This is default featured slide 1 title

Go to Blogger edit html and find these sentences.Now replace these sentences with your own descriptions.

This is default featured slide 2 title

Go to Blogger edit html and find these sentences.Now replace these sentences with your own descriptions.

This is default featured slide 3 title

Go to Blogger edit html and find these sentences.Now replace these sentences with your own descriptions.

This is default featured slide 4 title

Go to Blogger edit html and find these sentences.Now replace these sentences with your own descriptions.

This is default featured slide 5 title

Go to Blogger edit html and find these sentences.Now replace these sentences with your own descriptions.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Growing and Using Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Fennel is a perennial that grows to five feet high. It has hollow stems and brilliant green, feathery leaves. Because all parts of the plant can be used, it is an almost perfect herb. A native to the Mediterranean, fennel has been an import wherever native Italians have traveled. In many areas of the world, it now grows wild.

Growing Fennel

Fennel is an easy plant to grow. It will thrive in

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sex & Spiritual Warfare

Mark Driscoll has been releasing a series of lectures about spiritual warfare. Like virtually everything Mars Hill puts out, it's worth listening to. I'd encourage you to download the series if you want to consider Driscoll's thoughts on "Spiritual Warfare".

Specifically, though, within this portion of the lecture series (part 2 out of 4), he has some interesting thoughts about spiritual warfare and marital intimacy worthy of our consideration. On the surface, this may seem totally different from anything you've ever heard. But pull out your Bible and hear what he's saying:
"If you want to help people, you've got to know your Bible and you've got to be very theologically precise. Because so much of what constitutes spiritual warfare is false teaching; it's heresy. Sometimes it's very obvious, sometimes very, very subtle.

"... Let me start with the "ordinary" demonic. When people think of the demonic, they tend to think of the extraordinary [things]... bizarre exorcisms, those kinds of things. The ordinary demonic is very subtle. I've got a list of examples: sexual sin.

"1 Corinthians 7:5 says that a married couple that is Christian should have sexual relations frequently; they shouldn't deny one another but by mutual consent and for a time. Otherwise Satan will get in there and destroy everything.

"How many of you would think that a couple that doesn't have enough sex is experiencing demonic spiritual warfare? It's true. How many Christian marriages divorce? Well, statistically, more than those that are not Christian. When non-Christians can work it out at a rate that is more successful than Christians, that would indicate to me that Satan really has found a way to climb into bed between a husband and a wife and, in one way or another, cause devastation.

"When I'm meeting with a couple, and the husband says, "my wife's not been very nice to me, so I'm gonna deny her sex. And until she's nice to me, I'm gonna withhold it.", that's demonic. The wife who says, "ya know, I'm just never in the mood, and I know you love me and we have a decent marriage, and there's no reason... , but I don't feel like giving it to you",... that's demonic.

"To be sure, there are sex addicts in marriage who are unreasonable in their expectations of their spouse. But what I'm talking about is the common situation where one person in the marriage wants to be intimate more often than the other, and they're rejected. They become bitter. Satan comes in and feeds that bitterness, baits the hook of their flesh with the temptation of the world. And all of a sudden, Satan puts in front of them images, people, and opportunities to lead them astray. It doesn't make anyone a victim, because we all of our own choosing sin. But it does mean that you're giving Satan an opportunity to literally sleep between you and your spouse.

"...Are you having enough sex? ...I rarely have had a counseling appointment where they both say, "I'm satisfied with the frequency and freedom of our sexual relationship." One says, "yeah, I think we're fine", and the other person says, "I'm totally frustrated. It's not very often; it's not very fun; it's very predictable; it's hard for me to rejoice in the wife of my youth." Sometimes it's the wife saying, "He doesn't pursue me, he doesn't touch me,
he doesn't desire me, he doesn't compliment me. I've got other men who compliment me, pursue me emotionally, and are desirous of me." And I say, 'Wow, Satan is here. He is at work.'

"I want you to have that image-- that a couple that's not having free, frequent intimacy-- when they go to bed, just think of Satan lying in the bed between the two of them. That's what Paul's talking about in 1 Corinthians 7:5. It really is a big issue. It's not just, 'I'm more amorous than you are'... this is demonic. It's demonic. "

Some people might feel that Driscoll takes this thing too far. I personally think he's spot on. Have you ever thought about sex this way? Read back through it and consider if Satan might be trying to get in between you and your husband in this way. Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy-- and that includes stealing, killing, and destroying marriages, as our culture readily shows. Driscoll gets it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Guest House


This is the only before picture I have of the guest house. Nevertheless, I think wood paneling and 1970's carpeting pretty much sums it up. This cozy one-room apartment is where we first lived while we were gutting the main house.

Before we moved in, we removed the carpeting (relieved to discover hard wood floors) and painted all of the wood paneling.


I bought this pie safe when hubby and I were dating back in Idaho. Unfortunately, it doesn't fit in our kitchen in the main house, but it works quite nicely here in the guest house.

The kitchen cabinets are original, we just put a fresh coat of paint on them. The oak table came from Maine and had been my kitchen table for many years. The oak chairs are from my Grandmother's house.

The guest house had been rented out as an apartment and had a stove and refrigerator in it when we bought it. We removed those items but someday we would like to install a small refrigerator under the counter top.

You can see the main house in the reflection of the cabinet glass. This little cabinet was purchased back in Maine, but looks like it's been in the kitchen forever.

To the left of the pie safe is the bathroom door.

Small but sweet.

I love this old Eastlake nightstand. I got this for $95 in the city and just fell in love with all of the intricate notched carving.

Both the dresser and the mirror are pieces I picked up in Maine. The door to the left is a closet.

We still have some work to do in the guest house. Eventually, we'll refinish wood floors, put in new windows, install new kitchen counter top, add little refrigerator...and other odds and ends. For now, it offers guests a rustic little space of their own while visiting.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

SHOW & TELL: These are a Few of My Favorite Things...

