Bathroom Dream Board

Today I was supposed to be able to come here and announce that we had closed on our house in Illinois and also closed that chapter of our lives. In a strange and sudden turn of events, however, that sale completely fell through in less than 24 before we were supposed to close. This means that we also have lost the contract on the house here in Tennessee that we were going to buy. It also means that we have to put the old house back on the market AGAIN and wait for someone who can actually follow through and buy it! To say we are disappointed and confused would be an understatement. It has been a rough day, let me tell ya!

But we are trusting God to take care of us in spite of some financial complications due to this development. And we believe that He has a purpose even in the hard things. So, we will move on and see what He does! Last week I shared some of my inspiration as I was planning the updates on the kitchen and dining area in the would-have-been new house. I had planned to tell you all about the bathroom re-do today. When we got the bad news, I thought at first I would just delete this whole post. But then I decided to go ahead and share my inspiration photos anyway. After all, we won’t be in a rental forever, and I am sure we will have to do some updates whenever and wherever we do buy! I still love these looks, and I still think it is fun to make plans and dream, even if you don’t have a definite end goal in sight. So…without further ado…

Here are a few photos of the looks I like for the bathrooms. Some of these are inspirations for color scheme, others for elements like storage and decor. If you want to see more of my inspiration and the other boards I have for other rooms in our “someday” house, check out my Pinterest boards!

Blesser House Modern Farmhouse Bathroom Makeover
Best Paint Colors for Small Space Decorating
Small Master Bathroom Decor on a Budget
A Builder Grade Bathroom Transformation
Master Bathroom After from 320 Sycamore
Bower Power Blog Office Bathroom Reveal

Fullness of Joy – New Scripture Printable – Psalm 16:11

Psalm 16:11 Printable

When I created this Psalm 16 printable I did not expect to be posting it on the same day that our family received some bad news about the pending sale of our house in Illinois. Some problems came up unexpectedly, and now we are uncertain about what is going to happen next. Everything is completely up in the air and out of our control. To say today has been difficult would be an understatement.

How timely, then, that our pastor’s sermon Sunday was all about giving God praise and focussing on His attributes in our prayers rather than on our problems. So all evening I have been praying and meditating on some of my favorite Psalms, trying to fill my mind with His truth in place of all my worries. When I considered what I wanted to blog about tonight, I saw this printable waiting to be posted. What better time than now?

Psalm 16:11 speaks to the guidance and sufficiency of the Lord. Even in the midst of difficult physical circumstances, He lavishes us with every spiritual blessing. I look around at my situation and feel like everything is fall apart at the seams. But if I look at my good Father, I am reminded that He is fully in control and will take care of me. He can fill me with joy and abundance by His Spirit, even if I have nothing on earth. I just have to choose to look to Him, not at my temporary troubles. Admittedly, that is easier said than done! (Printing this Scripture print, however is as simple as this: click on the image above to download the PDF and print it out.)

May this Scripture printable be an encouragement to you as it has been to me!

Beauty in the Small Things #fiveminutefriday

This time of year it is sometimes hard to notice beauty in our surroundings. Much of the United States is still seeing snow. Much more of it sees only brown mud and brown grass. The trees are bare and gray. The sky is often gray as well. I am often tempted to feel depressed by the length of winter in February. I long for the sun and the freshness of spring.

However, I found this year that there is beauty to be found in the small things in nature, even in the dead of winter. My children and I discovered a wealth of detailed wonder in the lichen growing abundantly on the trees in our front yard. Even on the chilliest of days, there were little green and yellow signs of life clinging to the tree bark that otherwise looked so barren. Under the brown leaves on the muddy ground we could find patches of lush, green moss, soft and velvety like nature’s carpet in the woods. When we stopped to look closely, we found several different varieties of moss in place! On snowy days, a bright flash of blue darted across the yard–a brilliant blue jay, his suit never dulled by winter’s gray days. Then in another moment, we saw another flash, this time ruby red, telling us our friend the cardinal was nearby.

In all these small things, we found beauty and cause for rejoicing and praising our Creator.

What blessings can you find today, no matter how small, to give you a cause for rejoicing and praise? Look for beauty in the unexpected. Notice the details. Give God the praise!

