Thursday, January 29, 2015

Laundry Room: Before & After

I know that many of you have been wanting to see pics of our new house, and since the laundry room is the most completed I figured it would be first! We've still got some things we want to change in here, but for now it's pretty darn close.

The colors throughout the rest of my house are pretty neutral and muted so I knew I wanted the laundry room to have a small pop of color.  It's right off the kitchen so I also wanted to make sure the colors complemented each other well. From the start I pictured it as a pale, creamy yellow and that's exactly what I got. There is something so fresh and cheery about yellow, and lets face it...laundry needs all the cheer it can get! So take a peek at my happy little laundry corner:)

Isn't that flooring just the most lovely linoleum you've ever seen? No? What about that ruffly curtain that I'm sure has been hanging there since the 90's?

 We extended the laminate from the kitchen into the laundry room, added a cheery coral rug, and a small basket to toss dirty kitchen towels into. We're slowly painting all the wooden trim white (hence the white quarter-round we went ahead and put in after the floors were finished).

 I love this built in rack for line-drying clothes, and as you can see I decided to go curtain-less on the window...scandalous, I know.
Down the road we've got plans to paint the oak cabinets white so I'll be sure to post an update whenever that happens!

Paint Color: Valspar's "Maple Cream" in Satin
Rug: TJ Maxx
Basket: TJ Maxx
Flooring: Pergo's "Highland Hickory" at Home Depot

Monday, January 26, 2015

How Secondhand Clothes Reminded Me of God's Love...

 Recently I've had the winter blahs when it comes to my wardrobe....please tell me you know what I'm talking about. Everything just seems old and boring and...well, blah.  Plus, this time of year my skin is dull and dry and would really benefit from even a smidgen of a tan to breathe some color and life back into it, but that won't be happening anytime soon.  So naturally buying new clothes seems like the perfect choice to brighten up these dull wintry days and combat my overall blahness :) Specifically I've been wanting a blazer to mix into my work wardrobe.    

But buying new clothes means spending money. And with us having just bought our first home, spending money on new clothes hasn't really been in the budget. 

Then the other night we went over to our friend's house for dinner.  Astleigh had just finished some New Years cleaning and organizing and had purged her very stylish closet of clothes she no longer wore.  She let me and another friend sort through the bags and take what we wanted!  Astleigh has great style and I was thrilled to take home a good-sized pile of "new" clothes from brands such as Loft and Gap, including one adorable blazer-type jacket.

Later that night as I tried on my "new" outfits I couldn't help but think of how God provides me with the seemingly small desires of my heart.  I've been looking for the personal ways in which God shows his love to me, and I shouldn't be so surprised when I find it...even when it comes in the form of free secondhand clothes.   

ps...Astleigh has some fun and stylish tips for keeping your home organized, here.

p.p.s- are you looking for a cheap way to fight the winter wardrobe blahs and don't have awesome friends who let you shop their closets? Check out Flower Patch Farmgirl's Secondhand Fashion Challenge.

Also, while I was playing dress up and taking pictures, just out of shot Jonathan was being a boss and patched the hole in our ceiling from where we'd had a leak. Thats my man :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Esther: A Book Review

* I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers, all opinions are my own.
About the Book:
"When Xerxes, king of Persia, issues a call for beautiful young women, Hadassah, a Jewish orphan living in Susa, is forcibly taken to the palace of the pagan ruler. After months of preparation, the girl known to the Persians as Esther wins the king’s heart and a queen’s crown. But because her situation is uncertain, she keeps her ethnic identity a secret until she learns that an evil and ambitious man has won the king’s permission to exterminate all Jews–young and old, powerful and helpless. Purposely violating an ancient Persian law, she risks her life in order to save her people…and bind her husband’s heart."