One of my favorite things about blogging is being able to pass on great resources or links for you to learn from and use to grow in your walk with the Lord, in your marriage or family life, or for your personal enrichment. So, this "Show & Tell" is all about my favorite things... things that we personally use and love in our home that have been a blessing or help to me. I hope you'll find something of interest in this list that can be a blessing or help to you!
  1. Sovereign Grace Music- WOW. Valley of Vision in particular is an excellent CD. These musicians are really focused on writing lyrics that are full of truth and Scripture and not just fluff. I have been so challenged by songs like "Jesus Thank You" (you can listen to it in my music list at the bottom of Making Home) and "I Will Glory in My Redeemer" (you can listen to part of it at the link above).
  2. America's Test Kitchen "Family Cookbook"- This is by far the best cookbook I have ever owned. It not only has the amazing well-tested recipes you'd expect in any quality cookbook, but it also has tips and instructions for things that you'd never find in most cookbooks. We're talking step-by-step photoed instructions for making a pie crust. Or a discussion of why changing the temperature by 25 degrees can completely change the way your muffins turn out. This is the most fascinating and user-friendly cookbook I've ever seen. I've not only made better food since using it, but I also have started *thinking* like a cook, which alone is worth every penny for this cookbook. I HIGHLY recommend this!
  3. LeCrae- This Christian rapper is so unique... the music itself is good (not cheesy or predictable like so many "Christian rappers" of the past), and the lyrics themselves are full of truth and authenticity. He knows theology, he loves the Word of God, and he's reaching out to this culture in an excellent (and can I say, fun?) way. We have dance parties here in our home a lot, and LeCrae is most definitely a favorite for not only me but for my kids as well. Here's what LeCrae says his mission is: “to digest theology and spit it back out so the streets can digest it." You can listen to a few of his songs on my music player at the bottom of this website, or you can watch a LeCrae video here.
  4. Hillsong DVDs- I've mentioned on a previous post how we use these DVDs to worship in our home as we go about our days... but I have to share the specifics with you. These DVDs are SO great for helping you teach your kids about worship, learning new songs, and being encouraged to worship the Lord as you go about your daily routine. Here are my four favorite DVDs:
    - HOPE- great, uplifting praise music focused on encouragement, healing, and hope.
    - LOOK TO YOU- a DVD of the Hillsong youth praise band... this ranges from very fresh and young sounds to very worshipful moments as well. We love it.
    - UP (Unified Praise)- Hillsong & Delirious teamed up to put out this worship DVD/concert. It's full of songs you'll probably know and some that will be new and encouraging for you.
    - GOD HE REIGNS- The songs on this DVD in particular are focused on the majesty and power of God and is an intense and enjoyable invitation to worship... the Hillsong team uses a choir and dancers and this is a very good DVD as well
  5. Settlers of Catan- This game (introduced to us by our friends, Tamara and her husband, Mark) is so much fun and is always unique and challenging, no matter how good you get. Doug & I have a blast playing this at least once a month once the kids are in bed, and it's great for playing with couple friends as well. Perhaps I just revealed my total geekiness, but I'm OK with that. :) It's a fun game.
  6. Blokus- There are a couple versions of this game (we have the travel/2 player version), but this is a GREAT game for kids and adults of all ages... it changes every time you play it, and is great for teaching strategy and spacial comprehension to children.
  7. iTunes sermons/resources: Alistair Begg, Mark Driscoll, John Piper, Al Mohler-- I went into my iTunes store and subscribed to each of these so that they automatically download. Then, I can add them to a new "iTunes playlist" each day (mixed in with things like Sovereign Grace, LeCrae, and classic rock favorites) so that, as I'm going about my day, I can be taking in wisdom from a wide variety of sources, all based on the Word of God. This is a great way to stay spiritually challenged and keep your mind at work throughout the day (while doing dishes, sorting laundry, sitting on the floor with your toddler, etc.).
  8. Rainlendar- onscreen calendar for your desktop - extremely user-friendly and always at your fingertips. It's adaptable to allow for a wide variety of alarms/reminders for every purpose, and it has an optional "To-Do list" that keeps a running list of what's coming up in the next week, so you can keep up-to-date. We have it on both of our computers, and it helps us stay organized!
That's it for now. Hopefully, you too will be able to enjoy some of these "favorites" of mine!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Marburger Or Bust

So while most of you are snoozing tomorrow am, Mr. Sweet Pea and I will begin the long journey from Florida to Texas where we will set up for our second show at Marburger Farms. This is but one of the shows during Round Top Week and it should be interesting. What with the economy in the tank, gas shortages, and the active hurricane season we are a bit nervous about the trip. But like all true antiquers and junkers, it'll take more than that to hold us back. We can't wait to get there and see all our buds--Theresa Cano of Garden Antiques Vintage, Craig and Teresa (Cooter Brown) Smith of Time Worn Interiors, and Peg and John from French Vanilla. Oh and I can't forget Lauri and Lulu of Chippy's! We''ll also be attending some great parties like Leftover's where Mary Emmerling will be signing her new book, and the Junk Gypsy Prom and the book signing for Magnolia Pearl's new book. Sound like fun? Stay tuned for lots of pics when I return! Until then, keep junkin'!


Wednesday, September 24, 2008


20 days ago, I had the opportunity to fly back from where we live overseas to my home in Texas for a couple weeks. Wow. The roads, the wide open spaces, the seemingly endless sky, the houses and businesses I've grown up with all my life, and the people... family, friends, church members, longtime familiar acquaintances, etc.

Most of my life has been spent in Texas. And yet, in many ways, it no longer feels like home. In some ways, it will always have that familiar pull on my heart. There is nothing else like a Texas sunset. Nothing like the Dallas skyline that rises up from the flat land around it. Nothing else like good Tex-Mex in your belly and family at your side. But it's no longer completely "home" for me.