~Kiel~

This post is part of the Five Minute Fridays link-up hosted by Kate Motaung. Join the FMF community and get your free-write on! Find my other Five Minute Fridays posts here

Kitchen and Dining Dreams and Inspiration

Last week we signed a contract on a house here in Middle Tennessee. We had been looking and researching for a little while, but we weren’t really quite planning to buy so soon. However, the right house in the right location came up, and the price was right, too! So we jumped at the opportunity, and now we are waiting on all the inspections and such, hoping to close sometime before the end of March!

The house is structurally in great condition, but the paint colors and carpet are sorely in need of an update. So my husband and I have been thinking and planning what we want to do to make the house really feel like home. Of course, Pinterest has been a big source of inspiration. And it has helped me organize my ideas room by room. I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorite looks here on the blog, and maybe I’ll be able to do a before/after post or two when we actually get in the house, too!

The biggest challenge we are going to have is the kitchen and dining area. The walls are currently a bright orange color, and the cabinets are in need of a paint job, as well. We decided that we are going to paint the cabinets white. The appliances are black, and the existing countertops are a nice dark color. We are planning to go with a light gray on the walls, and I think it’s going to look really great.

My kitchen inspiration:


Modern Farmhouse Kitchen Makeover

Modern Farmhouse Kitchen Makeover

<a href="https://www.housebyhoff.com/2016/07/my-finished-kitchen/" rel="noopener" target="_blank"></a>

House by Hoff Modern Farmhouse Kitchen

Nest for Less Cabinet Makeover Reveal

Nest for Less Cabinet Makeover Reveal

The dining area is open to the kitchen (and the living room), so it will have the same color scheme. The big challenge we have had there is deciding what style of table and chairs we want to get. For the whole 13 years of our marriage, my husband and I have been using free dining table and chairs, mismatched and outdated as they are. It’s been a blessing to have these things, but they are literally on their last legs now and need to be replaced. I think we have settled on a somewhat farmhouse style table and chair set with a wood top and white or whitewashed legs. There is not room in the dining area for any other furniture because it’s a small high traffic area. But I do hope to get a nice big statement piece or create a gallery wall on the large wall opposite the kitchen. There is a lot of light in the dining room because it opens onto the patio via double doors, so I may put some sun-loving houseplants in the corner, too.

My dining area inspiration:


Photo by @bloomingdiyer on Instagram

Photo by @bloomingdiyer on Instagram

Photo by @shegaveitago on Instagram

Photo by @shegaveitago on Instagram

Photo by @bluebarnandcottage on Instagram

Photo by @bluebarnandcottage on Instagram

20 Rustic Home Designs from Good News Architecture

20 Rustic Home Designs from Good News Architecture

So there you have it…some of my favorite photos of kitchen and dining areas that are inspiring me right now! If you enjoyed these, feel free to follow me over on Pinterest where I have more pins and boards dedicated to rooms in our new house.

Memory Work Planning for March

Here in our homeschool we are entering week 8 of our term and school year. Normally, we would have had a break last week, but since we missed a lot of days due to moving last fall (and now we will likely need a break during our move this spring), I knew we would have to press on and do a full 12-week term before taking time off. I also started looking at the calendar and realized that I have a lot of work to do around here if we are going to get all the work done at our new house and still keep up with school at the same time. So yesterday I sat down and got our memory work for March planned out and ready to print, as well as lesson plans for the rest of the term! I am not usually this far ahead in my planning, so I am pretty proud of myself!

Since I have talked about memory work in our homeschool before, I thought I would share what we are going to be working on next month. I also updated my Memory Work Index to include the things we have recited together so far this year. Some of the selections are from AmblesideOnline‘s schedule, but others are things that I chose to reflect the season or what we are working on in other areas of school.

March Memory Work

Hymn: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

Catechism: Questions 21, 24 and 25 of the New City Catechism (shorter version)

Motto: “I ought to do my duty to obey God, to submit to my parent and everyone in authority over me, to be of service to others, and to keep myself healthy with proper food and rest so my body is ready to serve.” (part of Charlotte Mason’s Student Motto)

Scripture: Isaiah 53:5-6

Poetry: The Yak by Hilaire Belloc

Folksong: Camptown Races by Stephen Foster

And that’s it! I always look forward to a new month in our homeschool since it means I get to introduce my kids to new songs, poems and scriptures. It adds a little variety to our days while still keeping in the rhythm that works well for us. And we are building a shared vocabulary of song and story that will last us the rest of our lives!

