Welcome To Our Little Big House On The Prairie

Friday, January 27, 2012

He Loves Me Anyway

*  This post is a HUGE departure from my normal posts.  However, sometimes...  When you feel something, you just have to write.  I have been overwhelmed lately at the injustice of what I see happening to Christians at the hands of their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ...  Things I have witnessed via my personal Facebook account and in personal life recently.  So, without further ado, I'll get up on a soap box of my own.

I have been many things in my life.

I have been filled with lust.

I have been filled with pride.

I struggle with my enviousness and my greed.

I have a wicked temper.

I dabbled with drugs in my youth and my escapades would make the woman at the well look like a saint.

I have been selfish to the detriment of those I love.

And years later, I still struggle with the guilt of all I have been.

All the things that I am may surprise you.

But you know who isn't surprised?

My Heavenly Father.

I am a sinner.  And not only am I a sinner, I am the biggest sinner.

And you know what?

He loves me despite me.

In my past sin, my present sin, my future sin...   He STILL loves me.

And you know what?

He DIED for people like  ME.

And even though I'm sure I break His heart every single day, He will KEEP loving me.

He knows my doubts, my fears, my failings, my horrible guilt...

And He uplifts me in my darkest moments.

He knows my hopes, my dreams...

And He wants them for me.

He knows my victories...

And He rejoices with me.

He knows my pain over my past and some things happening in my present...

And He cries with me.


Because He LOVES me.


I have no idea.  
Sometimes I wonder at His mercy.

How do I know?

He tells me so.

There are Christians that sit up on the throne of their morality and look down on people like me.  They say, "Do as I do" while they pat themselves on the back.  They say, "The Lord has blessed me for my obedience" while they judge that He has not done the same for others because they have problems in their lives.  They hold up a mirror and say, "Look!  I will show you your sin" while not looking at their own reflection.  They say, "I will help you" and then list their stipulations.  They say, "I am there for you" until you make a mistake.  They say, "I love the sinner because God calls me to do so" and then heap judgement and scorn upon their heads when they sin.  Where is Christ in that?

Let me tell you a little bit about MY God.

My God loves the sinner in the midst of his sin.

My God loves the drug addict through the haze of their clouded minds.

My God loves the pregnant and unwed.

My God loves the drunk passed out in a stupor in the gutter.

My God loves the cusser.  He loves the drinker.  He loves the abuser.  He loves the gambler.  He loves the adulterer.  He loves the perpetual wrong choice maker and He loves the ones that reject him repeatedly.  He LOVES them.  ALL.

I would go so far to say that He loves them MORE.  Why?  He loves them because He feels their hurt, their pain,  their anguish, and the guilt that causes them to make the same mistakes over and over and over.  He loves them DESPITE their sin.  And He loves them and hurts for them and He cries for them.

Did Jesus judge the woman at the well?

Did Jesus give up on Saul?

Did Jesus turn His back on Mary Magdalene?

In the end, did he even reject Judas Iscariot?

No.  No, he didn't.  He loved them.

And you know what?  Despite the way I made mistake, after mistake, after mistake in the my past, He never gave up on me.  He saw every single thing that I did and He loves ME.  Little ol' screwed up, messed up ME.

While there are some that pass judgement on those whose sins are public...

Who take joy in pointing out their own righteousness in the face of  other's UNrighteousness...

Who withhold their love, help, or friendship from or give up on those that keep messing up...

Who heap more guilt on those that already know they are guilty...

Let me remind you of this:

He came to be friend to the friendless.

He came to help the helpless.

He came to love the unloveable.

He came to take the punishment for the guilty.

He was Savior to those deemed unworthy by the Pharisees.

He wasn't the sent for the Righteous.  

He was sent for the Unrighteous.

And while I have failed a lot of tests in my life and struggle often with the guilt of my past transgressions and the repercussions my past selfishness has created, I am still thankful that I have had them.


That's the whole thing about having the tests so you can have the testimony.

Because of my past... 

I have a heart for youth that are making wrong choices.

I have compassion for the young girl that finds herself pregnant and alone.

I am sympathetic to those who reject Him and can understand their anger.

I have empathy for the wife that is being cheated on by her husband and even for the husband that is cheating on her.

My heart hurts for the alcoholic that keeps falling off the wagon, and the drug addict that makes the choice to take another hit.

And because of my past, I find that I love them DESPITE it all, instead of rejecting them because of it.

That's what he calls us to do.

Not to judge, ridicule, castigate, or reject.

