Friday, September 5, 2014

Summer Catch Up Part 1

I'm pretty sure that I've only thrifted, flea-marketed, and antique malled a couple of times each this summer.

What has become of me??

But every few weekends I've managed to hit up at least a handful of yard sales or estate sales. Only once did I make a whole day of it with my bestie. So I'm just going to catch up on some of my favorite yard sale finds from this summer in doses.

Here goes...

My dear friend Naomi sold this at her mom's yard sale and I bought it. I need to preach this to myself often so its now sitting on a little easel (scored at a yard sale) in my dining room.

Speaking of Naomi, I scored her a couple of vintage typewriters for $5 each!!! (They go for $60+ in antique shops.)

She turns them into beautiful works of art like this necklace she made me. Which you can learn more about here.

Speaking of jewelry, I found these fun and funky vintage goodies in a pile of an old lady's jewelry rubble for pocket change. You know when you pick out your outfit to match an accessory, instead of the other way around? That's what I do with tropical bangle. Actually, it kind of goes with everything. No, really.

I don't find good Christian books at yard sales that often. As in, theologically sound and relevant. But I scored one day with these. I got them for my hubby because he has read some of Jay Adams' work before. I would like to read them as well because I would like to be a Nouthetic counselor.  What about Nouthetic counseling?

And speaking of books, I've been beefing up our collection of The Great Illustrated Classics for my girls.

This teal wooden box with the three basket drawers was only a few bucks and is perfect for organizing paperwork on our schoolroom shelves.

The encyclopedias came with the house, in case you were wondering.

This yellow wicker planter, which included a perfectly fit galvanized liner, set me back only a few bucks. I put it by my front door and filled it with pansies.

The pansies flourished happily for a few months but have completely croaked by now and will soon be replaced with fall goodies.

You can see what I paid for a perfectly white twin sheet set with eyelet trim. Anyone else a sucker for white eyelet? This doesn't match my older girls' room but my little missy will be moving into a big girl bed in a few months and so I'll incorporate these. (In the meantime I need to research how to upcycle a Jenny Lind crib.)

I'll end Part 1 of Summer Catch Up with another $1 Scrabble game. I think I can start spelling out full paragraphs with all the letters I've accumulated by now. I could have some good creative fun with that.

Summer Catch Up Part 2 coming at some point. Maybe.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

In Defense of Beauty at Home

I like to play around with decorating my home - on the cheap.
before the walls went putty grey and the trim went creamy white

I like picking up beautiful (in the eye of the beholder) things second-hand

Or free.

I like to create new things out of old things.

I like to hoard vases and fill them with flowers from my garden. (We hoard books here too.)

But what does any of this really matter? In light of things like what ISIS is doing and all of the social injustice and suffering in the world, I often struggle with the relevance of my previously mentioned desires. Why do I care about what's on my mantle (and the fact that I still haven't painted it) when so many people's very lives are at stake?

The antlers weren't waiting for fall.

I love what Sally Clarkson posted here about the importance and relevance of beauty at home. It resonated with me. Take a read and tell me what you think!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Who Is Teaching Who?

It was early in the morning of our first official day of school this year. I was mostly prepared. (As in one of my main teaching resources was due to come by UPS sometime later that afternoon.) Hubby had already left for work and none of the kids were awake yet.  I was about to open this book by Andrew Case because I love using his scripturally-derived prayers for my kids (and hubby). In the past, I'd never been big on reading/using other people's prayers but I've found that, when rooted in scripture, they help me to pray in ways I might not otherwise think of. I can take someone else's words, especially God's own words, and mean them from my heart.

Before I opened the book I asked God to lead me to verses/prayers that would be specifically relevant for our first day of school. I was kind of hoping to stumble upon something along the lines of "whatever you do, work at it with all your heart" or "she sets about her work diligently." You know, something to remind my kids about what they needed to do. Something to take the pressure off of me and put it on them. ;)

Starting a new year as a homeschool mom is very exciting but it also comes with a heavy weight. I'm responsible for so much. I need to decide what my kids will learn this year. I have to sort through a million curriculum choices and pick what's perfect for us. I need to know my stuff so I can pass along the knowledge to my kids. I need to be organized, and motivated, and....patient. (Yeah. Because the #1 misconception about homeschool moms is that we have more patience.)