One of the spiritual benefits of living overseas (for me) is having that ever-constant awareness that I'm not "home". In the places we've lived so far, it is rare to feel completely normal in day-to-day life. Perhaps you're eating food you'd never eat, or using substitutions for everyday ingredients. Certainly you're speaking a different language when you leave your home. People stare. Food doesn't always sit right. Apartments don't have closets. Shoes aren't worn inside. Backyards are scarce (or even nowhere to be found). Furniture looks different. Customs take some getting used to.

But, I'm coming to realize that all of these things are blessings... I can't get too "settled" in this life. The lack of a full feeling of "home" here reminds me that my true Home is with Christ on the New Earth.

We were not created for an endless "this". The sin, despair, hurt, shame, perversion... all of it was brought on by our own sin-- not as part of the original design. The creation intent for us was fellowship with and worship of God, fellowship with one another, and enjoyment of Him and His creation.

Reading Randy Alcorn's book, Heaven, several years ago really opened my eyes to what the Scriptures have to say about Heaven. After the judgment, God is going to redeem our earth, making it "home". Gossip, back pain, frustration, weeds, tears, sickness, misunderstandings, and difficult relationships will all be gone. And we will be Home. To our true Home. The home that our bodies, our minds, our hearts, and our souls were fashioned for.

After my visit back to Texas, I'm echoing what my friend Tanya says, I'm "homesick for Heaven".

Monday, September 22, 2008

Some Subtle Effects of the Birth Control Culture

Lately, I've been noticing some trends that I think are directly attributable to the rise-- indeed the expectancy-- of birth control use in our culture. I'd like to talk through them one by one so it's clear what I'm getting at. I believe that there are consequences that are a direct result of our culture's embracing of the birth control mindset as normative, and here are a few.
  • #1: Young couples are thought irresponsible when they get pregnant right away...
...because, the implication is, any "wise" couple would wait and follow the oft-given advice (even by pastors) that you should "take a few years to get to know each other" first. This basic assumption overlooks the fact that even with birth control usage, regular intercourse often leads to a pregnancy. Indeed, that is the general plan of God's design for marital intimacy.

It also overlooks the fact that children are a part of God's design for sanctification of parents, and that the continuation of a self-focused lifestyle has not served America's "Christian" marriages well.
  • #2- "Was it planned?" is no longer deemed a rude and quite personal question, but in fact, is seen as a natural question...
...because, the way our culture sees it, it is up to us to "plan" when life will begin according to our own time tables and goals. The abortion-on-demand mindset tells us that we can control when life ends, so why not believe that we have full control of when it begins as well?
  • #3- Children are often seen, and even referred to, as an "accident".
Perhaps you've been fortunate enough to not ever have actually heard someone call their child by such an insulting description (an "oops baby", or "our little accident")... but it's all too common. Linked to the idea above, this whole notion is a natural attitude when we believe that we are the ones in control of life.
  • #4- Large families are often seen as incredible (and thus, put on an undeserved pedestal) or insane (and thus, sneered at behind their backs)...
...because once you can control how many "little buggars" you get, someone who has more than the two (or maybe three, if your first two are of the same gender) MUST be either Mother Teresa, or one step away from the loony bin.
  • #5- Anyone who has clearly NOT bought into the birth control culture at any point is seen as fair game for jokes, criticism, or invasive questions, because (it is assumed) they "chose" something different...
...because now, the "norm" is obvious: it is assumed that you WILL limit your own family size, shape, and timing according to your own will. The family that has two children 14 months apart gets jokes ("Haven't you figured out how that happens?" hardee-har-har) and eyerolls at their (implied) stupidity. The couple that has struggled with infertility now feels obligated to share that very personal information, because others imply or outright state that they are intentionally avoiding children, calling them selfish or scared. (Talk about adding insult to injury!) And of course, there's the classic large family comments.
  • #6- By extension, because they "chose" their family size, the larger-than-average family is often expected to never lack, to never struggle with discipline, to never be tired, etc.... even by Brothers and Sisters in Christ.
Don't believe me? Think again.

If a two-year-old in a family of seven children has tantrums or is wearing mismatched clothes, it's because "the mom is spread too thin". But if that same child is the only child of two doting parents, it's because "bless his heart; he's a normal two-year-old" and because independent little two-year-olds love to pick out their own clothes.

If a mother of three children is exhausted as she's pregnant with her fourth, it's likely to be met with an "I told you so" attitude from those who have already inappropriately shared their thoughts about family size. And she rarely gets sympathy. More likely, she'll get a "you made your bed, now lie in it" perspective from most of the people around her. But a first time mother struggling with morning sickness gets sympathetic comments and offers for how others can help.

And lest you think I'm just whining as a mom of four, I'm really not... I'm just stating things the way I've plainly seen them. And these are things I hear from many of you, my friends and readers.
  • #7- A young professional women is "throwing her career away" if she opts to stay home with her new baby....
...because she could have controlled that for another 10 years, and really DONE something with her life, don't ya know?
  • #8- Couples are often shocked and dismayed when they struggle with infertility...
...because the whole issue is so framed by an "in control" attitude. It seems so easy to NOT have children, and thus, it should be easy TO have them, right? Sadly, many modern couples either aren't even marrying until less fertile ages, and then may find themselves desperate to have children... or they have followed the common advice to take some time for themselves, only to find that once they finally get off the pill, they struggle to get pregnant at all.

Even the couple who would love to have children and hasn't put it off or waited gets rude comments from family and friends because our culture has such an "if you want it, you can get it" attitude about everything, including children. And underlying all of it is the cultural idea of "rights"... that we have the right to have children or not have them, whenever we so desire.
I won't even go into the rise in casual sex (a.k.a. fornication), affairs (a.k.a. adultery), and abortion (a.k.a. murder) due to the ease of birth control procurement and use.

The answer isn't that we bang down the doors of the courts and seek to legislate birth control usage. That ship has sailed.

