Gardening

Right now my mind is a whirl of activity. That is such a blessing because for the past few days all I could seem to do was deal with fear. I couldn’t pull myself out. I felt like I was slipping down a steep slope. This morning I had every intention of studying God’s Word about fear and worry. I know that I’ve done so before, but I wanted to again. Unfortunately, I was interrupted before I could even commence. I am going to start on it, but first I needed to write. This morning I spent time learning more about gardening. I’ve helped my mom over the year, but not taken ownership of it. As a matter of fact, I never thought I would want to have a garden of my own because of how much work it was and I didn’t like the heat and the weeding, etc. Now that I have a house of my own I want to provide food for my family. I’m actually excited about starting my own seed and having a little garden! I really enjoyed having my own tomatoes last summer and a few peppers. It didn’t do as well as I would have liked, but I didn’t plan for it and care for it like I should have. Perhaps I’m crazy to try and start a garden when I’ll have a little baby this summer, but I think it is just what I need. There is still planning to do, which is why my brain is whirling. It is nice to have something other than fear occupying my mind and it is nice to have something to look forward to. It is also wonderful to watch the sun break through the clouds as I am sitting here typing. There may be snow on the ground, but there is Spring on my heart.

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Our Floor Project

It all started when I began to make curtains for our living room.  The fabric is very elegant and I made the comment that it sure would like nice once our floors were refinished.  I then asked Mike if we could rip up some carpet.  Now, we had talked about doing this project for awhile, but we just never got it started.  There were always things going on to prevent us.  But, that night, Mike said that we could rip up the carpet in our hallway.

So, that is what we did. As I was pulling out the staples left behind from the carpet padding and Mike was removing the tack strip, I realized what we had done. We had committed ourselves to a huge project that was going to be very time consuming and challenging. After seeing the condition of the flooring we thought about hiring a professional, but the cost was prohibitive.

With the carpet in the hallway pulled up we decided that we needed to go ahead and rip out the rest of the carpet in the dining room and living room. We also decided that we would leave the carpet in the bedrooms.

As you can see the floors weren’t in horrible shape, but they did need to be sanded and refinished. Someone had sanded them at one time, but only slightly and must have given up. Plus, when they painted the walls and ceilings, they didn’t use drop cloths which allowed paint to drip onto the floors.

The refinishing project was started early Labor Day weekend. By starting it Thursday evening we were hoping to have the project completed in time to enjoy a day with my family on Labor Day.

We first started with a hand sander to see how difficult it would be to get the edges and then we went to Home Depot and rented a machine called U-Sand. It was a machine that had four orbital sanders in it and could get edges and corners. We were quite impressed by how well it sanded the floors down. Mike did most of the sanding, but I did do one pass. In order to get the desired smoothness we used various levels of sander grit. The finished product felt very smooth.

 

Once the floors were sanded we applied our stain. It was so amazing to see the color down on the floor. It was hard to believe we had already gotten to that step. We did run into a problem with the stain. I started with a small can of stain which was a regular Minwax stain. We were using it to test the color and then when we decided to use that color, Mike started using the stain out of the gallon can. The problem came when we realized that the gallon can was the low V.O.C. formula. That type of stain is very thick, almost like paint and we were soon to find out that it takes a very long time to dry. We had planned on polyurethaning our floors the day following the staining. We were able to have the house open and had left the fans on and it was going to be more than the recommended dry time. Well, the floors weren’t dry and didn’t completely dry for several days. In that time we decided that we weren’t going to put polyurethane down, but that we would just use Johnson’s Past Wax. Once we put the wax down we used a hand buffer to buff the wax. When that didn’t work very well we rented a large “Floor Maintainer” from Home Depot and buffed the floors. The finished product looks very nice.

Eight days after starting the project we moved our couch back into the house and then the following day we put our dining room table back. It is amazing how nice it is to have furniture in a house. J The only thing we have left to do now is put molding around the baseboards, finish putting books back into the bookshelves and then buy a few rugs. We love our “new” floors!

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Thoughts on a happy marriage:

1.  Put God first.  Set aside time for Him.  Not just individually, but as a couple.

2.  Put your spouse above yourself.  Consider his or her desires more important than your own.

3.  Don’t allow expectations to dominate your relationship.  Only bad things can come from it.

4.  If you have unfulfilled expectations and are grumpy about it, you must deal with it quickly.

5.  If you are hurt or upset, you need to talk the problem out.  Talk about it, pray about it, don’t let it rest until there is a peace between you and your spouse.

6.  Forgive when you’re hurt.  Forgive when you’re upset.  Forgive when you don’t want to or don’t feel like it.  Forgive, forgive, forgive.  We are hurting ourselves and sowing seeds of bitterness which will destroy the relationship if we don’t forgive.

7.  Love.  Love brings joy when it is unconditional.  We must love, even when it hurts.

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Our Kitchen Update

Let me just start off saying, “I am so excited!”