So I opened up to where my bookmark was and read and prayed through two pages before I came to this: "Instruct my cherished children and teach them in the way they should go; counsel them with Your eye upon them."

Thank you Lord! (He does promise that when we pray in faith, according to His will, we will have what we ask for!) That part of the prayer came from Psalm 32:8:

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you."

That was just the encouragement I needed and exactly what God wanted me to talk about with my kids that morning. He didn't want us to focus on what we need to do but on what he will do. What a great reminder that I am not really the teacher in this house - God is the one who is instructing, teaching, and counseling each one of us. My kids and I are each under the direct tutorship of Christ. He does use his Spirit and his Word to instruct me and counsels me on what I should in turn pass along to my kids but he can, does, and will teach them apart from me as well. What comfort!!

I decided that this would be our school verse this year. We will memorize it, write it, and talk about it often. It needs to be my compass this year.

Whether you are feeling the burden of teaching or counseling others or whether you are in great need of instruction and counsel for yourself, I share this in hopes that you also find encouragement and comfort in this truth from the mouth of the One who loves you very much. He will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. He will counsel you and watch over you.

Friday, August 22, 2014

$2 Antlers

Why yes, it has been 5 months since I've blogged. And it could be another 5 months before I do it again.  But that's okay. So many treasures and negative time. I think I've said that before. So if I do ever share any treasures here again its going to be oh so short and sweet.

I can never catch up on 5 months of treasure hunting but maybe I'll do a little. It hasn't been a crazy yard sale summer but I've gone enough to feed the need. And find some fun stuff.

When my BFF was visiting back in June, we yard saled for 6 straight hours. It was pure bliss. There was this one sale that had a small pair of real antlers for $5. I seriously debated with myself over them at the time. The only reason I was drawn to them is because antlers are all the decorating rage. A decorating rage I've revolted against like I did with chevron. You see how that turned out. Determined not to bring antlers, skulls or any taxidermy into my home, I made a rational decision and left the antlers.

Fast forward to mid August and I drive by the same location having a yard sale again. I stop again. And the same antlers are still there, this time marked $3. Now I'm a sucker. Between June and now I've actually gotten to the point that I've been sort of hoping to stumble across some antlers in the woods this year. Though I had completely forgotten about them, I was surprised and thrilled to see the antlers were still there.

Well, I'd just overheard the seller telling another shopper that he had literally no change left. And I only had twenties or two dollars. So I offered him my $2 and he accepted. Woo hoo! I imagine them as part of a fall mantle spread.

So this week I'm flipping through the latest Ballard Designs catalog, debating if I should finally get some bedding I've been considering for months and is now marked way down. Then something on another page jumps out at me.

OH, look here. Look what you can buy from Ballard.

FAUX antlers.

FOR $59!!!

I now love my $2 authentic antlers even more, including the few bits of fur still stuck to the ends. And of course my hubby is like, "Then sell yours for a profit!" But I'm keeping them. And maybe I'll show you them sitting on my mantle this fall with some other goodies.

I'm still hoping to find some antlers in the woods some day. That would be way cool.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Courage & Confidence

God's Word is just so amazing. It is so clearly evident that every word, every verse, every chapter, every book - from Genesis to Revelation - belongs as part of one unit. Though God inspired so many different authors over a wide span of time to pen so many different types of writings, they all work together to paint the same picture and tell the same gospel story.

One of the ways this has become most evident for me is by reading systematically through several different parts of the Bible at the same time. All at the same time, I am doing a Bible study in Matthew on my own and also teaching that to my teen Sunday School class, reading Proverbs and Exodus with my kids, and reading and studying 1 Samuel with my small group study/fellowship group.