In my view, the answer IS that Christian couples should seek God's face and become that peculiar people-- a people that stands out as set apart and different from the world around us-- in this area of how we view children. A people who see children as blessings. A people who discipline our children in the Lord, so that we aren't so bowled over by our disobedient, bratty children that we can't STAND the thought of more. A people who aren't afraid to live as strangers in this world that kills and throws away imperfect children, medicates children instead of offering loving discipline, and that acts and thinks as though we are the ones in control of life. Heaven help us!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Resource List


Rejuvenation. By the end of our remodel, we knew many people by name at Rejuvenation, and they us. That is because we purchased a great deal of items from them and also, relied on their expertise on plumbing, design and knowledge of historic house details. They're the best!

The following items were purchased at Rejuvenation:

*All lighting fixtures throughout the house. We went with antique brass on all fixtures.
*All door hardware (except front exterior doors). We went with glass knobs and burnished antique finish.
*Both of our claw foot bathtubs.
*Our kitchen faucet, our bathroom faucet (downstairs), and both of our claw foot tub plumbing fixtures and hardware.
*All of our bin pulls on our kitchen cabinets.
*Our pedestal sink in our downstairs bathroom.
*Many salvage and antique items such as the hardware on our linen closet.
*All window hardware on our replacement Marvin windows (surprisingly, Marvin doesn't provide hardware with their replacement packages).
*Oodles of vintage and antique items - and at great prices. Everything from bathroom glass containers, to soap dishes, to kitchen canisters, to glasses, clocks and picture frames.

Marvin Windows. We went with Marvin because of their great tilt-pack systems (we replaced eleven existing windows with these). Plus we ordered fourteen new windows. Also, for any readers who live in the Portland area, Classic Sash and Door will offer you the most knowledge and guidance in purchasing Marvin windows. They are located on the second floor of our favorite old house resource store Rejuvenation.

Simpson Doors. I also looked at several different door companies but again, Simpson had a display in Rejuvenation so we were able to look at them closely. As far as cost, Simpson doors seemed to offer good quality craftsmanship without the expensive cost of custom.

Architectural Grille. I came across this company in my search to find a more antique looking grille for our various heat and ventilation sources.The standard plastic or metal grilles just wouldn't do. So I ordered two ventilation grilles for both our bathrooms, a ceiling vent for heat transfer from downstairs to the upstairs, a grille for our toe-kick heater in our kitchen and a floor grille for a floor heater in our new dining room. You can pick from a variety of patterns and request it come primed to paint or choose from their custom finishes.

EMTEK. I looked at every specialty hardware store in the city. Most of what I found was either too modern or we didn't care for the finish choice. I found that burnished antique was the common choice for many, but it often had a strange red underlying hue we did not care for. Then I discovered EMTEK and we are so thrilled with their product. All of our new light fixtures are antique brass (from Rejuvenation) and I found that is a difficult finish to find in door hardware. But EMTEK has this fabulous finish called French Antique. Also, the designs they offer surpass any company I've looked at. And the price is right. We paid only $125. each for our front door hardware.

Benjamin Moore. We ended up using Benjamin Moore's Ecospec on all of our trim and walls. It's a no VOC paint and it comes in flat, eggshell and semi-gloss.

Our wall colors:
Simply White, semi-gloss: all trim, mantle, cabinets and windows.
Simply White, flat: upstairs bedroom, office, closet, downstairs living room.
Simply White, eggshell: upstairs master bath, kitchen.

Exterior house:
Pure White on all siding and trim.

Porch floor:
Platinum Grey (Benjamin Moore, Porch and Floor)

Our green front door paint is by Sherwin Williams. It's called 'Evergreens.'

Safecoat. We used their stain product for our kitchen counters. We chose the color 'cedar' and used their satin finish as a top coat.

McCoy. We were able to find all of our wainscot and stair accessories here. They have numerous displays of stair railings, porch railings, and tons of different kinds of trim. The best part is that it's all on display.

Horizon Shutters. I love the look of classic white shutters. I did a lot of research both locally and online and discovered a fabulous business that makes affordable, high quality shutters. They give you many paint chips to choose from so you can have them custom painted to match your trim. We love our shutters, they add such a wonderful look to our rooms.

Rowe Furniture. The furniture is by a company called Rowe Furniture. We knew we'd choose something from their line because they are committed to natural fiber fabrics, eco cushion cores and wood from replenished forests. They are also members of the Sustainable Furniture Council (SFC).The chairs are 'Carlyle' and the sofa is 'Fairfax.' Fabric for the chairs: Q10447-19 Sofa fabric:Y1348-91
Go here to read more about their green initiatives:

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Some Things I Am MOST Thankful For...

... the Word of God. I am so amazed that I can keep reading it-- this straightforward and rich message-- and throughout my life, in all kinds of crazy and different situations, it is always relevant. It is always alive. It is always right. There are still millions of people around the world who do not have the Bible in a language that they understand. What a sweet gift we have in being able to read, any time we please, a direct communication from God.

... the grace of God. If you all only knew. I am such a lousy sinner. Rotten through and through. The older I get, the more convicted and aware of my sinful nature I have become. I am critical, selfish, lazy, and lack self-control-- and that's all before noon on the average day. There is no end to my sinfulness.

And yet, Jesus loves me. He died for me, and extends grace to me every single day of my life. Grace in my salvation. Grace in my marriage. Grace in the children He's given. Grace in the provision of bread and clothes and wonderful, glorious books to read. Grace. It's my middle name... and I always have loved it because it's beautiful, but never felt worthy of it, because it's such a feminine word and I was such a tomboy growing up. But it's what I need, and one of the things I'm most thankful for.

"My sin...
Oh, the bliss of this glorious thought:

My sin-- not in part, but the whole-- is nailed to the cross

and I bear it no more.

Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, o my soul!"

