Courage–and Redoing My Kitchen Cabinets

Over the years, I’ve spilled gallons of paint, so I’ve stayed away from painting, but a few weeks ago, I got an idea.

A very brave idea. 

My talented daughter-in-love Brittany rescues old furniture and animals. Chase was a rescue puppy.

She rescued her grandmother’s end table–

The “after” picture comes first. ūüôā

Brittany found this piece of furniture on the side of the road.

It was a mess, but she knew it had potential.

My grandmother’s antique dresser–

We gave it to Brittany and Thomas.

Before–

After!

About a month ago, Brittany and I were in their bedroom near the newly restored dresser when an itty-bitty idea tiptoed up my spine.

“Do you think you and I could possibly redo my kitchen cabinets?” I said then started backpedaling. “Never mind. It’s probably not even possible. Painting’s way out of my comfort zone, and my cabinets are red and shiny. It would be too much work, and I have a ton of them. Plus, you’re really busy.”

Her brown eyes twinkled.

No fear whatsoever.

“Of course!”

A few days later, she came over to assess my kitchen. “Tell me how you want this room to feel when we’re finished.”

“Warm and welcoming.”

“What feels warm and welcoming to you?”

“I love anything rustic. Old farmhouses. A beaten-up, rugged look.”

She glanced at my rooster clock. “The colors in this clock will be our palette.”

I took a step closer. “Great idea. A color palette! There’s a tiny bit of blue in his tail.”

“Yep. And green-grass.”

“It’s not that I don’t like red, but the cabinets sort of clash with the color around the windows. I want something brighter. Lighter. Honestly, I want to be brave enough to make a change.”

“We can do this, Julie. I promise. You’ll see.”

We made a trip to Home Depot for supplies.

Back home in my kitchen, Brittany handed me a paint roller. My hands shook.

Like I was stretched out on the operating table awaiting surgery.

“You can do this. Just trust me.”

TRUST is a big word when it involves me and painting.

First, we painted the cabinets white.

I gotta be honest. At this point, I was close to hyperventilating. I did NOT want perfect, white, pristine cabinets.

After Brittany went home that night, I wanted to call her and say, “Come back! Don’t leave! What if this doesn’t work?”

The next day, she turned on music while we painted–which helped me relax and stop asking so many questions. ūüôā

She thought it would take three coats of white paint, but we only needed two.

Then came the real fun.

We started our first coat of glaze/stain.

Watching her spread brown on the cabinet door, I thought I might pass out.

Thomas helped with the first coat.

I stood behind them and held my breath.

Brittany handed me a paintbrush and shoved me off the high-dive. “Come on, you can do this.”

I listened very carefully and did exactly what she said.

I brushed on the glaze then wiped it off softly.

Even if you’re terrified, you can still do your job.¬†

Each coat had to dry for several hours. Then we had to add three coats of protective polyurethane.

At night, I’d get out of bed to take sneak-peeks. ūüôā

One day when we were close to finishing, my BFF from All Things Heart and Home called. I told her what we were doing.

“Great idea! You might want new knobs for your cabinets.”

“What kind?”

“Think about what you love.”

Same thing Brittany said when we started.

I remembered a wall-hanging I found at Kirklands–with glass knobs that remind me of my grandmother’s house.

I found glass cabinet knobs on Amazon at Knobs and More Home Décor! ($5.50/each)

And a rug that blended with my color palette at T.J. Maxx. ($59)

My cream and sugar roosters matched the color palette too.

On the final day of the project, I felt so at home in my home. 

“This went much deeper than redoing my kitchen cabinets,” I said. “We redid my heart. You helped me demolish walls of fear and try something new.”

“I knew you could do it. You just needed a little encouragement.”

Brittany looked beyond my fear to my potential and shared her courage with me.

When I redid my kitchen cabinets, my heart got a makeover too! (click to tweet)

Has anyone encouraged you to try something scary and new? Having a cheerleader is a powerful thing, isn’t it?

Can you think of someone who could use a little bit of your courage? 

Share the story in the comments!

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Faith in a Tiny Bathroom

The other day I was cleaning our teeny-tiny master bathroom and praying about a relationship problem. Doubt took over and my faith shrank.

Spiritually and physically, I felt claustrophobic.

My prayer changed to worry.

Lord, I don’t see how You can possibly work in this situation.¬†It’s like our tiny bathroom.¬†There are no options.¬†

There’s only enough room for a single sink, my claw-foot bathtub, and my grandmother’s antique table.

The dark-stained log walls make the bathroom feel even smaller.

More closed in.

Especially on rainy days.

And it was raining.

No extra space.

No room for God to work. 

A few days later my husband and I watched the DIY Network show,¬†Fixer Upper,¬†and¬†talked about¬†how some day, maybe we’d remodel our bathroom. Just daydreaming, really.

The next Saturday, he found twin mirrors in¬†Kirkland’s.

Barn wood. Rustic. Our style.

“These would make our bathroom seem a lot bigger.”

I didn’t believe him.¬†How could mirrors make¬†a difference?

But they were on sale. Only $24 each. “Guess it wouldn’t hurt to try.”

“Pick out a shelf. That’ll give you more room.”

When we got home, he hung everything. “Well, what do you think?”

Peeking inside the doorway, I couldn’t believe it.

It was as if Chip and Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper had¬†totally¬†transformed it.¬†(Here’s a great article about them in Country Living magazine.)

I entered our brand new bathroom and stretched my arms out wide and marveled like Alice in Wonderland.  

For less than a hundred dollars, we’d enlarged our tiny bathroom!

But God wanted more.

He wanted to enlarge my faith.

