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Saturday, October 25, 2014

our new GATHERING place...the tweaked kitchen

Good morning girlies.  I finally took some pics of our updated kitchen for you.  Let me just tell you this process has been a decision in the works for the last three plus years.  Do we paint the cabinets?  Do we put in a farmhouse sink?  Do we change the countertops etc??

I loved our big space.  The kitchen before was beautiful it just wasn't me.  It was a spec house and it didn't look anything like my dream kitchen.  So I've spent countless hours pinning every white, gray, yellow, turquoise kitchen in America and every tutorial on how to paint kitchen cabinets.  Seriously!  It was intense and torturous.  That's a big decision.  Once it's done, it's done and for someday resale it needed to look good.  Also I had this nagging worry about white cabinets.  Would they get dirty easy?  Would they chip?  Would I regret it?  Nevermind the month of Sundays it would take me to paint them ALL.  It's a BIG kitchen!  So this is what we ended up doing and I couldn't be more pleased.

 (clock from HomeGoods)

I told myself we would change a few things and if it looked good we'd just keep the cabinets.  They weren't me, but they we really pretty and maybe just maybe we wouldn't need to paint them.  Fingers crossed!!!!

So we started with four tweaks...the backsplash, undercounter lighting, new hardware and a stainless steel vented hood. I've ALWAYS loved white subway tile and knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that's what I wanted. But would it look good with the granite??  The counters were too nice and totally unnecessary to change out, so we held our breath and made the leap to go for it.  I wanted the slightly larger tile because I wanted to go ALL the way to the ceiling and the standard size might look busy.  We went with a standard gray grout to tie in to the granite.  The number one goal was to brighten the space!  Mission accomplished!!

(from Lowe's)
 We changed out the hardware from a black knob to a stainless steel to tie in with the other finishes.  Voila a little sparkle and shine:)

We took out our cabinet over the stove and added a vented stainless steel hood, which made a little tear pop out when I saw it for the first time.  Instant modern update!  I couldn't be happier with that one improvement.  And guess what?  It actually is vented to the outside.  Our other vent just recirculated the same air.  I was shocked!  Anyway now we have a heavy duty fan that pulls air out:))

Speaking of a little tear popping out.  We added undercounter lighting.  By "we" I mean we HIRED someone to add it:)  God bless Patrick...our handy dandy electrician!  He is one of our favorite people here.  We've hired him for so many random jobs around the house I feel like he's family.  Anyhoo when I first came in and saw the lighting I was horrified and actually had a teeny tiny hissy fit! You could see the lights from under the cabinets:o  I had no idea there was a trim piece called a "light rail" that needed to be added.  We finally just got that final piece done this week.  That's why these pics have been so slow.  It made a DRASTIC change in the space.  Our once dark and dreary kitchen is now light, bright and sparkly!!!

I did a little chalkboard magic to make the white tile pop and voila!!!  I ADORE our new space.  And the cabinets, instead of bugging me they look warm and cozy.  They also look different than all the pins I found.  And I like being different.  The kitchen is unique to our little family.  It's a space where we can gather.  Where we can meet up first thing and last thing of each day.  It's where we can hopefully reach out and bring others in.  Where we can spread His light and love.  It's not about impressing anyone.  It's not about having everything perfect.  It's about being available, brave and friendly.  Pray with me we can make that leap into being the home that GATHERS!  I want that community here.  It's totally out of my comfort zone, but I know it's what God wants for our family.  Time to be obedient:)

Be a blessing.

sunny days
little friends over for dinner
squash lasagna
breaking in the patio, friends, smores and twinkly post to come
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Monday, October 20, 2014

the hard...raising a teenager

This parenting thing isn't for the faint of heart.  I posted recently on IG that growing up was hard on both the kid AND the parents.  Our experience so far has been an emotional roller coaster.  We moved here three and half years ago just as our oldest was starting junior high.  We thought it was our last chance to do a move...any older and it would just be so HARD!  Guess what?  It's still been hard.  It probably would have been even if we stayed in Minnesota, but yikes if it isn't a constant struggle.

