Saturday, October 18, 2014

Rejoicing at the colors!

I am enjoying autumn in all it's splendor and hope that you are, too. School is well underway. God has been most gracious to push me along in spite of a million things competing for my attention. I saw a sign on Pinterest once that said "I am easily distracted by shiny objects". Sometimes, I think that describes me to a tee! More often than I care to admit I am brought to the realization that every thing that sparkles and shines isn't worth such attention or time. I may have talked about this incident before but because I am too lazy to go back and check my posts I risk repeating myself (which really is not all that unusual).  I remember one early summer morning sitting in my living room, trying to read my bible. I looked up to see the light filter in as the sun rose. It was beautiful! The light shone and I could see little sparkling rays and for a moment it took all my attention and my breath....... then truth entered in. The sparkles were dust! It was the dust that was catching the rays of light as they fell to their resting place. I was distracted by dust, of all the things. How profound is that?!  And, how pathetic am I!

There are probably so many lessons there but these are the two that keep pressing on my mind. One, just because it is pretty and sparkles doesn't mean that it is real, lasting or worth my time. Two, and this one I am still wrestling with, is that there is beauty in everything that God has created-even the things that we would be quick to throw away or disregard. Yes, I know that they seem contrary to each other and I can't have it both ways and yet here we are. I know you can take either observation to the extreme but at face value the Lord has used both to instruct me.

I always dread Autumn a bit as it means summer is over and it is time to get back to work. I am always glad for Autumn once I have resigned myself to the fact that I cannot avoid it. Autumn in New England is beautiful but the colors don't last long. As the trees start to turn it only takes one rain fall to strip the leaves down to the ground. If you are after beautiful fall pictures you cannot wait for a sunny day because it many not come until after a rainy or windy day that removes all those leaves you are trying to capture. I remembered my dust lessons and decided to seize the day- Carpe Diem! These are pictures I took around the area that I live in.


Still a lot of green on some of those trees!

The rain had already taken some of the leaves before I got here.

The church in the distance is the one across from my house.

There is much here to distract me but also much to be thankful for and much to enjoy. I won't complain about wet leaves on the floor or colder days or shrinking day light hours. There is a beauty to each of them and they have their place just like my pretty dust. I hope you are enjoying this season of autumn!

One of my favorite quotes:

There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.
                                                                                                                                             John Calvin

God's confetti!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

How He Cares

Today was a day of cleaning and organizing. I have been terribly disorganized since, oh, ... March! It is not an easy thing for me to be disorganized. I don't think a home-school family can function well if you are disorganized (at least I can't) and truly, I have not felt like I was doing anything well during all the chaos. The kitchen is working well and the dining room is done. I still don't know what to do with the room that used to be the dining room but it will come to me, eventually. It is time.

The room we refer to as our office had become a catch-all for anything that I wanted out of sight when someone stopped over. All my photos that I had intended to scrapbook were left in various piles in the small 10x10 room. In addition, there are school books. As home-schoolers there are school books in EVERY room of our home. You get used to it! There are paid bills, receipts and miscellaneous things that needed filing, and on and on. Mr. has his music and keyboard in there...You get the idea.

Today was a rainy day; no outdoor activities could entice me today and Mr. had been patiently pointing out the need for some organizing and editing. I do not edit well. As an ex-military brat we moved every three years and things got cleaned out because the military will only pay for so much to be shipped. You learned to let go of things. Fast forward to today. We have not moved in over a decade and I have gotten accustomed to holding on to things that I may need later. Translate: I have become a hoarder! Getting rid of things is like cutting off my arm! I had to do it though and have had some practice as we have been moving things around and cleaning things out since March. Sadly, those things I was on the fence about ended up in the office and I had to deal with them.

As I sat cleaning I came across photos of my mom. I had brought them back from her house three years ago. There were photos of when she was little, photos of when I was little, photos of when my girls were little. My mom lost her battle with breast cancer three and half years ago. When she first died my heart literally ached for her. I missed her so very much. Now, I still miss her but it does not hurt like it used to. I remember her often but do not desperately miss her every day like I used to. The profound sadness has been replaced with just a yearning to talk to her. And a hope that one day I will see her again and we will talk around the Throne of Grace. Today as I came across the pictures the ache came back. I miss talking to her and so much has happened since she left us.

She was horrified when we bought this house. She was actually crying when she first saw it; worried that we had made a horrible mistake and that the house would bankrupt us. She would be so surprised! She was my reluctant cheerleader. She could not see what I saw in this house but as she watched us work through some of the rooms she came around. Then, I couldn't stop her from talking about it!

