The following post is one that I shared a little over a year ago on another website. I would still love to hear your stories of wanting things “your way” instead of God’s. 🙂
Have you ever wanted it your way? I know you are probably wondering, what does that mean? Wanting it our way is when we have a process of start to finish of how something should go. However, when it doesn’t fall in line with our expectations, we become disillusioned into thinking that it didn’t happen, or couldn’t happen because we didn’t check off all the steps that we had for the process.
Photo by Verne Ho
This past week, there wasn’t anything that went as planned. My after work naps either didn’t happen, or were later than planned. My during the week walks/and or visits to the beach didn’t go as planned. And then phone calls that I needed to make to take care of business didn’t go as planned because I wasn’t able to reach people.
However, God showed me that I wanted it my way. He had a different set of plans for the week: I got a chance to spend some time with my young adult son watching Little House on the Prairie. This was totally unplanned. Just so happened that he pulled in the driveway right after me. I turned the TV on to a recording, expecting to fall asleep, but I didn’t. We watched an episode entitled, “The Three Bullies”. Charles had to protect his wife from some obstinate town bullies. The children showed the adults a lesson in how coming together in numbers gives strength rather than fighting alone.
My second God moment was riding home from the library midweek after bible study and catching a glimpse of God’s glorious sunset. There were hues of medium pink streaking across the sky. The air felt perfect. And all was calm. And guess what? My way wasn’t the best way after all.
What simple, functional, grace-filled things replaced your “wanting it your way” this past week? Would love to hear your stories!
Have you ever wished that you could decorate your home like someone else? This someone else seems to have just the right kind of decor in their home that is illuminated with just the right kind of lighting and furniture that gives it an airy feel. It’s the kind of feel that makes you want to stay for a while. The kind that makes you want to sit with a cup of coffee or tea, and snuggle up with their perfect-looking throw.
Photos by Matthew Henry
It’s so easy to get caught up wishing that we could have a home, a car, a job, or any other kind of material object that other people have. The question is, have we stopped to think about how good and creative of a God that we have to give us the things that are unique to us and our families?
Some of us are the cute cottage-style type, then we have tudors, farmhouse style, industrial, town-homes, traditional, duplexes, and the list can go on and on. The truth is, if we could trade with these people, after a while, we’d see something else that we would feel is better.
When it comes to our spiritual gifts and talents, we play the same game. We say things like, “I wish that I could teach or preach like him or her.” Sometimes this person does a better job than we do. However, that is not the point. The point is, that because we have been uniquely designed by God, we will do what we have been created to do in the way that God created us to do them.
God tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. In these wonderful creations of God, there are no two people who are exactly alike. Even if we have 50 things that we have in common with someone else, we will still find 10 more that we don’t.
Embracing our uniqueness in Christ involves making peace with all that God created us to be. It has taken me a while to realize this. But as the old saying goes, better late than never. We have to make peace with our physical appearance as well as our gifts/talents, personalities, and possessions. Just recently, I was faced with an opportunity. It took one accidental obstacle placed in my way to help me realize that the opportunity would not fit me as a person.
I am a talker. A very detailed, dramatic talker at that. Sometimes it takes a while to get through my stories. My son says that it takes me longer to give the background information before I get to the point of what happened. It is so true.
Being placed in a role with a restriction on how the conversations would have to take place would have gone against my wiring. I praise God that this one accident helped me to realize that among other things. Take a moment and think about what things you have been doing that totally goes against your wiring.
Let’s pray and thank God for all the things that he gave us that are perfect for us. We can only be our true selves when we are who we were created to be.
Let’s have a party and join together in celebrating and embracing our uniqueness in Christ!
De-cluttering and organizing our homes leads to de-cluttering and organizing our minds. Clearing the clutter leads to clearing the mind. It gives us mental space to think. One thing that I noticed at my own house is that if I am looking at too many things in different spaces, then I am unable to focus on what the task is at hand.
All of a sudden, I am thinking, “Why is that sitting there?” Wow, I have a sink full of dishes. There is so much trash on the floor. I seem to notice every little thing. Since my workspace is in the kitchen, I like to clean this area first. My mind is ready for clarity, and free to allow the words to come.