~my favorite verse of my favorite hymn, "It Is Well"

... the forgiveness of my husband and children. This relates to that last one. My sin rears its ugly head multiple time a day. There are so many times when I have to ask for forgiveness from my children for my caustic tone of voice. For forgiveness from my husband because of my accusing tone. For forgiveness from my son because of an angry response. For forgiveness from my husband because I have been like that nagging wife in Proverbs, dripping my complaints. I am so very grateful for the way that they continue to forgive me, showering me with kindness and second chances every single day. What a sweet thing it is to be a part of a family that keeps on forgiving.

Forgiveness is this amazing part of life that just defies what our flesh cries out for (vengeance, justice, and the "right" to be hurt and get back at the person through an unforgiving and blaming attitude)... and yet, when we give or receive it, it is restorative and healing in the way it washes over us. As sinners, forgiveness is one of our greatest needs, and I am humbled to receive it. In abundance. From both God and man.

What things are you most thankful for?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Upstairs Master Bath


Not a true before as this room had parkay flooring. There was also a superficial wall up but it wasn't in the right place for bathroom placement so hubby framed in a new wall. This was before the contractors showed up. In fact, we had the upstairs plumbing put in when the downstairs bathroom was gutted (black pipe is sink line). By stacking the bathrooms, one on top of the other, the plumbing was more straightforward (a.k.a. more cost efficient).

Drywall helps rooms take shape.


It's a small master bath, but it feels like a luxury to us as it's our first.

Upstairs Master Bedroom

When we first saw the house, it reminded me of an old Cape Cod. Capes are simple structures, often with half-stories, and often found with large shed or gabled dormers. Having lived in Maine for over a decade, and having lived in a Cape the entire time, I quickly saw the potential for the upstairs half-story.

Shed dormers have flat roof lines and offer more ceiling height than a gabled dormer. I knew that by adding such a dormer to our half-story space, we could really transform the upstairs into a really wonderful master bedroom. The half story was plenty long, had a back ell extending off from it (which would become the future walk-in closet) and with only two bedrooms downstairs, it would really add to the spaciousness of the home.

Here are a few pictures of the upstairs before the dormer addition.


As you can see, the stairwell going upstairs was quite dark.

As you come up into the half-story, you can see that there is very little light. There's just one window at each gabled end and one small window at the end of the back ell. The window you see in this picture is the window to our future master bath. The large open room in the foreground is our future master bedroom. Walk-in closet is off to the right.

This is looking towards the east end of the house. The proposed dormer will be going in on the right side of this photo - the south side of the house. Notice the limited floor space on right side of stairwell. Also, the window you see in this picture will be the window in our future home office.

This is after they took the ridge of the roof line out to make room for new support beam.

Once the beam was in, the roof was removed to install shed dormer. This is me taking the first swing.

They moved fast as it was their goal to get the dormer up in one day.

Stairs are illuminated.

Dormer framing up! Look at all the extra floor space and ceiling height!

New Marvin windows. We put six, six over one double-hungs in new dormer.

Over the course of the next several weeks, came insulation, electrical, drywall and paint.


As you can see, the new dormer created a significant amount of floor space. Originally, there was only about a foot of space to the right of the stairs. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Importance of the Mid-Day Nap

Naptime. Quiet time. Siesta, if you will. Call it what you want. But do not underestimate its importance for happy family life, particularly with kids about four and under. In actuality, this principle can serve any family of any age and any size.

This isn't anything new, and it shouldn't be a "news flash"... but children need rest. Rest ought to be a regular part of their day. Their young bodies are growing, their young minds are growing, and they need their rest to "catch up" with and to cope with the busy-ness of life.

I've even heard many moms of little ones proudly say, "oh, she's grown out of naps", or "he doesn't need a nap", but then the child quickly reveals his own need for it... disobedience, whiny tantrums, and fussy attitudes suddenly begin surfacing. What that child is saying, even though his words might say otherwise, is: "I need some rest, mom. I've run out of steam."

Recently, in a discussion of homeschooling with toddlers, one mom admitted that she struggled to homeschool at all because of interruptions from a toddler, and that "forced naps" seem too "punitive".

[Siderant: "Punitive" is a really popular, overused word now to describe anything that in any way seems mean to the speaker. It doesn't have to be carried out meanly, it doesn't even have to be perceived as negative by the child, and it doesn't even have to BE a negative action... there seems to be no consistent definition for it, except that if a woman does not like a particular parenting method or style or choice,
or perhaps it was carried out meanly to her when she was a child, and she thinks it sounds mean, then she gets to call it punitive.]

Naps are not punitive. On the contrary, giving rest to a child that needs it (a.k.a, a toddler who interrupts and whines and disobeys and throws fits) is the loving thing to do.

The Lord, our Shepherd, "makes [us] lie down" to restore our souls. He gives sleep to those He loves. Throughout Scripture, peaceful, secure homes, countries, and places are described as quiet resting places. Indeed, a disciplined child gives rest to his parents. God even planned a day of "rest" in the weekly routine. Regular times of rest are a centerpiece of a well-ordered home.

This has been a natural part of our home-- as infants, our children take multiple naps throughout the day and sleep well at night. Around 5-6 months, they transition to a two-nap routine (a cumulative four-five hours, split between morning and afternoon naps, with eight-eleven hours of sleep at night), and around 12-18 months, they usually transition to a one-nap routine, which lasts around 2-3 hours, and they keep that up until around age four.

Homes that have not built this in through infant routines may have to work at it... but by the time a child is one, he ought to have at least one good long nap every single day. And, please, don't bring out the tired (get my joke?) old "schedule vs. AP" debate-- I'm not saying anything revolutionary. Preschools and kindergartens the world over recognize the value and importance of regular rest for children, so let's not pretend that this is some kind of radical idea.

However you go about it, I would encourage you to build in a natural cycle of rest into your family's daily life. This does mean that you'll have to be "working at home" and won't be galavanting around the town each afternoon, it's true... but there are worse things than having 2-3 quiet hours to yourself. For example, having 2-3 hours of a whiny toddler throwing tantrums and raising your blood pressure until you pop. That would be worse. Or, having two such children who argue and fight with each other and don't obey and allow no one in the home to have a moment's peace. That would be worse.

