Refresh Wednesday – Making My Home My Sanctuary

Gratitude Day 303

Wed., July 17, 2019

Proverbs 8:34 – Come to my home each day and listen to me. You will find happiness.

If you walked into my home, I pray that you WOULD find happiness. Because this is how I long for my home to be.

One filled with happiness.

One filled with joy.

One that immediately lowers your blood pressure.

One that feels like a respite, because for me, it IS my respite.

I love being home … because I love our home. I love a day when I can just be home. All. Day. Long. There are times when Hubby Rick will say, “Can’t we just stay home?” We both enjoy just being in the place where we feel joy. Happiness. Content.

Does this describe your home? If so, YEAH! If not, what would it take for your home to feel like this for you?

One of the reasons why I love our home is because it represents who we are. I love old things. I enjoy things that remind me of happy days. I look forward to walking into our home and knowing that my heart will beat just a bit slower because it truly is a place I love to be.

If your home doesn’t quite feel like this, what can you do? Here are just a few suggestions I have used to make our house truly feel like a home.

First, leave your house. Walk down the sidewalk or driveway, far enough away so you can get a good perspective of your home. Stop and turn around. How does your heart feel? What comes to mind? Are you excited to walk into your home? Why or why not?

Now, walk to the front door. RING THE DOORBELL. Yes, seriously, pretend you are a visitor coming to your house. Open the door and walk through the house. As you do, take note. What do you LOVE about your house? Where would you take me so we could sit and drink peach iced tea? What areas of your home bring you the most joy?

As you walk through your home, note what spots aren’t your favorite. What is it about an area that makes your face cringe? Make a list of these areas and put them in order of “easy fix” to “most difficult fix.” Pick the #1 “easy fix” area and make a date with yourself to fix it in the next week.

Now, grab an empty box. Walk through your house a second time and put anything in the box that you do not 1) love; or 2) brings you happiness. If you do not love something and if it doesn’t bring you joy, then remove it from your house. It doesn’t matter how much it cost. Or who gave it to you. Or why you inherited it. If an item does not make you feel good about it, then move it out of your house. Let someone else love it. If there is something in the box that you feel someone else would love, ask them. Otherwise, put the box in your car immediately. Next time you are remotely close to a thrift shop, happily make a donation. If large pieces of furniture are involved, this might require another set of hands, truck and help. Put a sticky note on it with the word “Donate” written on it. Enlist the necessary help to have the item(s) removed from your home in the next week.

How do you deal with those areas that make you cringe? The quickest and easiest fix is always paint. I know it’s all Captain Obvious, but a simple coat of paint can change so much. Remove everything from the area before you paint. When it’s ready to be re-decorated, only put things back into the space that you love or bring you happiness. Load everything else up for the thrift shop or sell.

Sometimes, an area just needs a little tweaking. I “shop my house” and find something I have and move it to a new space. When you only have things you love and that bring you happiness, moving them into their best location is really easy and fun.

If a space is still looking dull, add some plants or flowers. If you can not grow plants to save your soul, use nice artificial ones. It is amazing how plants and/or flowers make a room feel alive and fun.

Now, if reading this is making you a little anxious, that’s OK. Maybe you feel starting a project like this is too overwhelming. Or not something you can do. It’s out of your wheelhouse.

If a little respite area, a little spot where you can go and be and drink your favorite refreshment sounds wonderful, don’t give up. Find a little spot just for you. Put your favorite chair in it. Have it face outside so you don’t have to see the rest of the home. Make this a little place where you can stop, be and release all those things that fill up your life. Let one little spot be enough.

Whether you filled up your car with items to get rid of or just created a spot for a chair … now, breathe. Smile. Fill your soul with happiness. Be content that your home is your safe place.

For a home that is my respite and happy place, I am grateful.

Holy God – we can find you in so many different and wonderful places. I pray that our homes are places where we see Your thumbprints in our daily lives. May we discover the joy and happiness of creating our houses into homes where we see you daily.  

Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Refresh Wednesday – A Glimpse of Spring

Gratitude Day 221

Wed., Feb. 27, 2019

1 Corinthians 3:8 – The one who plants and the one who waters work together, but each one will receive their own reward for their own labor.

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All we talk about these days is winter. And how sick of it we are.

If you live in the upper Midwest, you know what I’m talking about.

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If you don’t, let me share.

Since Christmas, we’ve had SO. MUCH. SNOW. AND COLD. Like nearly every day. There was the week that it barely got above 0 all week. And windchills down to the -50 and -60 range. And then, the snow. Some weeks 10-12 inches. And some days that much. Or like last Saturday when we have a couple inches of ice.

What has this led to? Lots of missed school days. One family of grandkids might be going to school until June 12th. Seriously.

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Lots of accidents. Over the weekend, there was a terrible accident east of us. Something like 130+ vehicles in the pile-up. One man killed and another 70 (yes, this is correct) taken to the hospital.