In October of 2018, my cousin decided to enlist my help in beginning her de-cluttering process so that she could feel free to work in her home office.
We were able to get the hallway closet and one of her two bedroom closets done. The way that I decided to tackle the hallway closet was to take everything out and create three piles: a donation pile, a garbage pile, and a keep pile. After emptying the whole closet, and creating all three piles, then I put everything in the keep pile back into the closet.
She had already gone through her belongings in the bedroom closet, so we didn’t need to take everything out. I just needed to organize everything in this closet. We were working and listening to preaching and gospel music, which made the time go by pretty fast. If you feel led, send me a message below on how you tackled the art of decluttering. God bless!
Plants bring so many benefits to our lives: 1) They give us oxygen and clear the carbon dioxide from the air. 2) Like pictures, they bring life and promote creativity to one’s home. 3) They bring the outside in by causing a de-stressing effect, and 4) For the most part, they are simple and low-maintenance.
A few months ago, one of my friends blessed me with two plants. I decided to add them to my bedroom so that I could feel refreshed upon waking up in the morning. I am all about aesthetics, and especially having spaces that are light and airy. I decided to place one in the corner of my bedroom in front of a wall mirror. The second one was placed on top of my storage trunk, along with another faux plant.
My son was given two plants recently for his birthday. One of them is a bamboo plant. He placed them in chairs by the living room window so that they could get proper sunlight. At first, I was questioning the location. Now, I have decided that I like them there. The greenery against the natural colors of the chairs and the curtain makes you feel so relaxed.
What simple, functional, grace-filled plants do you own? What places are you keeping them? Send in some comments and pictures below.
Today I am featuring a guest post on how to decorate, coming from a blogger over in Sweden. Our last DIY decorating post can be found here. I hope that these tips will inspire you as you decorate your new home.
Interior design and home decor does not always feel like the easiest field to dig into. However, it will always be of importance for as long as human kind moves around and keeps it interest of beautiful surroundings. Research studies during the past decades have shown that general content and happiness can be correlated to how beautiful one person’s surrounding are perceived. We all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder but that does not take away the fact that if you regard your surroundings and your home as beautiful, your mindset and overall content will increase and improve to the better! This is something that everyone would benefit from!
But the first problem remains, interior design and the project of decorating your home beautifully is not always the easiest task. Therefore, we have written a small guide for you to go through and hopefully fins some guiding and useful advice whenever you find yourself browsing through online furniture shops.
Step 1: Do research on brands and style in order to decorate
Research, research and then a little more research. Why does this topic feel sometimes obnoxiously persistent in everyday life? But the fact is that without doing your thorough research, things will happen ad hoc and you will hence not feel content with your final choices. In the big ocean of interior brands one group stands out of everyone. Can you guess which one? Well, it is the Scandinavian design houses of course! Scandinavian interior design, with its unbarked and simple look has been on everyone and their mothers lips for many years now. Sleek oak wood, beautiful washed linen fabrics and a bright and uplifting palette are a few words that describes the Scandinavian design best. There are plenty of websites to browse through while doing your thorough research of Scandinavian furniture and interior. We have picked out a few examples for you to get started:
Reforma Sthlm – One of Scandinavia’s biggest inspirational websites where you easily can get inspired by everything from kids furniture with cool design to vintage and industrial interior. If you feel like buying something, they are also an e-commerce site so feel free to shop til you drop! Their focus is divided into two main parts. Danish, and modern interior as well as more rustic, vintage and industrial vibes. With good prices (it surely sometimes feel like you are shopping at one of the bid low cost furniture chains) and magnificent quality you will surely not find anything like it anywhere else. Make sure to be ready with your google translate button though, if you are not from Scandinavia that is. Otherwise be inspired by the beautiful pictures of homes and nice interior. It is just like a mini pinterest focused on only furniture and design!
House Doctor – The queen of Danish interior design. If you haven’t heard of House Doctor yet, be happy you are doing it now! They sell everything from sleek striped down wooden pieces, like drink trolleys, coffee tables and dining chairs to more bohemian and soft interior like seat cushions, decorative pillows, blankets and even vases and candle holders with ethnic patterns. The designs are always luxurious and high quality.