Yes, there are those that have a wonderful relationship with the Lord and call themselves blessed because they have lived a "good" life.  But I have a wonderful, personal, in-my-face relationship with my Father because I have not always lived "good" life.  And I consider myself just as blessed.  And I am oh, so very thankful.

In everything I have been through in my life, I have realized one thing.

He's loving me through it.

He's loving me despite it.

And nothing I have done, am doing, or will do, is going to stop His love for me.

Because through His grace, I am saved.  He sent His Son for me and for you.  Our imperfectness is made perfect through His death on the cross,  by His love for us.  For His love for me and for YOU, no matter what we've done in the past or what we'll do in the future.

How awesome is that???


You can take all this with a grain of salt, because who am I to be sprouting these platitudes?

I am the unwed teenage mother.  

I am the promiscuous twenty-year old.  

I am the divorcee.

I am the wife that has been cheated on by her husband.  

I am the mother of a drug addict that blames herself.

And He loves me anyway.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Simply Valentine's

I'm not a big one to get all into the different holidays.  I decorate for Fall and Christmas and that's about it.  But this year, I got sucked into Facebook and Pinterest.  Who doesn't?  LOL!  All the Valentine's stuff is so cute!  So, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and do just a real quick, simple mantle.  Its nothing flashy and really, that's fine with me.  :D  But, it did turn out really cute for not a lot of work, so I thought I'd share.

I gathered up all my supplies:

Glass Vessels
Chipboard Letters
Glitter Scrapbook Paper
Spray Paint
Mod Podge
Computer Paper
White Card Stock
And some stray candy that the kids miraculously had stuck in my craft cabinet.  LOL!!! (Hey, it works!)

Y'all are some pretty smart people, so I'm sure you can figure out how I got from Point A to Point B, so I won't bore you with the details.  ;)

Here's the final result:

Like I said, very simple.

The felt rosettes are stuck to the glass with scotch tape, so I can reuse them.  In fact, these same glasses held my bleached bottle brush trees from Christmas.

The little fruit jar came from a last minute desperate attempt to fill space without blocking the bottom half of the banner.  It does the job until I can get somewhere to find something that fits.

Stuffed it with tissue paper and scotch taped the candy on it.  LOL!  Whatever, it works for now.  ;)

All in all, it pretty cute and Eva and Landon love it.  The boys...  Yeah, they made gagging noises.  LOL!

A little glitter and sparkle for Valentine's Day and I feel like I've done my duty for the season of love.  And that'll be as much pink as you'll ever see in my house because I'm definitely not the mushy type.  HA!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Word of the Year

Okay, so I've seen everyone doing these "Word of the Year" posts and seeing as how I've been unable to finish my Valentine's crafts because Miss Diva went on a craft binge and used up all my felt and glitter while we were at a Wrestling Dual on Saturday, I decided that today's post will join the ranks of many that have decided to sum up what they want for their new year with one word.  So much simpler than a gazillion resolutions that I will probably break within the first week.  :D

The Lettered Cottage
Of course, I'm way behind schedule with the whole office makeover thing, so I missed the actual link party, BUT I did want to give credit where credit was due.  :)


My word of the year...

Such a little thing, a word, but oh the possibilities when you apply it to your life.

I don't know about y'all, but I have a huge problem with telling myself all the reasons why I can't accomplish something.  Now, that's not to be confused with legitimate reasons why you must decline a request or an offer because being able to say, "No." is a good thing.  I'm talking about things that you dream about being able to do and then you give yourself a laundry list of excuses about why it isn't possible.

I am always telling myself that I can't do this because of that.  I can't do that because of this.  And there are so many things in life that I want to accomplish!  As I get older, it has been impressed on me more and more that life is short.  Too short.  I think the death of my father really drove that point home.  How many times did I hear him say, "One day I'm going to..."  One day never came.  And there was so much that he didn't have the opportunity to do not because he didn't have the money to do it, but because he was so busy making a living that he didn't make a life.  I don't want that to be me.  Except for me, I don't want it to be because I spent too much time telling myself all the reasons why I couldn't do it, instead of just doing it.

Melody Ross
Whether it be my relationship with God, my relationship with my husband and children, or even something simple like the things I want to do with this house...

Bits of Truth Blog
Because really...

Its A Crafty Life

So when I'm feeling frustrated by life, which happens to us all sometimes...


Because I really need to...

She Lived By The Sea

And no excuses or putting things off will delay the inevitable passage of time.

