Wednesday, March 22, 2017

You Make Me Brave

Have you ever had a song that just hits your life at the right moment and yet once that moment has passed, instead of sparking memories, it almost haunts you?

I hope it's not just me.

When Michael left me and I was stuck and felt so lost without a full concept of what I was going to do and how I was going to make it.

And then I heard it, the song that would become my own personal anthem. I held on to the words of Amanda Cook & Bethel Music because what I needed in this time of fear and confusion was to know how to be brave.

Let me tell you, I was not brave. I was so low and weak but knew that I had to wake up each day so I needed my God to make me brave.

You will make me brave
You will make me brave
You who called me out beyond the shore into the waves
You will make me brave
You will make me brave
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way

I would pray these words. I would sing them out. I played the song so many times that Anya would sing it with me and ask to hear it.

And each and every time I would sob as I prayed because I didn't have my own strength to move. I questioned every moment of myself, my every thought and decision. I questioned everything that I knew. The only thing I knew was I could lean on God and that he would make me brave.

And he did. Even when I didn't know it. He made me brave when facing some of the most difficult moments of my life.

But now, though I love the song and its words still speak to my heart, when I hear the words I am transported right back to that time, when I was begging God to save my marriage, to hear my cry and to make me brave.

And immediately I become a sobbing mess. The beauty of the lyrics still hits me deep and I remember.

But as times continues to move I realize how much I need to remember those times that were hard. I need to remember the times that nearly broke me and left with nowhere to go.

Those memories are where I remember that God never left and how much my life has changed.

I know how far I have journeyed in two short years.

Without reminders of the pain I wouldn't see the new strength in my marriage and the wholeness of my family.

I wouldn't know the power of grace and forgiveness.

I'm becoming better at letting these memories wash over me\and finding a way to rejoice and celebrate where I stand right now.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Life Keeps Moving

It's amazing how life continues move along right around you when you feel like your life has just stopped. The world just keeps moving and the clock just keeps ticking on.

This is what it felt like when I saw my life crash around me. I was fighting for my marriage and to keep my family whole. I had one single goal each day and that was just to survive to the next.

That is how I lived for a long time.

My body and soul were in a constant state of survival mode. Each and everyday was a battle. It was battle in pain and hurt and the need to protect my children as best as I possibly could.

I was a complete and broken mess.

I spent my whole days crying. I cried for my hurt. I cried for my children. I cried out to God over and over again asking him to please help. I cried for Michael and I prayed for him.

We spent months rebuilding and only focusing on how to keep our marriage together. If it was going to survive the betrayal it was going to take actual work to put the pieces together. Not just back together, but in a new a better way. A way that would make us stronger.

We worked hard. We used whatever resource we could in order to strengthen us as individuals, as a couple and as a family.

And the whole time we were working we were in our own protective bubble. This bubble did not leave room for other people. It was only really for the five of us. And time kept moving all around us.

And suddenly it's two years later. Our family is strong. Our marriage is stronger than it was before. We are good.

But it's also two years later and I'm just beginning to step out of my protective zone. I'm realizing that others lives have continued to move as I've been stuck. People I used to know have different lives, some have moved, gotten married, expanded their families, kids have gotten older. Some loved ones have even passed away.

Their lives just kept moving forward all the while I expected it all to freeze around me and wait for me to come back in.

Kind of a selfish thought, right?

Of course I knew that their lives wouldn't just stop and wait for me. But in my mind they are as they were two years ago. To me, they are the people they were then, even if they've drastically changed their lives since.

How can really expect them to be exactly the same as they were when I am clearly not?

So many changes have happened in me I do not feel the same as I was then.

Life just continues to go on. The world keeps moving, the clock keeps ticking, the kids keep growing.

 And really, it's for the best.

It's a reminder to me that I do not have to be stuck. My life may have been altered two years ago and started in a completely different direction than what I had envisioned, but I made it through. My family made it through. We are not stuck and we are not who we were. We, together, have put in the work and made the choices that make us stronger. We are more whole, now as individuals and as a family.

