$11 DIY gilded art :: thrifty Goodwill re-do

Last week I showed you this little bit of gorgeousness:

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This lovely metallic paper is the main attraction of one my newest projects that I’m entirely in love with:

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It took me less than 30 minutes to make, and after I finished, the entire painting was only $11! I’m still excited about it!

Here’s what I started with:

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  • a large $7.99 Goodwill painting
  • one sheet of handmade wrapping paper from World Market for $2.99
  • $1 metallic acrylic paint {I used very little}
  • spray adhesive
  • paint brush

I loved the bright gold of the original frame, but it had seen better days:

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So I touched it up with my strangely perfectly matching acrylic paint:

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I asked the hubs to take a pic of my hand brushing on the paint, but I like this one better than just my hand- Ava’s laughing and I’m seriously concentrating {I guess?}. I’m always shocked when I see a candid pic of myself. My face naturally looks um… very serious. I have to remember that. ;)

I was going to cut out the paper and glue it on, because the staples were crazy strong on the back. Rob came to the rescue and popped those babies out in no time flat. He’s my knight in shining armor! I was so glad for his help. He’s so much better at these things!

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Once the very faded canvas was out, I sprayed the smooth back of it with the adhesive and glued the paper over it. I folded the corners over like wrapping paper and glued them with the spray:

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The hubs helped me put it in the frame and re-staple it {love that man!}, and here’s the finished product again:

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My favorite part about this project? Seeing that fun art in colors I love doesn’t have to cost $40 or more. :D I think that’s the biggest reason I have had nothing on my walls for so long- I didn’t want to pay big bucks for traditional art that wasn’t really special to me. That, and I was waiting to remodel everything before I decorated.

We’ve been in our house for almost three years, and as of last month, we finally have the walls painted in every room downstairs. Now it’s time to decorate with some pretty, personal, and inexpensive DIY art!

Apparently, I’m not the only one who doesn’t like spending tons of money on wall décor. I was so inspired by seeing Ashley’s fabulous DIY art that she and her husband do all on their own. She does beautiful projects for pennies! I think you will love her!! {someday I even hope to buy her ebook, Handmade Walls! But her site is inspiring on it’s own too!}  She made me think outside the box for ways to decorate my bare walls. :D

Her living room makes me smile:

A couple of weeks ago I ordered an Instagram poster a little like the one over her sofa for my living room wall. I LOVE it and I can’t wait to show you guys! It’s so special to me because it visually documents our life for the last year. And it’s on the wall instead of in an album. Eek! Personal, inexpensive, and beautiful wall décor. Such a great idea! :D

How do you make your wall décor personal and unique? And what’s the best way you’ve found to save money on art?

$100+ holiday giveaway winner


Okay, you guys have some awesome giving traditions!! I know I loved reading all of your comments on this post, and I know lots of other people have enjoyed them as well! Thank you all for entering the giveaway!!

I assigned each one of your comments a number, and let random.org pick a winner, and the lucky person is....


......


Rebekah!

Here's what she said about her family's giving tradition:

We started this last year. We give to a little boy about the same age as our angel baby. It is a difficult time every year but it allows us to use his memory as a blessing.

Sweet Rebekah, thank you for sharing your heart with us. That is such a special way to celebrate the life of your little one. Much love to you! {and please check your email!}

Again, you guys blew me away with all of your ideas!! Thank you.

Don't forget, you still have a few days to use your {bh} discount codes:

 Red Letter Ink: 
{bh} readers receive a 15% DISCOUNT when you use the code BIBLICALHOME15 at checkout through Dec. 25!


DISCOUNT code good through December 3. Use BIB14 to get $2 off the $14 planner.

in the world but not of it: Jesus showed us how to do it

This is part 3 of our series on following the example of Jesus as a 21st century woman. Here’s part 1, and part 2.

what it looks like to follow Jesus as a woman in today's world

Do you ever feel like you’re torn between two worlds?

Like you don’t quite belong? I do.

I enjoy my house and I am thankful for it, but at the same time I know that it is constantly a distraction.

I like cute clothes and beautiful things. But I don’t want what I wear to define me. I don’t want to obsess about what I look like, because that is idolatry.

I sometimes think about my body size. But what weight will a number on a scale in 2012 have in eternity?  Zip. Absolutely zero. {unless of course I serve that number all my life, and then I will be ashamed}.

People are starving across the world, and yet I want to take a vacation. From all the work of caring for my load of stuff. Yeah.

I want to go and preach the gospel to the nations. I want to leave everything I have and follow Jesus wherever that may lead, completely and fully abandoned like the disciples did. But I have four precious little ones and a husband who is my authority and my leader. I have been given these people by God Himself and I have to be faithful to serve them. I have to proclaim the Gospel to them too. My heart is here first, but my heart is out there too.

If that all sounds a bit crazy, I’m sorry. It probably is. :)

It’s like this huge war is going on between my spirit and my flesh. And it’s happening constantly.

Sometimes I feel this gut-wrenching tension- how do I live in this culture and time in which I have been called to live? How do I separate the world from the things of God? How can I be in the world but make sure I’m not of the world?

How can I be a woman who is like Jesus, today?

I think studying the life of Jesus really reveals this very thing for me.

Jesus lived here.

