Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Project: the coziest little English feeling library/den imaginable

It’s Wednesday and the baby’s sleeping. The kids are at school. The floors are swept and things are tidy-ed up around here. There are a ba-jillion things that I should be doing. Like painting things or folding and washing things or the dreaded paying of things…but I’ve decided to chuck those ideas and do what I want. ! Which is, of course, posting about the office project I just finished. Woot!

This is the kind of day that sets my soul free, my friends. Clean floors and the final check mark in my brain marking a project complete by showing it to the world. Or to the ten people that read my blog. But whatever, let’s do this thing!!!

I have a dear friend who is always helping people out. It's one of her many gifts...being able and willing to step in and make a list, cut thru the crap and get the job done when she sees a friend in need. Sometimes it's a stack of laundry that needs folded, other times she's buying plane tickets or concert tickets or helping a friend shop for a trip. But this time the friend was our Pastor. The need was his home office. And since another God given gift of hers is styling, she was all over it. I'm tellin' ya, the girl could make a broom closet look like a spot you'd want to sit and read in...{no joke}. So how did I get involved? I got on my knees and begged her to let me help, lol. I sort of have this crazy, teary love for our Pastor after the way he loved on us and supported us when Derek got sick. So I jumped at the chance to get involved. And this little act of service sort of had my name written all over it. Home office? Yes, please :)

The scope of the project was basically to take our Pastor's ordinary home office and make it a cozy and functional place for him to work. We also had the help of an amazing craftsman from our church...Jonny Roetker. Check him out on Instagram !!! He's truly gifted in woodworking, as you'll see in the "after" photos of this post.

Here are a few before photos: 

After some discussion, we realized what we were really getting the opportunity to do. We were crafting the space where a man, our Pastor, would be living out his calling of leading and shepherding hearts. What an opportunity. Somehow we wanted it to be more than bookcases and paint and furniture. ? We wanted it to be a retreat almost. Not just a place he could sit and read and work, but a place that would take him somewhere. Where he could sink into a chair and dream a bit and breath.

So we started with his style. What Pastor Lionel loves, besides his lovely sweet wife. The man bleeds books and history and old world things. Did I mention he loves So we came up with a plan to make the room into the coziest little English feeling library / den imaginable. 

To get a better feel for the space we snuck into his office while he and his wife were out of town...and by "snuck" I totally mean we had permission {of course}. !!! But still, even with that, it's a little weird to be tiptoeing around your Pastor's house when he's not there. So Lyn and I decided to make ourselves known and took a selfie and sent it to him. Ha! 

Did I mention the man has a lot of books? And by a lot, I mean the man is more than well armed. He has an arsenal of history and literature and wisdom at his fingertips. We needed to get these little nuggets of wisdom within reach...but the room was small. It couldn't handle much furniture, if any. So we came up with the idea to build in storage wherever possible. Above the windows, above the doors, along the walls, and even rework the existing shelving a bit to make it all flow. 

The plan:

We were also dealing with all existing honey oak for the doors, windows, and base. And not that that's bad in any way, but it's just not ideal. It's definitely not my first choice or what I start off wanting to build into a space. We talked about painting it, replacing it, re-staining it. In the end, we decided to go with a two tone wood look, leaving all the existing oak as is, and painting all the new bookcases a dark charcoal gray/black. We tied the two finishes together by using the honey oak as the back to each of the bookcases we added in. 

The vision:

Lyn worked out all the details and styled the room. The desk, the curtains, the rug...all of the pretty stuff you see below. We had more than a few conversations about the deep orange chair you see below too. I hinted to it on Instagram that it was somewhat of an eyesore (mostly because it's an older style and a bold color), and we weren't sure it would even work in the room. And it definitely did not look right in his old office. Not one bit. The orange fabric and light wood made it disappear into the land of honey stained oak. And it's funny to me now, because it almost looks like we designed the room around this chair, if not FOR it. It belonged to a beloved man from our church who left us for heaven not too long ago. He left behind a legacy of sorts with this orange chair. I've heard it's the one he would sit and read and pray in. What a blessing that it now adorns our Pastor's office. 