And here's the hard... it's not what you think when you think teenager.  There isn't a rebellion issue.  We don't worry about sexual promiscuity or addiction problems...thank GOD.  I have friends who have had these impossibly difficult issues and it's no joke.  My heart would break in a million pieces, but this "hard" is still HARD!  And it still hurts my momma's heart.

The struggle here is being known.  Having that one person that truly knows and loves you unconditionally.  It's fitting in.  It's finding like minds...beliefs.  It's being labeled quiet, shy, or worse yet being viewed as stuck up because you don't have anything to add to a conversation...because maybe you don't listen to the same music, go to the same movies or know the inside jokes.  It's having unique talents and abilities and feeling uncomfortable when they are brought up.  Like you should downplay who you really are...and who you really are is pretty darn amazing!!!

It's putting on a smile or laughing when you don't really feel it.  

It's feeling invisible.  

I remember this. I felt a little odd man out at times in school.  But I went to a small school and we all knew each other.  I graduated with 40.  There are over 2,000 kids in her high school.  Such a different world.  

It's navigating through the very murky waters of finding and being yourself and waiting patiently for your soul to be seen.  Ugh!  I think it's something we can all relate to.  I know it really doesn't get any easier as an adult.  Building community is always high on my list...yet it's so slow going.

So we pray, we console and we remind her and ourselves that He has a plan.  We are in the palm of His hand and He knows our innermost desires.  He loves us.  He is our Abba daddy and wants those things for us too.  His timing is perfect.  It is!!  But darn if the process isn't painful.

Be a blessing.

Speaking of someone pretty darn little chick celebrated 11 years!!! She wanted, of all things, an electric pencil sharpener.  Guess who got the fanciest one I could find:)  Big chick topped it though..."she's never drawn me before". Tears!!
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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

having church

Hi friends:)  I get little messages often from long time readers asking me to blog more.  I want to!  I really do... I miss it!  But I'm in a different, busier season in my life, and as much as I long for leisurely days snapping pics and writing my thoughts down this is where God has me right now.  I'm putting one foot in front of the other and doing what I feel He's leading me to do. 

I've noticed that along with busyness comes distraction.  Man I hate being distracted!!  And I'm not a fan of how that plays out in my home.  We all have our own agendas.  Our own schedules and mile long to-do lists.  Each person in our little family unit leads a separate life and it's hard to meld those all together lately.  School started.  Marching band is in full swing.  New friends have been made...that I haven't met:/ There are teachers I haven't heard of.  Honey is focused on building his business and I'm in the throes of the shop's busiest season.  It's wonderful to be busy.  It's good to work and carry on in life, but I have to tell you I miss simple.  I miss connecting.  I miss my people.

Sunday we skipped church!  Yes we played hookie and it WAS good!  Sometimes you need to just be with your family and not in a crowd.  Sometimes you need to step away from chores, home improvement projects, PHONES and just be together.  Not that skipping church is the answer, but this week it was.  We made a huge family breakfast.  We played a board game out on our patio! We went to the mall to find a dress for Big Chick's homecoming.  We spent time together:))

I know there's a balance.  And I'm determined to find it.  These threads that tie us together are only as strong as the time and attention we put into them.  SO I'm making a blanket statement.  It's going to be dramatic.  It's going to be radical!  Are you ready for it??

I'm declaring that every Sunday is going to be Silent Sunday.  
No computer.
  No phone.
  No work.
  No chores.  

We're going to eat together, play together, listen to each other and focus on what's important...each other:)  We'll go to actual church too!  But we'll have church all day.  Those four walls don't define that day!  The family unit is holy.  

 I made this chalkwall in our kitchen recently and I picked gather as the focal word.  This is where we come together.  This is our gathering place. It's not only for us, but for us to hopefully begin reaching out to others.  Slowing down and making time for that is KEY.  I'm praying the shift happens. 

 How do you find balance?  Do you have a time carved out for your family?  I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas.  I think this is important business.  The enemy is out to take over our families.  I think he uses distraction most of the time.  Our family IS our mission field. 

