Friday, May 12, 2017

mother's day ramblings

'A wife of noble character who can find?  She is worth far more than rubies.'  Proverbs 31:10

My father-in-law text me this verse this morning as Mother Day approaches.  And I so appreciated it.  But I really don't care for 
honoring myself on Mother's Day.  Typically, I try to make it like any other day because I don't feel like I need a day of recognition set aside for me.  I am extremely grateful to be a mom.  It's the best, most hardest thing I've ever done!  And in all honesty, many times I feel I'm failing.  Or drowning.  And then I read this and sarcastically think, 'Right on, King 'Lemuel'.  Who can find this kind of woman?'  (PS: the noun for wife her is translated as woman, wife, female.)  Can this type of woman even be found?!

According to Strong's concordance, virtuous/noble in hebrew/greek is 'chayil'.  A masculine noun.  And I was surprised to learn that 'chayil' is translated: a force, an army, wealth, virtue, valor, strength, might, power, riches, strong, substance, valiant, virtuous, worthy.  Who can find a woman who is truly noble:....?

So this is the typical Mother's Day for me in the last 10 years of being a mom: 

Wake up. Try to ignore that I'll be glorified for being a mom.  Try to stay humble.  Husband/kids wake up.  Makes mom feel special.  Mom begins to feel exceptional.  Mom begins to be prideful.  Church stands and applauds said mom.  Mom tears because yes, mom is pretty special.  Receive hand-made gifts from children. Mom is elated!  Mom thinks fondly of them and herself. 
Children/husband do their best to cook and clean up for mom. How sweet, mom thinks. Mom finishes the job properly, but with some unexpected reluctance because this is her day. Did the family forget?  Mom decides to lounge and nap.  Children tantalize her while husband enjoys nap.  Mom gets irritated... this is her day that's all about her!  What is wrong with children and father.  Offspring begin complaints of starvation at 2:00.  Mom begins to speak between clenched teeth to get a healthy snack - no, get whatever the heck they want.  Dinnertime, entire household needs to eat- again.  Mom's very special day that's supposed to be perfect and easy for her is ruined as she has to make dinner arrangements. No help cleaning up this time. Kitchen clean, mom mad. Kids demand bedtime snack. Argues with children to get ready for bed. Half-heartedly kisses kids goodnight. Sits on couch.  Instantly feels agitated about how much she really messed this day up.  Mom guilt sets in.  She's a failure.  Another Mother's Day that she has ruined.  Prays family won't remember this day or to honor her the following year.

True. Story.

My mind keeps going back to John 21 where Jesus reinstates Peter.  Peter had previously made big claims that he would never deny Christ!  In fact, he said he'd die for Jesus (Mark 14:31).  Peter publicly rejects Jesus' words and led the others to make similar proud vows.  After slashing off a soldier's ear in the garden (Matt. 26:51... pride comes before the fall), he denies being a follower of Jesus to a servant girl! (John 18:17... he cowers).  In John 21:15, Jesus has a conversation with Peter.  Peter had sinned publicly and as a leader of the apostles, he needed public rebuke and restoration.  I don't usually resonate with Peter as he is the bold, impulsive leader-type.  But since studying this, I've been convicted.  I am a leader in my role as mom.  And I have been prideful and have abused my authority as well.

Being a woman is HARD.  Being a wife is HARD.  Being a mom is HARD!  If you are also one of these things, maybe you'd agree!  
 In a culture that encourages perfection or at least feigning it, it isn't helpful when you're reminded of your natural tendencies to fail.

Peter realized that he was a mess.  He once relied on his own strength and merits.  Then he failed.  But in failing, he is met with his weakness... and Jesus' love for him meets him there.  Once Peter is humbled, he is able to serve.  He is now qualified to lead.  He is no longer prideful.  Only Jesus can give us the strength we need to lead humbly. Peter goes on to preach and lead a flock to Jesus.  And the books he wrote in the Bible continue to lead people to Christ.  What changed?  Peter got humble!  Peter received the Holy Spirit. Peter relies on Jesus' strength. And just like Peter agreed to do (die for Jesus), and Jesus affirmed would happen (John 21:18), Peter goes on to be crucified!  When Peter got humble and dependent, the Holy Spirit could accomplish an incredible legacy!  

Who doesn't want an incredible legacy?  But it's not Peter's own. It was Jesus' work through him. So bringing this back to Proverbs 31....  I guess when I read the verse, 'A woman of noble character who can find', I settle on the fact that she doesn't actually exist.  If noble means a force, an army, wealth, virtue, valor, strength, might, power, riches, strong, substance, valiant, virtuous, worthy.... that is not what any of us can claim to have.  Only Jesus has those qualities.  But guess what?!  I have Jesus!!!  He is at the very core of who I am.  I can tap into these resources and display these qualities.  But all glory to Him and only Him!  Don't you find it funny now that the noun 'noble' is a Masculine One in this verse when referring to a woman?!  We alone as women can not take credit for these qualities expressed in this Proverb.  But we can hold to it as we rely on Jesus to sustain us.  We are not an army, but we belong to one!  We are not wealthy, we are poor.  But He is rich and we are His heirs!  We are not full of virtue, we are human and immoral.  Only brought to holiness through Jesus.  We are weak, but have the same resurrecting power only because of Jesus equipping us.  And we are certainly not worthy.  Jesus alone is worthy.  (Rev 4:11, 5:9, 5:12)  Only Jesus can receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.  So I guess what I'm finding is that these qualities can only come from having a dependence on the Holy Spirit knowing that we will never do a perfect job this side of heaven.  But 'He who began a good work in you [me] will be faithful to complete it' (Philippians 1:6).  And one thing we can be is a 'Woman who fears the Lord' (Proverbs 31:30).  I don't contradict the Word that she 'that fears the Lord should be praised'.  That is most definitely praiseworthy.  But a woman who fears the Lord will reflect that praise back to The One who is of noble character.  The only One.  No more pride in Mother's Day and no more shame, either.  But constant dependence on the Holy Spirit to accomplish these things in her life.  My life. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Three Girls Bedroom

Well, it has only taken one year but I think we have wrapped up project: three-daughters-in-the-same-room.