Bloomingville – The Danish furniture saga continues to the next of beautiful brands. Amongst Bloomingvilles range of everything from table cloths to decorative mirrors, you will find exclusive and fun design perfect for every home out there. With a fun and fabulous color palette and design that really has been though out outside of the box, you will get a smile on your face while figuring out how to decorate and furnish you apartment or house on this website. If you feel like getting something for yourself, why not head back to Reforma Sthlm and buy it. Reforma is the main retailer of Bloomingvilles products and you will surely be happy and satisfied with your new dining table or bureau.
Ib Laursen– For the people who wish to be different. If you don’t want your home to feel like the “home next door”, make sure to be inspired by the range of furniture you find at Ib Laursen. They use plenty of recycled materials such as old wooden doors and parts from former industries. The fact that they can use these wared parts and create them into amazing décor and furniture is something from out of this world! Buying vintage furniture online has suddenly become a possibility which is something that many people have not yet been informed of. But hey, here you go! When your research is done and you have gotten a picture of what interior style you like, move on to our next step!
Step 2: Write a list of what you need for your home
To not find yourself in a situation where you seem to drown in excess pieces of furniture that are just standing around doing nothing to no one, you need to figure out what you really need. And we need really, when we say really! This step is easy (and fun!) make a room-by-room plan where each room gets a list of what will be needed there. For example, in a bed room you will need a bed, blanket, decorative cushions, a night stand, a wall shelf, maybe a secretary with matching chair, a couch or an armchair, Some beautiful vases and pots, a soft carpet and… stop there! By writing a structured list of what furniture you need and where, it will be easier to make a budget as well as visualize your future in your new home, which brings us on to the next step in this guide…
Step 3: Visualize
We will try not to sound too new-age and hippie in this section, but visualizing your future somewhere will make it easier for you to actually create it for yourself. Step into the room you are decorating, for instance the kitchen, and try to really picture the colors, the fabrics, the materials and what will be placed where. Imagine you kitchen table, the plates and color palette and use all your new knowledge from the research you did at Reforma Sthlm. You will find yourself actually seeing what you want and how you want it to look. When this is done, head over to the next step!
Step 4: Plan and Shop
Bring out the note pad again, it is time for some planning! What furniture shops and interior boutiques have what you need? Do you want to go buy it physically or do you wish to purchase it online and get it delivered to your door step? Make a budget and make sure it is aligned with your monetary capability. Be smart and creative during this step, for a lot if people the actual planning is the most fun part of the interior process. You can structure your shopping list in whatever way you feel is the most convenient. Either you do it after each room, with boxes to tick next to each item when it is purchased and receiver. But the easies way is to do it after what shop you will get what. To give you an example: Let us say that you want to buy that beautiful lamp from House Doctor, that eye catching book shelf from House Doctor and that beautiful vintage coffee table made of recycled wood from Ib Laursen, fins a store that offers all of these items and structure the list from there. Too continue on the same example, the online furniture store Reforma Sthlm offers all of these items and thus you can tick off the boxes next to each items when you have gone through with the safe and quick purchase. When buying furniture and home décor online make sure that the payment methods are safe, that the store you are buying from offers good customer service and for your safety, also make sure that the pieces you get are refundable. Hopefully you will be pleased with your new items but better safe than sorry, right!?
Step 5: Put everything together in your home
The beautiful thing about online interior stores are the obvious fact that you get everything delivered to your doorstep. How did people manage 50 years ago? Let us be happy that we don’t need to drive around ourselves anymore. When you get the delivery, the fun begins. Make sure to have a friend or family over because this can still het heavy and sweaty! Putting all your need furniture together, whether it is that beautiful velvet couch or all the kitchen accessories that needs to be put into place, it will take time and energy. And together with a friend, assembling furniture becomes a lot more fun!
Step 6: Decorate to Enjoy your home
When your new home is furnished and decorated it is time to enjoy your achievements every hour of every day. With your new home décor, such as astonishing mirrors, cool lighting and comfortable upholstery you can now live a life in beautiful peace. Just like research has shown, a comfortable and appreciated environment in your home will in fact improve your happiness and content and therefor this process is as fun as it is important and life changing.
As a kid growing up in the projects, we always played games to keep ourselves busy. Some of my favorites were Captain, May I?, Red Light, Green Light, and It. We also loved playing board games. My cousin and I were a little jealous because the kids next door seemed to have all the best board games. One of my favorites was Backgammon.