If you haven’t tried adding the practice of memorizing things like these in your home, I strongly encourage you to give it a shot! Even if you don’t homeschool, you can implement this practice at mealtimes or before bed or even on the drive to school in the morning! It is a valuable part of building a family culture, and it only takes 10-15 minutes a day. If you do use memory work in your home, I would love to hear about it in the comments below!

The Reading Report, Vol 9: February Edition

With February flying by, it’s time for another installment of The Reading Report! I honestly have not been reading as much this month as I might like, and I’m not sure exactly why. I have listened to some audio books, and I have been slowly dipping into a couple of non-fiction books.  Since non-fiction is hard for me, I am always pleased at every bit of progress I make through them! So, let’s dig in and chat about what I’m reading these days.

What I’m reading now…

Frankenstein— This was my selection for the “Classic that scares you” section of the Back to the Classics Challenge. I really don’t know why I was afraid to read it, except that I didn’t know anything about the book and thought it would be kitschy or boring or just plain weird. But, surprisingly, I have enjoyed it immensely! It has been very thought provoking, especially in terms of ethics, morality and justice. I am primarily listening to Frankenstein on Librivox, but sometimes I read a chapter on Kindle instead. I’m actually at least 3/4 of the way through, so I am sure I’ll finish it by the end of the month.

Full: Food, Jesus and the Battle for Satisfaction— I started reading this during the 40 Day Sugar Fast, and I have been using it as one option for extra devotional reading in the mornings. It is really an excellent companion for fasting. I would also recommend it to anyone who struggles with any kind of food battles from overindulging to under-eating and everything in between. Asheritah has a very conversational, encouraging voice, and the format of the book is perfect for individual or group study.

Hello Mornings— This book was on my list to read this year, and it came into my hands in a totally God-ordained way. I have only just begun reading this, but it’s already made me cry! Kat Lee has an encouraging and challenging way of writing, and this book gives plenty of opportunity for reflection as well as action. If you are tired of starting your days a frazzled mess, feeling like you are just along for the ride instead of really living each day with intention, I would strongly encourage you to pick up a copy of Hello Mornings.

The Wreath— This was another of my picks for the Back to the Classics Challenge, under the “Classic in Translation” heading. I really didn’t know anything about this book except that it was Scandinavian, and that it is the first in a trilogy. I have only finished a few chapters, but it has definitely sucked me in with its hints at something mysterious and magical going on beneath the surface of normal daily life.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin and A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin— Another pick from my B2tCC list, Uncle Tom’s Cabin also happened to hit my radar this month due to a discussion thread on the AmblesideOnline Forum. The discussion group there is also reading the “companion” that Stowe wrote as a response to criticism that she painted a more grim picture of slavery than it really was. I can tell these books are going to be very frustrating reads on one level, since they highlight the mistreatment of human beings for no reason but the color of their skin. At the same time, though, I can also predict that I am going to really enjoy the character development and Stowe’s writing style.

What I’ve finished reading…

Howards End— I had to return my print copy of this book long before I was finished, but I was thrilled to find the audio version available to check out on the Libby app. And it was even narrated by one of my new favorites, Nadia May. She did an excellent job of bringing the characters to life. I know I wasn’t able to listen as closely as I would have been able to read, but all the same, I really enjoyed Forster’s prose. This is the current Close Reads podcast selection, so it has been enlightening to listen to some deeper digging into the themes than I could ever even imagine doing myself!

A Door in the Wall— This was one of our free reads for AmblesideOnline Year 2. Even though it is a short book, my son and I took our time reading through it together. I appreciated the way De Angeli wove in the themes of overcoming adversity and learning to serve God in whatever capacity we can without being heavy handed. It was also a great living book for looking at the daily life of a boy in Medieval times, which fits in very well for the period of history that we are studying in many of our other books right now.

What I’m reading next…

Better Together— Podcaster and blogger Pam Barnhill has just come out with a new book all about her specialty: Morning Time! I am looking forward to reading an advance copy since I am part of her launch team and picking up a few ideas and pointers to improve our own morning time and homeschool in general.

And now it’s your turn…what are you reading these days? What books have you finished lately?

Time for a little update

Wow, I really didn’t mean to take an almost 2-week long blogging break! Life around here has been a bit busier than normal, and I have had a lot going on in my head, too. I just could not seem to get my thoughts in order enough to even consider writing anything until tonight. It’s been a while since I just sat down and wrote a chatty post about what our family has been up to lately. So I thought I’d do that now. I hope you don’t mind!