Several weeks ago we started digging into 1 Samuel 1 and its about a woman named Hannah who is upset because she has no children. Although she is favored by her husband, he has another wife who has borne him children and she loves to rub this in Hannah's face. For years Hannah has made the annual trip with the family to the tabernacle to worship and sacrifice to God. On this occasion, "in bitterness of soul, Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord." She vowed to God that if he would bless her with a son, she'd give him back to the Lord in service at the temple.  She kept on praying in her heart; her lips were moving but she was not using her voice. The priest saw her, thought she was drunk, and told her to get out.  She corrected him: "I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord." The priest tells her to go in peace and may God grant her request. At this point she has no guarantee that God will answer her request yet "she went on her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast."

Why she was no longer downcast when she left? Her prayer had not yet been answered. The Bible doesn't say that God told the priest that it would be. If you read on, you see in the next chapter that her prayer does get answered and she has Samuel. Chapter 2 includes her amazing prayer of praise and thanks to God in response.  That prayer not only reveals truths about who God is but reveals the kind of woman of faith she is and the close relationship she has with God to know those things about Him to be true. Still, going back to Chapter 1, it does not explicitly say why her frown turns upside down after she leaves the tabernacle that day.

Fast forward a few days and I was reading Matthew 15:21-28 (and same story in Mark 7) where Jesus takes his disciples outside of Israel for the first time to Tyre. A woman who is not a Jew but has obviously heard about Jesus came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession!" Jesus doesn't say anything but his disciples urge him to send her away because she kept crying out after them. Jesus responds to her that he came first to the Jews, but she falls/kneels before him and begs for him to help her. He again responds as a Jew would that she was asking for something that was the first right of the Jews. She responds that she wants it too and she should have access to what they have rejected. He then commends her for her great faith and tells her that her request has been granted and her daughter was in fact healed.

I struggled at first with Jesus' response to the woman in Matthew 15. Why did he not respond at first, and then tell her twice that he came first to the Jews, knowing she was not one. It didn't seem like his typical compassionate response. Through their conversation, Jesus clearly confirmed that he was the promised Messiah to the Jews. Although he did come to them first, many of them rejected both his claim to be the Son of God and his message of repentance and forgiveness through faith in him. He did, and still does, offer his love and forgiveness to anyone (Jew or not) who believes in their heart and confesses with their mouth that he is Lord. She proved that. But that wasn't what I really got out of this passage.

Something else hit me that helped me make sense of Hannah's situation in 1 Samuel 1. By waiting to respond the way she wanted him to, Jesus allowed her to demonstrate her faith that was strengthened the more time she spent with him and talking with him. She was not afraid to initially approach him crying out and then continued to stay in his presence kneeling before him. Granted, he did immediately grant her request because of her faith so she would have left his presence happy about that. So why did Hannah also leave happy when her request had not yet been granted? The common denominator was time spent in the presence of God, a sad heart that was poured out to Him, and desperation mixed with faith.

Having faith does not mean you never cry or experience the emotions of your situation. Who had the kind of faith that God responded to? These women who had the courage to go to God and pour out their hearts to him. One wept much and prayed in her heart when the words wouldn't come out. One cried out loud to him. One stood up and the other kneeled in his presence. They both praised him as Lord. They both purposely went to God and spent time with Him. Both were deeply troubled and full of faith. Both were encouraged because of their time spent with their Lord and both were rewarded for their faith.

If you're in need of courage and confidence then go to Jesus in prayer. Be emotional in his presence. Spend time pouring out your eyes and your heart to Him. All while praising him as Lord and believing that He will do what you ask in His name. May your face no longer be downcast, whatever the future may hold.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

True Fasting: A Perspective on Lent

I've never actually observed Lent. I mean, as Easter approaches I sometimes do a little bit more reading in the Gospels of the events leading up to the death of Christ. But the whole 40 days and giving things up - never done it. It was never a tradition in my home nor strongly encouraged in any churches I've attended. I'm leery of church traditions. Always have been. My mom set an example for me growing up to not practice traditions established by men without first finding reasons to do so in the Bible. That's why I still don't care about Christmas Trees! I'm grateful for the ways my mom encouraged me to question holidays and traditions.  Has God commanded us to observe/celebrate this? Are there traditions he has prohibited? Is this holiday/celebration or this tradition going to be helpful for me in appreciating what God has done or in showing Him my love?

