Saturday, November 10, 2012

It's all about perspective

  So I wanted to write about something that I've been thinking about a lot for a while now. A friend recently posted an article about trials in life, and perspective... how something can look so bad, and can make us upset with God, rather than rejoicing that God is bigger than the problems and that all the trials we go through in this life can be used for good. 

  (Rom. 8:28a - "We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God"  John 16:33 - "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.")

  Someone commented on the post and talked about how with all the things they have to go through they would not glorify God for it.

 This really made me think... Job, when going through wayyyy more trials than any of us will ever have to face in life, said ( Job 1:21b ) "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." 

 Learning from Job, it doesn't seem to me like the bible talks about how "once you're a good strong Christian, you'll feel great in hard times" or "your heart won't hurt anymore in life"... but rather that "in life, there are always going to be hard times, but God is better and stronger."

 The main thing I've really thought about recently is perspective. You can see hard times in life and look at them as something horrible that God "should not have done to you" or, you can make a choice to trust God. Every example I've seen in the bible, where someone goes through trials, and comes out stronger, isn't, like I said earlier, because they're some super Christian, but because their perspective is that even when their heart is aching, they're choosing to trust in God and the promises He says in His Word. 

 Moving through trials in a positive way is not natural. It's a decision you have to make. The natural (human) thing to do is to get depressed, lose trust in God, and get angry. The biblical thing is to glorify God and trust Him, through the pain. I think the coolest thing is that... it's not unrealistic. The bible doesn't say, "Don't let painful things hurt." As we see from Job, he was clearly hurting, but it's making the choice to trust in God while hurting.

 This has been on my mind a lot, having recently gone through one of the hardest trials I've had to face so far in my life. Losing our child. It would be easy to have been mad at God, and to not have worshiped Him in the pain, but incredibly, through prayer and faith, He helped give me the strength to trust in Him and know He has the best for me, during the pain. To choose to worship God, even though I didn't understand why I had to go through this.

 Looking back, I already see how much God has taught me through this trial about real faith and trust... not just being happy with God when He makes your life great, but trusting in God when life is really bad, knowing He has overcome the world! I wish I could have learned this a different way, but God knew how to take a bad thing and teach me so much through that, that I might not have learned in a different way. 

 To end all of this off, I just want to encourage everyone to take a look at their perspective in hard times. Is your perspective self-centered, or God-centered. If it's self-centered, a great way to make is God-centered is to read the Word of God, which is FULL of God's incredible promises and statements that, if you truly understand them, can give you nothing but hope and encouragement in those hard times. 

 Remember... persecution from people... or from satan, is all going to happen... it's about how to look at and deal with it.

 (Matt 24:9 "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of my name's sake.")

(John 16:33b "but take courage; I have overcome the world.")

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Our house! Part 4: The Dining Room

Here's the last room I'll be posting today.
The Dining Room.

Soon I'll post the last two rooms (Bedroom, and Living Room).
At some point I'll post the back yard and garage too, just for fun! :)
I'm in the process of working on painting the back porch as well,
but i've had a few set backs. 
I picked a color, which John and I both didn't end up liking.
Now I have to prime and repaint the floor of the deck a different color.
It's also been raining lately,
so I haven't been able to work on it.

Anyway, back to this post.

I actually have a before picture for the Dining Room! :) 

I'll post it now...

I was not a big fan of the colors in this room.
You can't see it too well, but the wood trim, again, had paint on it. Whoever painted the walls was not very careful about keeping the trim clean.
Also, the dark on top and dark on bottom just made the whole room seem smaller and darker.

I've always loved white and gray dining rooms, and really wanted to do a pretty wallpaper, but knew that's hard to work with, and very difficult to change out later on. So, I decided to do a stencil on the top of the walls, that looks like a wallpaper.

My mom was awesome and came over one day and worked on the stenciling with me for like 12 hours! It took forever, but I LOVE how it turned out.

The other big thing in the room that I love is the wall on the left of this picture. You can't see it in this picture but it's a slanted wood wall.
When I first saw it, I wasn't a big fan.
The top half of the wall on that side was wood paneling, which looked cool, but the wood was orange-y and plastic just not really nice looking wood.
I decided to try a "white wash" effect on the wood, 
but with a grey paint to match the rest of the room.
I really love how it turned out.

Here's some pics of it now! :)

This pic is a little bright so below I posted another one. The one below was at night though, so it looks a bit darker.

This is a china cabinet I got from a friend. It was brown, which really didn't match my decor, and since it was a fake wood design laminate on plywood I couldn't sand it down and stain it, so I decided to try something more crazy with it.
At first I wasn't sure about it, but I think it looks cool with the room. 

Here's a close up of the stencil work! I love it! :) It looks like wallpaper
but it's subtle and easier to deal with. 

