around at other people (big mistake) and asking God why he wasn't making my life easier. "I thought I was doing the right thing, God; why does it seem you're always making things harder?" Now, if there's anything I've learned it's,

1.) Quit looking at other people. It's a big waste of time and God says it's not wise.

2 Corinthians 10:12 - "For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise."

2.) Everyone has their own struggles. They may seem insignificant to me, but it is huge for them. An African woman living in a hut would look at my housing situation and think, "Man! What does she have to complain about? She has running water!" And my husband's been to Africa, so maybe that's why we bought that house. =)

3.) God is not in the business of making our lives easier. That may sound warped, but I'm telling you it's true. You know how I know. Because I've been "through the fire." I can't disclose everything because God hasn't given me peace about it. But I'm telling you He made beauty out of ashes. I fought with God. I was bitter. I was ugly. I was disrespectful. I was prideful. But He didn't give up on me. I can't believe He kept working on me and keeps working on me.

Job 23:10 - "But he knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold."

So do you know what God's plan was for that house? Well, it was nearing completion after a year and a half of steady plugging away. We were dumping every spare change we had into it so it could be finished. We were running out of change and that was a problem. A big problem since baby number three was on his way. Steven was putting in for every possible promotion at work. One was in Montana. Another was in Alaska. Others were in North Carolina or Georgia. My husband is so diligent I'll tell you. Most men would crack under the pressure of having a third baby in 3 years, but he's a real trooper. And calm as all get-out. He interviewed for months and through a series of events that will take up a whole other blog post, he got this job in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The only place he had interviewed for that I really wanted to go. Boy, God is good, isn't He?!

We moved out here literally 2 weeks later and I haven't seen that house since. Beautiful crown molding went up after I left and all the odds and ends that were bugging me got finished up. So, I have not even seen it "finished". But you know, I am completely fine with that. God taught me to love my eternal home more than the present. And I really mean that. I long for heaven now more than I ever have. I learned how really worthless earthly possessions are. I learned to never get "settled" because I am not the pilot of this plane. And I just gave that house that I had put so much time into back to the Lord. It took a solid year and a half to get to that point. But God did it. And I'm glad.

Here are the "after" pictures, but keep in mind they are not true after pictures because I left before it was all done.

Shelving was added and crown molding after I left.

~Living Room~

~Master Bedroom~
Crown molding was added in here after I left as well.

~First Floor Bath~

~Second Floor Bath ~
~ Emma Claire's Bedroom ~
(Blue bedspread does not belong on bed.) =)

~ Shiloh's Bedroom ~

~ My Sewing Room! ~

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The House That Changed Me: Part 2

This is the process...
It began with lists...and lists...and more lists.
I am a list writer. I got that straight from my mother. I swore I would never write one as soon as I got out of the house because we kids used to HATE her lists. So...yeah...explain this picture...

And so now Steven pretty much HATES my lists. Not because I write them, but the way I write them I'm told. Apparently I put too much on one list that will never all be accomplished in a day. I don't see a problem with that. But someone does. =)

The process then includes preparation for the job. We were less than perfect with this. You see, our goal (probably more mine - read caption of first photo) was to get this house flipped in a year. Never mind the fact that Steven worked 2 sometimes 3 jobs during the first year we lived there and I was pregnant most of that year or had a newborn. I now know why Steven thinks I was psycho.

We worked rapid fire on this house I'm telling you. Prep got to be really a hassle as you can see...

I'm using my nice Pottery Barn drape for a shield from the dust storm in the kitchen as we sanded cabinets and scraped off the popcorn ceiling, complete with a paint can holding it down at the bottom. I really don't know what I was thinking. Actually, "Get this done," is what I was thinking.

Our house was always under some MAJOR project so we never actually enjoyed a room for what it was supposed to be made for. I brushed my teeth in the kitchen. We pulled our food out of the fridge in the living room. Then we ate our meals in the bathroom. It all depended on what was functioning at the moment.

Next, hire as much free labor as you can. And I have to tell you, my siblings were real troopers to help us out on the week of Christmas break to redo our entire kitchen. We still owe you guys dinner out for that one, so we'll plan on that when we see you next week!

My sister, Becky, priming closets we added in the kitchen.

My sister, Abby, sleepily sands down our original cabinetry for painting.

