Piggybacking off of yesterday's post...I'm so thankful for the journey we took to get to the place we are now. The town, the church, the jobs and friends we have are such blessings. All the glory for that goes to God. He is the one who has led us and guided us (sometimes kicking and screaming) down the roads we took. It's wonderful to look back and see His hand, and pieces of His plan forming in our lives- and to feel used by Him here and now is what really makes us feel "at home." I pray you know what that peace feels like in your own life. Here is my hubby singing a song from this past Sunday that echoes a lot of what I feel in this post. It's one of my favorite songs ever, and I was so bummed that I missed him singing it live! So- I'm also thankful for modern video recordings!
I'm so thankful for my neighborhood. It's older, quiet and quaint. We have a nice little park just behind my house, and in nice weather all the families with little kids go and hang out. The parents talk while the kids play. Kids ride their bikes...it's almost like I stepped back in time! We couldn't have found a better place to buy our first home. Or at least one that suits us more.
I was fortunate enough in college to have some of the greatest friends. College really fosters friendships in a way that no other time in life does. You're growing up together, have time to hang out until two am, and really and truly LIVE with you friends. It's great. These two girls and I met in college and have remained such close friends. Luckily, we all married great guys who get along and enjoy each other's company as well. Our lives are busier than we would like now, and time to hang out isn't as plentiful as we would like, but the time we do get together is twice as sweet for it. There's always plenty of laughing and fun times. I'm so thankful for the "Six, 1/2 dozen." (Shout out to Whit's End!)
I cleaned like a mad woman Thursday. I mean...CLEANED. From windows to the oven, if you could be put in the washer you were washed, if you could be wiped down you were wiped and if you could be vacuumed, you were vacuumed! I don't particularly love cleaning. But, I really love a clean house. More importantly, fall cleaning is off my plate and mind so I can move on with the merriment of the holidays! Or, at least wasting hours browsing online for gifts. I'm serious when I tell you that if I could buy groceries online, I would.
I'm so thankful for my home. And, the internet which allows me to shop from home in my pj's. And, for that matter, all the free shipping deals this time of the year. PJ's, no crowds, no time in the car, no money spent on gas and free shipping!? Remind me again why you would go to the store?
I love Wednesdays. It's a busy day for me, I'm always off on Wednesdays (or try to be) so I can be at church. So, it's also my "housekeeping" day. My day to clean, do laundry, buy groceries...all the essential stuff that needs to get done every week. I enjoy puttering around the house, I enjoy eating dinner with friends at church (and not having to cook!) and I enjoy Wednesday night Bible study. Usually I teach a women's class, and we always have a blast. Occasionally in the past I when I needed a break I would take Aaron's Wednesday night class. I always learn so much from his classes, and the group of regulars he has in there are just a hoot and some of the greatest people. I love my girls, but occasionally it's nice to change things up a bit.
Lately, it's been doubly great because Aaron and I have actually been teaching a class together called "Remember" on the Jewish feasts. He's done all the research and "Bible teaching" about them, and I've been the Application section. It has been great fun, both in class on Wednesday nights and during the week at home because we talk about it and plan together. This past Wednesday night was on Sukkoth, or "festival of booths" where Jewish families remember the time they spent wandering as nomads in the wilderness. The focus is on being thankful for all that God has blessed them with. So, naturally this holiday ties in easily with the Thanksgiving holiday. I had them write what they were thankful for on pieces of paper on the table and told them to go nuts with their creative sides. Boy did they. :) They made me smile so much I actually brought them home and put them on my dining room table.
And my personal favorite...
I'm so thankful for the opportunity to teach with my husband, to attend such a great church, and to get to study scripture with such a great group of people!
Long time no see. In true Natalie fashion, I tend to only do this when I have something specific I want to share (project, etc.) Well, no real projects right now (are you kidding...the holidays are coming up!) but for this month I really want to focus on being thankful. So, for every day of this month, I'm going to post about something I'm thankful for. I'm a few days behind, I know. So for today I'm going to play catch up....six things I'm thankful for.
1. This lady. She was in the hospital last week, and it just reminded me how grateful I should be to still get to have her around. Growing up she was willing to do whatever I asked (almost) to entertain me. She still is a constant source of laughter and love, and not to mention all those yummy recipes she has passed down. My mom and I are still going to require her to supervise kitchen duty for thanksgiving because without her, we know the dressing won't come out right!
2. These colors. The change of seasons is so necessary to our souls, I think!
3. My furry babies. Without them, life would be decidedly less interesting and cozy.
4. Date nights. I love it when we linger over dinner because we still have so much to say! (I'm also thankful for the tiny doughnuts at O'Charley's...yummy!!)