The after:

Which turned out beautiful by the way. We're still on the look out for an ottoman for the space...but we were over anxious and couldn't wait for that piece to take the pictures. 

From my instagram...


Thank you Lyn, for letting me help you serve and love on our Pastor in this way! 
It was a JOY.

Oh...and these doors, right? I started this post with them because they are the existing doors into our Pastor's home office. Not exactly exciting. They're ordinary run of the mill, honey oak doors with brass hardware. Nothing special, right? But not anymore. It's like they're alive to me now. Intentional. They don't disappear. They help create the right atmosphere because we used them in the right way. 

Now they're the doors one steps thru to write and pray and live out that calling. If I had a heart emoji, I'd insert it here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

light thru the trees

Sometimes when I'm sitting outside I catch a glimpse of the sun peeking at me thru the trees. It's one of my most favorite things in this world, this light shining thru trees thing. The moment it catches my eye, I take a deep breath and my heart smiles full and wide. And I'm reminded that God is here. Twinkling thru the seemingly big and small that surrounds us. Offering hope and light and enough to me right where I am.

It’s been quiet around here. I haven’t been writing much. Summer has been in full force, and we've been busy hitting the beach and riding bikes and sometimes even just lying around in the yard staring up at the trees. Planning some days, and going and doing, but mostly just trying to keep our kids content with the small things around here. 

I wish I could say that the craziness of summer is what's kept me from writing. But of course, it's never that simple, is it?

A month or so ago I got a call from Jennie Allen’s camp to share my anything story….to go live on a video podcast and answer a few questions about last year and all that God did for and in us when Derek fell ill. I remember being in shock when I first read the message. But I didn’t hesitate to say yes…which is surprising if you know me at all. 

Writing our story is hard enough for me, but opening my mouth and talking about it? Not my thing. But this story is God’s. So I said yes. And 24 hours later, I went on camera…in front of thousands…and really had no idea what I was even going to say. I had scattered thoughts written on a notebook paper… and I rambled in circles to myself all day and the words would just not come together. But I had friends praying for God to give me those words. Believing that if I was asked to do this to encourage just one soul out there, that the words I spoke would be the ones they needed to hear. 

And there I was, somehow calm and still without a real plan…waiting my turn to speak, waiting on the Holy Spirit, knowing the words would come. Crazy, right? Then something Jennie Allen said struck a chord in my heart. And one part of our story lit up within me and scripture came to mind and my mouth opened and words came out. 

Did it all make sense? Was it eloquent and perfect? Nope. But I truly believe the words I said came from God... so I will own them. I will own that whole moment in fact, even though I cringe when I see myself on camera and hear my own voice. I will own it because it was God’s thing. He asked me to do something crazy and laughable (because hello…me?) and I said yes.

And then…after being inspired and awed and used by God...I shut down. I hid. I quit writing. I think I was afraid of what might come next. Lots of people starting visiting my blog. And my comfort zone was off the radar. To put it plainly, I’m my worst critic. I’m hard on myself about being out here. There are so many blogs and writers and talented people doing big things. I have hard time seeing where I fit into all that. I don't want to "try" to do or be anything. I want to be me. 

The conclusion I’ve come to is that I don’t fit. I’m not a writer. I’m not a speaker. I’m just a girl. A wife. A mom. A child of God trying to follow where my God calls me. And for some reason, it’s here. To a keyboard late at night where I put words together and attempt to make sense of what God is doing in this heart and life of mine. And that, I can do. 

He fills in my empty spots, and I belong here writing because of Him. He makes me enoughI don’t need to fear the next big thing God asks me to do. Because just like the last time, He will give ALL that is needed, WHEN it is needed. 

He will shine that light of His thru those trees that I love so so much…and beam glory down onto the simple, imperfect and broken girl lying on the ground below. He whispers grace and gives words when I can’t seem to find any. 

He is the God that says…

“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; 
I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.” 
Isaiah 42:16

He is the God that makes my rough places smooth. {Oh.thank.goodness}.