He walked on the ground of this earth. He ate and worked and lived just like we do now.

But how did Jesus manage to do it? How did he not look like the rest of the world?

He had His mind set on doing the will of His Father.

Did you realize Jesus spent 30 years of His life preparing for ministry?

He had a house. He had a job. He had a family. All good things. And yet He didn’t get caught up in them. He even willingly left them behind to do what He came to do.

Why?

His mind was set on things above, not on things of the earth.

He had set His mind on doing the will of His Father.

His purpose was solely this:

John 4:34: Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.’

John 6:38: For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.

Matthew 26:39: And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

John 5:19: So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.

Jesus lived for the will of the Father.

And yet the will of the Father didn’t spare His own Son.

Can you imagine? Being so obedient to the will of God that you are willing to give yourself over to a horrible death for the sake of others?

His life was not in what He had or didn’t have- it was in seeking the glory of His Father.

And that’s how we can live here and do this life too.

We can’t have our eyes on this stuff. And we can’t discipline our eyes enough not to look, or our hearts enough not to care about ourselves. We’ll never get there. It will pull us away as long as we live.

What do we have to do?

We have to lose our life in Him.

When we look to Jesus- when we seek His will for our lives and not our own- our souls lose interest in this world.

Houses, cars, jobs, vacations, kitchens, clothes…they all start to fade away. Nothing else matters but doing the will of our Lord and Savior.

Oh, friends. Oh. This stuff is JUNK.

It will burn. It’s already ashes.

When you stand before your Savior, what will He say to you?

Will it be that your treasure, your heart, was set on worldly things?

It doesn’t matter if you have a great car- it’s not about the car. The question is, do you love your car? How willing are you to give it away?

If God asked you to leave it all behind tomorrow, how easy would it be?

What if He asked you to be poor? Right here. In the United States. In your city. To go and live in the very worst part of your city. To sell your car and use the bus and walk everywhere. To live in a nearly condemned, dirty rent house. And have your friends know you have nothing, for the sake of Christ?

Think about it. How attached are you to your things? Is your life in them????

These are the thoughts that will be revealed on that day.

When Jesus told His disciples that He would be killed, Peter told Him that wouldn’t have to be. And here’s what Jesus said:

31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life[d] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Do you see it? Jesus had set out to do the will of His Father, and even one of His closest friends told Him He didn’t need to do it. Someone who had intimate knowledge of Jesus Himself tried to keep Him from dying for humanity. Crazy. Satan does not want you to do His will.

And what does Jesus say to them all?

You have to deny your own life.

You have to give up your will.

You cannot serve yourself with your life. You will forfeit your soul.

Can you hear it?

Saying you love Jesus doesn’t mean you love Jesus.

If you love Jesus, you will obey the commands of Jesus. Giving up your heart- your will- your desires to God, means you love Jesus.

If you’re working to gain the world, you will lose your soul.

You have to give your heart fully to the Redeemer.

When your heart and eyes and mind are on Jesus above, your life will no longer be about this useless junk.

Success, degrees, status, the things you own, the volunteering you’ve done, the awesome places you’ve traveled…they’re all worthless.

They are counted as dung. 

What good are they in light of Him?

Our righteousness is as filthy rags.

We can only be made clean by Him.

Only by the grace of God are we made like Him. He wants our lives. More than that, He wants our hearts.

Are we setting our mind on things above?

Do we long to do His will?

Are we ashamed to speak of Him to our own friends?

If you know you aren’t living for Him, there is such good news for you.

You are still alive.

You can still lose your life in Him. You can be fully His- you can stop caring so much about this junk that will keep your soul from Him.

Pray. Pray that He will change your heart.

He will not deny you.

He does not want you to lose your soul.  He has been so patient with you! He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Repent. Tell God everything. Tell Him you’ve lived for yourself and you can’t not live for yourself without Him. Ask for His forgiveness.

He will answer. He will.

Live for your Lord.

Maybe you have a great house. But your hope is not in it. Your hope is only found in Him.

He is good and worthy. Jesus died on the cross, rose again and defeated sin for YOU. It has no power in you when your hope is in Him. All who believe in Him will not be ashamed. It’s a promise.

Whose will are you seeking today?

$100+ Holiday Giveaway package!! {48 hour giveaway}

Black Friday? Cyber Monday? They're great and all, but they don't imply that anything is free... :D 

How about Holiday Giveaway? And over $100 of free stuff? 

That's much better!! heeehee!

I'm so excited to share a fun *Christmas* giveaway with you!!  I can't believe it's finally that time of year! :) Are you as excited as I am? To get you in the giving spirit, I'm going to start with some awesome gifts for you from a couple of my friends and myself! :D yay!

One big winner will win all of these exciting gifts:

1. your choice of one 8x10 and one 5x7 print from Red Letter 
Ink shipped to your home for free:

I love this one:
and this one too:



Oh, it would be hard to choose!! It's so fun! You can keep one and give one as a gift! :D 



Aimee is the designer behind Red Letter Ink, and I love what inspired her to create the beautiful art she does. Here's a little bit of her heart I stole from her blog: :) 
God has given us so many wonderful gifts in His word, gifts that encourage, inspire, and challenge us. My desire is to create artwork using God's word as inspiration so others can find hope and strength through the truths found in scripture. We are blessed to have the freedom to dig in to God's word daily, so why not take advantage of this and hang His word on our walls as daily reminders of His goodness? We are blessed. Truly blessed. 
I love that! :D

If you would love a Red Letter Ink print, you can get one here now! {bh} readers receive a 15% DISCOUNT when you use the code BIBLICALHOME15 at checkout through Dec. 25!