5. Pinterest. My creative and organizational brain loves it! (You can follow me here.)
6. My Sunday School class. These ladies are the best...and even suggested the idea to do adopt a needy family for Christmas! I love them!
On Friday night I thought the bathroom would be done by Sunday night. On Sunday night we said it would be done Monday night. Monday night we pushed it back to Tuesday night....*sigh*. We finally got it done Tuesday night. It wasn't for lack of trying, more lack of planning. Certain steps had extra steps we didn't plan on, or we didn't think about drying time...but finally, we have a new bathroom. While I picked out all the design elements, Aaron was my "skilled labor." In addition to laying the floor, he was also plumber and electrician. He did a wonderful job on all of it. We really like it! I was worried Aaron was going to think the shower curtain was too girly, but he called it "classy" so I'm good with that considering it was kind of the inspiration for the whole bathroom.
For two and a half years we haven't had a toilet paper holder in our bathroom. We just set the toilet paper on the back of the commode. It's the little things.
This was a disappointment for me. I love this little clock- I bought it because I wanted us to have something in the bathroom to tell time with, and I thought it matched perfectly and I loved the style. It works, but it's a wind up (no big deal- true vintage right?) but it ticks SO LOUD! Seriously, if all clocks were that loud back in the day I can understand why Captain Hook went nuts. I had to put it in a drawer until it ran down, and sadly now it will not be wound up again. Unless I decide I want to give Aaron the twitches. Anyone have any ideas on how I can make it functional and fix the tick, tick, ticking???
The cabinet in the photo is the same as before. I used spray glue to attach the zig zag fabric to some poster board to give it a little rigidity and then put it in the cabinet behind the glass. Now we can put not so pretty things in there without them looking not so pretty. :)
I don't know what I was happier about this morning. The new bathroom or the fact that my bedroom no longer had paint cans and supplies and trash bags full of stuff in it! I'm so glad to have my house back in order. Mari is too.
Well, again, more progress has been made! Finally I'm starting to get excited about the finished product. We are done painting the walls, ceiling, door and trim, the new light fixture is up and working, and the tub, windows and counter are freshly caulked, new hardware is on the cabinet, and a fresh door knob is on the door!! Whew! Now, all that's left is the floor installation, toilet installation, and hanging the towel and toilet paper holders. Oh yeah, and painting and rehanging the mirror, and painting the quarter round for the floor, and installing it. Then clean...clean...clean! I need to clean out my closet too...
I'm still hopeful we'll get done by the end of this weekend. Maybe. We'll see! With both of us working on it, hopefully we can get it all done.
Progress. Slowly but surely we have made some. We bought the tile for the floor, got the old glue off the existing floor, primed some and got the two coats of paint on the walls. It doesn't sound like a lot, but it really was- I promise!
We are currently at a stand still until later this week. I've got to work and won't be able to do any work on it until probably Thursday. What's left...well, two coats of paint on the trim, cabinets and doors, installing the new light fixture, and laying the new tile. Then, a whole lot of cleaning. :) Here are a few pictures.
You can kind of see the paint color here.
All of you who love natural wood, close your eyes. Because I sure enough am painting this one.
The kitties are adjusting to the mess.
Mari has found a wonderful bed/hiding place in the plastic bag full of towels.
We've lived in our house 2 1/2 years, and still haven't finished painting everywhere. I never thought I'd let that happen. But, I never lived in a house that was 50 years old either. Everything is just so much more involved with an older house. This is also the first house we've owned, so we're doing more as we go along. It's just taken time. The last three rooms to be painted are the kitchen, our bathroom, and an extra bedroom we don't really use.
The kitchen and bathroom were last on the list because I originally anticipated major renovations to both. I've kind of changed my plans, which I think is a good thing. At any rate, we started on the bathroom today. Here are the before shots:
This doesn't look too bad right? Not really. But, it gets worse.
I really hate that light fixture. I really hate that mirror. I don't like the paint color. I don't love the yellow counter, and I don't like the knobs on the cabinet. I also don't like the yellow tub/shower that isn't pictured. But the absolute worst thing was this...
Ah yes. The freakishly low toilet that has absolutely NO suction. Sorry to be a little crude, but it's the truth. The flooring doesn't look that bad in the photos, and I really didn't have a problem with the style- it was the quality of the installation that bothered me. I didn't take any shots of the gaps in the tiles (it's just stick down vinyl tile) but it was pretty shoddy. I'm hoping we'll do better.