As adults, it is also important to create memories with our friends and and family. Now that holiday time is upon us, this means getting together and playing the board games that we probably have stored away and collecting dust. About a year ago, I saw an idea on Pinterest to create a tic-tac- toe board game. It was one of those days that I was in the creative mode, and I was surfing Pinterest, as a lot of us do. It took no time, and I had all the materials either here in the house, or right outside my front door! The wood that I used was left over from the breakfast bar that my son and his friend built. You can find that post here.
Activity: Making a Tic Tac Toe game
Time: 40 minutes
Piece of wood (Menards or Home Depot ) $2
Small Jar of Acrylic Paint $.99
Rocks : Outside or bag from Dollar Tree for $1
Paintbrush $1 from Dollar Tree
Use an extra piece of wood that you have at home or get a piece cut from the lumber department of the hardware store.
Using a paintbrush, make two lines going across, and two lines going down.
Paint O’s and X’s on the rocks.
If you are a homeowner, and are looking for a one-stop spot for all your homeowner resources, check out “Consumer Advocacy“, where there’s a little bit of information on home owner’s insurance and everything else that you need!!!
Sometimes you end up with the situation like myself, where you want the ability to seat more people in the kitchen (perhaps 10 to 12), but you don’t have the space, nor the money to do it. This is where building a breakfast bar comes in handy. Breakfast bars are great because they are multifunctional. They can serve as a breakfast bar/homework center/painting spot/reading area. You decide.
Last time, I explained how to build shelves using plumbing pipes here. The breakfast bar featured in this post only takes about 30 minutes to build, and very few materials. Plus, you can’t beat the price. Since the length is only 12 inches, you can probably setup two of these in a smaller kitchen, and still be fine.
Four years ago, I purchased the stools that are featured from Amazon. I decided upon these particular ones because I wanted a combination of an industrial/farmhouse/rustic look, along with something that would withstand wear and tear of teenagers and usage in general. Plus, they are both simple and functional, and that’s what Valley of Grace is all about. I don’t like to have to keep buying furniture. The stools come in two different sizes: table height and bar height.
Building a breakfast bar
2 ½” Tees
4 ½” flanges
2 ½” 36” nipples (or whatever height you choose)
2 ½” 12” nipples (or whatever width you choose)
A box of 2-inch screws
1 piece of 8 ft. 8” lumber from the lumber department (add additional 2 ft. for 6 people fitting comfortably, and another 2ft. for a coffee/tea station to be added at the end)
4 clips (optional for securing lumber to 12” nipples)
Assemble two 7 shapes to build the bar without tightly screwing:
Connect the 12” nipple to the flange.
Screw the Tee onto the 12” nipple.
Screw the 36” nipple onto the tee.
Connect the flange to the 36” nipple.
Use a stud finder to find the location of the studs in the wall.
Using the 2-inch screws, drill the two 7 shapes into the studs in the wall.
Place the piece of lumber on top.
Optional: Secure the (2) 12” nipples to the piece of lumber with two clips using a drill, and two screws per clip for both 7 shapes.
Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. Psalms 127:1
******I am not receiving compensation for the links that are mentioned in this post.
Background Story on Wire Baskets
A little while ago, I talked about the different uses for crates for organization. You can find that post here. Today, our organizational focus will be on the usage of wire baskets. I love baskets of all shapes, sizes, and textures. And so, of course, wire baskets would be included in this group. I like organizing things period. What I have realized within the last few years, is that when we are organized, we are able to turn the five hour paper search to a 15 minute paper search. Our lives run smoother, and we’re able to spend more time doing the things that matter: spending time with our family and friends, serving others, and being able to get those hobbies in. This is what happened when I didn’t have my scrap-booking supplies organized.
Not having things organized discourages doing anything because our efforts are multiplied. We start to think to ourselves, ” Why even bother? If I want to paint, it’s going to take 2 hours to find all the supplies!”
Baskets take the look of organization to a whole new level. Here are five reasons to contemplate using wire baskets:
Simplicity and Practicality
Wire baskets are easy to clean. All you need is a damp cloth to wipe them down and keep going. It doesn’t get any easier than that. Dust naturally collects on anything, and that where the damp cloth comes in. Also, every now and then, something may leak out, that is when a small squirt of dish detergent gets added to the cloth. Wipe and you’re done!