And as the second part of our giveaway package, the winner will receive:

2. one 2013 Weekly Household Planner + Supplement Kit from the Confident Mom:



One of my favorite things about this planner is that you can choose the version with a Bible plan for each day. How awesome is that? She sent me a copy to try and I can't wait to use mine!

I love what Susan, the creator of the planner says about why she made this planner and how it works for her:
I saw the need in my own household for a daily or weekly household task organizer. I’ve tried some out, but they just didn’t cover everything I wanted or were not compatible with my needs and household. So based upon my own needs and the needs of the many moms I’ve coached over the years, I have developed my own weekly household planner that I believe rivals any household planner on the market.
The 2013 Confident Mom Weekly Household Planner will keep busy moms from all walks of life motivated and on track with all their to-do items day after day, week after week, all year long. This weekly planner breaks down household tasks into manageable daily and weekly bite size pieces, utilizing smaller increments of time to keep the tasks from becoming too large and overwhelming. Most of the items can be easily completed in 3 to 30 minutes, and you can select appropriate items to delegate to family members (after all, even with the household planner, you still can’t be “super mom”). 
This supplement includes several valuable organization tools to keep you ahead of the game—you’ll be able to find important information quickly, keep track of everyone’s schedules, plan meals, be prepared for special occasions, and more!
download a preview copy here 
if you want to buy one, Susan generously offered you guys a DISCOUNT code good through December 3! Just use BIB14 to get $2 off the $14 planner.


3. One $15 Starbucks gift card
Because who doesn't love a warm cup of something yummy? :)

And while you're there, you can read one of your three new books you carried in your tote bag! ;)

4. one swag tote bag filled with three books and a fun t-shirt:








All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below with the answer to this question:

What is your favorite Christmas giving tradition?? Or what's one tradition you would like to start this year? 

We open gifts one at a time in a circle, starting from youngest to oldest. When everyone has opened one, we go around again, until all the gifts have been opened. We started that because we wanted to make sure that the children were thankful for each and every gift they received. :)


This giveaway is open to all U.S and Canadian residents, and entries will close at 11:59 p.m. CST on Tuesday, November 27, 2012. A winner will be randomly chosen on November 28, 2012 and will be contacted by email {so please leave a way for me to contact you when you comment. :D} and announced here on the blog. :)


*amazon links contain affiliate information

working-on-it wednesday {Thanksgiving Eve}

We are starting off Thanksgiving Eve with a bang! We are enjoying every buttery crumb of these this morning:


My mom introduced me to these amazing biscuits a few months ago. They are Mary B's homestyle biscuits and you can find them in the frozen section at Walmart. If you like southern biscuits, you will LOVE them. They are the best biscuits I've ever had. Seriously. Yum.

Thanksgiving Eve is what we consider the first "holiday" at our house, and I'm so excited about it! We are hosting lunch tomorrow at our house, so we have lots of prep going on all day long! :D

Here's my to-do list for today:

1. finish another blog article
2. exercise
3. run quick errands in town
4. prep kitchen for massive amounts of food {clear table, find pans, arrange ingredients in them to get ready to cook, clean out refrigerator} ;)
5. start cooking
6. do two special projects with the kiddos: car painting and decorating placemats of brown paper {while I'm cooking} I found these little cars at Wal-Mart for a dollar:


They were so eager to start in on painting their cars right away this morning:


After they get done with those, we plan to cut out squares for placemats and paint them for our guests.

Speaking of which, I'm hoping some of the people we invited to share our feast will come, but we haven't gotten a for-sure yes from any of my invites yet.

Here's what I'm making for Thanksgiving this year {thankfully less than normal- my sister-in-law is cooking up a bunch so I don't have to do it all! Sweet sister!}:

today:

  • sugar-free no-bake cream cheese apple pie {I'm making this up for my dad. LOL. We'll see how it goes! luckily he's a good sport when it comes to experiments!}
  • rice crispy treats
  • low-fat vanilla pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese icing
  • cheesy quinoa bake
  • make cornbread for dressing tomorrow

tomorrow:

  • turkey- {thaw today, remove disgusting inner parts that are probably still too frozen, inject with marinade}- cook early in the morning 
  • dressing- prepare and bake
  • rolls {I went with store bought frozen dough this year after learning my lesson! Every time I try to bake them from scratch on a holiday they fail. Too much else going on to babysit homemade rolls, I guess. :)}
  • easy mac and cheese- not doing the baked version again this year. I'm going to make noodles and sauce and that is going to be that. :)}
This weekend I have a fun little giveaway package for you all! It will be perfect for Christmas presents and getting organized for next year. So keep your eyes out! I'm excited. :)

{And here's a peek of what I've been working on to show you next week! Eeek!}


What are you working on today? :)

following the example of Jesus as a woman today {giving up the credit}

womanfollowing

Last week we talked about following Jesus in today's culture by not seeking to make ourselves seem beautiful to the world.  That is one of the places I feel that we as women are really obviously torn between the two worlds of the flesh and the spirit. We want to serve God with all of our hearts, but our carnal body seeks it's own interest, and it always goes back to the horrible sin of pride.