 This is the wood wall we "white washed" with the grey paint.
I love this wall, and I love how it breaks up the room so it's not all 
the stencil. 
It adds something different to break it up.
The bottom also took forever to paint white after it had been painted such a dark brown.
I love having a bright dining room. :)

Well, that's all I will post today.

Next up will be parts 5 & 6

The Bedroom, and the Living Room.

That'll finish off the "tour" of the inside of our house.

I hope it's fun for everyone that hasn't been able to come over yet, or lives far away to see our place.
I've had fun working on it, and posting about it. :)

Our house! Part 3: Spare Room

So, I continue!
With part 3.
The Spare Room/Storage/Office.

This room is not too exciting. 
It's basically a mess.
Where we put everything we need to sort and organize and probably get rid of half of it.

It's the one room in the house we haven't painted or done anything to yet.
 For now we use it as an office,
and like I said,

It'll eventually be the spare room/nursery.

Right now it's all just white, and boring, but as part of our house "tour" I'll post a few pics.

As you can see, it's a total mess.
I've been planning on getting it organized, but it seems like every time I plan on it, I find other things that seem like more of a priority to work on first.
 My husband was doing hw and decided to make a face at me.
He's weird, I know... 
no one warned me before we got married. ;)

Next up

Our house! Part 4: Dining Room


Our house! Part 2: Front Hall/Kitchen

So, this is part 2 of our house pics! :)

This post will be of our front hall 
(which is really our door that goes to the backyard, 
but it's the one we use the most) and kitchen. 
I didn't take many pics of the kitchen because I just posted recently about our kitchen makeover. 
Which you can check out if you wanna see more pics of the kitchen.

Just like the walls and trim were in the kitchen, the front hall
 (which is open right into the kitchen) 
was similar to the way the kitchen looked.
The walls were white, but dirty and scuffed and the trim was all wooden, but had spots that had paint on it.

I don't have any before pictures of the hall, but in one of my pics you can get an idea of what it looked like.

Here's how it looks now, after I painted it sea-foam (blue-ish green) and the trim off white.

Here's the kitchen! :)

Here's the view connecting the kitchen and the front hall area. 
The wall thats not painted is what the whole room used to look like. That wall had some 70s spindles in it. We'll be taking down that wall soon and will put a small 2 seat kitchen table or something like that in that spot.
The dog's cage will be moved then as well.
This pic also has a blurry version of my pup in it. Hehe.

 This is the back door that leads into our fenced in back yard. We use this most since our front door comes right in onto carpet. Also, this door goes out to the garage and the part of the driveway where we park.

 The front hall leads into the bathroom as well! Which you saw in my last post! :)

The kitchen and front hall will look much more open when the wall is out. I can't wait to see it! :) John thinks we should leave the wall and put a fish tank into the wall. Haha! Though I agree that'd be really cool, it's not affordable, and I doubt would be great for re-sale. It's a fun idea though! Hehe.

The next post will be:

Our house! Part 3: The Spare room

Our house! Part 1: The Bathroom

I'm finally getting around to posting pictures of our house!
We got the house a little over 7 months ago. 
I've loved having our own place.
Lots of people asked me to post pics of our house when we bought it, and I said I would.
Every time I went to take pics I'd say to myself,
"I'll just hang this picture first, THEN i'll take pics." 
Well... then when I'd hang the picture, I'd find another project to work on before taking pics.

Well, now I finally decided to just take pics and post them for everyone to see! :)

I'm going to start with our bathroom/laundry room.
Unfortunately we lost most of our before pictures :( It was really a bummer, but hey, didn't hurt anyone, so it's ok.

So, we have a few pictures we took on our first walk-through for the house.
We have pics for some of the rooms, 
but not the bathroom.

So I'll just explain what it looked like.

The wall color was hideous!! It was canary yellow. Not a nice soft, or nice bright yellow... but an intense crazy strong yellow.
 The bottom half of the walls were wood paneling, which took about 10 coats of white paint to cover (I might be exaggerating a little bit... it was more like 4 coats. Still a lot!)
There was a horrible wallpaper border around the middle of the walls, it was green and blue frogs on lilypads... it looked like it belonged in a child's bathroom, but wasn't even nice for a child's bathroom. lol.

So, I painted the wood paneling white, and the yellow a softer green. It made the brown sink not look quite as bad.

Here's some pics! :)

So, this is our bathroom! I wish I had before pics so you could see how much drearier it looked with all that wood paneling. The whole nook behind the washing machines was wood paneling as well.

Next I'll be posting Our house! Part 2: Front Hall/Kitchen


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Our loss

So, I've wanted to write for a while about our recent loss.
It's hard to tell everyone about it.
Every time I see people they want to know how we're doing, which is great, I understand and appreciate everyone wanting to help and show they care, but after over a month, seeing some people I haven't seen since the loss, it's hard to still have to talk about it, instead of just move on.