My original hopes were to get to put in a new tub/shower, new counter top, new toilet, new light fixture and a new floor with actual ceramic tile. Sometimes you get to decorate things just how you want them, and sometimes you just have to work with what you've got. This was a "work with what you've got" situation for a couple of reasons. The main one being finances. While I love our house and hope we're not going anywhere in the very near future, it isn't our "forever" house, and we already owe more on it that we could sell it for in this market. So, I'm hesitant to spend upwards of a thousand dollars replacing things in the bathroom that are perfectly functional and in good shape just for cosmetics sake.
Secondly, in light of the financial piece, we needed to be able to do the work ourselves. We're pretty handy people, but we do both have full time jobs and other things that take up our time. So, I wanted to scale it down some so we wouldn't have to stay moved out of our bathroom for months on end while we spent every spare waking hour working on it. We tend to get irritable when we do that. Plus I HATE having my house all in disarray.
The thing I disliked about the tub/shower and counter top was their yellow color. I would much prefer white or gray. Well, sitting in my living room one night thinking about the bathroom, I had an epiphany. There is gray and yellow together all over my house. Why not keep the yellow, since both of those things were in good shape, and paint the walls gray? Why not indeed. So, that's where I started from. I found a lovely shower curtain at Anthropologie which cemented the idea. Replacing the lighting is fairly low cost and not terribly labor intensive, so I gladly got rid of that old fixture. Getting a new toilet was the same deal.
I agonized over the floor for a while. I really wanted octagon and dot in gray. It's an actual ceramic tile, and would have looked great. And, since it's such a small space would not have added too much to the budget. What changed my mind was the fact that if we went with ceramic tile, we'd have to install cement backer board and possibly level the floor. If we did that on top of the existing vinyl flooring that's under the vinyl tile you see in the pictures, we'd add probably a half inch of height to the floor which is already higher than the floor it's adjacent to. I didn't like that, or the idea of having to rip out the vinyl flooring in addition to removing the vinyl tiles. Even if we did that, the floor would still be significantly higher. So, in the end, I've decided we're just going to lay new vinyl tile flooring down. It's the easiest and a fairly cheap option. I've just got to find some I like. Hopefully it won't be too hard.
So far, we've done "demolition." Here's what it looks like now.
You can see the lovely old wallpaper behind the yellow paint, as well as the old vinyl flooring. We've also pulled up the quarter round around the bottom of the baseboards. The vinyl tile was just stuck around the existing toilet, thus the ring you see where it sat. Can I just tell you, that the pipe draining out of the toilet is DISGUSTING! I don't know why I was surprised...
It's valentines season...and you know what that means. The stores are full of stuffed animals, chocolate and plenty of other red, pink and white items intended to set your heart swooning. Not that any of that is a bad thing. I love chocolate. I love...love?? I love letting the people I love know that I love them. I love feeling loved. Pink and red aren't two of my favorite colors, but they are festive, and I enjoy eating things that are pink. All the baked goods are right up my alley.
But, I do have a problem with this sign hanging in a particular superstore that shall remain nameless...
Folks, are we serious??
We as a society have totally forgotten what love is and what love means. I forget in my day to day life.
And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years" Genesis 1:14
God intended for us to have seasons, and ways to mark time. Later, he commands the Israelites to celebrate several specific festivals as a way to remember things God did for them and pass those things on to their children. Let me be clear. Valentines day was not one of those festivals. :) But, what is wrong with taking holidays celebrated by our culture as a whole and using them as an opportunity to remind ourselves about God, teach our children about God, and share God with those who may not know Him? What if we took a holiday primarily about chocolate and pink- and tried to intentionally make it about Love- and God? After all,
God is love.
Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.
1 John 4:16b
We can never know what love truly is until we know God. Because he IS love. He doesn't just love. Love is his nature, character and person. It covers all He does and is. It's amazing. And we were made to know Him, and know his love. Until we find it, we turn to candy, men, movies, cupid, flowers, and all manner of pink and red things to try and fill the void. And it will always let us down. There is only one true Love...and one true way to find it.
So, this Valentines day, why not join me in celebrating the God who loves and made all our other loves possible?
We have a section off our back hallway that just screamed for an entry table. It needed exact dimensions, which made it hard to find. Searching on craigslist led me to Paul Nooks, who builds custom furniture. I emailed him a picture of a table I liked from Crate and Barrel, and he built one to the dimensions I needed. Highly recommend him, if you live in the Atlanta area and need furniture. Or, even if there is something at pottery barn or another store you really like, he may be able to build something similar.
