Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Peek at the Heart

Shifting gears from unpacking to unpacking - from the house to the heart.

This seems so impossible, like a million mile journey that must be summarized into a walk around the block.

Somehow the events of life: Moving, Mark's Dad dying, reading The Hiding Place, ISIS, the beginning of Lent have all woven themselves into the tapestry of my daily life, creating highlights and deep shadows, places for joy, sorrow, and deep contemplation.

The summary of it all is a quote that I found in The Hiding Place:

The center of His will is our only safety. His will is our hiding place. Let us pray that we may always know it.

As soon as I read those lines, I knew they were meant for me to cling to. I was sad to discover that they've been co-opted by the Prosperity Gospel crowd. I'm convinced that while these lines may include physical safety, they are a promise of our spiritual safety if we abide in the center of God's will.

As we moved...

As we witnessed the grace-infused suffering and holy death of Mark's Dad...

As I struggle with the evil in the world, especially the brutality in the Middle East...

As I search out the moment-by-moment will of God in my daily life...

...I lean into Christ, into the joy that can only come from God, into the truth that God will never abandon those who trust in Him, and ultimately into the truth that neither life nor death...can separate us from Him.

He has given me a peak into the reality that even in the depths of suffering, sorrow and mortal persecution, He is there. He provides grace for each moment.

Having this journey in mind, I now must bring it into my daily life, my home, and my interactions with my wonderful, lovable, hilarious, irritating, baffling, grace-growing children.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

All Kinds of Progress

Before I launch into house projecty stuff, here's a baby bump picture for your viewing pleasure. Baby Speck is now 19 weeks and growing! I think this makes me look all-around smaller than I am in reality, so thanks camera.

When I left off, we were hoping to stain the table tops to match our dark floor. Hahaha. Fortunately, we did a test patch on the underside of the sideboard top. It was disastrous. I mean truly awful. I wish I had a picture for you to enjoy the awfulness, but alas, it's been attached to the base and that test patch will be forever out of sight.

So, after much discussion, research and initial reluctance, we decided to leave the tops as-is. They really are gorgeous the way they are, it's just that the natural birch wasn't the look we had our hearts set on. We've since come around and realized that in the end, this color scheme marries well with what's going on in the kitchen with the natural cherry cabinets and white corian counters; it provides some continuity between the two rooms.

After the non-staining afternoon, I was commenting how much I hated the gold trim on our otherwise gorgeous fireplace. I was musing about spray-painting it...someday. Mark, being awesome, grabbed a screwdriver and began prying off the gold, revealing the black underneath that matches the rest of the fireplace. There's some rubber-cement removal yet to do, as well as some serious dusting, but here's the in-progress-after (you can see the "before" in the background pics of my previous post).

And of course our darling 3 year old wearing her favorite-outfit-o-the-week.
The next day, we took a family excursion to look for things that were still needed to complete the room: a rug to go under the piano and curtain options. Miraculously, we found both!

Not bad Ikea, not bad.

I like bargains: 50% off + a 20% coupon = awesome! (It looks a bit more green in the pic than in reality)
And, because things are never quite perfect, we discovered that the table top had a slight heart-shaped  warp where the two pieces joined in the center. It wasn't horrible, but even I noticed it. So, what's a perfectionist to do (that would be Mark, not me) but set about de-warping the table. So, here's what's going on in our bedroom, right now:

Yep, we're vaporizing our wood. Nothing a little humidity, weight, and time can't cure...we hope.
Stay tuned for further developments...

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Before and After - the first of many

Here, at very long last, are the before and after (so far) pictures of our dining room furniture. We have yet to sand and stain the tops of the table, buffet and bench. Our hope is that they will closely match the color of the floor. 

I apologize that these photos are taken at different times of day, hence different lighting - not to mention the rush in which I took them and posted them which accounts for any blurriness.

We purchased the table, bench, buffet and chairs from Ikea. I'll share the links so you can see more professional "before" images of what we were working with. We liked that all these are solid wood (birch, except the chairs which are pine) and very affordable considering the quantities we were purchasing.

All these pieces had an acrylic finish and didn't need any further finishing. Had we been going for a different look, they would've been lovely as-is. However, we had a vision for a different look for our dining room, so I set about sanding and painting everything.

The bookcase and hutch were purchased off craigslist. The bookcase is laminated particle board, the hutch is oak. 



I hope you enjoyed that glimpse of what we've been up to. Clearly there's still a lot to do in the room - obviously the tops, but also the ceiling fixture and the walls. So, look for more before/after posts in what I hope is not the distant future!