Did I want the pain and the heartache? No. Not on your life.

But do I want the outcome of a life that has moved forward and to be in a marriage that I know is more than I ever imagined? Yes.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Bible Journaling: Joshua 1:9

Sometimes I need a simple reminder that I can be strong and courageous because I know that God is with me. Just as Joshua encouraged the Israelites as they were getting ready to move into the Promised Land I can also be encouraged. With God with me I have no reason not to be strong and courageous. I belong to him, so I am safe, no matter what the world throws at me.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

DIY Carpet- The Living Room

After the success that we had installing new carpet in MJ's room we were trying to decide what room to tackle next. We were really leaning toward getting the girls room done but that would be another room that Michael and I wouldn't really get to enjoy. We would be in it only occasionally. That's when we decided that we should do the living room next. It is where the whole family is the majority of the time.

And if I'm fully honest, I was completely jealous of MJ's beautiful carpet in his room and wanted to experience it in the living room. 

Our living room is huge. 525 square feet. It's a good size room for our family. Which meant a ton of carpet and padding leaving the house and a ton of new carpet and padding coming in. This room cost three times as much as MJ's room. But still far cheaper than prices we had been quoted.

Here in this first picture you can see that we cleared the room of all furniture and were just starting to pull the carpet up at the corners. Anna and Molly were very curious to what was going on the whole time.

You can see where the seam in the carpet was beginning to split. 

I hated that seam. 

It was like it appeared out of no where one day and there was nothing we could do about it. So the kids and the dogs would like to pick at it. Driving me mad!

Carpet was up and we were starting to roll up the padding. It was glued to the concrete so chunks were left attacked to the floor that had to be scraped up. Tucker was checking everything out. He was not a fan of the room without carpet.

The biggest surprise was the vast amount of dirt that was under the padding. This carpet had been in the house for about 10 years and the accumulation of dirt that was tracked in my kids and dogs and us was unbelievable. 

MJ's room had absolutely no dirt under the carpet at all. This was a shock.

We swept it up into a giant pile and then used the shop vac to suck it all away. We went around the whole room with the shop vac to be sure we collected as much as possible.

It got late quickly. We decided that we wanted to install large chunks of carpet on our busiest week we've had all year. This was the first night we had at home all week and we still spent the day at a birthday party and Sidda's basketball game. 

Oh, and it rained too. 

You can see the bookshelf sitting on the back porch tucked up as much as possible with a trash bag covering it in order to protect it from the rain. Most of the living room furniture was able to fit in the kitchen.

While we worked we watched Blast From the Past. It's been years since we've watched it.

With carpet pad laid and taped and trimmed we started on the carpet. Because of the size of the room we had to seam carpet together using a seam iron and seam iron tape.

Did I burn myself?

The answer would be yes.

It's been nearly two weeks and I still have a mark on my finger where I accidentally touched the hot glue. Whoops.

It was worth it.

The carpet was laid and tucked and beautiful.

We moved the furniture back in and being 2:30am we were ready for bed.

But I got a couple of pictures of the finished results.

Except we just threw the pillows on the couch. They were organized the next morning after some much needed sleep.

I really feel like the pictures don't do the awesomeness of the new carpet justice. It has improved the look and feel of one of the most used rooms in our home.

Do you have any projects that you've done or want to do to make your home better?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Bible Journaling: 1 Corinthians 14:33

There are moments in life that feel like they're full of chaos. We all need some peace. When I am able to focus I can remember who is the best way to peace. God is that.

1 Corinthians 14:33 says: "for God is not a God of disorder but of peace."

The context of the verse is when people come together for teaching and community worship. God will send messages and more than one person may speak, but it is not a time for everyone to talk at once and in a constant stream. It is time for learning from those who are teaching. It is not a time for chaos, but for peace.

And I believe that this is the same in my life. 

When I feel like I am being called all different ways and my mind is going a million miles and I haven't stopped moving in what feels like years I remember God's peace. I focus on Him and what he has done in my life. I remember where he has calmed me, slowed me down and changed my ways of thinking. 