While a lot of the "decorating" decisions around our house are mine, I don't want you to think my husband has no input or contributions. He does! I'm concerned with the appearance of things, he's concerned with how well it actually functions. Thanks to him, our house "works".
We recently cancelled our cable so we could save money and spend less time watching junk just because we could. We now have Apple TV, which let's you purchase the shows/movies you want in iTunes and then watch them on your TV. Aaron found Apple TV, researched the actual amount we would probably spend on shows we already like, and did the math to decide if it was worth it. Also, once we got rid of the bulky DVR, all our cables were showing and it looked a mess. So, he spent several hours finding shorter, cheaper cords one night. The result is a much neater media system! Not to mention it's thanks to him that we have the user friendly media system we have. Our technology makes our lives easier, not more complicated. That is all due to him!
Most of our picturesque old books are his.
This is not so picturesque, but it's my favorite. These sticky notes are just stuck on the wall in our guest room by the desk. It's Aaron's outline for the bible study "Tapestry" he's currently writing and teaching. The greatest contribution Aaron makes to our home is his willingness to serve and follow the Lord. My home and life would be considerably emptier without him.
Practically since we moved in, I've wanted to change out my chandelier in the dining room. It's not awful, but just not my style. I couldn't find anything I loved to replace it. My number one decorating rule is if you don't love it, don't buy it. I found this one this past fall I think.
I thought about it, and thought about it, and dreamed of it. It was a pretty up there price point- but I finally decided, after searching and searching and finding nothing even close to it's equal- I bit the bullet and bought it.
After thinking about it for so long you can imagine that I was waiting in anxious anticipation for it to arrive. It was supposed to arrive today. We got home from dinner and there it was! I couldn't wait to open the box. I knew we couldn't hang it today, but I just wanted to see it in all it's beautiful glory in person.
You can imagine my surprise when this was what I found.
Yes, those are the individual glass links for the chandelier. There are 216. The point on the website that says "some assembly required" doesn't quite cover it. In their defense, since the links pretty much just hang on one another and the frame, there really was no other way to ship it. I guess I was just thinking they were somehow attached to each other....silly me right?
Mom, to answer your question, to dust/clean it I will simply pull off all the links and put them in the dishwasher. There you go.
So, to enjoy my chandelier I'll have to just wait a little longer. Pictures to come when it's (ahem) "assembled". Plans are for Friday. Meanwhile, Tabby thinks it's pretty cool the way it is. Boxes and tape are two of her favorite things.
The creative juices have been flowing lately and I'm so glad. It seemed like they were kind of dry for awhile. There is a peace and joy that comes from doing God's will that spills over into the rest of life. I mentioned that the last year was rough, and it was. But, I don't want you to think that it was all THAT bad. Really, it wasn't compared to what so many other people have gone through. But God used last year to "winnow" me and refine me, and that hurts sometimes. In a good way. And by no means is that process over. Homegirl is SO far from perfect is isn't funny. But God sees fit to call and use me anyway, and for that I'm so thankful.
Around Thanksgiving this past year, God planted the idea in my heart for this. It's coming to fruition, and I can't wait to see what He does. You can get on board too! It's gonna be fun!
The creative juices are flowing around the house too, and I've got multiple projects in the works. Can't wait to show you what's going on. I've had a couple of people ask me how I do certain things- like choose paint colors, figure out what to keep and what to throw away and how to orgainze. So much of that is intuitive to me, I don't really know my process. So, I'm going to try and work on that- and crystalizing some other fuzzy thoughts I've had. So- to sum up, I've got some ideas for the blog this year and what I want it to be. I'm planning on trying to improve my writing skills and communicating some things in a more useful way for you.
On another note: we had ice and snow this WEEK. Yes, it fell Sunday night and is still hanging around on Friday. I've never seen it stick around this long. Needless to say- its been yucky.
Mom and I braved the ice to go to Atlanta yesterday for her late birthday gift- seeing "Beauty and the Beast" at the Fox. We had a great time. Thanks for being such a great mom, Mom. :)
The morning of January 1, 2009 my bleary eyed husband found me sitting in the floor of our den (which was kind of an empty room at that point) surrounded by stacks of papers- filing them. I don't know how many of you choose to spend your holidays filing- but I think if you do or don't you'll like this post.