What is important to remember is the lesson we learn from Jesus over and over again: we can't serve two masters- we will hate one and love the other.  We can't serve both ourselves and our Father. So many times, we see Jesus doing the will of His Father, not His own will. He shows us how to serve our Lord selflessly so perfectly! :)

And we see the selflessness of Jesus in the second way we can be like him as women today:

Jesus did not seek the credit for what He did.

When we look back at the life of Jesus, over and over again in His ministry He did the opposite of what the rest of us would do: when He did amazing things, He didn't want to be recognized for them.

Even from His very first miracle, He let someone else take the credit for what He did. The master of the feast thought the bridegroom had provided the awesome wine Jesus had transformed.

He didn't show off His miraculous ability in front of the important people at the feast, or drop hints that it was really His doing. Only the servants and the disciples knew what an amazing miracle He had done.

Does this seem crazy to you? He didn't care about getting the admiration of others.

Would it be hard for you to let someone else take the credit for something amazing you did? Let's work it out in today's culture:

Imagine you had this really creative decorating idea and you told your friend about it, and before you could do it, she does the very thing and posts it on Facebook. She never mentions your name or that it was your idea, and all of your mutual friends ooh and ahh over it in the comments telling her how creative she is.

Would that upset you? I know it would me. It's because we love the acknowledgement of others. It's that ugly pride again.

This is so hard! I think it's especially hard for bloggers and writers, don't you? We want the link back. We want the credit for the work we've done. It's understandable, right? ;) {That's what our flesh says, anyway...}

But what Jesus tell us to do is incredible to me. Jesus says if someone wants something from you, let them have it and give them even more than they asked for. And don't seek the credit for your works. Do them in secret, even!

Jesus even reminds us of this in Matthew 6:
Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 
Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
He tells us to not seek our own credit, and He lives it out for us.

Give. Do good things. And don't do them for show. Do them for your Father. Don't seek your own credit, because that will be your reward. 

It goes against everything in us, doesn't it?

We love affirmation. We love to be acknowledged.

Why it is again? It's because of the sin that started it all: pride.

We want to make much of ourselves and what we've done, but when the Spirit enters our hearts, we are to make much of Jesus. We have been given a new heart- one that lives and breathes for the glory of our God.

Not for our own glory.

We live for the glory of our King, sweet friends!

His Spirit transforms us to become more like Jesus. When we set our eyes on Him, He becomes the one to whom we want to give the glory. When He transforms us, we realize that anything and everything we've done or been given was from Him in the first place!! :D

It isn't about us. And that is the most beautiful part of the Gospel. Jesus came to redeem this broken world, and we are beyond blessed to have been given the gift of salvation when He did that! Nothing we have to offer is of worth- and what He gives us is truly His, and not our own.

All the credit and the glory goes to Him. And if someone else takes it, God knows. He sees all things. He knows when we give up our pride and when we give others the credit. It's an amazing change that is so obviously from the Spirit of God, because we couldn't do it on our own. :)

Praise God for giving us new hearts that seek His glory and not our own!

Q: Have you seen God working in your heart in not seeking credit for what you've done? No details are needed, but it's so, so good to rejoice of the glory of God. If He is working on you, would you just offer a praise to Him with me? :D


Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 
1 Corinthians 13:4-6

when pinterest makes you long for more {coveting}

I saw this last week on my friend Ashley's Facebook page and thought it was absolutely hilarious because I'm so there too:


Hey, if you kept your kids alive and took a shower, you're definitely a winner in my book! :D Bonus points if your kids got a shower too! {mine sure didn't!! hahaha!! :D we avoid bathing them as much as possible.... ;)}.

When my kids were really little the shower was majorly my happy place....and in 10 years of homemaking I still haven't made my own soap! ;)

I feel that sometimes we need to think of Pinterest as a one big magazine- enjoy the pretty pictures, bookmark that fun idea for later, then set it aside mentally and just be happy with the shower for now. :)

the danger of Pinterest

We have to be careful to guard our contentment, and Pinterest is such an interesting beast- so much to learn, but so much to lust after too. It's a very good place to covet freely, and in the privacy of your home or on your phone...all the time. And honestly, it's very much an acceptable sin, even in Christian circles. I think we don't even recognize what coveting is any more.

I didn't use Pinterest for a long time because it created internal anxiety in me- I wanted to do all those things I saw- all the awesome projects were such great ideas, and I thought I needed to do them too. Looking back, I was coveting what I saw- longing to do things I didn't need to do- longing to be more of this or that, or to have more. 

After a long time of avoiding it, I don't know what happened, but I could use it more as a tool.  I think it had to do with my purpose there. When I first started using it, I was just looking around for fun

When I came back to it months later, I started using it specifically for homemaking and recipe ideas to go along with the blog. I still have to be careful when I use it now, because sometimes I really want what I see- things I didn't even know I "needed" before I saw it there. Coveting becomes a slippery downhill slide that happens quickly. Oh, I like that. Oh, I want that.

