Wednesday, August 24, 2016

First Day of (not home) School

Up at 6:00 a.m. this morning. (And yes, homeschoolers can and do get up early.) Threading his belt into his football pants. Annoying how those things come out in the washer. Hurray for safety pins.

Packing his football bag.

More packing.

His uniform for Catholic school.  Getting ready to leave.

At the school.

Walking inside. Cue Mom's tears...

My handsome, strong, intelligent, kind, tenderhearted son. I know he will be fine. But I miss him.

This is not my idea. I am being a submissive wife. And this will be the first time in his 13 years on this earth that he will spend more waking hours away from me than with me. He will ride a bus to the middle school to eat with his football team before their scrimmage tonight, so I won't see him until around 8:00 tonight. Then he will go to bed and get up in the morning and do it again. And again...

Yes, he will eventually go off on his own regardless of where he does his schooling. But it is still hard, and it seems so early.


Psalm 38:9
 "Lord, all my desire is before You; And my sighing is not hidden from You."
 God hears my prayers and He has good things for our son. I know He has gone before Him and will hem him in. I must be brave and trust Him.

God help me.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Big Ta-Da :: Kitchen Cabinets Makeover!

If you saw my previous post, then you probably laughed loudly at my assertion that I'd paint my kitchen cabinets over the weekend.

Yep, that was definitely a novice painter's comment. But, they are done, and they look great (if I say so myself).



My husband and my kids were behind me, even though they didn't do the actual painting. They helped to clean up before and after, and they helped to put some cove trim along the top of the cabinets to conceal some cracks that happened because composite material moves around when you heat and air condition your spaces. (And my a/c has been working hard lately, let me tell you!)

As with other laminate things I've painted, these cabinets have one coat of Miss Lillian's Swamp Mud (a laminate bonding product), one coat of Irish Cream, and a final coat of Satin Luster. 

My takeaway from all this work (and I do mean work...) is beautiful cabinets that now look more like wood than laminated composite. And, I wouldn't get to enjoy them if I had even an inkling of how much work (and pain...) was involved in the process of painting them, because I truly don't think I'd have been willing to hurt like that.

I think that is why God doesn't tell us in advance what the journey to the end is like, how much pain and hurt and work it will take to get there. He just promises it will ultimately be good. The glorious thing is that when we finally end up at home with Him, it will be good beyond anything we can imagine, which makes the good ending of painted cabinets ridiculous in comparison.

But, I'll be thankful and enjoy these in the meantime, while I'm longing for home. (Where I'll hopefully not be tempted to paint anything anymore...or at least it hopefully won't be painful! ha!)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Dumb Scam

I listed some things on Craigslist today and immediately I had a text reply to one listing requesting that I reply via an email (outside of Craigslist). (FYI -- the person used the name Mindy Collins and the email

Methinks I should have trusted the "don't do it" feeling I had, but I didn't. Thankfully, they only have my gmail address now, which I shouldn't have given them, but ... live and learn (and warn others, which I'm doing now).

I wrote and said, "Bikes still available." The person replied with a familiar scam-- they want the item, I should take my ad down now, they need my full name, phone number, and address, and then they will send me a cashier's check for whatever asking price I want (wow!), even more than I asked for (super wow!!) and they will send someone to pick up the item.

This scam ultimately results in you losing your stuff, in addition to being responsible for a bounced (fraudulent) check. I wrote them back saying bikes already sold (also not wise--should have just ignored them). 

Quick banking lesson (learned from my seven years working at a bank, many moons ago):

When you endorse (sign) any check, you are pledging in good faith that you trust the person or business that issued the check, and you are basically attesting that it will clear. The bank can and will remove funds from your account balance when a check bounces.

So, think carefully before taking a check from anyone that you don't know. Don't take a cashier's check or agree to wire money in exchange for goods via an auction or sale, especially if the person doesn't want to meet with you to see the item (but even if the person is buying face to face). These payment methods are usually associated with fraud.

To prevent being a victim of fraud, do not put any personally identifying info (including contact info) in the body of your online advertisement. Craigslist will ask for your email, but they will mask your email so a potential buyer will not have your actual address. (I made the mistake of putting my cell number in my message and then responding via email to the address they texted me, which gave them my gmail address.)