My brothers, Timmy and Isaac, scrape popcorn off the ceiling.

Matt sands down cabinetry.

My brother, Michael, cutting out space for our tile back splash. Woa! Check out the wallpaper. We had hideous wallpaper in several rooms. But it wasn't just wallpaper. There were layers. Layers of painted over about a hassle.

Next, pick a cute husband who can look great covered in dust, doesn't mind working the late nights, and who knows how to do everything in order to flip a house...and if he doesn't, he's willing to learn.

Lastly, order some cute kiddos who are really flexible, love visiting Lowes at 10 o' clock at night....

can sleep in a playpen while mommy paints...

pitch in to help with any job...

and keep you company while you work.

I cannot leave out the many family and friends who babysat the kids for us so we could get stuff done. Or those of you who let us use your truck since we didn't have one. Or those of you who just came over and helped us with projects. We owe a HUGE thank you to you and please know how much we appreciate and love all of you!

And the Lord was the greatest friend - right by my side through it all. Sometimes I didn't know it or feel it, but He was there and had a plan for it all.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The House That Changed Me

You know that song called, "The House That Built Me" by Miranda Lambert? It's one of my favorites! I could come up with my own version: "The House That Changed Me". But if you're thinking about buying a flip house anytime soon, you might not want to listen to it. =)

Really, it was God that used that house to change me.

Tomorrow marks the 2 year anniversary of the day we closed on this house:

We didn't live in it until 3 weeks later. 3 weeks astonishes me when I look back over these pictures. I can't believe we actually went through with this! We had an almost 1-yr. old and I was 6 months along with Shiloh. We had saved a bunch of money and wanted to invest it in flipping a house, while living in it. The market was right, interest rates at their lowest, and we found the cheapest house in the nicest neighborhood. What could be a better time to flip a house?! =)

I can't help but smile when I think of how excited we were, how many ideas we had, and how optimistic we were about that 2,100 square foot dump. And it really was. Most do not believe me when I tell them our house was bad. Then, they see pictures and...well...they believe me. Most of these pictures are not true "before" pictures, but they're enough to make me feel a pit in my stomach when I remember all the work.

That's me in all my 6-month-pregnant-glory scraping wall paper and crusted walls. There was not a smooth patch of wall in that house. Steven just said to me the other day, "If I had it to do all over again, I would have just paid somebody to install new sheet rock in the whole thing."

Here's another shot of the back of the house. That deck was the nicest feature of the house. (A railing was added in case you're wondering.) That's the only thing I've missed from our home since we've moved. I have many fond memories of sitting outside with the girls while they rode bikes, played on their play set, or swam in their little $10 pool. We planted flowers together in our pots on that deck; we hung Christmas lights out there; we sunbathed out there; we played with friends out there; we chatted with the nicest neighbor ever out there! Amazing really that you buy a house and your favorite spot is outside.

This is the best "before" picture I have of the kitchen. This was the day I came home from the hospital with Shiloh. You can't see it, but the floor was nasty. I scrubbed and scrubbed with bleach but the peeling laminate was permanently stained with neon pink spots and other unknown things.

This is a picture of our living room after demo had begun. It was severely termite damaged (which we knew before we bought it). causing all of the sub floor and cross beams to be unsalvageable.

The same was true of the laundry room (above) and parts of the 1st floor bathroom. (below)

This photo is of our Master Bedroom.

The bedrooms upstairs were in the best condition out of everything. The carpet was severely stained in some spots and still needs to be replaced.

The upstairs bathroom.

My favorite little space inside - a walk-in closet upstairs - that got transformed into my little sewing room.

I always struggle with how much to share here on a public blog. I have been blessed thoroughly by other people's honesty on the web. I myself prefer to be an open book. It's just my nature and an easier way of life for me honestly. But it's not all about me here on this blog. It's my husband's life and my children's lives getting documented as well. I've wrestled with God the last few days over how much to share here about the year and a half that I lived at this house. The spiritual breakthroughs, the refining process of our marriage, my personal pain and struggles, and the lessons learned. But I've not gotten the green light yet from God. So until then, trust me that I am a completely different person because God used that house and the events that occurred while I lived there to change me into looking less like me and more like Him.