I thought it might be nice to explain to everyone 
what we went through, and how, thought it's been the hardest time of our lives,
God has taught us a lot.
Maybe this will help someone else in the future. 
I wish no one had to go through this hard of a loss, but going through this I've heard from so many people about their own personal experience with this situation.
It's such a horrible experience and sad so many people experience it.

(Disclaimer: I will be explaining what happened during my miscarriage, if anyone doesn't want to read about that actual experience (it's a little traumatic) you might want to skip this "WHAT HAPPENED" section down to "AFTERWORDS")


At about 6 1/2 weeks pregnant I started having a tiny bit of bleeding.
It made me SUPER nervous, so I called my doctor who told me that it's very normal for people to have some light bleeding at the beginning of their pregnancy, as long as I wasn't cramping, it was normal.
I asked multiple friends if they had any bleeding while they were pregnant,
most said they did, but it went away and they were ok.
The doctor said if I felt more comfortable I could have my blood drawn, just to make sure my hormones were still rising as they should be.
So, I decided to go in (this was on a Thursday) and get my blood drawn, but I had to wait till Saturday to get it drawn again to make sure it was doubling every 48 hours like it should.
So, I went in again on Saturday and had my blood drawn again. 
But had to wait until Monday to get the results. It was an agonizing few days,
wondering if my baby was ok.
Even though the doctors weren't worried, I knew something wasn't right.

Saturday evening I started having heavy bleeding.
 I went to John and told him that I knew it wasn't ok. He tried to encourage me and say it'll be ok, and told me what I'd told him about how it could be normal, and if I didn't have cramping it'd be ok.
I just hugged him and cried and knew that we had to be losing our baby, I was bleeding too much for everything to be ok.
We tried to just relax and watch tv for the evening, and planned if it wasn't better the next morning we'd go to "Urgent Care". I knew that if I was miscarrying, there's nothing they could do to stop it, and didn't want to rush to the E.R. when I knew they couldn't stop it from happening.

About an hour or two later I went to John, crying. I was starting to get bad cramps. He just hugged me and we both felt so helpless. It's so hard to go through knowing you're losing your baby and there's nothing you can do to stop it.
The rest of the night was extremely painful. Emotionally, we were both drained. Physically, exhausted. I had contractions (I'll never complain about period cramps again, nothing compared to that pain).
I never knew before this that miscarriages are so physically painful as well as emotionally.
We were laying in bed, watching tv to try to distract us for a while. I was in so much pain I couldn't stop tossing and turning. John started to rub my belly, 
which was the only thing that helped relieve some of the pain. 
Once he started rubbing my belly, I finally slept for an hour or two. He stayed up rubbing my belly, knowing that was the only thing that helped me feel less pain.

We woke up Sunday morning, and I went to the bathroom where the tissue came out. I was so traumatized and called John down. We cried again, realizing we had really lost our baby.
It was devastating.
Neither of us have had to go through anything this painful before.


Even though this was extremely hard and traumatic, through the whole thing I never stopped thinking about how God knows His plans for me, and that His way, is the best for me even if it didn't seem good at the time. And even though I didn't understand, I knew God was in control and that comforted me.

(For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.) - Jeremiah 29:11

I was begging He wouldn't take the baby away, but all along thought about Job, 

(The Lord gives, the Lord takes away, Blessed be the name of the Lord) - Job 1:21

I knew that any child the Lord would give us, would be a gift from Him, but really would be His child, and if He decided to take the baby, I knew He could better care for His child then I could.

The whole experience was extremely painful, but I felt such incredible peace knowing I could trust God.
I am so thankful for that.
I know if I didn't have a strong faith and trust in God this would have been a very different experience. One that would have done a lot more damage in my life and faith.
God knows what I can handle, and knew He would pull me through this.

(No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.) - 1 Cor 10:13

I wish we didn't have to go through this. It's still hard to see pregnant people, or think about what I'd be doing now at this point. I know it'll take a while to really heal. Sometimes I'll feel great, and some days the smallest things make me cry.
I saw a friend the other day, who gave me a hug and just said "We've been praying for you" quietly. That was all they said.. I was thankful for his kind words, but I was grateful for my sunglasses, 
that could hide my few tears before I could compose myself again.

I know that this is a process, and it will take time to heal.
I pray that God will allow us to be parents, when the time is right, and that He will give me peace in that time, not to worry about what could happen then, but to trust in His will.

I know that God has drawn me closer to Him through this time, (and closer to my husband as well). God has really taught me through this to fully rely on Him and know that I cannot rely on myself.

I hope that I was able to really explain that, though I wish I didn't have to go through this, I know that God will use this in my life to do a lot, and has already done a lot through this.