No harm, no foul. And, hopefully someone will be helped by my experience.

Here's some useful links:

About Craigslist scams
To report a scam to the FTC
To file a complain with the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (if you've been victimized)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Kitchen progress

So, I'm having one of those moments when I wonder if I've done something horrible that can't be undone. Like painting my laminate kitchen cabinets. Late at night. With dinner dishes still piled up on the kitchen table, cook top and in the sink (strategically not in this picture).

BEFORE lovely, aren't they? Yes, I'm thankful for my kitchen, but...

Below, the tall cabinets on the left just have Miss Lillian's Swamp Mud on them, but the ones on the right have Swamp Mud and a coat of Irish Cream (can you tell I love that color?)--cabinets and knobs. I am not finishing the left ones tonight. I'm tired, and I need to see this in daylight. I am praying that one coat of paint will do it. Please agree with me in prayer about that. (Or agree to come help me paint the rest, ha!)

What do you think?  Keep in mind that I can't go back, and I started painting because I figured that you can't really mess up ugly cabinets, so I didn't have much to lose. I really don't like to paint (seriously), but I dearly love the results. Nothing can transform things as beautifully as paint. Especially chalk paint :)

Go see Willow Ridge Vintage's selection of Miss Lillian's "Chock" Paint at the Art & Antiques Marketplace, here in Fairmont, WV.

Happy :: Five Minute Friday (on Sunday) {link up}

Have you ever said something like: If only I could have/do/go/be _____________ then I'd be ...

I wonder, if it could be added up, how much time we've all wasted thinking of how "un" happy we are--thinking of all the bad decisions we've made, the money we've spent (and debt we've mounted), the people we've befriended (or rejected), the people who've rejected or hurt us, and on and on it goes.

My theory about the popularity of social media and electronic devices, such as phones and video games, is they help us to disconnect, rather than connect. We don't have to think in order to fire off a comment on facebook or Twitter, and we don't have to engage anyone to goof off with an app or a video game. And a lot of us are empty and hurting and...not happy.

The big deal about happiness and being happy is 100% perspective. And our perspective is primarily formed through our gratitude. The more we grumble and complain, the less content we are and the more unhappy we become.

There is always something for which we can be thankful, and being thankful magnifies the Lord (Psalm 69:30) and lifts our attitude. Just like love, being happy is a choice. And we need to choose wisely.

Joining with others for Kate Motang's Five Minute Friday

Saturday, August 6, 2016

So You Say You Can DIY...

A few years ago I bought a couple of design books and enjoyed looking through them.

Both of these books are full of encouragement (that it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful), fabulous pictures, and ideas that are not hard to tackle as a first-time DIYer. Still, I dragged my feet for a couple of years.

Eventually, I decided to paint my coffee table top a brick red. With spray paint. My husband was okay with that because the tables were already banged up. It was not a good move, as you can plainly see...but that is part of the DIY fun—experimenting.


Every time I looked at it, I would cringe. I wanted to do something different, I just wasn't sure what. And that's when I discovered the wonder of chalk paint, specifically Miss Lillian's Chock Paint, which is stocked by Willow Ridge Vintage, at the Arts & Antiques Marketplace, here in Fairmont, WV.


The beauty of chalk paint is that it is so forgiving. By its very nature, it makes things look beautiful when they are imperfect, changing the flaws into features. Lovely stuff. These tables are painted with Miss Lillian's Irish Cream. I put a top coat of Satin Luster on all the tables I painted to help the paint to survive the abuse our furniture tends to get.

I found this cute table at Goodwill ...


I painted it with Irish Cream and intended to leave it that way, but it needed something more. So I painted a Harlequin pattern on the top, using Fox Hollow Cottage's tutorial and Miss Lillian's Sterling (gray) as the accent color.


This adorable round table was another find, this time at a local thrift store called Penny Pincher. I painted this one Irish Cream with Sage Advice as the accent color for the Harlequin pattern.


