GIVEAWAY: Three-Tiered Trays for You AND a Friend!

I got so excited about seeing this three-tiered tray on CLEARANCE that I did what any budget-savvy mom would do….I bought three of them!

Giveaway

 

After realizing I had room for only one, I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity for a giveaway – a chance to thank my readers but also a way to share some love with our friends.

Tiered trays not only perfect for decorating from season to season but they are also a great organizational tool.  They allow you to add lots of fun decor to any room without taking up much space…unless you have three of them.

To enter for a chance to win, head over to Renovated Faith’s Instagram account @RenovatedFaith and do the following:

1. Follow my Instagram account @RenovatedFaith
2. Comment with the name of a friend.

And that’s it!  Not only will you be entered for a chance to win but you friend will be entered also!

Some restrictions apply:
– Must be over 18 to win.
– Must live in the USA (for shipping).
– Giveaway closes on Friday, May 5th at noon, CST.

instagram giveaway

Have fun and have a great time enjoying the spring weather!

‘Til Next Time,

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DIY Topiary Trees with Tiered Boxwood

What is it about spring that makes everything seem right in the world?  Dull hues of winter are quickly replaced by bright blooms and new green growth.  No matter the length of my to-do list, this season always gives me a sense of refreshment and renewal. 

birds nest

Whether it is the sight of beautiful flowers, the sound of baby birds or the cool breeze, I have decided that spring is without a doubt my favorite season.  I love to reflect this season in our home to bring inside the same fresh feeling of newness and restoration

entry way

One of my favorite ways to decorate for Spring is with boxwood balls and topiaries.  The bright green gives such a crisp contrast against spring flowers.  Boxwood is perfect to use throughout the year as they complement every season’s décor.  

small boxwoods

dining table

My favorite boxwood décor would have to be the two topiaries on my front porch that I included in my post 10 Steps to Affordable Curb Appeal.  They were such an easy DIY project and they make such an inviting statement.

front door topiaries.jpg

I made them at a fraction of the cost of those sold in stores and was able to make them exactly the size I wanted.  I have gotten many compliments on these topiaries and they have held up well over the past two years, even in the hot Texas sun.

finished topiary

What You Will Need:

  • Faux Boxwood balls
  • Long Branches
  • ¾ inch dowel rod
  • Wire
  • Stain
  • Decorative Pot or Urn
  • Aluminum pot – Small enough to fit in the pot/urn upside down
  • Hammer and large nail
  • Gorilla Glue
  • Scissors
  • Brush

Step 1:  Go online to find some faux boxwood balls.  The dried boxwood is very expensive and not the best option for outside.  You can find several faux options online that look very realistic.  I purchased mine at Joann’s.com when they had a 40% off sale.  I have also seem them at Hobby Lobby and consumercrafts.com.

To make a topiary that is configured like mine, you will need two 8-inch balls and one 10-inch ball but really any sizes will do.  This your opportunity to customize your topiaries to the size and style you want!

faux boxwood balls

Step 2:  Pick out a decorative pot or urn.  Ideally, you will want one that is heavy so that it is not easily blown over.

Step 3:  Find some very long straight branches and a ¾” dowel rod.  Combined together they will look just like a real boxwood stem.  If you can’t find branches, you can also use ¼ inch dowel rods at found at Home Depot.  I used branch trimmers to the larger dowel rod to …inches.  You can cut your branches about 8 inches shorter than the dowel rod.  You don’t want the branches to extend down into the aluminum pot, just the main dowel rod.

stem

I then fastened several of branches to the dowel rod with wire to make a large “stem”.  This is way more realistic looking than using one big dowel rod.  I tied wire around the stem branches underneath where each ball would go so the wire won’t be visible when it is all together.  The below picture is a side-view of the stained stem.

stem upclose.jpg

 

Step 4 :  Once you have your dowel rods or branches tied together, it is now time to stain.  I used a sample can ($2.30) of Behr’s semi-transparent deck stain in chocolate, because it is what I had on hand.  You could really use any stain or gel stain.  Ideally, you want to paint the stain on and let it be kind of streaky.  I let that dry for a couple of days.

bucket

Step 5 :  In the meantime, take your aluminum bucket and put it upside down in your decorative pot.  Use gorilla glue to glue the edges in the pot and let it dry 24 hours.

gluing bucket

Step 6 :  After the stain has dried, it’s time to make a hole for the trunk of the topiary.  I used a large nail and hammer and kept hammering holes until I had one big hole just the size of the set of sticks.  You want it to be a tight fit.