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Lots of damage. Roofs on barns and businesses caving in. Cattle having to be moved quickly in awful weather. Damage that will take months to fix. It’s been a little crazy.

So, who is happy this winter? Those who love cold and snow. And possibly the skiers and snowmobilers.

For the rest of us? We’re ready for spring! Or two sunny days in a row. Or a hint of warm weather when we don’t have to wear layers and layers.

Since I’m not sure when this is going to happen, I took matters into my own hands. Even if there’s lots of snow and cold outside, I’m ready to bring spring INTO the house.

I love having plants inside. It really does brighten my spirits when I see real life color that needs water. While we were on vacation, I loved seeing flowers and green grass and smelling all those wonderful flower and plants smells. Once home, I looked around the house and decided it needed a serious dose of color.

And so, I bought color.

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This is an antique feeding trough that I’ve converted into a plant stand. The beautiful peace lily was given to me at the time of my birthday. But I never filled in the other half. I wanted to put another peace lily in it but couldn’t find one.

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Instead, I bought these plants.

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And proceeded to add some of them to the planter.

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I’m not a florist. I leave this to my sister Debbie. But I can put flowers in a planter and try to make them look nice. The great thing about plants? If you don’t like how you have them the first time, just take them out and rearrange them.

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I’m not sure that I have the plants exactly how they are supposed to be arranged. But my goal here was to add color to the house. Quickly. Easily. With little cost. This, I feel, I accomplished.

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I also bought a bouquet of roses. I’m sure they were leftovers from Valentine’s Day, so not confident how long they will last. But if only for a week, I’ll enjoy every single one of them. I love having a bouquet of fresh flowers on our island. They just bring a smile to my face every time I walk into the house.

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With this bouquet, it’s another mission accomplished.

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Finally, I had a group of ladies over last week and wanted an arrangement for the table. Literally, I bought two packages of fresh flowers for $2.99 each. I cut and arranged pieces of them into some glasses I had and put them on the table. (The leftover flowers were added to the roses on the island.)

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And so, it’s just spots of color here and there. But even these little bits make my heart feel like it’s closer to spring than outside the window says it is.

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If your heart is longing for spring, what can you do to bring a little spring inside your house? Refresh something that speaks to your heart. I spent less than $30 on these plants and flowers and believe me, my heart is happy for it.

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For color and glimpses of spring someday, I am grateful.

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Oh Lord – I’m sorry that I’m not fully appreciating the cold and the snow and the winter. Thanks for the gentle reminder that a simple refresh with just a bit of color is what my world needed these days. May these flowers, plants and a bit of water brighten even the dreariest of days. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 206 – Refresh Wednesday #3

Wed., Jan. 30, 2019

Psalm 63:6 – whenever I ponder you on my bed, whenever I meditate on you in the middle of the night—

Welcome to Refresh Wednesday!

Today, I’m excited to share with you a project that is one of my FAVORITE refreshes we have completed in our house. It’s a great example of taking something old we had at our house, refreshing it and repurposing it for another use.

Would you like to know more?

Good, I can’t wait to share!!

Last fall, we created a beautiful master suite on the second floor of our 1906 Victorian Farmhouse. I’m anxiously awaiting to show you the entire room but have held off because we’re waiting for our floor guy to refinish the hardwood floors. He’s experienced some challenges in his personal life, which are far more important than our floors, so we wait.

When my sister and her husband bought a new king-sized bed, they gave us their old one. We started with just the frame, box spring and mattress. As we put the suite together, I really felt the bed really needed a headboard.

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Here’s what the head of the bed looks like. Nothing too fancy, right?

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Until you remove the pillows and see this.

I began looking for a headboard online. Notice the window above the bed? I love the light the window lets into the room, but it affects the height of the headboard. While I found something that would have worked, I wasn’t thrilled with it.

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This is when I came up with a much better idea that didn’t cost us anything. Well, except the paint, which we already had.

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We have some old doors from the house that we no longer are using. Some of these doors are very narrow, like less than 30” wide narrow. Upon my request, Rick dug one of these doors out. We measured the length of the door and discovered it was just a little long for the king-sized bedframe. It would work great as a headboard!

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Rick cut the door to fit the bedframe. Then, he made posts for each end to attach the headboard to the frame. He found a piece of leftover trim in the attic, which he fashioned as a cap for the top of the bedframe. After sanding the door, we put on a coat of primer. Once dry, we painted the door a dark charcoal grey. The bedroom walls are a medium grey. The dark grey headboard looks stunning against the lighter walls.  (Look carefully … you see the floors we’re waiting to refinish.)

When we show people the headboard, most do not realize that it used to be a door. Rick did such a great job; the headboard looks like it was made this way!

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My favorite part of the project? We took something that was original to the house, refurbished it and made it into something that fits into the design and décor of our house.