AFTER (#1)

AFTER (#2)

These chairs came from a local junk shop and are shapely but fairly ugly before I painted the frames with Irish Cream and recovered them with some toile-like fabric from the discount bin at Walmart.



A $10 thrift purchase when we moved in seven years ago, I bought this table just to hold a place for an island when we eventually replaced the cabinets, so we wouldn't get used to the open space. Now that I painted the legs (and redid my chairs), I'm not sure I still want an island.



(And speaking of cabinets, those are the next things to be painted with Irish Cream! I'll hopefully start those this weekend....we shall see...)

I bought this bookcase about 15 years ago with birthday money from my mom, and I love how the chalk paint brought out the details.



Once again, done in Irish Cream. I took the dust jackets off of most of the books, so I could arrange them by spine color. 

This lovely Louis XV chair was at our local Salvation Army. I didn't realize how scary it looked in that leopard print until we redid the finish.

AFTER (#1)

The plan is to recover this chair (with the linen-look fabric in the bag above) to look like the chair to the right in the magazine picture below. I can't wait for it to be finished!

(Hopefully) AFTER (#2)

Family Room BEFORE

Family Room AFTER (Ahh...)

I am very effected by the natural light in a room. It amazes me how fresh and light my rooms are with the simple change of painting furniture.

All the cabinets in our home are original (from 1983) and are a very (very) heavy pressed wood composite material with lovely laminate on them. The half bath felt much smaller because the cabinets were so dark.



Swamp Mud is a great product by Miss Lillian's that is made for use as a base coat on laminate objects (such as my cabinets), so the chalk paint will adhere well. It goes pretty far, too, since it can be diluted with water to the consistency of runny paint. I put one coat of Swamp Mud, and one coat of Sage Advice on the bottom cabinet. The top (medicine) cabinet had the same, but then I painted the Antique White stain blocker latex over it, so it would match the walls. The beautiful mirror came from Willow Ridge Vintage, at the Arts & Antiques Marketplace.


 (Below is pic of area to the right, above the "water closet." :)

After my wonderful husband bought me a gray front-loading washer and dryer, the laundry room felt cramped with cabinets. We didn't store much in them, and basically used the counter as a dumping ground (in case that's not obvious from the picture, ha.)

Laundry Room BEFORE

My husband agreed to take out the bottom cabinet, which revealed a big hole in the wall. We decided to go ahead and take out the top cabinet, too.

We were going to put up beadboard paneling to look like wainscoting, but then used this paneling instead, because it looks more Colonial. I love it now—it's so roomy! (The farm animal pics are another thrift store find. :)

Laundry Room AFTER (ta-da!)

I'll paint the rest of the room blue after my shoulder recovers (I feel like I'm 50 when I do stuff like this).

Now, on to the kitchen cabinets!

What projects have you tackled this summer? Feel free to link your blog in the comments. :)

Friday, August 5, 2016

Love Finds You in Charm {movie review}

Love Finds You In Charm is a movie about an Amish girl who feels "different" and doesn't understand why she isn't willing just to go along with the requirements of the Amish faith. She rejects an offer of marriage in favor of going to the town of Charm to help out her aunt, who is also Amish. There, she is pursued by two men, one Amish and the other an Englischer, and she has to make a decision about her future.

This story was fairly predictable and saccharine, with a few innuendo moments that were surprising—although nothing like the blatant sexual references in most movies today. The acting was good, without the cheesiness normally found in faith-based movies. That said, some of the scenes felt a little contrived and unbelievable (such as when the main character dons makeup and a short dress for a date).

If you enjoy Amish romances and like a straightforward plot without any twists, this movie will be just the thing for you. Personally, I prefer a little more intrigue and drama in my movies.

Thanks to FishFlix for the complimentary copy of this video in exchange for my honest review, which is what you just read.  FishFlix, is a site that offers Christian movies and other family friendly items for your viewing pleasure. While this particular movie isn't my cup of tea, I encourage you to check out FishFlix for something you may like. FishFlix recently supported the distribution of a translated version of "The Action Bible" to churches in Turkey. Please consider supporting this valuable work. FishFlix offers a $5 coupon if you join their email list, which you can do by clicking here, or by texting 5-GIFT to 44222.


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