As my memories flooded in I was overcome with thoughts of my mom. I miss her. I decided I needed a break so I went downstairs and checked my emails. I decided I should call a dear friend that has been out of town just to check on her and see when she is returning home. She lost her good friend a few months ago. (I blogged about her here.) As we talked I was encouraging her and she was encouraging me. Funny, how God's uses his children to do that. After the call I went to sit in the living room for a minute and thoughts of my mom came rushing back, again.

That is when I noticed a small postcard on the table. One of my girls had brought the mail in and laid it there. It was upside down showing only the writing. I read it and it was from the very woman I had just spoken with! That's funny, I thought.  I turned the post card over and on the front was a picture of a carousel.

When I turned 15 years old my mom took me to the expo site in Spokane, Washington. She gave me my first camera and got a sitter for the boys. We spent the day together like two girlfriends. It was the first time I had seen my mom in that light. It was just us girls! We had lunch, did some shopping then went to ride the carousel. We grabbed for the brass ring and both of us got it! It was a wonderful day and we made wonderful memories that day. The picture on the postcard was that carousel! I could not believe it! How?

My mom on the Looff Carrousel, Spokane, Washington 1979

My friend could not have possibly known about that carousel or that day thirty-five years ago that my mom and I shared and yet here was this postcard. It was a tangible gift of grace. God, no doubt, had given me this blessing. I was reminded once again that my Father in heaven knows my every thought, ache and struggle. He is intimately involved in the lives of his children. He works all things together for our good. All things. There is nothing that is out of his sovereign control. A 15 year old's birthday, a rainy day meant for cleaning, my mother, my grief, friends, old pictures, an very old carousel, and a well timed arrival of a postcard all worked together today to remind me that I am a child of the King and he cares for me. Whatever this world has to offer cannot compare to that. While I linger on this earth He is with me. While I linger I will praise him for his goodness and his tender mercies toward those he calls his own.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Dining Room Completed-Check!

I started the dining room without really knowing how I wanted it to look in the end. I already shared the whole black and white story. That my Mr. was on board was a huge bonus because honestly, I had no other ideas floating around in my brain. I do like to do a little decorating for different seasons and wanted something that could handle the reds of Christmas, the pinks and purples of Spring, the oranges and rusts of Autumn and the whites, sand and sea glass colors of Summer. I think the black and white with the accent color fit it just right. So, here we go.....

The picture of my house in approximately 1900. My grandmother's
silver now has a designated home.

Finding a place for all the bbq cookbooks is always an issue!
Note: the books between the cow are Mr.FixIt's!

I found the curtains at Wayfair. It was the first time I've ever ordered from them. I like the quality of the curtains. The table and chairs were Craigslist finds. I refinished the table.
The rug is an indoor/outdoor rug. I like them for places where people are going to be eating because you can hose them down. Although the floors look really good in the picture, trust me they are not and refinishing them is not in the budget right now. Purchasing a rug that was 80% discounted at RugsUSA was the way to go for now.

 The stencil was ordered from Royal Design Studios. Mr. painted the walls and ceiling white for me. I usually like the ceiling to have a little color but in this case white is the only way to go.

The chairs still need to be repainted and recovered but that will have to wait a while.

 It took three days to work on the stencil. I did not work on it all day, every day. Truthfully I worked an hour or two at a time. The big time consumer/headache was all the little places that the need just a portion of the stencil. Some of it I just took a paint brush and freehanded it. Don't look too close if you stop by, there are little things here and there. I think I will keep the white and black paint handy for a while as I sit and notice a spot here, a not quite filled in line there..... At some point I will comes to terms with the imperfections and remind myself how much money I saved doing this instead of the wallpaper.

I found this mirror on a local Facebook yard sale site. I was so happy when Mr. like it too!  

Paper mache acorns!

Concrete acorns found at Vintage Thymes . The candle holders were made by my girls in our art class six or seven years ago. I love them.

Those cabinet doors need to be replaced at some point. A friend suggested using antiqued mirror. Smart lady!

Did I mention I just love this mirror? It was an antiqued gold and covered in dust and yuck. I cleaned it a bit then pulled out the silver Rub 'n Buff and wah-lah!  

I like the burlap on this pretty little wreath found at the Wrentham Country Store!

I had to sneak some beach and summer in here somehow!

And with that the dining room is done. Of course, I am already thinking of a few other things. A skirt for the bottom of the bookshelf would be nice and I am thinking the buffet needs to be painted or re-stained or something.  All that can wait.
For now I am just going to enjoy the room.

Autumn is in full swing. Country fairs and pumpkin picking are filling my thoughts. Mr. and I went for a walk tonight and I was smelling the mustiness of wet leaves on the ground. I love that smell and found myself wishing someone's fireplace was going so that the smells would mix..... one of my favorites!

Soon my thoughts will turn to Christmas and all the preparations. I have a beautiful new kitchen to prepare meals, cookies and pastry in and now a lovely dining room
 to serve my family and friends!
I can't wait!