I've found myself reading more about Lent each year lately, seeing how others celebrate it - not as a tradition - but how people really take it to heart. I'm curious about it. I'm on the fringe of doing something with it. But I don't want to unless God is really laying it on my heart. I'm so cautious about getting caught up in something for the sake of tradition. Most of what I've read does focus on giving something up as a sacrifice to Jesus because of what he gave up and suffered for me.

Well I literally stumbled upon a chapter in the Bible this morning that gave me a great fresh perspective on Lent. I have a book called "Setting Their Hope in God: Biblical Intercession for Your Children" by Andrew Case and it is filled with prayers that Andrew wrote but that come straight from scripture. I've found it very helpful in praying God's truth and will for my kids. This morning's prayer came from Isaiah 58 and 60. All I could think as I read and prayed it was that it felt "Lentish" - so I looked up Isaiah 58 to read more. The heading for the chapter in my Bible is "True Fasting."

It's a little bit long but I have to just include the entire chapter for you here. Bolding is mine own highlighting.

“Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
    Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
    and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.
For day after day they seek me out;
    they seem eager to know my ways,

as if they were a nation that does what is right
    and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
    and seem eager for God to come near them.
Why have we fasted,’ they say,
    ‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
    and you have not noticed?’

“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
    and exploit all your workers.
Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
    and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
    and expect your voice to be heard on high.

Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
    only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
    and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
    a day acceptable to the Lord?
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;

then your righteousness will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.

The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
    and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
    and the Lord’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
    and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the Lord,
    and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
    and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

God placed this chapter in my life at just the right time (I love how he always does that). Right as I'm questioning if I might fast from something and if so - what, and how? Am I tempted to dive into a short season of "humility" and self-sacrifice on one hand while with the other hand I'm oppressive, judgmental, and/or greedy? I like to think I'm not those things actively - but I am passively if I'm not intentionally acting against them. What's the point in giving up one of my own luxuries or excesses if I'm not practically meeting someone else's needs?

If nothing else, I simply feel more compelled to be a Repairer of Broken Walls and a Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. And not just for Lent, but that this season of focus would be a springboard to a life that is more marked by those things.  Jesus commanded us to take care of the hungry, thirsty, stranger, unclothed, sick and imprisoned in Matthew 25:44-45. "‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’"

Isaiah 58 also ties in perfectly with my pastor's recent sermon series from Luke where Jesus, on several occasions, speaks out against the Pharisees' hypocrisy.  In Mark 7:8, Jesus says, "You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions." Lent is the perfect time to "close those gaps" that exist when we fast for a season out of tradition while the rest of our life is marked by indifference to injustice, eyes that are blind to those who are physically suffering around us, tongues that speak bitterly and fingers that point in judgment. Closing those gaps is the kind of fast that God has chosen for us to participate in. And it also happens to come with some pretty amazing promises - God will go before and behind us, answer when we cry to Him, turn our darkness into light, and bring us healing.

I really love how Isaiah 58 ends too. After basically telling the people to not even bother with their fasting traditions until they do something about the rest of their life, God reminding them of the importance of keeping the weekly tradition of the Sabbath. It's like that little "by the way" at the end - "that traditional of setting aside one day a week as holy, to honor me and delight in me and not do your own thing - yeah, keep doing that still."

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Welcome to X-Stitch Hall

A little while back I shared a small but hopefully growing collection of cross stitched treasures I have and a plan to eventually hang them in my front entry hall. Each of the pieces I've picked up send a clear message of the kind of home I want to have. A welcoming home-sweet-home where you are encouraged to live life at its best, a place of comfort and rest where family and friends feel God's love and are surrounded by interesting old treasures. :)

Several weeks ago, during a zip into Sally's, I scored a bunch of these brown metal stencil-tags at the bottom of a box of junk. I found the letters I needed to spell our last name and our house number for mere pocket change. I was psyched.

