Category Archives: Learning

An April Recap

Learned in AprilLast month I started the practice of recounting what I learned each month.  I believe it’s important to see how I’ve grown instead of always focusing on where I need to grow. This practice of looking back to look ahead is helping me be more grateful, more intentional, and just more me. Grab a journal or piece of paper and join in why don’t you.  Click on over here to see how others are recounting their Aprils.

1. I still love watching my husband preach/speak.

Early in the month Keith and I had the opportunity to spend a weekend at a Hispanic church participating in their missions-focused weekend.  I took the above picture Friday night when Keith was speaking (with an interpreter since it was an all hispanic congregation). While he spoke, I was once again so proud that he’s my husband and so grateful that he allows God to use him however he chooses.

2. Being a 1-car family in a family of four is not fun.

Recently our son’s car decided it wanted to visit the repair shop and require some not-in-the-budget car repairs. Needless to say, keeping up with four different people’s driving needs with one car is near impossible and daily frustrating. When Keith and I were young married, one car suited our needs just fine. But when the 17-year-old prefers you drop him off down the street from the school, someone’s needs aren’t getting met:)  This lesson leads me to #3 . . .

3. Dogs are vital to the stuck-at-home mom.

With just one car in the family for now, I get to stay home a lot. While this allows me to work efficiently, it also forces me to deal with cabin fever on a weekly basis. Harvey keeps me sane with his daily walks and companionship. Please note just because you see me chatting with him doesn’t mean I’ve totally lost it: I’ve just become Tom Hanks and made him my Wilson.

4. I’m a fan of hiking, but my knees aren’t.

Earlier this month, Keith and I did an 8-mile mountainous hike with some friends. The view from the top was spectacular and worth the hike. However, my knees weren’t convinced.  In fact, the last mile down had me interceding for supernatural strength or a piggy-back ride.

5. God’s new nickname is Jehovah-Nick-of-Time

We are finally moving into a new place this weekend. There was a time I was worried we’d be sleeping in the car. But that worry quickly disappeared as God provided everything we needed at just the right time we needed it.  Seven days before our lease was up, we found a place that we love. Then we were able to extend our apartment lease for a few days until the house was available (that’s only because the next renters backed out). Finally, I went to the mailbox one afternoon and discovered a sweet and unbelievably generous gift, one that was a direct answer to prayer. All this occurred one week before becoming “homeless.”  The truth is while I think God is working in the nick-of-time, He knows it’s simply right on time.

6. God sees dreams and clears paths as we work.

For quite a while I’ve wanted to attend a writing conference. If you’ve never investigated one, they don’t tend to be affordable. A friend told me about one taking place this July in Michigan. I checked into it and then applied for a scholarship.  I went back to working on my writing class website and forgot about it.  Recently,  I got an email saying I’d been approved for one of the scholarships.  I was overjoyed and knew that God was clearing a path for me to continue pursuing His purpose for me.  Can’t wait to see what else he does as I pursue this dream.

Okay, that’s my “learnables” from this month.  I wanna hear about yours. Leave a comment and let me know what you learn in April: the good, the bad, the ugly, or even the funny.

Wednesday Reads: Decorating Edition

519dIBQX6QL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_-2For five of the twenty years Keith and I have been married, we owned a home. The other 15 we lived in rented houses and mobile homes. Now we currently live in a rented apartment. Renting a home always made me unsettled, like a constant visitor in someone else home. However, after reading Myquillin Smith’s The Nesting Place, I discovered that no matter where I lay my head at night, I might call it my own because it’s the place God picked out for me. That one thought changed my whole opinion about decorating.

I am NOT talented in the area of design. In fact, if I can’t see it, I can’t do it. My decorating ideas usually fall into one of two categories: Wow-I-can’t-believe-I-did-that and Oops-how-soon-can-I-change-this-horrid-mistake. Once I read The Nesting Place, this décor-challenged girl changed her entire mindset about decorating a home.

My first design attempt after reading The Nesting Place

My first design attempt after reading The Nesting Place

Myquillin spoke my language – renter’s language, that is. She addressed the fact that renter’s often feel “like the unreached people group of the design world.” That was me! I immediately knew that she understood my plight when she revealed that she was currently living – and decorating – a rented home. More, importantly, pictures of her rented and beautifully decorated home are featured among the pages.  I gained confidence that what she had to say could relate to a mere renter.

The first thing she teaches about design (and it’s her motto too) is that “it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” As one who doesn’t really revel in the details, I loved that idea. I like to craft every so often, but when a project has that “homemade” look, I simply hide it in the closet. However, Myquillin encourages us to embrace the imperfection. Now instead of hiding the handmade-homemade yarn wreath, I proudly display it.

Homemade Yarn Wreath inspired by Life{in}Grace          blog

Aside from embracing imperfection, The Nesting Place helped me define the purpose of my home. The books lists questions that allow readers to consider how they want their home to make others feel. I created a list of adjectives that I felt were the heart of what my home was about. I wanted my home to be comforting, cozy, inviting, peaceful, and most of all fun. Then I got intentional about how I could create that feeling. Suddenly, I had ideas (borrowed from Pinterest) that created those feelings. My home décor had a defined purpose, and for the first time, I began to believe that I could decorate it in a way that would be beautiful to me.

Lastly, The Nesting Place taught me contentment. I don’t have to have perfectly tailored drapes or fancy artwork. I just need to be happy with what I have. I need to love the mess that daily life creates. I need to embrace the imperfections that produce true beauty.

Not perfect but I'm happy with it.

Not perfect but I’m happy with it.

Even if you aren’t design-challenged like me, you will love The Nesting Place. It offers hope for the non-creative and challenges those who design like pros. Home-owners, renters, and those who simply dream of having their own place one day will glean valuable knowledge about what truly makes a house a home.

PS: You can also check out Myquillin Smith’s (a.k.a The Nester) blog for more home inspiration at thenester.com.