Maybe my testimony about how God brought me through this will be helpful to someone else at another time, I don't know. Just know that, anyone reading this that needs any sort of support, or is/has experienced the same can talk to me.

Thanks to everyone for praying for John and I as we have worked through this difficult time.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Kitchen Renovation

I'm so excited to finally be able to post pictures of our 
kitchen transformation! :)

We've been working on lots of renovations to our house 
ever since we got it.
Lots of painting, fixing, and figuring out cheap ways to make things look 
much better.

The kitchen was one of the worst rooms in the house when we bought it.
I was excited to be able to "fix it up"
but nervous about how it would turn out, knowing we didn't have thousands of dollars to pour into fully renovating everything.

The many years of watching HGTV have paid off by giving me lots of ideas for DIY projects.
Sometimes I think I'm too much of an "over-achiever" and I start projects I wish I didn't have to finish. 
At least I'm happy after actually finishing the projects.
After just finishing the kitchen earlier this week I'm ALREADY on to the
 back deck.  

No break for myself at all.

I think with John going back to school while working also, and our recent loss, I'm just finding it's better (and I'm happier) when I stay busy and achieve things.

I'll post pics and info on the back deck later on. (I also intend to write a post about the miscarriage for those that want to understand what happened, I have to really take time to think that one out though.)

So... on to the kitchen.

First I want to explain what was re-done. First thing was changing the HORRIBLE counter tops. 
We don't have very many before pictures (we lost some "before" pictures of the house, which was such a bummer, but... i'll survive) but I do have a couple.
The counter tops were baby blue, and scraped and nasty. 
I found a kit at Lowe's to re-do counter tops DIY style.
My friend helped with the counter tops and I'm very grateful. It would have been a lot harder to do on my own.
The first step was to paint on the black adhesive coat 
(I know, black... scary!! It was hard to start, knowing I couldn't go back)
then right after you'd use a hand held machine that "shoots" rock chips onto the adhesive
(much like the green things you roll around your yard to fertilize the grass, except in your hand, shooting rock chips)
Then, I had to wait 12 hours so it could dry, but no longer cause after 24 hours it's solid.
After the 12 hours I had to sand the surface down to make it smooth
(my arms were KILLING me after hours of sanding)
Then, you paint on a clear top coat that seals the counter tops. It's worked so well so far. I don't have any cuts or nicks in it. I'm very happy with it! 

Second I painted the cabinets.
I really didn't like the cabinets in there. I always loved bright kitchens and it was so dark before.
I painted them off white and replaced the hardware with chrome handles and spray painted the hinges to match (purchasing the hinges would have been over $100!! Instead, the chrome spray paint was $3... much better)

The cabinets took SOOO long to paint, and so many coats. I was regretting it while working on it, but am very happy with the result now.

Then, i painted the nasty bright blue trim white, and the dirty white walls a nice light sea foam blue/green color.

Lastly, John and I worked on the stone backsplash.
It took forever to actually get to the backsplash... frankly we were both scared to start, worried we'd ruin it. We were both nervous the whole time but were pleasantly surprised with the nice result!
Before we could finish the backsplash John had to mount the microwave over the stove.
(when we moved in there was a horrible yellow range hood that was all rusty underneath)
This was a hard job, but he was a trooper and after a full day of figuring out how to mount the microwave on a wall with no studs 
he finally figured it out!


Now for the pictures!! :)

This was what the kitchen looked like when we bought the house...

Notice the horrible counter tops and not so great cabinets and hardware.

You can kind of see the horrible range hood, and the nasty walls and the horrible window trim that doesn't even match the countertops.

Now I'll show photos of after I did the counter tops and cabinets and hardware and paint (I forgot to take pics of each step as I went)

Here you can see the cabinets with the new hardware (the one unpainted piece of wood on the cabinets was a broken piece we had to fix and I had to repaint afterwords.)
 The walls are the new color and the counter tops are done! 
The tiling is still not done or the microwave yet.

Ready to start tiling!! :)

Marked out the design for the tiles over the sink! 

Next step is the adhering the tiles...

Not finished or grouted yet, but this shows the design over the sink well. We were worried it was too detailed to do, but with the help of my awesome husband we made it work! 

Then we had to grout it all... such a messy process!

I couldn't wait to be done and clean up so I could have my kitchen back! But, it was totally worth it...

Now, for the final product!

Nice new microwave! So much better than that nasty range hood!

I love our new kitchen!!

Such a big change!

Such a big difference, but in my opinion, a great renovation. All for under $600. (You can't even replace counter tops for that little of an amount)
I've been so happy with how it looks
and feel awesome knowing much we did it all ourselves.

Let me know what you think of our "kitchen makeover." 

Like I said, I'll post about the back deck soon! 
That's a work in progress!