Like any sin, Pinterest itself is not the problem. It's about the heart- are we coveting after what we see? Do we try to think of ways we can look more like them, or have more of this? If so, it might be time to shut it down for a while, and pray about it.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”
exodus 20:17

If you think you might have a coveting problem caused by Pinterest, I would love to encourage you to:

1. pray about it.
If you feel that anxiety in your heart when you see things on Pinterest, pray hard about it. If you long for what you see, you might be coveting. Ask God to tell you- what is your heart set on? A nicer home? Being well-dressed? Having, doing, or being more of something you're not? Ask God to show you your heart in this.

2. fast from it.
While you're praying about it, maybe even consider fasting from it too. I know a lot of us have done this with Facebook, but I think it's helpful for Pinterest too. See what hold it has on your heart. See if you feel more content without it while you're asking God to lead you.

3. give it a purpose.
If and when you do return, I would strongly consider giving it a purpose. Like looking for recipes, home ideas, etc. Go through your following boards and feel free to delete boards that don't serve those purposes. If you feel you have a hard time not lusting after houses, stop looking at home boards. The same with fashion or anything else.

4. don't be afraid to turn it off.
It's better that you never know how to be a better organizer than to engage your soul in constant coveting. I promise. Discontentment is a very real problem, and for some of us it's hard to stay content when we constantly see what we don't have {even when it's under the guise of being helpful.} Please don't be afraid to cut it off. It will be so much better for your soul.

5. focus on Jesus.
Set your eyes on things above, not on things on this earth {Colossians 3:2}.  No amazing house, no perfect recipe, no list of 105 ways to decorate your Christmas tree can ever compare with Him. Give Him your heart- your full attention. If you feel like the world {which is Pinterest in a nutshell} is taking your gaze off of Him, pray hard and spend time in His word. Nothing is more important.

Don't let your heart lead you away. He is everything friends, and if you feel anything is pulling you toward sin, it's pulling you away from Him.

Jesus can conquer coveting- look to Him, and He will answer! :D He is so GOOD to us!! {and we have a heavenly home waiting for us that far exceeds the best Pinterest house. Just sayin'.}



Q: How do you feel about Pinterest? Can you enjoy the pictures without coveting or feeling tempted to do and have it all? Have you fasted from it too?

Please share your thoughts! :)

free Christmas printables and projects

Emily from Jones Design Company {one of my very favorite bloggers!} is offering all of her Christmas tutorials in one place this year. If you haven't been to her site, you should see it! She's amazingly talented.

Over and over I find myself inspired by her style {in fact, my newly remodeled kitchen was subconsciously inspired by hers- I kept making these design choices and thinking this looks so familiar! And then I figured out where I'd seen it before! heehee. Her kitchen is so pretty!!}

Hop on over to download her awesome tutorials and printables for free:


thrifty thursday: hot Target deals {nov.15, 2012}

As much as I love thrifting, sometimes the thrift stores just can't beat my favorite clearance deals at Target. :D Target is one of my favorite places to find new Christmas gifts at bargain prices.

I found a few deals I'm in love with right now:

This adorable two-tier server is only $6.22 {perfect to give someone a Christmas fruit basket this year!}:


And I'm imagining cookies and mixes in this sweet medium vintage-style basket for just $4.02:



It's perfect for holding silverware for the holidays and then for pencil/craft organization through the year. You could even fill it with two canned cokes, a movie, and a bag of popcorn or candy for a Christmas gift! :D

I've mentioned before that I'm a fan of the Target debit card- you save 5% and get free shipping all the time at Target.com.  You can also check out this article to get a few more online creative gift ideas this year!

p.s. here is what my closet looked like from yesterday's project:


It needs a good dusting now, but it's clutter-free! Hallelujah! :D

working-on-it wednesday {office closet reorganization}

It seems like there are always two closets in my house that refuse to stay organized. {Before you get impressed, we only have three small closets in our 1895 home so that’s actually a very bad ratio of clean to awful. ;)}

Honestly, I would love to build a few more closet spaces into our rooms, because I love to stuff things behind closed doors and pretend they don’t exist. Just ask my mom about 1988. I was an expert junk stuffer, even when I was 6.

So it’s probably a good thing that we only have three small closets in the house. I can only shove so much stuff in them that way. It basically forces me to keep down the clutter. ;)

We have this office closet that is consistently messy, and here’s what it looks like right now:

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There’s no room left to stuff anything, so we have to do something. ;)

The overflow might be even worse:

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Luckily most of those are empty boxes, and the full boxes contain the second round of Mandy’s Closet {hopefully coming soon!}, so I don’t have to go through all of them. I just have to find a place to put them. ;)

And that’s what I’m working on this Wednesday. I hope it doesn’t take the entire day to do it, but it just might! I’m planning to post pictures later tonight of the finished closet {assuming it does get finished, ha!}.

What are you working on? Snap a pic and upload it to your comment if you want to join in having a little accountability for your project this week! {just click the tiny picture icon on the far bottom left to upload a pic from your computer!}

 

p.s. thank you, sweet friends, for all your kind words in response to this post yesterday. I love you guys so so much! Thank you for your encouragement!

following Jesus as woman in today’s world {part 1}

womanfollowing

Do you ever wonder how a woman in 2012 is supposed to be like Jesus in 30 A.D.?