You see…

Since moving in to our house, I have struggled with the lack of counter space in the kitchen.  There was just enough space to make it work, but not quite enough to make it work well.  There was a microwave sitting on some precious counter space so we decided that we would like to move the microwave to free up that space.  Right around Thanksgiving we found a great deal on a micro-hood and with great excitement, purchased it.  Then came the dilemma of finding cabinets that would somewhat match our current cabinets. The cabinets in our kitchen are original to the house and are not like anything you can purchase now. So, after looking at various stores and online we finally decided to purchase cabinets from IKEA.

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A before picture.

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Our cabinets and micro-hood.

On Saturday, we decided to get started on our project. Mike already had the cabinets assembled, but we had to figure out where to hang them.  The way you put IKEA cabinets on the wall is very simple and really neat.  You hang a metal rail and slide a metal bar and bolt into the rail.  The cabinets then attach to the bolt.  Like I said, it is very easy. 

Since we were putting the microwave under the cabinets we had to install an electrical box and outlet for it.  That seemed like it was going to be the hardest and scariest part of the project.  Yet, it ended up going very smoothly.  We found a hole downstairs that had wires coming down from that wall and Mike was able to push the new wire up through that hole.  Then he took an unbent hanger and fished the wire up through the hole.

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Then, he reinstalled the box.  It was so neat to be able to take that wire and wire it to the outlet and then into the breaker box.  We were amazed just how easy it was and that we lived to tell about it. 🙂

Finally we installed the other cabinets and the micro-hood.  Finishing that project in a day made for an amazing sense of accomplishment.

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Every time I walk into the kitchen I am excited all over again.  It is wonderful to have the microwave there and to have more counter space on the other side of the kitchen. 

Yesterday we bought knobs to put onto the cabinets.  In an effort to match the knobs on the old cabinets we are going to have to paint the new ones.  I think it will look great once that is done.

So, hooray!  Our kitchen remodeling is done! 🙂

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Wedding Photos

Here are a few random photos from my wedding day.

November 14, 2009

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A Love Story

Written by: Michael Smith

Once there was a beautiful young woman with strawberry blond hair, and a lovely soprano voice, who loved God, and lived with her mother on a little farm in the country. Although she yearned for someone of her own to love, she had decided the best way she could honor God was to be patient, and wait for Him to bring to her the one man who God had prepared for her. This was not an easy thing, and caused much heartache and anxiety at times, for she could see her friends and others developing relationships, good and bad, and getting married in what seemed like droves, while she bided her time.

At last the city began to encroach on the little farm in the country, and despite their love for the old place, they prepared to move farther away, to the land of Lakengren, a lakeside community, where the days could be spent paddling a kayak, and nights spent quietly. This caused much anguish for the fair maiden, because she knew the location was far away from the church she had grown up attending, and all her friends, but with much prayer she found the determination to follow her mother to this faraway place.

But the distance from their church was great, and so, the beautiful young woman and her mother began to make plans to find a church closer to their new home…

Also attending the maiden’s church was a somewhat careworn and lonely man, who, although he had in early years given his life to God, and accepted Jesus as his Savior, had made mistakes, but was determined to rebuild his relationship with God, and strive to be the man he knew he should be. Leaving a job as a reference librarian, in a college on the Texas/Mexico border, he had returned home, to live with his parents, and seek out employment near to his family. His parents had been attending the maiden’s church for some time, and he had happily joined them.

It was here that he had seen this lovely maiden from a distance, as they both loved music, and sang in the choir, but his shyness, and his drive to make something of himself, made him put thoughts of romance away for a season. While he began to establish himself in his new career in a nearby city, he had times when the idea of meeting this nice girl passed through his head, but in matters of the heart he was not very brave.

Not brave, that is, until the day he heard that the beautiful young maiden and her mother were going to be leaving the church! Suddenly it seemed very important to him to say something, anything, to this young woman, before it was too late!

And so, knowing that his parents were interested in visiting the new church the maiden and her mother were going to attend, he clumsily and desperately touched her arm, to inquire as to the location…for his parent’s sake, of course!

Taken aback by this sudden interruption, the maiden somehow gathered herself and gave him the information, after which the man hastily retreated with his thanks. What a fool, he felt he was…and what a weird, yet exciting, thing, she thought.

And yet…

On the following Sunday, in May, the man and his parents visited the new church, and sat near the maiden and her mother. Afterward, there was a potluck supper, and opportunity to converse, so in the course of conversation, the man and the maiden discovered some interesting connections between them, such as their jobs, and other common interests. But all too soon the man and his parents left, leaving the maiden wondering what to think of it all, and leaving the man with the misapprehension that the maiden didn’t seem all that interested in him! He was wrong, of course, but how could he know that this young lady had determined not to seek a romance of any kind until God brought someone to her? He had looked for outward signs of interest, and missed the deeper hope that now started to grow in her heart!

So…

The summer passed, and neither knew that the one was still thinking of the other, wondering what God might have in store, or if, or whether, He had something planned for them. The maiden was frustrated, but hopeful. Why would God bring someone into her life for such a brief moment, and then take him away? Perhaps it was just a test of her faith. The man was confused. Why could he not get the thought of the beautiful young maiden out of his head? On into the fall they struggled, apart, until at last, with the opportunity of seeing her again, he decided to go to a wedding he hoped she’d attend, in the vain hope of maybe, just possibly, getting to talk to her.