Doesn’t He always? ūüôā

While I decorated my new shelf, He worked on my heart. 

“Lord, ¬†when the bathroom miraculously grew, so did my faith.¬†Nothing–absolutely NOTHING is impossible with You.(from Luke 1:37)

Is there a tiny, cramped area in your life–a certain situation that seems impossible?¬†

Tell me. I’d love to pray.

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What our Front Porch Really Looks Like

Lately,¬†if I’m not careful, I can lose my porch party peace in a hurry. Every morning, my husband and I start the day by having a porch party. We sit in rocking chairs, drink coffee,¬†light a candle, talk a little bit, read Jesus Calling, and pray.

If you were to come over, at first, this is what you’d see.

Then you’d¬†walk up our front porch steps and¬†discover a huge mess. Everywhere you looked, things¬†would be¬†out of place.

The trouble started this spring when squirrels chewed holes in our porch ceiling.

Which meant plywood had to be replaced all the way around the house.

Which meant my husband had plenty of measuring and figuring to do.

Which means ceiling fans are now resting in our hammock.

Hoping to deter the squirrels, he used corrugated metal instead of wood.

The corners are the toughest, he says.

Even with our son helping, it’s a slow process.

After they get the new ceiling up, they have to stain a bunch of boards for molding.

You have to watch your step, or you could trip and fall.

Sometimes I get impatient.

The other day Mother and I were talking about struggles. Difficulties. Mess.

“For as long as I can remember,” she said, “we’ve had problems. Sometimes I think, as soon as this gets worked out, everything will finally be okay.”

“But¬†that’s not how life goes, is it?”

Later, on the porch, I sensed God nudging my heart.

Somewhere, there’s¬†truth buried¬†in this chaos.

I spotted Kitty Thelma. Napping. Smack dab in the middle of the disarray.

And Jesus Calling.

 

Maybe that’s it.

Maybe¬†there’s always¬†a place of Peace and Rest in His Presence.

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world”. John 16:13 NLT

I know some of you are in a season of chaos. I’m praying.

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Perks to Choosing Peace over Perfection

Have you ever walked into someone’s home and immediately felt welcomed? There’s nothing like¬†that¬†kind of peace,¬†is there?¬†When we moved into our log¬†house ten years ago, I wanted our home to be a comfy cozy place that welcomed people.

A home that offered peace and healing.

But I have a confession.

At times, I’ve focused on the negatives in myself, my surroundings, and in others.

The chip in the dinner plate. Scuff marks on the kitchen cabinets. My insecurities about writing.

When I seek perfection, poof, my peace vanishes.

How can I offer peace when I’ve lost mine?

But something inside me began to shift in 2012 when I chose the word SURRENDER.

When I made a choice to let go and let God do His will in me.

It’s a process, for sure, and sometimes I struggle to let go, but not last Saturday. ūüôā

We had a birthday party for our son Thomas and my father-in-law Richard. During the party I kept thinking …

This is amazing! I can’t wait to tell my bloggy friends!

Pulling the potato casserole from the oven, I glanced at everyone gathered in our home.

I spotted my father-in-law looking at his son, my husband, who was grilling hamburgers, people laughing, having a good time.

So was I!

Thomas’s girlfriend Brittany took pictures.

 

Looking at¬†Brittany’s pictures something occurred to me.

When I stop demanding perfection, awesome things happen.

1. I slow down long enough to see beauty.

2. My gratitude soars.

3. I smile a lot more.

A surrendered heart brings peace and welcomes the gift of hospitality.

“…live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11 NIV

What makes you feel welcomed in someone’s home? Has striving for perfection ever stolen your peace?

 

Love,

Julie

 

The Secret to Becoming a Lean Mean Cleaning Machine

I’m fascinated with people¬†who have¬†immaculate houses.¬†Smudge-free windows. Dustless furniture. My husband Rick grew up that way.¬†Then he married me. Saturday,¬†he started the tedious process of¬†dusting our log walls.

 

He didn’t complain. Or fuss.¬†He put on a dust mask and got busy.

His patience stirred my heart.

Could I become a lean, mean cleaning machine too? And actually enjoy it?

A friend I’ve met through my blog came to mind. She cleans houses. A couple of weeks ago, I sent her a picture of my kitchen floor and asked how to clean it.

She suggested an O’ Cedar Light and Thirsty Mop and Mr. Clean.¬†She said if she lived closer, she’d love to come¬†mop¬†my floor¬†for me. We’ve never met in person.

Have you ever heard of such kindness?

¬†Here are more cleaning tips she gave me…¬†along with a life lesson:

1. Streak-less wiping cloths from Yoders Crafts and Gifts in Punxsutawney, PA.

2. Dawn dishwashing soap for all-around cleaning.

3. Mr. Clean in a spray bottle for counters and sinks. Also great for toilets.

4. Mr. Clean Magic Sponges.

5. Swiffer cloths for furniture.

6. Soft Scrub for spots on walls and sinks.

7. Clorox Clean-up if surface is bleach-safe.

8. Sheila Shine for stainless appliances.

9. Scouring Stick from Ace Hardware for hard water stains in toilets.

I’d always been bored while cleaning. I had to know her big secret. “What do you think about while you clean?”

Her answer melted me.

Sometimes¬†she sings at work. ūüôā And she always¬†prays for¬†her clients¬†while she cleans. ūüôā

Aha! That’s it! She sings and prays while cleaning! I love it!

I just mopped my floor (again!) with Mr. Clean. INCREDIBLE STUFF! I smiled the whole time. ūüôā

Any cleaning or life secrets to share?

Love,

Julie