IMG_3407.JPG

Step 7 :  When the hole is the right size, squeeze some gorilla glue into the hole so it goes to the bottom of your pot or urn.  Stick in the trunk and make sure it is straight.  Let that dry 24 hours.  The gorilla glue expands and will hold everything in place.

glue is dried 

Step 8:  Take your boxwood balls and cut some of the net-like interior, just enough so the balls can fit tightly on the step

IMG_3412.JPG

One of my topiary balls was sliding down the step, so I wired some of that interior netting to the sticks.  (You’ll find most of these faux boxwood balls are hollow with an interior plastic netting that all the leaves attach to.)

You are done!

twin topiaries

Like I mentioned, boxwood topiaries are great to have around the house because they work for all seasons.  I love that they are the one decoration in the house I never have to change out.

DIY topiaries

Spring reminds me of new life but also consistency.  God tells us in Revelation 21:5 that He will make all things new one day.  Until then, we have spring’s reminder of the renewal and restoration that comes from only Him.

As God’s all about making things new, He offers us rejuvenation from life’s hardships and worries today.  Just as God cares for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, He personally cares about your every care and concern.

“Cast all your anxiety on Him, for He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7  Although seasons of life change and our lives never seem to calm down, His love never changes.  He is our true constant, the one thing we can cling to as a calm in the midst of a storm. 

What do you feel is weighing you down?  Where are you in need of renewal and a fresh start?  Know that He cares for you more than you can possibly fathom and He waits for you to bear all your worries and fears.

 

Join us for Renovated Faith’s first giveaway!

Renovated Faith is giving away TWO of these three tiered trays – one for you and one for a friend!  Check back to see how to enter!

1 peter 5 7

 

‘Til Next Time,

 

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The Blessing of “No”: Why God Never Laughs At Our Plans (Free Printable)

Have you waited for your plans to come unfold only to have them fall apart?  Have you mapped out the blueprint to your life but can’t seem to make it a reality?  You may have heard the joke, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans”.  But in reality, as difficult as it is to let go of our expectations, God’s “no” is so often what we need most.

God's blueprint

One spring day, my dad was going through my grandparents’ old things.  In the trash pile, I saw some old rolled-up blueprints.  I unrolled them to find a picture of a house that was never built and a dream that had never been realized.

My grandparents lived in New Jersey and had grand plans to build the very home sketched on those worn, brittle pages.

However, God had a different plan. 

Establishes Steps - Renovated Faith

An opportunity to start their own photography business arose in Houston and the house they had dreamed of was never built.   Knowing the move from New Jersey to Texas would be a difficult one, they almost changed their minds at the last possible minute.  However, the moving van was just around the corner and so were the plans that the Lord had laid before them.

What would have happened if the dream of that house was realized?  What would have come about if they had stayed in New Jersey and adhered to their plan?  For one thing, my parents may have never met and I would have never been born.  They had to make a sacrifice to follow the right plan and my life was one result of many.

blueprint closeup

In the same way, God had to tell His only son “no”.  While praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, right before Judas’ betrayal, Jesus prayed out to His Father, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)

God knew that Christ’s death on the cross would force His only Son to bear merciless pain but the outcome would be far worth His suffering.  As a result of Christ’s death on the cross, a sacrifice was made allowing anyone access to eternal life by having faith in Him.

In every situation, the source for God’s “no” is His love for us.  There are several things we can learn from this example in Gethsemane:

  1. God understands that change is hard for us. It was not sinful that Christ asked for the cup to be taken from Him.   Therefore, it is not a sin to ask for a break from suffering, but like Christ, we should be submissive to God’s plans overall.
  2. God knows suffering is…well, suffering. He realizes pain is difficult and He doesn’t expect us to like it.  It’s a sacrifice for a reason.  No grit, no pearl.
  3. Our plans don’t make God laugh. God doesn’t take joy in our suffering.  Can you imagine the anguish God felt when He had to watch His Son die on the cross?  God changes our plans because He knows sometimes difficulties are necessary for us to experience His best.
  4. God’s no is ALWAYS worth it. Christ experienced the depths of human anguish on a level we will fortunately never fully experience.  But in the end, He appeared before the disciples, his fishing buddies, and showed them the scars on his hands, with joy in His heart and the gleam of heaven in His eye.  Because of His sacrifice, we can experience that same joy in His Presence.

We’ve all been there.  Each of us had experienced times when God had said no to our dreams – when he has closed a door that we always envisioned walking through.  So often I have kicked and screamed when these times have come, pouting all the way as God ushers me to plan B.  But in reality, I eventually realize that His plans were Plan A all along, that He knew what was best, in spite of what I thought was best for me.