And this time he would not let his chances pass by, he would gather his courage, and act!

He didn’t know that she was also hoping to see him, and looking for some opportunity to talk to him! Alas, at the reception, that first day in November, there didn’t seem to be any way for either of them to break the ice! He was nearly ready to leave, and then who knew when they’d see each other again?

He’d begun to resign himself to a missed opportunity. She’d begun to get impatient.

While he dithered, a little boy with a cup full of peanuts decided this was a good time to dump them out on the floor between them! As the man knelt down to pick them up, she willed herself to act, and approached.

“Hi!” she said, sounding cheerfully pleasant and yet somewhat hesitant of his reaction.

He was nervous, and wanted to keep the conversation light, while he faced up to the fact that, now or never, he would have to follow through on his decision to ask her out, but in his flustered state he could only think to put the peanuts back on the ground.

Amazingly, this involuntarily silly act only led to a shared laugh at his absent-mindedness, and she rescued him from his shame by hurrying them to a garbage can; hoping he would still be there when she returned. Meanwhile he was lamenting this inept start, and trying to find the courage to ask if she would like to go out sometime. But she did return, and they fell into an odd conversation, alternating between casual banalities and everyday conversational pleasantries, until, at a momentary lull, he found himself blurting out the question he had longed to ask!

The maiden was taken aback at first. She had hoped to encourage further communication between them, but wasn’t quite ready for a date. Not wanting to discourage his attentions, but hesitant about how to proceed, she proffered her email address, and an opportunity to continue their conversations in writing for the time being.

This was success! The man was ecstatic! It wasn’t a date, but they had suddenly found themselves sharing the sweet moment at which a romance had started. As he left that afternoon he was buoyed along in his journey by the prospect of further contact with the lovely maiden, just as she was now tentatively and hopefully looking forward to what God had in store for her, and for them.

As the months progressed, their emails became phone calls. Their first nervous visits became wonderful outings. Their words became love songs, and their commitment to growing together in their relationship with each other and with God deepened, until at last he knew what he had begun to believe months earlier, that God wanted them to share their lives forever as husband and wife.

In June, after returning from a two week vacation to Ireland with his friend, during which time his enjoyment of the Emerald Isle was tempered by a steadily growing yearning he felt to be with the maiden, he purchased a ring, and prepared in his clumsy way to ask for her hand, but fate intervened. A deep conversation between them about their relationship led to her asking a question to which his only honest answer was “Because I was about to ask you, would you marry me?”

And although his great, still unformed plan for a wonderfully romantic proposal was swept away in the immediacy of the moment, her “yes” was the most beautiful thing he had ever heard.

So, with tears of joy, and prayers of thanksgiving, their lips touched for the first time, and the euphoria of the moment, ordained by God to happen in a way neither of them had imagined or anticipated, made it clear that they had truly been blessed with God’s best for their lives, now and forever!

 

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Thank you all for the kind comments on my last post.  I am very excited and happy to see how God has worked in my life and in Mike’s, in bringing us together.  Right now our lives are a whirlwind of activity with wedding planning.  Though it has been busy it has been good.  Prayers during this time would be appreciated as the date is set for November 14th.

God truly has blessed me by bringing Mike into my life.  Being single hasn’t always been easy.  I’ll be 30 in September and Mike will be 40 in January so we both know what it is like to struggle with God’s timing.  Yet, I would like to encourage those who are still single and waiting to see what God will do in bringing the right someone into his or her life, be patient.  It is worth the wait.  There were times where I thought I had it all figured out, people that I thought would be “perfect” for me.  Yet, that wasn’t what God had in store.  When God did bring Mike to me it was more wonderful than I could have even imagined.  If I had known or just been willing to completely trust that God knew what He was doing I may have lived my younger years with a lot less fretting and with a lot less self-pity.

For those of you girls still waiting, don’t just sit around hoping that Prince Charming will come and sweep you off your feet.  Get busy with what God has for you to do.  Trust God and obey Him.  In God’s perfect timing, if God has marriage in store for you, He will bring the right someone around.  In the meantime, delight yourself in God and be content with where God wants you to be. 

There is one more thing I would like to say and that is God does answer prayer in regard to this matter.  Years ago, when I first decided to practice courtship instead of dating around, I had prayed that no one would ask to court me unless he was the one I was supposed to marry.  God honored that request.  There were times that I felt sorry for myself because it seemed like no one was interested in the least little bit, but really I know that it was God honoring what I had asked of Him and I am so glad He did.  It is so exciting to be able to see that God answered that prayer and brought such a huge blessing into my life.  I pray that all of you single girls can experience that same blessing in God’s timing.  But I also pray that you can be content to be single, not only temporarily, but for the rest of your life, it that is what God would require.

Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psa 37:4)

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. (Php 4:11)

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