So, there you have it. Tomorrow I'll share some of the process.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Green Fever

So, I mentioned I had green fever in my last post. Well, while checking out of our Neighborhood Market this morning, I decided I'd try a few of these...

And let me just say to all you mothers out there shopping with little ones: best decision EVER! And here are my top 3 reasons:

1.) You can hold 3 times more in just one of these bags.
2.) The loop handles are bigger and can be slung over your shoulder freeing up your hands.
3.) Plus, you are helping to be a good steward of this earth!

I'm a total fan and I don't know why I didn't join in until now. Well, I do know, but it seems kind of silly now. For some odd reason I have this streak in me that hates jumping on the bandwagon. I guess I thought buying into the idea of reusable shopping bags would categorize me with all the tree hugging freaks. BUT! I am converted. And happily. =)

Speaking of green....I want you to know this is simply THE. BEST. GREEN. RECIPE. EVER!!! If you like avocados or quacomole dip or chips...this recipe will be your best friend. I got it from my friend, Jordan over at OurBlessedRoad. My husband gives me extra lovin' in the kitchen for this one.

Guacamole Dip

Mash two small avocados with a fork. Add one clove of garlic, finely chopped, 1/4 c. chopped cilantro; pinch of salt, juice of half a lime, and a scoop of your favorite salsa to taste.

The picture above shows the fresh salsa I used. It can be found in the refrigerated Mexican cheese area at Wal Mart.

This recipe is quick and to the point and wonderful! Jordan also shares Cilantro Lime Rice (also a hit!) and Vegetarian Whole Wheat Taquitos with check out that link! We're eating all of this for dinner tonight.

And I told you my kids were crazy about food...


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Monday, April 25, 2011

Preparations for the big 3!

I was going through my day planner last night and realized we are leaving on a jet plane for SC next Friday. Hmmm...somehow that totally snuck up on me. And it hit like a ton of bricks - get your act together now girl! We have a 3-day beach trip planned for Kiawah Island the morning after we fly in. A birthday party planned for Emma girl Friday evening while we're there. Graduation and festivities for 2 of my sisters on Saturday. Not to mention all my favorite people and places I want to catch up with while we're back in town. So I scribbled furiously in that day planner and I'm completely planned out for a while now.

This is today's list:
*Write thank you note
*Complete blog post
*Make some products for website
*Cut Keller's fingernails
*Do school work with girls
*Work on Bible study
*Schedule dentist appointments
*Declutter kid's clothes and closet

Parties around our house are no small ordeal. Just my family alone totals 21 people: that includes my siblings, my parents, and my own little family. And we're not stopping there. Emma Claire shared a few of her friends that she wanted to include. And we have some out of town family that will be there as well. Should be lots of fun, but lots of work!

I'm trying to go against my nature and get as much done for the party before we leave. It's an Under the Sea theme since Emma is totally into animals, specifically water creatures. The invitations got sent out last week.

I used fabric, thread, and twine I had on hand. I spent about $4 on scrapbook paper and envelopes from Hobby Lobby.

And some of the pennant banners I made for our Easter party were created with Emma Claire's party in mind. I'll reuse those since I've got "green" fever.

I found some white terry cloth fabric at Wal Mart on clearance for $3.00 a yard about a week ago and I snatched up every last bit of it. I'm creating some party favors for the kiddos with this steal of a deal and I'm pumped about it!

My hubby and I are working the late night hours on my business after the girlies are tucked in their beds and Keller is swaddled for the night. He sleeps in his bassinet in our bathroom and we are now officially looking for a house to rent. Starting to feel just a little cramped now that the weather's nicer, the kids are bigger, and my craft stuff is quite literally taking over our 11oo square foot apartment. God and I have had many talks about it. If you think of it, please pray that we'll find something in our price range.

And while the girlies are preoccupied with smelling fake flowers and plants in our dining area, I'm officially going to start getting my act together.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Morning and the Gospel

I'm listening to the thunderstorm outside my little home this Easter morning. I don't know why but I love thunderstorms and the rain. The weather displays so much of God's power and it's right in front of me every day!