When I look at the blueprint, now framed in our office, I am thankful for God’s “no’s”  Whether it was the boy I shouldn’t have been dating, the career I would have been miserable in or the house that wasn’t meant to be, He knew His plans were best and loved me enough to redirect me from what I thought I wanted most.

no grit no pearl
To download this printable, check out my post DIY Faux Painted Signs (Free Scripture Printables)

Where are you stuck right now?  Do you feel like God is putting up a roadblock to some area or your life?  Here are three possible reasons for God’s “no” in your life right now.

  1. Disobedience – God tells us “no” when we are not obedient to Him and His Word. Fortunately the Lord is faithful to those who return to Him.  God disciplines those He loves as a father disciplines His child in order to protect them.  Defiantly seeking things not of Him is like sticking your hand in snake den. Eventually you will get bitten and the results will be painful, if not deadly.
  2. Just Wait” – So often a “no” is really God’s way of telling us to wait either because we aren’t ready for what’s ahead or the circumstances aren’t in place yet. Be patient to see what God has in store – it’s worth the wait!
  3. NO = “My plans are better” – God only changes our plan because His path is better than what we desire. “Better” doesn’t necessarily mean “easier” but His Design will always be worthwhile.

Establishes Steps

“The mind of man plans his way but the Lord directs His steps” (Proverbs 16:9).  There is nothing this world can offer greater than having the creator of the Universe lead you every step of the way.  I would rather walk with God in the dark than go alone in the light.  Even in the hardest of times, we can have contentment knowing that He is our protector.

What about YOU???   What blueprints aren’t going into the construction phase?  What doors is God closing?  Pray to God about what you are experiencing and thank Him for what plans He is working on behind the scenes.

blueprints

I hope you were encouraged by my post this week!  If you would like to receive weekly updates from Renovated Faith in your inbox, click HERE.

‘Til Next Time

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What A Break From Social Media Taught Me

The red dot popped up again so I dropped what I was doing to check my notification only to realize that I was invited to yet another direct sales group.  I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t something more exciting.  Something more pressing.  Something more significant.

What is it about that red dot?  Why do I feel the need to drop everything, whether I’m reading my Bible or having a sweet conversation with my daughter?  Why is it so compelling?

When I was little, there were no red dots.  There was a mailbox on the porch and a phone with a cord but nothing quite so instantaneous – nothing that beckoned my attention so strongly and discreetly.

vintage phone

This stage of life has been a challenging one.  As a stay-at-home mom and blogger, I have struggled with remembering that my significance is in Christ alone.   In my prior life before motherhood, I had a high-profile job on a church staff.   To a degree, I put my identity in my role and my seminary training.  As a result, I often find myself grasping for significance where it simply cannot be found.

When I get to the heart of the matter, I get excited about the potential of someone on the other end of the red dot who related to something I said, looked at my blog or just liked the funny meme I posted.  My true intention is never to seek the approval of others but sin is subtle and the enemy knows our weaknesses.

Especially as women, who think 12 thoughts while simultaneously juggling just as many tasks, the enemy likes to fly under the radar.  Our most destructive thoughts are the ones we are least aware of and it is absolutely no coincidence that these temptations emerge when we least expect them – usually at the most chaotic of times.

Renovated Faith

It’s difficult to admit that those dots gave me a subtle, but present, feeling of being needed, wanted and valued – nevermind the fact that it was in a social media realm that doesn’t truly exist.  All the while, my Creator and Savior sits waiting for me to open my eyes to where my true significance lies.  He beckons me to cultivate the one relationship that matters most but I’m too caught in my own web of self-involvement that His grace-filled invitations often go unnoticed. 

As an experiment, I decided to delete facebook from my phone at least for a time.  I left it on my computer because it is still a tool I use it to keep up with friends and to share blog posts.  Deleting it from my phone made is much less accessible and therefore less enticing.  Here are some things I discovered:

  • Drug-like Habit – Even after deleting it from my phone, I would mindlessly pick it up with the intention to scroll through my newsfeed. Almost like an involuntary reflex, I picked it up over a dozen times the first day out of pure habit.
  • What I Missed Out On – At the end of the day, I looked forward to going to my computer to see ALL the amazing content I must have missed.  To my surprise, I missed nothing – unless you count some empty notifications and the chance to learn about these beauties from a friend’s post.
TopShop Jeans
Source
  • New Focus – I completed tasks faster and was much more focused as I worked on them.
  • Mental Excuse – My mornings were smoother.  I realized I would lay in bed and scroll through my newsfeed purely out of hesitation to “start my day”. I would often use my phone as a mental excuse to not do something I dreaded or feared.
  • Pray Instead – When I got the itch to check my phone, I decided to pray instead. After just one week, my prayer life has been much better am giving my fears to God instead of just avoiding those situations by checking my phone.