House Updates:

In answer to many, many months of prayers, we finally have a buyer for our Illinois house! We will be closing that sale in 2 weeks or less, hallelujah! We are so ready to have that burden off our minds. We pray the house will be a blessing to the new family as it was for us as long as we lived there!

The really crazy house news, however, is that just a couple of week after we close on our Illinois house, we will be finalizing the purchase of a new home here in Tennessee! We were not originally planning on buying a house here quite this fast, but the right house in the right location for the right price came across our path. We will be downsizing a bit, so we plan to unload a few more boxes and pieces of furniture we haven’t used since moving to Tennessee. And we will be painting the whole house and replacing all the carpet before we move in, so…um…there may be more unintentional long blogging breaks coming up in the next few months!

Job Updates:

I am not sure if I’ve mentioned it before here or not, but I started working childcare one morning a week. We’ve been attending a large church in the area for several months, and I found out they needed more workers for their weekday morning Bible studies. It has been nice to have a little paycheck, and the kids are able to come with me and play with friends while I work.

Again, the bigger news is that my husband will be starting a part-time music pastor position in the next few weeks. We visited and led worship at the church this past Sunday and enjoyed meeting the congregation. It is a small church that was started just 7 years ago as a church plant, and the people seem to genuinely care for one another and to be seeking to grow together in Christ. I look forward to growing along with them for however long God has us there to serve!

Homeschool Updates:

Homeschooling is going along well, in spite of our usual morning schedule being interrupted at least once a week. I don’t enjoy doing school in the afternoon, but it does work on those days when we have to be out of the house in the morning. My son is reading so voraciously in our free time that I am having to be very resourceful in coming up with age-appropriate, quality books to check out from the library. Thank goodness for the AmblesideOnline Advisory lists of family favorites that are not part of the AO curriculum. I simply do not have time to read everything before my son does, so I have to find people I trust to give me good book recommendations!

Random Updates:

It’s spring consignment sale season here already. The timing is actually pretty good since I need to get rid of some more stuff before we move! This week I have been pulling boxes out of the basement and washing, ironing, and tagging the kids’ clothes from last spring. I also am going through old toys and books and DVDs to see what else we might be able to sell. Next I need to work on my kids’ spring capsule wardrobe list so I know what to look for when I do my own shopping!

And the best thing about having all this time sitting tagging items for sale? I get to sit and watch the Winter Olympics and not feel at all guilty that I’m wasting time!

Now that I’ve shared all my news, I would love to hear what’s new with you! Leave me a comment and let me know how 2018 has been treating you!

Agree with God #fiveminutefriday

Agree with God, and be at peace;

thereby good will come to you.

Receive instruction from his mouth,

and lay up his words in your heart.

Job 22:21-22 (ESV)

When I read today’s prompt I immediately thought of the phrase “agree with God,” but I didn’t know if there was an actual Bible verse that used those words. So when I went to look it up, I was pleasantly surprised that the verse I found goes right along with the ideas I have been thinking and writing about lately.

When we agree with God, we will be at peace. How good is that promise?! Peace is sought after but seldom found in our busy, pressured lives today. When we agree with God, when we let Him be in control and speak His truth into our lives, that is when we find peace.

Good will come to us when we believe God’s words and take them to heart. When we believe lies and ignore God’s direction, bad things are bound to happen to us. But God promises blessing when we obey and follow Him.

Just like I wrote earlier this week, we need to lay up God’s truth in our hearts. We need to replace lies with the truth, receiving His instruction in the truth. When we do this, we agree with God about our identity, about His character, about the world and about what our role is in His kingdom. When we stop agreeing with the world and start agreeing with God, we are in for abundant blessing. Let’s get in the Word and start believing God!

More resources on this topic:

Lies Women Believe by Nancy Lee DeMoss (Wolgemuth)

Believing God by Beth Moore

P.S.—Did you know that if you sign up for my email list you get special subscriber freebies AND extra weekly bonus content not found on my blog!? Sometimes it will be a recipe, sometimes an extra free printable, sometimes a healthy living tip, sometimes a poem or song…you just never know what little bit of goodness I’m going to include next! Sign up here to get in on the fun…You can even choose whether you want to receive just the weekly digest with the extra goodies, just my blog posts (no extra weekly content), or ALL my emails so you don’t miss a thing!

This post is part of the Five Minute Fridays link-up hosted by Kate Motaung. Join the FMF community and get your free-write on! Find my other Five Minute Fridays posts here