The morning is still new here. My clock reads 7:29am. I'm going on 4 hours of sleep but there's no where else I would rather be right now. (Well...maybe Hawaii, but that's unrealistic at the moment.) Everyone is still tucked in their beds sleeping. I can hear Steven's alarm going off at this very minute. (Hmmm...must've been set for 7:30.) I can smell the sweet aromas of the strata I just pulled out of the oven for our Easter breakfast. I can rest in a clean and quiet house before the children awake. The table is set. The dishes are done. The bread is rising. The rain is pitter pattering. My eyes are heavy. The laundry is unfolded on the couch. I have fabric in my hands to finish the girls' pins.

I love mornings. I love knowing that everyone is safe in my home and resting. I love having quiet minutes to myself to think clearly and coherently, to write, to read, to clean, to craft, to pray, to reflect, to look forward...these are the times when I want to freeze time. Rest in the goodness of the Lord on this Easter morning.

The Lord just convicted me to share the gospel on here last night while I was trying to sleep. Maybe I need to read it again and see its simplicity. Maybe you need to read it. Maybe we need to share it more.

I find that in our culture most people know about Jesus' death on the cross. What I find just as often, is that people don't know why. Here's the gospel. Plain and simple.

We need a Savior. We are all sinners. No exceptions.

"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Rom. 3:23

Heaven is a real place. Heaven is perfection and no tiny drop of sin is allowed in to destroy that. Hell is a real place. So real that the rich man in the Old Testament begged Lazarus for just a drop of water to cool his tongue because he was " in agaony in this fire". You can deny it. But Heaven and Hell are the only options after death.

Matthew 25:41 - "Then He will say to thos eon His left, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels."
Luke 16:23 "And in hell he opened his eyes up in torment..."
Matthew 25 - "Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world."

We need a Savior. And He - Jesus Christ - the perfect, sinless, spotless, Son of God came to earth as an innocent baby for one simple reason: to be our servant on the cross. He took the punishment for our sin on that rugged cross. No other could do it but Him. And He did. He died on that cross for me. For you. His blood washed away my sin.

John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosever believeth in Him should not perish. but have everlasting life."

His only stipulation? I must stop counting on anything else to get me to heaven, and put my faith and trust on His death on the cross. I must repent from sin. Turn from it. Ask for His forgiveness and trust that He paid it all when He died on that cross. When I die and stand before the judgement seat of Christ. I can humbly yet boldy say, "Because of your Son, Lord. That's why you should let me into heaven."

And praise God that Jesus didn't stay dead! He rose from the tomb after being dead for 3 days and that is why we celebrate Easter. I can't think of a more exciting thing to celebrate. He defied death and we can know we're on our way to heaven! I pray that you, my reader, know Him as your personal Savior like I do. I plead with you to see His death and resurrection for what it is: the simple plan of salvation.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Gladness and our Good Friday Celebration

My heart is bursting with gladness. Gladness that Good Friday means I can spend an eternity in heaven because my Savior died on that old rugged cross. Gladness that spring weather is slowly but surely becoming the norm around here and we've almost said "good-bye" for good to a looooong winter. Gladness that my children enjoyed our day together celebrating the cross. Gladness that I can be their mother.

It's getting late around here but I'm letting the girls stay up so they can continue playing with the Easter goodies I made them. They've been happily running around our living room eating their yogurt covered raisins, "reading" their wordless books, and toting their bunnies around. They're on a sugar high still from eating the cake we made together. Baby's had his bath and been rubbed down with lotion and I write as he eats. There is nothing more pleasant than a freshly bathed baby with lots of rolls, chubby cheeks, wild hair, and a sweet smile at the end of a long day, but joy-filled day, with your favorite little people. Nothing in the world like it. As I listen to the faint sounds of dishwasher, my spirit is grieving to think about people who kill these innocent little ones, people that abuse or abandon children. I fear for those who will surely receive the wrath of God if they do not repent.

And repentance is one of the things we celebrate on Good Friday. Thank God that He has not only given me a chance to repent, but has forgiven me as well. If you are unsaved you may not understand this, but I am no better than the abortion doctors or people who choose to wrong their children. What?! You may exclaim in horror. But it's true. The Bible says, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Rom. 3:23 We all fall short - no matter the sin. This separates us from God and no good deed or thousands of deeds rectify that situation. In short, we need a Savior. The Savior. Jesus Christ.