When I wake up in the morning, I spend a few minutes in prayer before me feet hit the ground. I dedicate my day to God. I ask for God to direct and guide me through the day. I ask for wisdom in making decisions and noticing the things God desires for me to note. As I meditate in bed, I pray that I can suppress my will and seek God’s will for me for the upcoming day.

I’m anxious to continue this morning ritual in our master suite, once the floors are completed. In the meantime, several overnight guests have utilized this bed and master suite. I’ve loved being able to share this refurbished headboard with them. In fact, my sister was so taken by the beauty and function of the door-turned-into-headboard, she had Rick make her one, using an extra door that she had! We’re letting her choose what color she wants to paint it once we get it back to her house. It’s another example of using something you already have and refurbishing it into another life.

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For refurbished furniture that adds beauty to our home, I am grateful.

Holy God – beauty comes in many different ways. Sometimes, we just need to look at something from a little different perspective to see the purpose and beauty in a new way. On this day, maybe it’s something in our personal lives that needs some tweaking and imagination. May we not be afraid of potential refurbishing’s that come into our lives, realizing the finished product can be truly amazing. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 201 – Refresh Wednesday #2

Wed., Jan. 23, 2019

1 Corinthians 6:19 – Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you? Don’t you know that you have the Holy Spirit from God, and you don’t belong to yourselves?

Last Wednesday, I began “Refresh Wednesdays.” Each Wednesday, I plan to post some easy, quick little thing I’ve done lately that brings joy to my life.

In the first “Refresh Wednesday,” I shared how I updated our beautiful front porch from Christmas decorations to a winter wonderland-inspired décor that will be appropriate until our Wisconsin winter disappears.

Today, I’m going to share one of my new mantras for 2019. It’s really very simple:

20 minutes in blue

20-minutes.

I prioritize things that are important for me to do each day for just 20-minutes. Nothing more. Just 20-minutes.

Here’s an example: exercise. For years, I ran multiple days a week, lifted weights a couple times a week and rode bike when weather allowed a couple days a week. Since we moved to our current house three years ago, exercise has been such a struggle for me. I don’t have my favorite running trails anymore. As we focused on remodeling our house the last few years, I felt like I didn’t have time and/or energy to exercise. All too quickly and easily, exercise fell by the wayside.

At my annual physical two years ago, my doctor encouraged me to lose 10-15% of my body weight. (One person told me that I should find a new doctor!) Ugh. It’s so challenging. When I went for my physical last fall, I was down a few pounds; just not as much as I would have liked.

I know exercise is important. I should exercise, as both of my parents struggled with health issues at the end of their lives. My pants would fit better if I lost those pounds my doctor encourages me to lose. And yes, I would be able to wear those things in my closet that don’t really fit but I’ve hung onto, anticipating SOME DAY I will be able to wear them again.

I’ve put together exercise schedules, willed myself to get make exercise a priority … all with little success. Through the process, I keep reminding myself of the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

I knew that I needed to change my approach if I wanted different results.

Here’s my new approach in 2019: 20-minutes of exercise a day. This is all I expect of myself. A 20-minute walk or run. A 20-minute DVD. A 20-minute online video. Or 20-minutes of exercises that I choose to do myself. Just 20-minutes a day. I should be able to find this short window time, right?

So far, I have been. Some days when it works, I might do two 20-minute exercise blocks. I’ll go for 20-minute walk and do a workout video later. I don’t expect myself to do this every day; my first priority is always that first 20-minute block.

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With this mentality, I no longer talk myself out of doing some form of exercise. I KNOW 20-minutes can be found. It just needs to be a priority.

Honestly, exercising is not about fitting into clothes better or anticipating someone will finally notice that I’m down a couple pounds. The real reason why exercise is so important? It’s how I want to care for my body. I view my body as a temple. Just as we want to carefully care for the temples, the places where we worship God, we should also care for our bodies as a temple for God. Neglecting to care for my body says to God that I don’t value how God created my body, my temple. Exercise is one way that I can express appreciation for the finely-tuned body God has provided me.

As I get a little older, I also must be realistic about what I expect and how I care for my body. I’m convinced that 20-minutes a day is really more helpful for my body than one day of overdoing exercise. Not only is it good for my physical body, it also gives me a mental break.

What is something you’ve been wanting to change in your life? Something you’ve been trying to change … but keep reverting back to the old way of doing things, yet expecting different results? What is one thing you can do today for 20-minutes that will bring joy to your life as well as provide self-care for your temple?

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Just find 20-minutes and do it.

Now, if I could only fix my eating habits as easily …

For refreshing my physical body, 20-minutes at a time, I am grateful. 

Holy God – thank you for the wonderful temple that you have provided me with my body. Forgive me for the times I have not appreciated my body nor cared for it well. May I discover easy and important ways to care for my body. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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