But getting rest? Some peace and quiet? Oh, yes, please! If you don't already, build it into your family routine. Your kids (though they may not verbally express it) will voice their thanks over the course of time through good attitudes and a cheerful countenance.

Well, the obvious first thing to do is rest. I strongly believe that until a child can cheerfully occupy himself for the 2-3 hour quiet time AND control his own attitude for the remainder of the day, he needs a nap. Every day.

And yes, sometimes that will mean that you try giving up naptime, only to find that little Sally isn't ready for nap-free life yet (which will be evidenced by her emotional fragility and tantrums thrown throughout the remainder of the evening). So, the next day, back down she goes. Trial and error.

But at some point (which, as I mentioned, with our own children typically happens around four years of age), your child will pass the stage for daily naps. Occasional naps may still be needed, but this child has mastered her own attitudes and isn't crying out (literally) for naps each day.

So when a child reaches the age where they may not sleep during the day, that child still can have a time of rest. For us, what that typically looks like is quietly hanging out with a huge stack of books. I'll find that child a spot somewhere in the house (sometimes on our bed, sometimes on the couch, sometimes at the table on the balcony, sometimes in a cozy corner), and he will read quietly. As the child develops a pattern of consistent awake rest and quiet time, I'll sometimes open up that daily time to include quiet toys (by himself) or coloring. The point is that it will be a time of rest... a quiet, peaceful couple of hours for everyone in the middle of each day.

As the children grow, I can foresee this being a time of quiet reading, research, journaling, or going for a walk. And as they approach adulthood, this could transition to a time of work-- working with dad, cooking or doing chores, or doing schoolwork.

For the homeschooling family, continuing the quiet time will reinforce naps for the little ones (if there are any) and may allow older children to accomplish the heavier "brainwork" of school, or just give them some "down time" after a busy morning.

For the pregnant mom, this principle will give HER the opportunity to nap mid-day if she needs it, as her children will all be in the habit of regular rest for those two to three hours each day.

Whatever the myriad ways it could play out in varying families, I'm convinced that building a habit of a daily rest time into your family life can be a real blessing, for you and your children.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum)

This is the fifth home we have owned and while each house/property presented unique challenges this property has presented the problem of over growth. The landscaping is mature as far as trees, bushes and shrubs. There really is too much! Compounding the problem are several perimeter, pocket garden beds planted willy nilly with everything imaginable. Despite moving here the end of June 2007

SEX: What If You Just Don't Want To?

Got a question (What to do with low libido/low "want to"?) from a friend, and here's what I wrote in response...

I'm just gonna ramble. Hopefully some of this will help you or someone else.

[First of all, I'd like to frame this in terms of what you like for your husband to do for you. For example, if you like him to talk, give you gifts, go shopping with you on Saturday, attend special events together, etc.... whatever it is... first, frame this question in terms of that, "what if he just didn't want to?" Hopefully, his love for you would compel him to work through his "not liking it" so that he can learn to love you in ways that speak love to you. So, as a wife, whether we "want to" or not is actually a side issue.]

Just say yes. And tell him you'll just say yes. Don't say no or beg off ever again.

When you're 85, I don't think you'll ever look back and say, "Wow, I wish we hadn't have connected THAT time. That sure did stink to kiss and hang out nekkid together. That sure was awful to reconnect and refuel in the midst of our busy lives." But I'd bet many a widow DOES look back and wonder why she ever turned that precious man down. Even when he was imperfect (which is ALWAYS). So, don't turn him down. That's a big step, but a GREAT one.

Meet this need for your husband. LOVE HIM the way you'd want him to LISTEN to you. And then, over time, let him know how much it helps you to be heard, or how much it helps you if he'll just x, y, or z. But frankly, don't expect him to change. He may not. We can only change ourselves.

Biblically, and WONDERFULLY, you're the gal. You're the one person that can rightly meet his needs in this area. (And if you don't, then you're disobeying 1 Cor. 7--perhaps unintentionally, but nonetheless, still disobeying.) AND that's the way God intended it-- for OUR good, individually and as a "one flesh" unit, and for HIS glory.

You know how all these boys (I call them boys because that's what they act like) who are 25-35 sit around addicted to video games? And porn? Studies have shown that the neurons and chemicals in their brain that fire are the SAME ones that fire off during making love. The very things that GOD built into their biology to bond them to their wives are bonding them to the computer screen or TV screen. GOD intended this great action to get your husband to be WILD about you. To connect him to you. To give him an AWESOME physical motivation to keep -- and HONOR -- that covenant. Take advantage of that beautiful plan and connect with your husband.

It's been said that women make love after they feel emotionally connected, and men make love TO feel emotionally connected. It's not always true, 100% across the board, but it IS true for the majorities of both men and women. So that helps me remember, that it's really NOT just a physical release he is looking for-- he wants to know we're OK, he wants things to BE OK between us. For me, I need to talk it out. For him, connecting physically lets him know that things ARE "OK" between us.

Another amazing thing that I've found is that the more we do it, the more I want to do it. It's like a fire that needs tending... if I let the coals burn out, it takes a lot longer the next time to get things heated back up and cooking. So, the thing I need to do is "cook" often enough that the coals don't ever get cold. When we regularly tend the fire, it never goes out. But if we do it and then wait a while and then do it again, it seems like such a duty, such a chore.

Also (I'm really going off here, but I haven't blogged all summer, can you tell?!), practice marital hedonism. Just like God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him, seeking our joy and delight in HIM alone... our husbands are most delighted when they know we are so delighted by them. Don't be afraid to let loose and have a rip-roaring good time... to take real pleasure and delight in the bedroom activities you get to share with your husband. He'll love it! God gave us women all those sensitive nerve endings for EXACTLY that purpose!

Interestingly, the media has just reported about a study that shows that optimal sex only takes 3-13 minutes. We make time for everything else in the world-- three to thirteen minutes ain't NOTHIN.