So, BELIEVE is my word and this is the quote that I will be referring to for 2012 to help me remember why I chose it in the first place:

Melody Ross
Because really, it matters not how many people believe in me, if I don't have the same belief in myself.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Putting The Office Together: Original Desk Makeover

One of the biggest things I second guessed myself about was how to fill up the space in front of my mantle.  I poured over magazines and the internet trying to get a good idea of something that would do the trick.  Enter my old desk.

The desk I used to use for my computer was a small, dainty lady's writing table that my father stripped and refinished.  My Dad had a thing for dark stains.  All the furniture I inherited has it.  And that means a lot of work changing it into something I can live with.

This was probably one of the easiest furniture makeovers I've ever done.  Literally one and a half hours start to finish.  I sanded it a little, just because it had a heavy coat of varnish.  Daddy loved his varnish too.  LOL!  I applied two coats of homemade chalk paint, then sanded lightly with a sanding block to smooth out the finish.  Next I distressed (that caused the blister on my thumb from rubbing LOL), waxed, and added a knob from one I had bought for this purpose a few months ago.  Done.

Instant gratification.

And instead of making the interior permanent by decoupaging a piece of scrap book paper to the inside of the drawer, I just used tape on the backside, so I can change it, if/when I get tired of it.

And I just love her legs...

Although I need to buy a darker wax and apply it, so those details pop.

It never ceases to amaze me what a little paint and time can do.  :)

What a great addition to the mantle.  Love it and so easy to do!  Aren't those the best projects?  :D

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Putting The Office Together: Dumpy Desk Makeover

Who knew when I found this little baby in the "Mart of Doom" that I would wind up liking her as much as I do.

To say she had some issues would be an understatement.  Check out the rust from the nails that were holding this on...

Gotta love the dirty stained fiberboard with quarter round to trim it out.  I found her in a darkened corner covered in junk and surrounded by tons of stuff.  I almost passed her by, but then I asked for a flash light.

After looking her over real good, even crawling on the floor to look underneath to figure out what in the heck was going on with the top, I figured the $35.00 asking price wasn't too bad.  Not great, but not bad either.

So, when I got her home, I pried off the fiberboard and trim with a spatula.  Remember that?  LOL!  You know, because I couldn't find one of my three hammers in my crap pile in the office?  LOL!  Regardless, it popped right off.  I decided to leave the base as is because I liked her age showing.  I just cleaned her up real good with some Krud Kutter.  You should have seen the filth that ran off of her.  N-A-S-T-Y!!  I must have dumped the bowl 5 or 6 times.  Then I sanded the living daylights out of the top and filled in the worst of the gouges with wood filler, while leaving some for character...

and then I sanded some more.

I primed her up but good, and then slapped a coat of chalk board white paint on the top.  Initially, I thought I'd dry brush her with my favorite paint color, but I just wasn't feeling it...

So, I re-painted it white and then glazed it with my go-to paint: Tall Cattail.  Better, but not great.

{Somehow I skipped a picture of this step.}

I thought about decoupaging the top with scrap book paper, but I didn't have enough of one kind of sheet.  Then I thought about book or hymnal pages, but I just didn't know.  So, what to do when you're at a crossroads?  Let it be.  I left her overnight, while I slept on it.  I've learned in the last 7 months that its never a good idea to force it.  You always wind up hating what you did just to say it's done.  The idea will come when its damn good and ready and not a moment before.  ;)

I was flipping through my scrapbook paper the next morning and I came across this one...

And I kept coming back to it.  Alas, I only had 2 sheets.  :(  And I really liked it.

So, what'd I do?

Cut 'em all out.  It only took about an hour.

Then I decoupaged them on at random intervals.

And then poly'd the top with two coats and decoupaged inside the drawer with scrapbook paper, as well...

I was quite satisfied.

So, this is the before...

And after...

When paired with this chair from an antique store for $35...

and the DIY chalk board for $12 that used to look like this...

and now looks like this...

The top printable you can find from the Tip Junkie.
For some reason, the link would not work.  Just search craft room printables.
The bottom printable, I just made myself in Mac iWork Pages.
Put it all together and it fits me just perfectly, just as I had hoped (like really, really hoped that I hadn't made a huge mistake when I bought it all.  LOL)...

So for $70, I had a whole new office set up.

I think the thing I have fallen in love most with in this journey of makeovers and refurnishing, is that when you refurb something, it is one of a kind.  No one else will have anything just like it.  And you can make it to suite your taste.  Plus, you're saving furniture from landfills and giving it a new lease on life.  Stuff just isn't made like it used to be and with a little money, a little work, and some effort, you can have better quality items for a fraction of the cost.  BONUS!