My Review:
Esther has long been one of my all time favorite Bible characters.  I think that at times the church can tend to gloss over certain parts of Esther's story, the "un-christian" parts if you will. In Sunday school its presented more as ..."Esther was the most beautiful girl in all the land, so the King fell in love with her, made her his queen and then she saved her people!" Let's just not mention the one night they spent together as an unmarried couple...and I don't think they were playing Yahtzee folks. So, all this to say that I was very curious what approach Hunt would take with her telling of the story.

The story started off very slow for me as Hunt built up her characters and I found myself just wanting to skip ahead to "where the story began".  And once it did I was very pleasantly surprised with Hunt's balance of love story and the more realistic historical facts.  She addresses the fact that while Esther is ultimately chosen as Queen, she was still just one of many women in the King's harem.  I liked how she didn't make it into this epic love story, because I don't think that is actually realistic for that time period.  I think it helps to show just how big a deal it was for her to go before the King unbidden.  I also liked that Vashti was still a character even after she was deposed.

I don't read a lot of books written in the first person so that took a little getting used to.  And I wish there was just a little bit more about Esther and Mordecai's relationship once she was in the palace, but overall I really enjoyed this book!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Dream Fulfilled...

 Growing up most little girls dream of their wedding day...pretty gowns and flowers, a handsome prince, but as a contractor's daughter I dreamed of houses...large backyards, front porches, and window seats for reading.  I loved poring over my Dad's paint decks, picking out what I thought were the prettiest colors.  I remember as young as 10 looking through the Real Estate ads and picking out my favorites, I didn't quite understand why we couldn't just move whenever I saw a house that I liked :)

When Jonathan and I got married we started saving up little by little, knowing that we wanted to buy a house someday.  And I began praying for the perfect one years before it was even a possibility. Once we moved to Blacksburg that desire grew even stronger as we put down roots and saw ourselves living here for as long as the Lord allowed.
We started casually looking at houses online, driving by whenever we saw ones that piqued our interest.  But none of them were it.  As soon as we'd drive up to one I would look it over with a quick glance and just say "nope".  And so I dreamed and prayed some more.

At times I felt silly praying for a house, when there were so many other big things going on in the world.  But this was a dream I'd had for awhile and I couldn't let it go.  I began to pray very specifically for the exact things I wanted in this House of Dreams, and I felt peace and confidence that God would provide. 

While visiting my parents this summer my mom asked me to write out my list of exactly what I was looking for, she wanted to pray for it with me. I was very adamant about having at least 2 large trees in the yard. To quote Anne of Green Gables "I couldn't live where there were no trees-something vital in me would starve!"
 My Dad happened to look at the list I had scribbled on a piece of scrap paper and laughed, saying I most likely wouldn't be able to find all of those things in our price range. But then... we did. 

God answered and provided a house that matched all of my dreams, even the ones I was too afraid to voice, fearing I'd asked for too much already.  The lot is nearly half an acre, there's a wide front porch, and even 3 dormer windows, perfect for window seats.  And best of all there are trees! Two large oak trees flank the front yard, and the entire back yard is surrounded on all sides by large cypresses, creating our own private oasis.  I love knowing that if I wanted to run through my backyard naked I could, not that I ever would, but I could if I wanted to :)

This house is my testament to answered prayers. Proverbs 13:12 says "...a dream fulfilled is a tree of life."  God has fulfilled this girlhood dream of mine, and I pray that this house will bring life to all who enter.
Our house is far from perfect, but its getting there.  Lets just say that a single dad, teenage boys, and 2 large dogs lived in this house and you can imagine the condition its in. We've been over there every night for the past few weeks, scrubbing bathrooms, repainting walls, and ripping out old flooring.  Lowe's has now become our new date spot :)

We move in next weekend so stay tuned for more updates as we make this House of Dreams our home!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Scenes From Thanksgiving

 Our Thanksgiving was filled with lots of cooking, eating, napping, board-game playing, and football-watching, with a little bit of shopping and Christmas tree hunting thrown in. All in all, it was pretty much perfect.

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