(According to that picture, I bought them at the same time as this $2.99 cake pedestal I never told you about.)

So I recently was inspired to finally unify the x-stitch frames and hang them up along with the stencils for our house number.  I ended up just spray-painting the two ugliest frames black, keeping one original black and one original brown. I don't mind a mix of brown and black, except when there's three black and only one odd-ball brown. So I decided to move another brown-framed piece of stitchery that was already hanging on another wall in the mudroom to join this mix and keep the other brown frame company. And like I usually do when nailing things up, I just sort of eye-balled the arrangement after playing around with potential layouts on the floor. Measuring is for cutting wood, not hanging frames.

Welcome to Cross Stitch Hall.

If you like my hanging collection of old cross stitch pieces then you're probably weird like me. If you don't, then perhaps this isn't for you. More on that here.  

Now I also gotta think about what color to eventually paint these walls. Suggestions?

The shoe/boot boxes were scored at a yard sale a couple years ago.

So I thought it was all set and I took my pictures when this dark hall is at its brightest. Then later that day I was digging through a closet for something and I stumbled across a thrift shop treasure that my daughter found in Florida last year. I just had to add it to this wall because, well, it just goes with the "home" theme:

I appreciate vintage needlework but I also like to dabble in it myself. I'll be honest though, I don't think I've picked up a hoop and needle since I've had kids! So sad. :( Lately, I've been itching to get back to my old  hobby and I'm having trouble deciding whether to start back with some doodle stitching or with this Martha Stewart template for our family.

I want to do a couple very small cross stitch and/or embroidery pieces but my stitching won't go in X-Stitch Hall.  I'd like to hang a couple somewhere else, maybe along with these beauties:

And this is probably a pipe dream, but I'd love to do each of these season patterns for our three season porch. Maybe I should break in the porch this spring with a stitching club. Who wants in?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Treasure Hunting in Snow

The snow had only been coming down for an hour or so this morning when I noticed some interesting, fresh animal tracks outside a 2nd story window. I decided then and there we needed to go out and investigate immediately. So we bundled up over our jammies and headed out, following what were deer tracks and probably bunny tracks all around our house and into the woods. It's so lovely out in the woods on a blizzard morning! The only thing I regret is not heading out sooner, before a lot of the animal tracks were already being covered with fresh snow.

Here are a few of our discoveries:

Two deer tracks crisscrossing (next to our tracks having trudged along beside them):

Where Bambi and Thumper met up early this morning:

It appears the deer lay down here before heading back into the woods? Odd.

The deer walked in a heart shape, just in time for Valentine's Day!

This one is hard to see, but there are two deer prints behind her very far apart. There was a section of their trail where they had to have been bounding to have their tracks spaced so far apart.

One of Poppy's piles in the junk graveyard makes a lovely bunny shelter:

These tracks led straight to a bunny home:

Bunny's front door. Or maybe it was the back door. Because there were both:

Just tonight for the girls' bedtime story, we are back at the beginning of creation, and I was reminded how God created this world for us. Every element of creation was created beautifully for our enjoyment. Not just green stuff. Not just the summertime. Not just the sun. Even two feet of snow in mid February is created beautifully for our enjoyment if we just take the time to discover it and really see it.

Well, I cannot lie - nature wasn't the only treasure we discovered. I did stumble across an amazing man-made treasure. How on Earth did I not see this until now? It was in a corner of the woods we go into the least and far enough in that I completely missed until it was covered in a big mound of snow.

She cleared it off for a place to rest.

I knew it was hanging around back in the summer when there was lots of construction underway around here. And I had every intention of snagging it. Then it seemed to disappear one day and I figured the workers hauled it off. I was so bummed. Well, surprise, surprise. They just buried it in the woods.

Oh, the possibilities! Do I keep in inside, along the likes of these (because we are still in desperate need of more book storage)?
Or do I keep it outside, along the likes of this (because we've outgrown our Little Tykes table)?