Wire baskets help you to get the clutter off the counters and off the floor. Because they can be purchased as a three or four in one, or individual units, they are easy to mount on the wall using 2-inch nails.
I home-schooled for 12 years. Unfortunately, I didn’t think about using wire baskets at the time. They are perfect for organizing individual folders and subjects for each kid without losing your mind. If you have more than one basket on the wall, then you can use one of the wire baskets to store all incoming bills and important papers that need attention as well.
Other homeschool and business ideas for wire baskets can be found here, where they have wire baskets specifically for mail and magazines, and as part of a wall organization unit for home and business.
There isn’t one room that I can think of in the house that wire baskets can’t be used in. For the bathroom, you can use them for facial and toiletry products. They can even be used for towels and shampoo.
For the kitchen, wire baskets are good for storing mason jars filled with items such as nutritional yeast, corn meal, and sugar. Spices and seasonings stored in wire baskets help you to get them off of the counter tops, along with still being able to see what you are needing to use. Lastly, for you bakers, wire baskets are perfect solutions for storing your rolling pins.
Other kitchen uses for wire baskets are the following: fruit and produce, napkins. place mats, and apron storage. I love the Madam Stoltz ones pictured here at Reforma Stockholm as a fruit and produce idea.
Last, but not least, wire baskets just look good. I am all about the aesthetics being in line for number three after simplicity and functionality.
Happy wire basket adventuring and have a blessed evening!
How would you like to make something fun for your door with less than $5? Well, that’s what I did this past April. Recently, I had the idea that I was going to take it down since we are now in the fall season. However, it just hasn’t happened. I liked this project for three reasons:
By the way, I purchased all of these materials from Dollar Tree.
Here are the materials that you will need:
1 bundle of jute material (optional) $1
1 wreath $1
2 small bundles of fake flowers $2
Total Cost $4.00 + tax
Fold the bottom half of each of the flowers stems.
Tuck the flower stems into the wreath by placing them in between the individual pieces of the wreath.
Tie bows around each of the individual flowers.
Hang on your door and enjoy!
Optional: This wreath can also be used as a table decoration.
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Upcycling things can be an adventure. It just takes a few minutes of creativity and little bit of down time. A few months ago, I upcycled my pillow cases on my bed using a scarf. You can go to the link here.
I am starting to really appreciate Saturday mornings now. Every blue moon, I have to leave out early, but for the most part, my new thing for Saturday mornings is to do my devotion, eat some breakfast, and sit in bed and read for a good two hours. This doesn’t always happen during the week, so Saturday morning reading is my relaxation time.
What I love is when the air isn’t too cool or too warm, as the air is here now in the Midwest. I love it! It has been raining for the last few days, but I love the idea of a good book, a blanket, physical rest, along with the concept of resting in Jesus on a Saturday morning.
I am rereading Nothing to Prove by Jennie Allen, Unexpected by Christine Caine, and about five other books at the same time. I know that this might sound strange to some of you, but sometimes in the evening, I like to have a good cooking show on while reading.
It’s nice to still be able to hear the chipmunks playing outside. It wasn’t until two and a half years ago, that I became familiar with the sound that the chipmunk makes.
This morning, I finally got brave enough to do something that I had planned on doing for some months now: upcycling the throw pillows that are on my bed. I already had all of the materials here. I was able to get one pillow done today.
The process was pretty easy. What I have noticed is that the worst part of any project is getting the materials together, and just doing it. It was also therapeutic. I am even thinking about using the rest of the material from the scarf to make a purse. We’ll see.
Here is the project:
Upcycling Throw Pillows from a Scarf
A Scarf that has Pom-Pom Style Strings Attached
(3 to 4) 25 or higher of embroidery thread
A thick enough needle to go through the scarf material and pillow cover
A Throw pillow with a cover
Cut off the Pom-Pom Style Strings attached to both ends of the scarf.
Sew the Pom-Pom Style Strings to both sides of the throw pillow using the needle and embroidery thread, making sure to double enforce the thread because of the fragility of the material.