Actually, for a short time, we had three and sometimes all four of our children in the same room. Our older daughters started sharing a full size bed when they were 1 1/2 and 3 years old! We needed more space in the room so we decided to try a bunk bed from Ikea. When the girls were (6.5 & 5), we bought a full size bunk bed.  Eventually, below them, our youngest daughter (2 at the time) slept in her crib / toddler bed.  It was fine for a while but let me give you a list of reasons as to why I would not do a bunk bed again:

Changing the sheets is a pain! Making the bed is a pain! Tucking them in is a pain!  The task of getting out of bed and climbing down the ladder in the middle of the night to go potty, is a pain for them!

For the time being, it probably was the most functional setup when it comes to fitting three girls in the same room along with toys and clothes. But the aesthetics we're never quite on point. We were anxious for more space!  

And we realized that these young girls will soon be young ladies. They were going to need more space!  The largest area left unfinished in our home became the best choice for the girl's bedroom. Jordan's workshop.

As with every project we tackle, we had to think through this space creatively.  Things like where to put the doorway, best location for a closet. Dresser, night stand, bed placement. Extra built-in bookcase or not?  Then the fact that we have low ceilings in our basement which posed the question of whether to paint the ceiling rafters or drywall below the pipes.  And then what about lighting if we painted the ceiling.  Well, I'm happy to say we got all of that figured out! But the choices didn't stop there! We also had to consider flooring. A cold tile or hardwood or concrete? Or carpet to warm it up? We also had one of the foundation rods bearing the weight of the house in this room.  How do we work around that?

See for yourself how we chose to make this room as functional and beautiful as possible!

I knew I wanted the walls to be mostly white and gray.  (Paint colors?).
The ceiling is also this paint color. It took three coats with a sprayer. I taped off a couple of the pipes that we wanted to remain black. I used Saran Wrap to wrap them up.  We had to redirect a bunch of electrical cords to tidy things up. And we decided on some broad spectrum lights on a track.  I'm very happy with how the lighting turned out.  Lighting is such a big deal!

I love these details!!

 We went with a very economical berber carpet (99¢/sq ft!). Initially we talked about keeping the concrete flooring and using large rugs but rugs are expensive! I also knew that I didn't want a high pile carpet. Although I think it is more comfortable, it shows more wear with constant foot traffic. So Berber carpet for the win!

And the metal support rod that we couldn't get rid of... Insert column! You can get these columns for around $100 and cut it to the size you need.

Jordan did a fabulous job as always with the built-in bookcase. We used some shiplap that we already had on hand. And speaking of using what we already had to work with, we painted this slatwall (white like the ceiling and trim) and placed studs in between. You can see in our craft room article that Jordan created this wall with a bunch of leftover scrap wood pieces. The back side of the wall is in what is now this girl's room. All we did to make it look nicer was to put studs in front of it. Otherwise you could see every butt/joint. The studs solved that problem. And I love this wall so much!
Slat Wall: before and after.  See other slat wall here.

 This is a place where my girls can organize how they see fit!  They do not organize like I do and most days it drives me crazy!  BUT it is their room and how will they ever figure out how to organize if they aren't practicing, right?!

 A girls gotta have a place for her belts and specs!

 We chose to incorporate a long and shallow closet to keep as much room available for the three beds. Even eliminating doors and using a curtain instead (coming soon, I hope!).  Instead of dressers placed in the main living area of the bedroom, we chose to put them in the closet. It holds tank tops and t-shirts, jeans, pajamas, and underwear. Most of their shirts can hang up.  Their nightstands match the two dressers that we anchored next to each other in the closet. The nightstands are a catch-all for books, special toys, water bottles, Kleenex (if you really cared to know those details!)

The beds were $90 on sale through Walmart, the Novogratz brand and we are very happy with them! The bedding was from Target, the Xhilaration brand. On sale for $20 each. Still love them! The sheets are the Pillowcase brand through Target. Darling. The nightstands and dressers that we built into the closet are from Ikea. They work really well and are the perfect size!  The pillows are from Target, Xhilaration brand and OhJoy. The swan on the wall is also OhJoy.  The bunting is my own creation. The other swans throughout the room are flea market finds that I had been saving up for a future clients little girls room! (at least that was my excuse for buying them!)  I was thrilled when I could use it for our own girls bedroom!  The chair was from a thrift store, $8!  It sounds silly but I wasn't initially intending for this room to be so colorful!  But the more needed to dress it up, the more I wanted it colorful and playful. They are only little girls for so long, right? Bring on all the colors of the rainbow!

This girl helped me assemble the beds and dressers.

The last night in their old room... some tears and consoling!
The first night in their new room!
The girls love their new, wide open space of their own!  We hear them talking and giggling into the night and I have to believe that many memories will be made within these walls!

Friday, January 20, 2017

two boys adventure bedroom

I designed this bedroom for two little boys!  I kept it simple and minimal enough that they can grow up with the room.  Because what boy isn't always going to love all things adventure?!
This room was a blank slate when we began.  So new beds and bedding... and everything!  So fun to get all-new!

I wanted to keep this vintage European license plate for myself so badly!!