So my plan is to head back out first thing tomorrow morning if the snow isn't too high for my kids to trudge through!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Perhaps This Isn't for You

Blogging puts me in a weird place.

For one reason, it sometimes makes me look and/or feel braggy and proud. It's a creative outlet where I share a lot about what I like and what I do and what I create but I really don't like using the word "I" too much. (Well, not usually.) 

For another reason, it makes me vulnerable.

What if people don't care for my writing style?

What if people think that what I find to be beautiful is ugly?

What if people don't agree with my theology?

What if people don't appreciate my decorating style?

Last month I stumbled across a post by one of my favorite business authors, Seth Godin. (Oh, back in the day when I read his marketing books for fun...)

He talked about the humility of the artist. It just made me feel good when I read it and it's short so I'm quoting the whole thing for you here:

The humility of the artist
It seems arrogant to say, "perhaps this isn't for you."

When the critic pans your work, or the prospect hears your offer but doesn't buy, the artist responds, "that's okay, it's not for you." She doesn't wheedle or flip-flop or go into high pressure mode. She treats different people differently, understands that she is working to delight the weird, not please the masses, and walks away.

Isn't that arrogant?

No. It's arrogant to assume that you've made something so extraordinary that everyone everywhere should embrace it. Our best work can't possibly appeal to the average masses, only our average work can.

Finding the humility to happily walk away from those that don't get it unlocks our ability to do great work.

Thank you, Seth, for helping me understand that I am "working to delight the weird." To my weird, faithful readers and sharers, I say, "Thank you!" If you'd like to receive my blog posts directly to your email inbox, sign up here (then make sure you check your email and click to verify).

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And to the rest of you I say, "That's okay, perhaps this isn't for you."

Monday, February 10, 2014

Filling the Rooms of My House

A few months ago, my girls and I had finished up a series we'd been doing for our breakfast time devotions and I wasn't yet sure what to do next. My oldest suggested one of her "Bible books" that was her favorite when she was about 2 or 3:

I'm pretty sure I picked it up at a yard sale (surprise, surprise) when she was a baby - but it was still way above her age level when she first started asking me to read it to her several years ago. I think she just liked the pictures and the characters. There's Joy and Smiley, who represent those who are searching for wisdom and trying to act accordingly. There's Mr. Wisdom, who represents wisdom and is ready to teach all who will hear him. Big and Bigger represent rewards and consequences as the result of wise and foolish actions. And then there's Mr. Bad Attitude, who represents those who reject wisdom. He's unteachable and always does things his own way. My daughter especially identified with Mr. Bad Attitude at that age and found his actions in the comic pictures quite humorous.

Each page of the book has a topical heading, a comic-type picture, and a paragraph summarizing/paraphrasing several verses from the Bible book of Proverbs that have to do with that topic. The wisdom of these proverbs were often way over my daughter's head back then but I remember trying my darndest to bring it down to her toddler age level. It was very challenging but I am a firm believer that reading and discussing scripture is NEVER a waste. God said so himself in Isaiah 55:10-11, "As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

Now, several years later, when my daughter and one of her sisters are certainly old enough to understand, she has recommended this book for our morning devotions. And I'm happy to oblige, (although I skip the paraphrased paragraph and get right to the actual scripture). It would take us a too long to go through the 250+ page book cover to cover so we read and discuss it a couple of times a week between other things.

I've always loved the book of Proverbs. As long as I can remember reading the Bible of my own will and on my own time, Proverbs has been a staple of mine. Part of my testimony is how God has led me to make wise choices during times in my life when many of my peers were making foolish ones. God and His grace get full credit here. He spared me from living a life full of regret and I know it is in part because of the truths in Proverbs that have nestled deep within my heart, even at a young age. I recently stumbled across this MUST READ by Sally Clarkson about how God's voice always led her to pursue a different and opposite path than many. It really resonated with me because it takes wisdom to hear that voice and discern where God's Spirit is leading you.