But besides all that, I guess, for me, what it comes down to is a simple choice: I made a vow to love and honor and cherish this man ... and I want to do it -- not begrudgingly, not because I feel obligated, not because I took the right vitamin to balance things out in my body (although if there is something, then take it!)... but because I LOVE HIM AND HE IS GOD'S PRECIOUS GIFT TO ME. AND THE BIBLE SAYS THAT MY BODY IS HIS BODY-- AND PRAISE GOD, HE WANTS MY BODY-- STRETCHMARKED AND LUMPY THOUGH I MAY THINK IT IS. HE WANTS IT!

This is one area of our marriage that I absolutely focus on... it's not perfect, and it's not what everyone else may desire-- but I really focus in on what HE desires, and I revel in that. Out of all the stuff that takes up our time, our husband is the #1 human being on our list... we're to help him and serve him. It's not popular, but it's true.

We have this fun, laughter-inducing, amazing way to help and love and serve our husbands. Praise God for such a great, creative gift! Let's put it to good use.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Vinca major (Bigleaf Periwinkle)

One of our smaller garden beds has a pretty green and white creeping vine that has little purplish blue flowers in the early spring to mid-summer. It was quite apparent that the vine was of the spreading nature. It had filled the garden bed and was heading down the divider between our driveway and our neighbours. Our driveway is paved but his is gravel so the vine had no problem spreading and

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Train Them Until You Like Them"

Gregg Harris, father of Josh Harris and the Harris Rebelutionary twin brothers (Alex and Brett, who helped propel Huckabee to almost winning the Republican nomination for President), had this to say about training your children as you go through life (a la Deuteronomy 6):
"There's a problem here. We don't want to include our children in our lives if they are undisciplined and out of control. What keeps many fathers from including their children in the daily routines of life is they don't like that kid. Cause he won't sit still. He won't listen. He's bored, and he's gonna let you know about it, over and over again...

...and he may even be one of those that cries easily and gets his feelings hurt because his mother indulges him too much, and so he thinks that he has some right to feel good all the time. Kids like that-- nobody wants to be around...

...So, dads, moms, TRAIN them until you LIKE them.

You are training them to be included in your life. You're preparing them to be a part of the family team. If you read Hebrews chapter 12, you'll notice that God the Father trains us in order that we might share in His holiness. ...God is so unwaveringly focused on His purposes to glorify Himself in this world that He trains us to be included in that adventure. He wants us to be a part of this wonderful adventure of defeating and destroying the works of the devil. And so, he trains us so that we might share in that holy adventure.

And dads, moms, we need to train our children to the point where we are not going to hesitate to take them with us when we have to run errands, or when we have an important meeting."

~Taken from "Don't Waste Your Kids" sermon @ Covenant Life Church

What an excellent point he makes! Those who can't stand to be around their own kids are surely not going to follow Deuteronomy 6's admonition to teach their children as they walk, talk, go in the way, etc., because they will avoid walking, talking, and going in the way with their children. I like his statement-- "train them until you like them."


Monday, September 8, 2008

What I Love~~Part Six

It's been a while since the last chapter in this series, so without further delay I present another of my personal collections~~antique and vintage wire. Sorry but these treasures are not for sale at this time, but serve as inspiration for you to start a collection of your own.

Delicate wire egg basket that can fold flat.

Old wire locker basket full of string.

Another wire locker basket.

Old white wire and wood birdcage.

Old wire miner's canary cage.

Old metal egg basket and fab wavy wire tall basket.

Victorian era wire gutter guard to keep downspouts clear of debris.

Fab old wire pedestal basket.

Old wavy wire market basket.

Thank You Ladies!

A quick thanks to everyone who came to the second Sweet Pea Home Sale on Saturday! It's wonderful to have a loyal group of friends who continue to support me and my passion. I will be holding a "winter" (what a joke in FL!) sale near the end of October so please keep your eyes open for the date.

AND WOOHOO it's almost time to go back to Texas!!!!!! Mr. Sweet Pea and I had a blast in the spring and met so many new and dear friends! Can't wait to see them! We have moved from H7 to H14 so if you are coming to the Marburger Farms show please be sure to stop by and say "Howdy"! That's Texas talk!



ANSWERS & ADVICE: "Older Women, Teach the Younger Women..."

So we have a good question up for discussion today... it involves the practical application of a very important passage of Scripture addressing us as Christian women-- Titus 2:3-5. Here it is for your quick reference:
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
Here's today's question:
I am a 45 year old woman and am trying to be very purposeful in fulfilling the Titus 2 mandate of older women teaching the younger women. I remember what it was like as a young mom, wishing there were some older women who would take an interest in me. Although there were a few, at times I felt alone. I have not forgotten what that felt like, and now have made it my goal to reach out to as many younger women as I can. In doing this I have run into some things that I did not anticipate, and I am wondering if you might have some ideas as to how I can effectively reach out and minister to younger women, and how to deal with some of the things I have experienced.

There are times when I have had young moms over and their children are completely out of control. It makes it hard to talk or think! I have had little children stand on my couch and jump up and down...and the mom thought it was cute. I have had them help themselves to things in my home, and the parent not even correct them. I do not expect perfection, as I know that they are learning, but it seems like most "church" moms are not spanking and disciplining their children. They normally tell me how they are working with their children, and what they are telling me is not biblical discipline. They are being "controlled" by their toddlers, and they don't even know it! There are times when they will make a comment about my older children and how they want their children to be like mine...but when I tell them about how we spanked and that I was home a lot in order to train my children, they are not interested in hearing that. They perceive it as being "too much". They seem to want the fruit, but dont want to go through the process!