 

The problem isn’t social media so much as what social media provides – instant gratification – quick and easy access to the things we desire most.  In our eyes, it can be a catalyst to what we hold dear – but in reality, it only supplies quick delivery on flawed goods.   Like hoping to find a rare diamond in a gumball machine, we look to the wrong place for what we need most.

The things that give us true meaning and fulfillment take time, work and commitment:  Relationships, job fulfillment, contentment – “there’s no app for that”.

Social Media Addiction

So often, we fall into the trap of seeking good things in the wrong location.  This is the very crux of our humanity.  Just like Eve who sought knowledge – but from the forbidden tree, or Sarah who sought motherhood – but in her own time-frame by having her husband lay with her maidservant.

Fortunately, our significance doesn’t come from how much others notice us.  It’s quite the contrary.  What God has called you to do, although seemingly insignificant is important simply because He has called you to do it. 

Significance

We are significant because our connection to Him and Him alone, no matter our status.  Don’t confuse your significance with your station in life.  Whether you are a stay at home mom or a CEO, we all play an important role in God’s plan.

What if we evaluated Mary’s significance by her station in life at the time of Christ’s birth.  She was an average Jewish woman giving birth in today’s equivalent of a barn, and not the white shiplap type.  However, her intrinsic value as a child of God and the mother of our Savior makes her an invaluable tool for God’s purposes.  Our surroundings and status are independent of our worth as they are props on the stage of His divine plan to bring about His will in our lives.

Our significance comes not because of how many see what we do but significance comes because of our connection to Christ.  God loves to use ordinary things and make them extraordinary.  Simply say yes to God’s plans.  Use your ordinary life to serve and extraordinary Savior.

If you find yourself constantly checking your phone often and for no apparent reason, what are you hoping to get from it?  Is it significance or something else entirely?  What do you feel like you are missing and where are you running to fill the desires that only Christ can?  Take a minute to pray about that and you’ll be amazed at the freedom of remembering where your significance lies.

‘Til Next Time,

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Social Media

The Right Way to Refinish a Rolltop Desk

Roll top desks are such classy statement pieces in any home.  It’s so rare to find one in excellent condition.  They are notorious for being difficult to paint because you can easily gunk up the tambour (rolling portion) with paint causing it not to roll at all.  If you are lucky enough to come across one, here are some tips for a successful transformation.

You Will Need:

  • Brushes and 6″ rollers
  • Wood Filler
  • Mouse Sander with low (60) and higher (180) sanding pads.
  • Zinsser 123 Primer
  • White Paint – I used Behr Ultra in Ultra White Satin
  • Base Coat for Faux Stain – I used Behr Honey Butter Flat
  • Gel Stain – I used Minwax Gel Stain in Walnut
  • New Hardware
  • Minwax Wipe-on Polyurethane.

I stumbled upon this desk on a Facebook page that a friend was selling.  This desk was perfect to redo because the top portion comes off and the tambour just slides out making it so much easier to refinish.  The desk was structurally in great shape but the surface needed some love.

Rolltop Before

I knew I was going to sell this piece so I decided to do the surface a dark stain using my gel stain method and would paint the rest white.  I realized that the plastic sleeve on both sides that the tambour slides into was already dark brown so I tried to spray paint it white to match what would be white.  Let me save a little spray paint and a lot of frustration by telling you that was a horrible idea.

Spray Paint Rolltop

The spray paint started peeling away when I moved the tambour up and down.  It looked horrible so I spent over an hour scraping the spray paint out with a putty knife.  I decided to faux stain the interior of the top to better match the plastic sleeves as there was no easy way to change their color.

Spray painting the tambour is also a horrible idea.  Ask me how I know…

I took off the hardware and filled obvious holes, scratches and dents on the desk with wood filler.

Filler

After 48 hours of drying, I sanded the entire desk with a rough sandpaper pad (60) with my mouse sander.  Have I mentioned lately how much I love my sander?!? Below is a picture of the two of us!   (Also, wear a respirator or mask when sanding the wood filler because those tiny particles can get in your lungs…No bueno!)

SanderSanding

Sand the tambour by laying it out flat on the ground and sand as you would the rest of the desk.

SandingTambour

After sanding it was time to prime.  Once again I used Zinsser 123 water-based primer.  I just found out they made a spray paint  version which I will have to try out on my next project.  Get a nice thick coat of primer on your piece of furniture.  You’ll notice that I didn’t get any primer on the groove the tambour slides into.