This gal...Steffany Gretzinger is my FAVORITE singer right now.  This album is FULL and overflowing with goodness.  I just found this video here to listen.  
Soooo beyond anointed.  Have church with me right now.

Be a blessing,

my girls...
glorious fall weather
orders being shipped out!!!

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Good morning friends!  Once again I feel like I need to apologize for being gone so long, but that's ridiculous.  You guys love me right?  You know I've been busy!  The shop closed last Friday and we are still stamping and working HARD to get these cuffs out to you.  Hopefully finishing up today:)  I'm in complete and utter awe at how God provides with every single opening.  We were right on track with our giving too.  The Graham Family was blessed and this thrills me to my toes.  Thank you!!

This opening felt a little different.  The Lord showed up in a big way like always, but I also felt the enemy lurking around.  It started the Sunday before the shop opened.  We had just heard the best message about prayer and Jabez.  He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!" And God granted him his request (1 Chron 4:10).  

I left the service so encouraged and buoyed by God's word and His promises, but things also started feeling weird.  I could just sense attack.  Little chick cut her finger Monday morning and needed stitches.  Honey and I were tense with each other.  We had some hiccups with our remodeling projects.  And then I got a mean spirited note from some anonymous person.  Which by the way made the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

Tell me this isn't just some dart from the enemy to discourage and defeat!  But in a weird way it gave me the assurance that we are heading in the right direction with Farmgirl Paints.  Powerful, promise-filled stamped words are circling the globe!! Light and love is being worn daily...visible.  Money is being raised to encourage and be a blessing, and the enemy isn't a fan.  But...greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).  No weapon formed against me shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17).  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph 6:12).  THESE are the words that kept going through my head.  So grateful for God's word and His reassurance and guidance.  What would we do without it!!

So in addition to all the shop hustle and bustle I've been doing a 14 day sugar detox.  And can I just say I was completely nutso taking this on while being completely overwhelmed with shop stuff, and yard and kitchen projects, but once again I felt God's hand on me and there has been a grace to making changes.  The timing is never going to be perfect.  Never!  But guess what??  I did it.  I can't believe I did it, but I did:)  I quit sugar for 2 weeks!!!  Despite being a little low energy I felt GREAT!

It ended on Sunday and I still haven't added back creamer, had a piece of bread, chips, crackers etc or any CHOCOLATE!!  Say what!!!!  I know.  With every fiber of my being I want to stay the course.  I'm loving my even keel levels.  I feel in control.  I'm not constantly snacking.  I don't think about food.  I'm eating vegetables.  THIS is MAJOR!  Like really major!!!  I drink black coffee.  Instead of sandwiches and chips I'm having sliced turkey or tuna with avocado.  Cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas and blueberries are my sweets:)  I have smoothies for breakfast and turkey soup for dinner.  And my favorite snack is a Paleo wrap with almond butter and a thinly sliced granny smith apple right before bed.  I've found the thing that has made my brain finally click over and I'm so excited.  I've lost about 5 pounds.  My face looks a little thinner.  It's good.  So here is my turkey soup recipe:

This is the doubled version of my 
AWESOME Turkey Soup recipe:
2 pounds ground turkey
one package frozen onion
2 cans diced tomatoes with juice
2 boxes of reduced sodium chicken broth
2 packages frozen broccoli, carrots, cauliflower mix
garlic...maybe a tsp or so
Cajun spice, salt and pepper to taste

Brown the ground turkey...get it good and brown.  Cook with onions and garlic until soft and smells really good.  Add to the simmering chicken broth, tomatoes, vegetable mix.  Season with salt and pepper and Cajun spice to taste.

If you want to sign up for your own Detox group click here for more information. I highly suggest it..  Marta provides all the information you need, helpful articles, recipes and an online support group to encourage and motivate along the way:)

Be a blessing,

just a few of the mannnyyyy thankfuls...
cutest new pillow in the history of ever. made from a vintage fabric calendar.  
sunsets that remind me this earth is NOT my home.
a new chalk wall in my kitchen. creativity BLISS!!  
the best customers/ig followers in the world! what a beautiful support group the Lord has provided!!

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