That question was on my heart the other day as I drove to the gym. So I asked God.

“Lord, forgive me for asking, but how am I supposed to be like a man who lived 2000 years ago? I’m a helpmate, a woman, a mother in a modern age- not at all like the Jesus, the Lord of all things, who lived and walked here in the flesh so many years ago in Israel.”

Not even a minute passed, and the Lord started to answer. He started pouring out ways I, a mama of four and a wife of a man, could be like His Son, right here and right now.

The first way hit me in the gut.

I was completely taken aback when He said this:

He did not try to make himself seem beautiful to the world.

Oh. my. goodness. Why did I ask?

Here I am on the way to the gym in full makeup.

Oh, no.

Yes, Lord, I’m listening. You’ve got my attention. And I feel a bit sick.

“Remember,” He said,

“For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.” {Isaiah 53:2}

He didn’t try to make himself look more appealing to His culture, the Pharisees or anyone else for that matter. Now this is just a guess, but he probably didn’t whiten his teeth, use an age-defying moisturizer followed by a glowing primer, topped with a great matte foundation to cover up His flaws, all while running and eating cabbage so His thighs would get smaller.

Ugh.

He wasn’t pretty. And He didn’t try to be.

Oh, Father.

As I drove, His quiet voice asked, “how many hours a day do you spend making yourself look beautiful to the world?”

The answer came instantly.

Hours. Every day.

I spend hours and hours at the gym each week. I spend plenty of minutes putting on makeup each day. I wash my hair, I dry it for 30 minutes a few times a week. I have five different skin care products I use on a daily basis.

For what?

For whom?

It was like taking a punch to the gut.

I’d like to believe that God wants me to look beautiful so that I can share his message to the world- so that I can reach those around me by being noticeable. By being different.

But that is not what Jesus did.

He did not seek the notice of others. He did not seek to make himself appealing so that he could share his message.

What does that mean for me?

How do I learn from Jesus 2000 years later?

I follow His example. I make myself less noticeable, and my Father more noticeable.

It can’t be about following rules- like avoiding makeup or any sort of beauty treatment. That would be trying to follow the law. And I will fail when it comes to following the law.

This is about my heart.

And unfortunately, it’s not pretty.

I care far, far too much about my appearance to the world.

My heart is clever and deceitful- it tries to make it about Jesus, but it’s honestly at it’s root, it’s not.

It’s pride. I want to be admired, or at least thought of as pretty or trendy. And while my heart loves Jesus like crazy, I can’t love myself that much and put Him first. I'm being like a whitewashed tomb.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.” Matthew 23:27

I hate talking about this sort of thing because it’s not fun and easy; in fact, it’s far too hard of a thing to follow. At least it is for me, anyway.

I will fail at this. I constantly fail at this.

I know my heart.

But my God knows it even better.

And He is slaying these idols one leg, one arm, one finger, at a time.

I don’t have any simple steps to follow, no list of ways to cast down the desire to appear beautiful to the world.

I only have God.

And I know that He is bigger and stronger than my selfish desires.

I know without a shadow of a doubt that He can change this stubborn, prideful, selfish heart into a heart like His. He can help me lose the desire to make myself appear more beautiful to the world.

It’s not about the makeup.

It’s not about the exercise. It’s not about the five skin care products. They aren’t sinful.

It’s my heart. My heart is full of love for itself.

That is sin. And it needs to die.

I praise God for shedding light in dark places, even when my sinful heart loves those dark places. 

I praise Him for redeeming me and making me beautiful by giving me a new heart through the sacrifice of the blood of His perfect Son.

God give me a heart that is fully yours.

Don’t let me focus on my appearance. I don’t want to serve myself in my hours on this earth. I want to serve you and only you, Lord.

Change me, change my longings and desires to be only for you, God. Let my adorning come from your Spirit, not from the dresses I wear or the things I put on.

And let not your adornment be merely external-- braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:3-5

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next week: following Jesus as a woman today {part 2}

when you feel weary and tired :: embracing God’s sweet gift of sleep

Do you ever feel completely exhausted?

And does it come in seasons for you?

It does for me. I’ve learned October will be the month we are very busy, and that I need two weeks of November to recover.

The older I get, the more I notice that I need rest. And more than I used to.

I’m starting to see these rhythmic patterns in my life- I’m wondering if you have them too?

It’s taken me a while to see these seasons. I have no idea why it’s taken 30 years to see them- I’ve heard Ecclesiastes 3 since I was a tiny girl. Solomon knew what he was talking about. :)

A time to work hard. A time to rest.

Times for parties and spending, followed by times of quiet and saving.

Times for holidays and feasts, and lots of them. Then time recovering from them.

It’s really a beautiful thing, because without one, we wouldn’t enjoy the other quite so much.

I think even our bodies have a natural rhythm of their own. Gain and then lose. Run and then rest.

My body is in a season of rest right now. So very graciously, God has let my mind get out of the do, do, do mode. Suddenly I don’t feel the pressing need to finish the laundry. I just really want to take a nap.

The good girl inside, much like Martha, says, “No naps- you have too much to do. You need to work.”