The other thing I have experienced is that many younger women only want to be with peers and bounce things off them. They do not seem interested in spending time with someone they see as "old". Recently I invited a local "moms group" to have their monthly meeting in my home. I wanted to pamper them and do something special to encourage them. I served some fun brunch food and coffee. I put together a gift bag for each mom. I tried to make my home welcoming and to reach out to them. My 18 year old daughter was here to help with the children so that the mom's could relax. We were all ready. They arrived...and I was pretty much ignored the entire morning. I would attempt to make conversation with them,but they were not interested. They spent the time talking among themselves. I also struggled a little as moms changed dirty diapers on my new couch, fed a one year old red yogurt on my furniture, a two year old ate a strawberry on the couch...and everyone thought it was fine. The meeting ended, they left, I shut door, and felt a real sense of disappointment.

I even had a young mom tell me once that she couldn't stand being around older women because all they wanted to do was teach her!

So, what is an older woman to do? How are we supposed to deal with having little children in our homes who are not controlled? Should I say something, or stay quiet for the sake of attempting to "minister"? How can we reach out to young women who are not interested? In this day and age I am finding that the mind set of young moms is quite different than it was when my children were little. It seems like they are so used to being "age segregated" that concept of spending time with those who are older than you is somewhat foreign.

Although I have had a few very special friendships with some younger women, I am finding it to be frustrating as I am finding most of them seem to know it all, and have very little use for me! I would appreciate any input or ideas as to how I could more effectively reach out to the young women of this generation!

Thank you!

So, Making Home readers, what's your response for Gina? Especially those of you young moms who have (here at MH & at other online locales) asked for and bemoaned the lack of Titus 2 women in your life?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Prayers of our Forefathers

Lately, I've been reading about prayer. It seems ironic that one would read about prayer instead of just praying. Nevertheless, I've certainly found value in it. Andrew Murray is always a challenging and maturing read, and I do find myself drawn more to intentional prayer as I tune my heart to be concerned with the subject of prayer.

But during my time off, I came across this website called "Puritan Prayers". And WOW. As I've read through the prayers, I find myself challenged, encouraged, and taught by them.

Though they are written in older language that seems unfamiliar to the average modern Christian's ear, as you meditate on these words, they plumb to depths that will enrich you. You can't just casually browse or skim these prayers... they aren't meant to be read hastily. They are prayers MEANT to be read aloud. And slowly. With conviction. With sorrow. With joy. With the depths of the soul engaged. To our Creator, Sustainer, and Father-- God of the Universe.

Consider this from "The Deeps":
"Give me a deeper knowledge of Thyself as saviour, master, lord, and king. Give me deeper power in private prayer, more sweetness in Thy Word, more steadfast grip on its truth. Give me deeper holiness in speech, thought, action, and let me not seek moral virtue apart from Thee."
Or this from "Divine Support":
"Thou hast produced and sustained me, supported and indulged me, saved and kept me; Thou art in every situation able to meet my needs and miseries.

May I live by Thee, live for Thee, never be satisfied with my Christian progress but as I resemble Christ; and may conformity to His principles, temper, and conduct grow hourly in my life."

I'd encourage you to read through them, and as they are even labeled by topic/situation, you can find one that suits your own heart and needs and then let these words echo from centuries ago in your mouth and heart. As the person whose blog pointed me to this website wrote (I'm sorry I can't remember where I read this), we "sing" other people's words all the time-- in church, on the radio, to our husband, and to our God. So while this may seem different since it's prayer, it's really not.

Let the words of these faithful forefathers roll around in your mind and in your mouth, and just see how they'll challenge, convict, change, and bless you.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Teresa Sandwich

I received an award from not one, but two of my favorite pals and bloggers and they both happen to be named Teresa. Kinda like a Teresa sandwich huh?

So now I will name 7 of my favorite blogs and like Teresa from Garden Antiques Vintage I would nominate all my favs if I could.

1. Garden Antiques Vintage

2. Timeworn Interiors

3. PresentPast Collection

4. Prairie Home

5. Raised In Cotton

6. Urban Farmhouse

7. Barn House

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pondering Palin: Beware of Icy Jesus!

The pastor of the church where I came of age used to tell a story about his days in seminary. He was madly taking notes as a fresh pup in an entry-level seminary theology class... and he heard his professor give a stern warning. Not knowing one of the terms he used, but knowing it was very important, he wrote down, "Beware of Icy Jesus!" It took him a few class sessions to realize that Icy Jesus was actually eisegesis, and means "reading into the text".

Essentially, it refers to taking your pre-conceived notions to the Scriptures and looking for proof texts for whatever it is you're trying to say.

Which, over the last few days, is what I've seen a lot of articles do that are debating about whether or not Sarah Palin's nomination as VP is biblical.
  • Articles that point to worship rules in the NT as a reason why her candidacy is unbiblical
  • Those who point to Jethro's (a pagan high priest of Midian) advice to Moses about how to get everything done as God's advice on governmental service, and offer it as an example of why men only can serve in civil capacities
  • Some who point to scriptural texts about marriage, extending the idea of a wife submitting to her own husband as a reason why she can't ever have authority in any capacity outside of the home
I am also very aware that my degree (in political science), my pre-kids line of work (government relations), and my very upbringing in a post-feminism society may be skewing my view on Scripture. As best I can, I want to read what God says about this through the Scriptures.

I have a lot of questions, and a lot of things I'm considering. I have a lot of thoughts scrambling around in my head, and I see some around me who seem to have come to some very hard and fast conclusions (admittedly, many of them have considered these things and come to their conclusions long before this last weekend). I am not there. Even aside from this Palin nomination, I need to get this sort of thing clear in my head. I have half a dozen real life situations where this same issue is at play, and I want to hear from God on this.

Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps his mouth shut. So, that's where I'm at... hoping that I'll keep my mouth shut and not say something that is either overly legalistic or overly relativistic, and instead will just stick. to. the. Bible. No more, no less. I don't have enough coherent and firm thoughts about this to write with any degree of certainty... and I'm about to do some traveling, so I won't have time to write more about this for a while. But since many of you have asked, that's where I'm at on this.

All I know is, I'm wary of "Icy Jesus"!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...