I don't know the plans God has for my children but I sure as heck want them to lead lives marked by Godly wisdom. Part of the beauty of Proverbs is that it was advice written from a parent to a child. It's meant for us to read and apply to ourselves but also to teach our children.  I pray out loud with my girls daily, asking God to give me wisdom and give them wisdom. I remind them that God promises us in James 1:5 that "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." YOU HAVE A GUARANTEE TO BE GIVEN GENEROUS AMOUNTS OF WISDOM FROM GOD WHEN YOU ASK FOR IT!!! No strings attached! What an amazing promise!! Take full advantage of that. Daily.

There was one specific nugget of wisdom I came across in Proverbs not too long ago that really stuck out at me:
“By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” -Proverbs 24:3

I mentioned recently that I want to trend back to sharing more spiritual treasures in this blog. I love to fill my home with second-hand stuff that I go hunting for or simply stumble upon when I least expect it. It's a super-fun hobby and a creative outlet for me. But those physical things are not the real foundation my house is built on. My search for wisdom, understanding, and knowledge is of utmost importance. Those are the real precious and pleasant riches that I seek to fill the rooms of my house with.

So how do I do that?  Proverbs again shares the key in chapter 9:10, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." Fear of the Lord is awe and reverence - not a scared fear. It's recognizing and respecting God as the Holy One, compared to me, a sinner. That is a starting point, together with a growing knowledge of Him. Not just knowing about God, but knowing Him personally. These are both accomplished in part by reading His Word. Getting my head and heart in The Book. I go treasure hunting for wisdom, understanding and knowledge in the Bible - God's Worth. It's Living. It's Truth. It's SO GOOD!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Will Work for Junk, Cont...

Last month I shared some treasures I scored the first day of helping my friend Lori in her moving process:

Well our last day of moving and cleaning resulted in her encouraging me to take a few more items home. Her basements has turned up the coolest stuff! (BTW, that usually proves true for estate sales too. I always hit up the garage and basement first.)

I was working on the main level when Lori called up from the basement - something about a box full old glass jars. After the beautiful bunch that my friend Heather literally dug out of her yard for me last spring, I'm not exactly wanting for any, but of course I had to go look. I was a good girl. I only took three. First, the giant blue Ball jar shown here (the small one I already had is only in the pic for scale).

By the way, have you seen this graphic floating around the web? (I cannot for the life of me find the original source.) You can date your jars based on the logo. That puts my little one at 1910-1923 and this big one at 1923-1933, if I'm not mistaken.
And I could not pass up this adorable pair of hobnail cups from Lori's box of glass jars. I'm not sure what their original purpose was. I'm assuming not shot glasses? :)  I opted for toothpick holders. Because, you know, I don't already have a white hobnail toothpick holder.

This little wooden box was sitting next to the boxes of jars so I just asked if I could have it. Knowing the mode Lori was in, it would have gotten tossed in the trash if I didn't claim it. 

Then I'd been eyeing this old broom brush hanging at the top of her cellar stairs.

On any other day I am not sure I would have paid much attention to it, but the weekend prior I'd seen an interesting display of exactly these inside the Cranston, RI Anthropologie store. I wish I'd take a picture when I was there but I didn't. I scoured the internet just in case there was an image of their arrangement "out there" but no luck. The closest thing I could find is this piece of art (that is protected from downloading so you'll have to click if you're curious).

I asked Lori about the brush the first day we were cleaning out and she urged me to take it but I didn't have any clue what to do with it so I let it be. But every time I'd pass it on the cellar stairs I became a little more enamored with it. Finally, on the last day, I told her I was going to take it after all.

I decided to find a home for the wooden box and broom brush in my laundry room, which I haven't really done anything with since we moved. It turns out the wooden box fits my open and spare box of dryer sheets perfectly.

On the shelf above my washer and dryer, I already had a little wash board, an old iron, and jars of clothespins and clothesline (all found at yard sales). My dryer sheets had been sitting right up there with them, but now they have a more fitting dispenser to hide them in. And I just hung the brush up on the wall right above it, keeping with a general housecleaning theme.

I appreciate unexpected treasure-finding opportunities like these to get me through until yard sale season starts again.
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