And the other part of me {Mary?} shakes her head, and says, “No, friend, it’s time to rest and refocus your priorities. Keep your eyes on what’s important…” :)

Last week I slept for more hours than I ever do.  Thanks to my husband, I slept in late, I took naps almost every day. And I never take naps these days.

And you know what? This week, I feel so much better. So much less stressed, even though I’m behind on my house and my kitchen is completely covered in sawdust from our DIY counter installation.  {It’s bad!}

I’m allowing myself to rest this month. And I’m encouraged by the multiple instances of Jesus resting in the Bible. Sometimes I forget that He made resting and listening to the Father in quiet such an important part of his ministry. Sometimes I forget the Bible actually gives us so much encouragement and direction about our weariness!

If you are weary- if you are exhausted, I just want to encourage you today- rest in Him. Sleep is truly a gift to our human bodies from our Father.

If you have a teeny baby or toddlers right now, you are in a season of hard, hard work. I want to encourage you to sleep when they do if you can. You will feel better, happier, and be more productive when you are awake. 

Looking back at all my years with babies- the best years were ones I didn’t demand too much of myself. I just slept and sat down and nursed {a lot!} and enjoyed life with my baby. And you know what? I don’t regret that. I don’t remember the chores I didn’t get done. It was for a season, and then the season was gone.

IMG_9235these hands won’t be little forever…

As they grow up, things get easier, sweet mamas, and most of the time you can even stay up on the laundry. {I’m never, ever done, but the pile is nothing like it used to be, and my kids are bigger now!}.

Seasons change, and just like that, you’ll be in a completely different place than you were even two years ago. The Nester encouraged me with that at Allume in the marriage Q&A. She has teenagers now, and she said it’s so much different than when she had younger kids. I haven’t gotten there yet, but it’s encouraging to be reminded that life won’t be like this forever. There are seasons, and I should enjoy them.

If you’re overwhelmed and exhausted right now, ask the Lord if there is a way you can let some homemaking things go for a while and catch up on a little rest.

Ask your husband what he thinks you can spend less time on. My husband always encourages me to do less, and he gives me specific ways when I ask him {and I try to actually take his advice. I’m certainly not the best at slowing down. ;)}.

Honestly, my husband wants me to be rested for him, as I’m sure most husbands probably want their wives to be. I really think most of them could not care less about the laundry. Choose them and your kiddos over the laundry. You won’t regret it. :)

If you’re weary, choose rest. Sleep for a little while if you can. You will feel so much better when you let yourself recover from a busy season.

Thank you Lord Jesus, for sweet rest. Help us to rest when you want us to rest, and work when it is time. Thank you for all of the seasons!

Ecclesiastes 3

1For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven,

2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

5 out-of-the-box ways to earn extra income

ways to earn

A sweet stay-at-home mama wrote to me last week asking if I knew of ways she could make extra money while staying at home with her kiddos. I’ve been blessed to be able to stay home with my little ones over the past 9 years, and even more blessed to be able to bring in some kind of income while staying home, so I’m really excited to share a few things that might work for you all too! I definitely know every dollar made or saved counts when you have only one income. :)

Here are my five favorite out-of-the-box ways to earn extra money without working more than a handful of hours away from home:

1. Become a fitness trainer.

It’s certainly not for everyone, but if you like working out and being around people, fitness training might be just the job for you. It allows you to generally choose your hours {if you want to be home before your kids wake up, you could teach a 5 a.m. fitness class}, and it’s a great way to make sure you get your exercise. I love teaching group fitness classes!

You have two options to do very part-time work contractor work in fitness: you can either become a personal trainer, or you can be a group fitness instructor.

You can get a general certification to teach or do personal training, or find a specific program you like to teach to a group. I teach two Les Mills group fitness classes: BODYPUMP and BODYCOMBAT, and I’m also certified in PiYo.

If you like group fitness, attend your favorite classes regularly and get to know your instructor- most often they will be more than willing to tell you how to become certified or what you need to do to start teaching classes at your local gym.

2. Offer a date night service.

Rather than babysitting all week long, you could stay home with your family and work only a few hours at your house on Friday and Saturday nights by offering a date-night sitting service. Put the word out to your friends at church, take reservations, and set a price like $5 per kid, per hour, with discounts for multiple children. {Check your state laws about short-term babysitting- I believe every state has different rules on certifications.}

I would personally LOVE to have a sitter I know is always open for a weekend date night. :D

3. Sell your artistic talent.

Do you paint? Can you draw on the spot? Become a part-time artist, like my talented friend Lindsay. You could do portraits for friends or even offer face painting at birthday parties, and get paid by the hour or a set rate per party/event. You could also do art for your friends’ homes in their colors. I would so do this if I had a single artistic bone in my body. :)

Can you arrange flowers? Become a weekend florist from your home. You could sell affordable Valentine’s flowers in the month of February alone, or do weddings on the weekends. You could be very affordable to start with to build your portfolio- let them buy the flowers and add a fee to arrange them to keep your costs down.

{And I’m totally stealing some of these ideas from watching my friends from church: Lindsay, Laura, and Alison. They have all of these abilities and businesses in one family- art, flower arranging, and decorating. They are an amazing family!! In fact, Alison had these wedding flowers left and sent them home with me last Sunday! Aren’t they BEAUTIFUL? I love them! They are talented, I tell you! :D}

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4. Do social media consulting.