And I know that he can do it again. 

It doesn't make the chaos disappear but it makes it easy to handle. With my mind at ease and God on my side I can take on anything.

Where do you go when life gets crazy?

Friday, January 20, 2017

DIY Carpeting- The Boys Room

MJ's carpet was gross. It was beyond needing just a shampoo to refresh it. It needed a total overhaul in order to clean up his room.

The carpet was stained from when I painted the room and accidentally dropped the entire paint roller on the floor... whoops. The worst of it though was a spot in the closet that, no matter what we did, the cats decided was their own private bathroom. It soaked through the carpet into the carpet pad and the baseboards. His room just smelled and no shampooing, cleaning, spraying could get it out. New carpet was the only way to go. 

We eventually want to recarpet the whole house and being that MJ's room is the smallest it was the "test room" to see if we could actually do this.

So, up came the carpet and the carpet pad, revealing concrete underneath and the tack-strips that needed to be replaced. We also had to replace about half the baseboards.

We went to Lowes and bought our carpet and padding. We had already made a trip earlier to get the tack-strips, baseboards, knee kicker and carpet tucker. We had to get a carpet strip that was 12 X 14. The only way to get it home was to strap it to the top of the van. Don't you love the rainbow shining over our freshly purchased carpet?

Here is Michael, nailing in the baseboards. He had to do all the hammering by hand since we don't own a nail gun and for some reason I just couldn't seem to hit the nail and the angle needed to hammer it in. So that job was all Michael's and he did great!

Next we had to hammer the tack-strips into concrete... It was the worst part of the whole night. Nails were bending and not connecting. Something that seemed like it should've taken maybe 45 minutes of work took hours of hammering, over and over again. There was a lot of frustration with this one single job. Hammering tack-strips into concrete is an evil practice. By the end of it my hands were banged up and bruised and ached. Michael's too. It was rough. It was almost enough to throw in the towel but we kept progressing so very slowly.

After we finally... finally... finished the tack-strips we layed out the carpet pad. We trimmed it to the edges of the  tack-strips and all the was next was to lay the carpet. I didn't get any pictures of us actually laying, trimming, stretching or cutting the carpet. By this time it was 1am and we just wanted to get it done.

But in the end, there was beautiful fresh smelling new carpet that looked great!

It made a huge difference in his room and he loves it. I love it!

We got all his furniture moved back in. He has a clean place to play and a room that is great to be in. Even his sisters spent a good chunk of the day hanging out with him in his freshly made up room.

Soon we will be venturing into working on the girls room and eventually the rest of the house. It was a lot of hard work but completely satisfying once the work was done and I could see the difference (and smell the difference). It has the feel of a whole different room. I can't wait to finish up the rest of the house!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Bible Journaling: Psalm 19:14

Anger and bitterness can seep into our lives and take over our minds. When unexpected life troubles come the first thing damaged is our minds. The thoughts and feelings that we hold can suddenly become so negative that there is no escape from the pain that we continue to hold one to.

But there is a choice to change the way we think. It comes with a concentration on God's word and his presence in life. Learning how to be grateful for the good and moving past the bad as it comes. 

When I find myself in a spiral of negative thinking it effect my entire day and spreads out to others around me. It changes the dynamic of the day. But I have to change my mind. It takes practice but I have been learning how to change the way I look at the world. I purposely seek out good thoughts and great memories to change how my day flows. I concentrate on the words I say to be uplifting and encouraging instead of a downpour of negativity.

What can help is remembering that God is here and to look at this verse:
          "May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
                   by pleasing in your sight,
                   Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer."
                                                                  -Psalms 19:14

If my thoughts are surrounded by anger or bitterness or sadness they are not pleasing to God. My thoughts effect my words and my prayers and if they're anchored in negativity I'm doing a disservice to everyone, my family, God and myself. Instead I'm trying to stick to a positive outlook and view the good and be the good on hopes that my words and prayers will be pleasing to God.