I know there are some thrifters that would think that I paid too much for both pieces, but you can't even think about buying a solid wood desk for that price nowadays!  Heck, you can't even buy a laminate desk for that!  ;)  And my old desk got a much needed makeover.  But, we'll save that for tomorrow.

Until then y'all...  Have an awesome day!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Putting The Office Together: Chippy Cupboard

The biggest hurdle in the office makeover was deciding on the palette I wanted to use.  I knew the colors had to flow from room to room, so whatever I decided to go with, I knew I had to want those colors, or similar ones for the rest of the rooms in the downstairs.  To be honest, I had no clue where to start.  Well, I was reading a magazine a few weeks back and one thing that stuck with me was to take your cues from an item that speaks to you and build your idea  from there.  

Some people get their color scheme ideas from fabric or build a mood board.  Me?  I got my idea from this...

I have always loved the white, blue, green, and beige of this picture.  It soothes me.  And makes me think of my home.

One of the last items I purchased for our office was this chippy old cupboard.  I loved the peeling paint and BONUS!  Tons of storage!

Yes, the wood on the doors are cracked and warped.  Yes, the paint is peeling.  It has some stains on the shelves from paint storage, but that wasn't a big deal.  I'm sure I'll be adding my own, soon enough.  And when I get that workshop out in the barn that I want and it can be the display piece that I eventually want it to be... Paint, Scrapbook Paper, and Mod Podge work wonders.  Its completely perfect...  For me.  The doors shut and the latches work.  What's not to love?  For $115.00, I wasn't complaining.  Sure, I could have found one cheaper somewhere else, but it would take months of looking.  I didn't have even have one month.  And how often is it that you find exactly  what you were picturing in your head for a certain space?  For me?  Not very often.  ;)

The storage capacity is insane.  Even I was surprised how much I could stash neatly organize in there.

Okay, let's break the items down by cost, top to bottom.

I love white plates and I love picture frames.  There's just something about their simplicity.  They're unpretentious, yet pack a big decorating punch.  Love them, love them!  The two plates on each side were $1.00 each from Goodwill.  The center platter I found at Trinkets back in November for $2.00.  The easels?  Goodwill.  $1.00 each.  They were black and then got the chalk paint treatment.  That stuff will stick to anything!  The two frames on each end I found at the Lil Brick School House in New Hampton for $5.00 each.  They were gold.  The little round frame?  0.75 at Trinkets.  It was gold too.  The middle square frame used to house a picture of my Dad when he was about Landon's age.  Another paint job.  The small square frame?  $1.00 at Country Collections in Hampton.  Paint job.  And the top of a newel post?  $0.50 at Schunk's Junque in Clarksville.  It was varnished wood.  Again, chalk paint.  Love that stuff!

One of my favorite items is this meat grinder that I found at my in-law's several months ago.  Its so industrial and is just neat to look at.  I think it'll always have a home in our office.

A big thing I've learned is to never underestimate the power of paint or upcycling an object for another purpose.

The glass vessel holding my twine and raffia?  That came in the lantern that I used for my Christmas decor last month.  The glass candy containers on the top shelf?  1.00 each.  The glass bathroom accessory, another buck.  I found them all at Goodwill.  The small glass vessels on the 2nd shelf?  $0.75 each at Trinkets.

And check this out...  The white canisters?

$1.00 each in the Wal-Mart Christmas Clearance aisle.  They'll eventually get labels, but I haven't had the time and to be honest, the energy to do them yet.

The baskets?

Primer and spray paint.  Yep.  They were gold.  Christmas clearance.  $1.00 each.  And just to be sure I wasn't getting the good ol' Walmart fool ya on the "deal", I went to the florist section.  Wicker baskets of the same design and style, but in black and natural, were selling for $12.97.  Go figure.

And the bottom shelf:

All my painting supplies.  I told Scott that if we ever had a fire, the house would blow up.  I really need to get that outdoor workshop.  And I also realized I have a slight addiction to glaze.  Do you think 6 full quarts is enough?  LOL!

So, my whole stash of stuff, which up until this point had been relegated to stashes around the house in bags, boxes, and laundry  baskets, as well as piled up in the northwest corner of the office all look nice, neat, and orderly - Dare I say somewhat organized - in our nifty chippy cupboard...

The trick will be keeping it that way!

Until tomorrow, y'all...  I'll be talking about that corner that holds my desk.  Be sure to check back!  :D