Are you a Twitter ninja? Do you know the ins and outs of Facebook pages? You could help local companies set up their online presence in social media. Set up accounts for them and show them the ropes for a fee, or become their social media presence behind the scenes, and post their events for them from home. You could work for a flat fee per month to post x number of times per day, or set a per instance rate.

5. Shop for your friends.

If you’re a thrifting pro, you’ll find your friends will often tell you they wish they could find the steals you did. Tell them you can do their shopping for them! Ask them what they’re looking for and then keep your eyes peeled. When you find it and they like it, add a percentage you’ve previously agreed on {like 25%} to the price of your score.

It’s a win-win! They saved the time and you found them the deal, still for much less than the price of retail. Most people I know would gladly pay a fee to not go thrifting. Just saying. :)

No matter which direction you go, the best way I find to make extra money is by offering a service to others. Services are low investment, and usually just require your time and effort, rather than a ton of money up front.

What are your favorite ways to make money on the side without being away from home for hours?

a challenge to open your heart and home this year: share your feast

Sometimes I hear so many stories of the hurting- so many stories of orphans and the broken. Stories of slavery, stories of war, stories of the lasting consequences of last year’s big natural disaster.

I see so many pictures- row upon row of brown little faces on my screen- and my heart breaks.

I feel helpless, and I wonder how God sees every one of these faces and takes it.

I know He is God and can do anything, but I feel incapable of doing anything in the grand scheme of things, and my heart just wants to look away and let God take care of it. I know I can’t handle it.

It sometimes feels like I have mercy paralysis.

The worldwide internet brings a whole new level of opening our eyes to injustice.

Seeing all the broken, the hungry, the hurting makes my heart wants to go do something big- to change the world for Jesus.

I cried out to God about all these faces- and my incapability- my paralysis.

How can I do anything when there are so many in need, God?

And then He showed me.

In the midst of seeing all these little faces on my screen, I’ve been forgetting to see the face of the hurting walking down the street. 

I forget to see the face of the single mom who has no family and no extra money at the grocery store.

I lose sight of the lonely widow in the apartment across the road from me.

I am willing to do so much to change the world- but what am I doing to change the world around me?

The broken, the hurting, the hungry- are right here in my neighborhood.

Am I willing to show mercy to the ones who need it right here where I am?

Am I willing to open more than my wallet? Am I willing to open my home to the poor, the lonely, and the sick?

God, give me more than generous hands to give away.  Give me generous arms to open and embrace the broken like you did.

Change my world- right here where you’ve placed me. Help me to know who and where and when I am to help.

Jesus, take my money.  Lord God, take my home, and make it yours.

Help me to see the hurting and welcome them in to my life and heart, because that’s what you did.

Take my precious holidays that I hold so dear to my heart, and make them for your glory.

Help me to invite in someone who specifically needs your love this year.  Help me to give away more than money or food- help me to share your love with them.

When I hold a feast, God, let me invite in the broken- those who are desperately in need of you.

Don’t let me be paralyzed by all the faces on my screen.

Give me specific ones to whom I can show your love. Let me start where I am. To be faithful with little first.

Lord, change my heart to be yours. To lose myself and my desires for my own life. Please change lives wherever you place me. May your Spirit be known by all who see me, God.

Help me to share my feast.

God, if it’s your will, open the hearts of others to do the same- to minister your Spirit to the hurting, and help them to invite them into their hearts and lives right where they are.

homefeast

Last fall, God wrecked me with these verses:

He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” Luke 14:12-14

Did you realize we are holding feasts this season?

Who are these feasts for?

Are they for ourselves?

Or could they be used for the glory of God?

What better way to show the love of Jesus firsthand- open your heart- your home to the broken.

Last year I offered you a challenge, and I want to ask you again:

Invite someone you wouldn't normally invite to your feast this year.

Share your feast with someone who doesn't have a loving and living home.

Be Jesus to the poor and the needy right where you are.

Show them- show them the love of Jesus firsthand by loving them and welcoming them into your life. Money doesn't change people's lives. Free food doesn't change people's lives. Jesus does. And He wants to do it through us.

When we open our homes to the poor, and welcome them into our lives with love, we are displaying the hope that is in us- seeing them like Jesus saw them and us both- broken, and in need of a Savior.

Will it be strange? I'm guessing it will be. It's not easy to change what we know, and inviting someone different than us may challenge our families and feel awkward at first.

We love the comfort of the familiar. But isn't that the most dangerous thing? Our comfort? This world is not our home- we have to be careful not to make life here more important than the life that is to come.

Imagine what can happen when we share the Gospel in person, with the lost, and when we give up our most precious holidays for someone else? What will that show them?

This is something anyone can do- no special skills or talents required, and that extra mouth can be fed at your table for very little.  And you know God will provide the means.

Open your arms to someone who needs it this year- use the gifts you've been given to share the love of Jesus with others- this is what biblical homemaking is really about. It's about being the light in the darkness- the city on a hill- to those around you. Your home is your city- a place of your ministry of hope in Christ. What a sweet opportunity to share what we've been given with others!

You can make a difference, even under the roof of your own home.

Love others. Show them the grace you’ve been given. Welcome someone in with open arms this season.

Will you prayerfully consider this challenge with me?