Renovating My Heart

This may come as a shock to you, but sometimes renovating a house isn't all it's cracked up to be. I know, I know, shocking right? We have renovated a couple homes prior to our current one, so it's not like I didn't know what I was getting into this time around. But we have learned rather quickly that renovating with a child (and one cooking in the oven) is not as easy as it was with our previous homes. Our time to spend working on the house is much more limited than it was before. We were able to work every night after work, often skipping dinner, to meet our quick deadlines. We worked all day, all weekend to finish all the tiny details. We both could work simultaneously tackling a few different projects or combining our efforts to crank out a big to-do item. Add a kid... and it changes things. Only one person can work at a time unless you get a babysitter. You still need to feed said child, even if you have no energy left to cook. Working from 7AM to 9PM? Out of the question, especially when nap times need to be somewhat quiet. Additionally, your funds seem to disappear more quickly with a kiddo in tow. Diapers? Clothes? Shoes? Toys? That second income that you had when you were working full time? Oh, you need a minivan now? Seems that all your pinched pennies are flying out windows left and right. Lesson effectively learned over here-- renovating with a child takes a lot longer! Taking a look pretty much in any direction of my house will provide evidence of this fact.

Hanging lights and chains that block the view of yourself in the mirror? Check.

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Oven that also doubles as a historic artifact? Check.

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Open expanse with no furniture or decorations? Check.

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When will the time come that I am able to rid my house of these things?

Is my pessimism getting old? My husband agrees. :) Along with learning that this house renovation will like take a full year or two longer than I was initially imagining, I have learned about patience and being content. In our society nowadays, we have an attitude of instant satisfaction and gratification. The world is telling us that we need to have the best of everything, and we need to have it now. Commercials are constantly telling us about new cars we can be driving (for such a low rate even!) and all of the newest fashions. It is a constant struggle with our sinful natures to fight against this commercialism-- to remind ourselves that that new pair of boots, that shiny new car, or in my case, that new stainless steel gas oven is not the key to our life's happiness.

Fortunately, we as Christians can find happiness in our faith and assurance of Christ as our Savior instead of in our material possessions. We can be content with whatever God provides for us, knowing that this is only our earthly home, and heaven is our eternal. We can learn patience as we allow God to answer our prayers as He sees fit, even if it means your bathroom will remain unfinished for far longer than you ever thought you could tolerate. :)

Ecclesiastes 5:10, 20 "Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless... God keeps you occupied with gladness of heart."

Furthermore, we have confidence that God will always provide for us whatever we need.

Matthew 6: 28-33: “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

While I know that I won't lose the desire to continue renovating and decorating anytime soon, I can use this time to remind myself to be content in all situations. I always have happiness in my Lord and Savior even if I never get rid of the old chains in my bathroom.

Do you have anything in your life that threatens to steal your happiness and contentment? Please share your personal experiences and how you were able to overcome them.

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The Yard Story, Part Two

When we left off last week, I was recapping the progress that we made of essentially stripping our yard of its current contents. This week, thanks to the first morning of sunshine in probably a week, I am able to share with you some photos of a little of our planting progress. For those of you pursuing yard projects at your homes, I encourage you not to lose heart. The planting step is the most rewarding part! Trust me, I understand that all the work up until this point feels like you haven't accomplished anything. We have been digging out trees, weeds, and shrubs for weeks. I didn't want the power of the internet making you believe we are superhuman, and that this all happened super fast. For those of you curious, here is a little shot of our landscape design. You can see how easily marked each plant is-- both with name and location. Seriously, it is a no brainer when it comes to planting. The only hard part was finding the plants at the store. I have no actual knowledge about plants or planting so we were wandering the aisles repeatedly trying to read every little plant card. That really is a fun time if you add a 19 month old who hasn't napped! :) Learn from my mistakes people.

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Last week I left you with the beginnings of some garden beds that we were digging on each side of the house. We were able to finish digging those out. One suggestion our lovely landscape designer suggested was to use water based spray paint (I think the stuff we used was specifically for yards) to draw out your bed lines so you can easily dig-- kind of like a coloring book. We found that super easy, and the paint lasted for about 2 weeks (though not much rain at that time) so I had plenty of time to dig them before the lines disappeared. Another suggestion I've heard before is to use a garden hose to create the outline so you can find the shape you like. You can even run your lawn mower around it to make sure it's easy to mow. I would probably then spray paint and dig.

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And here's a little shot from the front so you can see our spindly little crab apple tree. Isn't he sweet?

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And a little before and after of the front. (We got a new car too!)

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Here is the before and after of the other side of the house.

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Don't you just love different shades of green? God is so apparent in some of the simplest things.

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Finally, the before and after of the front.

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Nothing like a little (or a lot) of yard work to remind me of the awesomeness of our Heavenly Father. Only He could have come up with all of these plants!

Isaiah 64:8 - Yet you, Lord, are our Father.     We are the clay, you are the potter;     we are all the work of your hand.

Anyone up to some landscape fun? Have any helpful hints for those of us not experienced in horticulture? Please share!

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