Has anyone else noted that adulthood comes with an awful lot of paperwork? Leases, a car loan, titles, utilities, bills, licenses, insurance paperwork, resumes, job applications...we'd had all that since we got married. Now we had home loan paperwork, homeowners insurance paperwork, manuals on appliances, warranties...it was multiplying at an alarming rate. And somehow when you own the home, the paperwork seems that much more valuable. It seemed like whenever we needed something we couldn't find it. I would spend hours going through it and then a couple of months later we still had stacks of paper sitting around we didn't have a place for. Needless to say I was overwhelmed. It had gotten to the point that checking the mail stressed me out. I "resolved" to find a solution, so I googled filing systems. I found this one, loved it, but didn't think I really needed to pay all that money for it. So, I'm sharing my adaptation. We've had this for two years now, and it has been all that it promised in the beginning. I found all my supplies at either Wal-Mart or Office Max.
You will need:
A file drawer or filing boxes.
Hanging file folders:
About 5 yellow
About 10 Red
(If you can't find different colored file folders you could just use different colored labels)
1. Label your green folders by month- and even and odd year. (January Even Year, February Even Year so on through December and then January odd year and February odd year and so on.) 2010 is an even year, 2011 is an odd year. These are your "Non-permanent files". The green folders hold any paperwork that comes into your home in the month listed on the file. Bills, receipts, quotes, school papers, bank statements etc. Unless the paperwork fits into another file- which we'll discuss later. You file it and forget it. If you need it, you go back and find it- but you should have a good idea where it should be. After you've had the system for two years, these folders will all be full. (I just got to this point.) This is the beauty of this system. If at any time, you have to go back and get papers from one of these folders, move those papers to the folder of the month you are in at the time you needed them. Then, when you get to January Odd year for the second time, all those papers in that folder you will not have used or needed in the past two years. It's pretty safe to say you don't need them anymore. So, you throw them out and now January Odd year is ready to use. Easy as that!
Because of this system- you will always have things from the past two years, giving you time to figure out if certain papers are important or not, and cleaning out the files is a cinch!
File any existing papers that fit into these folders as appropriate.
2. Label your yellow folders based on your needs. The yellow folders are your "Important but not permanent files" that you probably rotate out on a yearly basis. The labels I have on mine are "Benefits," "Auto Insurance," "Homeowners Insurance," "Retirement," and "Utility Contracts." If you change health insurance, auto insurance, homeowners insurance- just rotate the papers out.
File any papers you have that fit into these categories as appropriate.
3. Label the Blue folders as follows: "Taxes Even Year," "Taxes Odd Year," "Tax Year 1," through "Tax Year 7."
File any tax paperwork for this year (2011) in "Taxes Even Year"- because it is related to Taxes for 2010. The tax paperwork you used to file last year would go in "Taxes Odd Year" because it related to 2009. Any tax paperwork you have from years before that file into "Tax Year 1-7" as appropriate. Our tax paperwork from 2008 is now in the "Tax year 1" folder. 2007 is in "Tax year 2" and so on and so forth. They rotate back as the years progress. Every year you can get rid of your "Tax year seven" folder with confidence because the IRS can't audit you past seven years. (And it's really nine years, because you have the most recent two years in Taxes Even and Odd Year folders.) If you would feel more comfortable, you could always extend your number of years out to ten if needed. That's a personal preference.
Any tax paperwork you get in the mail file in the "Taxes Even Year" folder, and pull it out when you're ready to file. It's all in one place. And you know where to find any from years back!
4. Label your red files as you need for "Permanent" files. There is a file labeled "Home," I have a file named "Natalie," Aaron has a file named "Aaron", each of our cars has a file and our cats both have files. We keep health information, tune up records, vet visits, voter cards, my nursing license information, etc in those files. File papers into those files as appropriate.
We also have an additional file box labeled "Manuals"- and it's where we keep the manuals on computers, phones, appliances, electronics etc. If you throw out an appliance or get rid of electronics, just go through the files and pull out what goes with whatever you're getting rid of. The labels I have are: "Small Appliances," "Large appliances," "Computers and Accessories," "Phones," and "TV and video."
Finally, the number one rule for a successful filing system:
Touch each piece of paper that comes into the house only once. Immediately either throw it out, file it, or put it in a "To Do" bin. Don't let too much time go by before cleaning out your "To Do" bin.
I hope this helps you conquer your paper anxieties! Happy Filing!
(My white file boxes were about $12.00 apiece at Wal-Mart. They are stored on this.)
I am a wife and a nurse. My walk with God started when I was seven, and has been one grand adventure since then. I have loved running hard after Him. If you ever want to watch a good movie, talk about a great book, bake just about anything, take a long hike on a pretty trail or rummage through antique stores, give me a call!