And I have been redeemed. I accepted Christ as a sinful 5-yr.old and I know now I am on my way to heaven without a shadow of a doubt. Praise God! I saw my need for Jesus and He gladly took me.
Yes. I have much to celebrate this Easter season. I am filled with gladness for He has made me glad. =)

I decided - at the last minute - to celebrate Easter and throw a party for me and the kiddos. Brooke was going to come over, but we picked up conjunctivitis somehow so we missed having her here. =( I've been getting up early and staying up late since Wednesday trying to get it all together and we had a blast of a day.

We began our morning (well the girls did) in their underwear and their aprons while we baked...

They're totally on board with baking because they've figured out what comes at the end...

Fights usually ensue over the bowl or spoon. And in case you haven't noticed, I have rather feisty girls, so someone usually ends up looking like this at the end...

Baths were (of course) up next. Did I mention I get a lot done during bath time? Sometimes I gather all my cleaning supplies while the bath water is being drawn and deep clean while they play in the tub. Sometimes I bring my basket of unmatched socks and match them all; sometimes I bring my seam ripper and the latest sewing failure and I rip out all my mistakes; sometimes I flip through a magazine; sometimes I play with Keller if he's awake; the possibilities are endless. I actually save some jobs for bath time if I notice they seem to be a good chore to get done while the girlies are in the tub. In short, bath time is a life saver for me.

So, on this particular bath occasion I finished sewing the faces on their bunnies I made for them. Emma was confused and amused as I showed her the face features throughout the different stages of the face-making process. Makes me smile just thinking about how I tried to explain it all to her.

And the last one is done!!!

We then got dressed for the festivities...I made them sit on the chairs so I could get their pictures. Emma happily obliges...Shiloh...would rather read the mail.

I think I bribed her with something. Oh yeah. I remember now. I gave her cotton balls and it worked like a charm...

Emma is looking so much older to me these days...makes my heart ache...

They wore pins I made them to match their skirts. I actually wanted to have them wear a clump of three pins, but time did not permit.

We then worked on our craft. We did something simple and they loved it!

And yes. That would be a pink blanket you see on my son in the background. =)
They are completely different in their approach to life. I'm sure age has something to do with it, but we notice definite personality differences.

They savored every bite of their cake we made too. I've never seen children as into food as my girls. Ha! It's kind of scary how they clap and cheer whenever I give them a snack or serve them their meal. Steven and I just look at eachother like, "What in the world? Whose children are they?!"

After Steven got home from work and the girls woke up from their naps, I gave them their bucket of goodies I had made each of them. Now, I must take a little rabbit trail here (pardon the pun) and tell you that this idea came straight from JonesDesignCompany. I really do try so hard not to copy someone else completely. I like to be different. But I am on a budget here and I had on hand the same exact buckets Emily used. So, instead of being anal about it, I just went with her idea. And by golly, you can't go wrong with using something from that girl. She has style!

I think I spent a total of 30 dollars on this little party and that includes everything. I used everything I already had on hand for the crafting (and I love when that happens) and only spent money on some ingredients for our baking, and some of the extras I added in their buckets.

...I wrote little notes to each of the kids.

~Emma's Easter bucket~

~Shiloh's Easter bucket~

~Brooke's Easter bucket~
We missed you Brooke!!!

~Keller's Easter bucket~
His contained baby shampoo and some rings to hold some toys on his car seat.

I love how they all turned out different. On the girl bunnies I added flowers...

...I made them into pin/clips so the girls could also wear them this summer. By the way, these are going into my summer shop if I can ever get my act together, so stay tuned!

A little bow tie for Keller's bunny.

I added yogurt covered raisins, glitter glue pens, a homemade wordless book, and dried apricots in the girls' buckets...

Wordless Book

Dried apricots in a homemade parchment paper bag.

I tried to keep the focus on the cross since it was Good Friday...

I "read" the wordless book separately to Emma and Shiloh and explained the gospel to them. When I asked Emma if she loved Jesus, she said, "No. I like Daddy!"

The girls loved their gifts and carried their bunnies around everywhere with them. They slept with them last night and that just touched my heart seeing them go to bed clutching something I had made for them. All in all, we had a wonderful day together. Even if it did end with Shiloh breaking about 10 eggs on the kitchen floor that I had just mopped. And no. I do not have a picture. I was so rankled I was afraid I would snap the camera in half.


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