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I titled this post “The Sixteen Day Master Closet” because, truly, it felt like it might really take that long to finish.I relate to the Nester’s post today about her boys’ bathroom: “I’ll do a final post once it’s 100% done (in four years.  kidding.  kind of. )”As I was working on finishing this shared space between Fireman and me over the weekend  (okay, and all the way into Tuesday as well…), I couldn’t help but reminisce on the way things used to be.Back when we had our first apartment together and we used a cardboard box for a tv stand.Oh, don’t worry.  It was a reinforced cardboard box, and a very small tv.  To make it look pretty, we covered the box with a pretty towel.But still.One summer night, Fireman invited some friends over to watch a movie on our very small tv.  One of the guys was so…

As you know if you read my last post, Friday was the first day of my Sixteen Days of Getting My House in Order.  I assigned myself the area of Closets first so I could evaluate school clothes needs and begin to turn over seasonal clothing as fall is nearing.  As is often the case when we commit to action in any area, obstacles and distractions come hard and fast in the wake of inspiration and enthusiasm.  The class Fireman was scheduled to teach Friday and Saturday was cancelled, so he was home those two days.  Although I love having my guy around, I think most women would agree that the plans change when the Mister is home, bless his little heart.There was also the matter of no cheese or cereal in the house Thursday evening, a dilemma worthy of rapid address if I was to avoid a mutiny in…

I have been so excited about my Sixteen Days plan to bring order back to my house.  After I wrote the post yesterday, I was outside spending time with the wood splitter (we heat our house with wood so many summer days are spent cutting and splitting birch logs) and my mind was absolutely full of ideas for how best to organize these Sixteen Days of cleaning/organizing/restructuring into a reasonable plan that will work over the next few weeks.I know you are like me in that I never, absolutely never, have sixteen days in a row that are unplanned, unscripted, unscheduled.  In a family, scheduling time to clean and organize the house comes after penciling in all the sports practices and events, church commitments, Fireman’s hunting schedule (although this HUGELY works in my favor the next few weeks…mwaahaahaa!), orthodontic appointments, school activities, and my furniture painting days on Tuesdays and…

I haven’t shared details with many people, but this last year was possibly one of the craziest, humbling, most stretching and surrendering years of my mid-40’s-something life.It was a year of obedience in the midst of questions, a learning to press on and lean in when I simply couldn’t muster the grace to face another day.It was a releasing of my preconceived ideas about order, structure and schedules, and a clinging to concepts much less tangible like trust….forgiveness…..gentleness….and mercy. It was finding the strength to believe He is who He says He is, and truly believing that His plans are for good, providing a future of hope I could rarely see.And oh, the deconstruction He did within my soul.This summer we are slowly, hesitantly, peeking out of the fog after a very long nine months.  Re-evaluating goals, revisiting priorities, re-establishing systems.  In some ways this feels wonderful, almost a semblance…

You might think that for a paint-lover like myself, there wouldn’t be anything I would hesitate to paint, but this isn’t always true.  These dark shutters are a good example.We purchased these beautiful shutters in Homer, AK, the year after we moved into our house, and for a long time they hung in our entryway.  Rustic, full of texture, and very heavy, these shutters are authentically genuine in every way.  What a shame for ANYONE to cover up all that authenticity with paint!  Just this winter, Fireman hung the gorgeous shutters in the living room for me after I had an epiphany that they would be WONDERFUL on our tall window wall in there.  I hung scroll-work along the side, and stepped back to look.We had one, very big problem.The shutters, lovely as they were, were way too dark up there.  They looked like a big rectangular hole in my…

“So there was this old dresser……”I wonder how many bloggers start posts like that, another story of a furniture transformation achieved with a couple coats of paint, some elbow grease…and a little Annie Sloan wax, of course.Of course.This post isn’t about a dresser.  Well, kinda.  It all started when I found a certain hutch on CL (is it okay to abbreviate Craigslist with CL now?  I think everyone knows what CL means, but perhaps that’s presumptuous of me?), and the lady selling the hutch also had an old dresser for sale which included two tall, tacky mirrors that looked like this.I knew right away this wasn’t a whole lot of beauty to work with, but I held onto both mirrors the last few months as I brainstormed what to do because the thing is, who doesn’t love a mirror?  They can go anywhere, they reflect light, they add movement……..and even…

A few weeks back I shared some updates I was making to the command center wall in our kitchen:  I painted stripes on the wall, repainted the plaque from my sister, and changed the border of the dry-erase calendar from black to an antiqued cream.I mentioned that I needed a box or container for holding the markers and eraser that we use regularly for the calendar, so I’ve been keeping my eyes open for something to fit that space above the file folders ever since.  A couple days ago I found my solution at JoAnn’s.When I saw this unfinished box, I knew it would be just the right size to fit above the file folders and to the right of the light switch.  I was worried it might stick out too far from the wall, but the charming mesh sides swooned me enough to go with it.I sanded the box…

Fearless is not a word I would use to describe myself.Careful.  Orderly.  Responsible. Thoughtful.Good.These adjectives are more accurate.I tend to analyze situations before jumping in.  I wait and pray and ponder, questioning extensively if said activity lines up with my values, my priorities, my written goals, my faith.Does the activity I’m about to choose fit the mold for who I am supposed to be?  For who others expect I should be?For who the Bible says I should be?I weigh my time and commitments on whether or not I’m pleasing God and my husband, or whether I’m sacrificing what I believe is one of my highest callings: motherhood.  (Actually, I’ve discovered that I have clung so tightly to my role as mother ~ have taken it so seriously, in fact ~ that I risk saying no to many good yesses for fear I’ll fall short in this area.  God and I…

The spring sun warms my face as I walk toward the front doors of the junior high.  7th and 8th grade students fan out from the doors, their childlike faces filled with joy and relief as they escape the structure of yet another school day.I quickly catch sight of him, strolling out in his black school-logoed hoodie, his trendy, over-priced backpack slung over his right shoulder.I raise my hand to wave, the usual thrill of seeing him each afternoon overcoming any protocol, eager to connect with him and hear the details of his day.As he draws near, I notice he is not smiling.  Matter of fact, his face reflects….What is that? Aggravation?  Or wait just a moment…..Could it be (by golly I think it is!)…..scorn?? And before I can even say hello, he grumbles, “Mom, what are you doing?”In a split second I understand.  Unlike all the other moms and…

I’ve been working on a few small things around the house the last several weeks.  Seems like little projects are all I have time for lately, so I try to jump on them when my fancy strikes.Remember I completed this gallery wall in our stairway in February? As you can see, our stairway turns 90 degrees halfway up (see that bare wall at the top?)I didn’t want to continue the gallery wall onto it as that seemed like too much, but the wall was beginning to really pout and whine because it didn’t feel as classy as its bigger brother.After brainstorming for several days, I did what I always do when all else fails:  paint.Painting a pattern on a wall is a creative and inexpensive solution in lieu of wall decor.  In this case, I chose to paint stripes.Here’s another view looking down from the top:When I first pulled out…