Prime 1

After priming the rest of the desk, I laid the tambour over a round kitchen garbage can that was on it’s side.  I wanted to open up the creases so I could get primer in each crease between the wood slats.  I was able to do this with a thin coat of primer.

Prime Tambour

Get just enough primer to fill in the dark portion in between the wood slats.  Use your brush to wipe off any excess and wipe your brush on some paper if you have too much paint on your brush.  You have time to wipe off the excess before it dries.  What you don’t want is a thick layer of wet, drippy paint on the tambour or the paint will crack once it dries.  The Zinsser 123 Primer is perfect for this application because it is thin but clings well to the grooves while covering well.

prime 2

At this point, fill any remaining holes, dents or scratches on the rest of the desk.  You should now be able to see them easier with the piece primed.  Sand those parts after they are dry.

Halfway into this process, I realized  that this desk didn’t have any of the cute ‘card catalog’ style drawers that you so often see on these desks.  I decided to add some using some unfinished jewelry boxes I found online.

Jewelry Boxes 1Jewelry Boxes 2

I bought two for each side and glued them together with carpenter’s glue and clamped them overnight to dry.  I also pulled off the wooden knobs, filled the holes and then made holes for some cute pulls.  Make your holes before you paint because you don’t want to risk screwing up the final finish.  I then glued the drawers onto the inside of the desk using wax paper to ensure the glue didn’t seep onto the desk top.

Base Coat 1

 

I started painting the desk with the yellowish base coat on the places I would faux stain and used white on the rest.  It took a couple coats of white paint because the desk was so dark.

I used the same process on this desk as I did with the end tables in my post How To Gel Stain Wood  Here is a pic of the first coat of gel stain.  You want to leave some sections only partly covered in the first coat to make the second coat a little more translucent and “wood-grain-like” in those parts.

Gel Stain

Back to the tambour…While I let each coat of gel stain dry at least 24 hours, I laid the tambour flat on the concrete and added a thin coat of white.  Again brush off any excess.  It was still a little streaky at this point but you will touch that up towards the end

After the second and final gel stain coat, I added a coat of wipe-on polyurethane to the stained parts.  The nice thing about latex paint and polyurethane is that you know that in 10 years the finish will look the same and be just as durable.   Both finishes provide a clean, wipe-able surface that will not hold dirt easily.

I have a friend that did her entire kitchen cabinets in chalk paint and wax.  They looked fantastic but after only 6 months they looked awful because the porosity of the chalk paint held on to every speck of dirt and dust in her kitchen.  She ended up redoing them in latex shortly after.  (Getting off my soapbox now…)

After touching up the tambour one last time, I put the desk together including the main drawers, the top and the tiny drawers.  I also added new hardware to the whole desk including ‘card catalog’ style drawer pulls to the top drawers.  Didn’t they turn out cute?

Drawers

 

Desk Transformation

Rolltop Desk with Stained Top

Notice the concrete floors in the background.  We had a massive flood which I shared about in my post Beauty From Chaos: How to Find Peace in Any Situation.

Rolltop Desk with Closed Top

This desk was quite an undertaking but worth it to bring out the full potential of such a fabulous vintage piece.  Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out my other furniture transformations!

Writing Desk Makeover

Coffee Table Reveal and a Word About Transparency

Made Over, Inside and Out – China Cabinet Transformation

 

‘Til Next Time,

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Rolltop Desk at www.renovatedfaith.comTheRightWayToRefinishARolltopDesk

Beauty From Chaos: How to Find Peace in Any Situation

You might remember my pristine DIY Entertainment Center that I featured on the blog a couple weeks ago.  Now marred by water damaged and covered with dust, these pieces currently sit in our garage…..entertainment-center-2Last Sunday night, we woke at midnight to our daughter screaming.  I ran into the living room to check on her, sure that I would find her in the midst of some frantic search for her mermaid doll that fell off the bed.  Apparently, her mermaid not only fell off the bed but went for a swim because she picked it up to find it was covered in water – as was most of our house!

Living Room

Two inches of water from a broken toilet valve now covered most of our home.  We sloshed through soaked carpet to try to move most of our furniture into the garage.   A company came to pull out the carpet and set up industrial fans and dehumidifiers for a week.  Carpet has been pulled up from every room,  much of our furniture is in the garage and the contents of every closet was left in a huge pile in the middle of each room in order to remove carpeting.  The wind and noise from the fans only reminded me that the state of our house was now a swirl of chaos.

For someone who likes to surround myself with order, beauty and solitude, my home quickly became a wet, concrete-laden, obstacle course of wet furniture, carpet tacks and confusion.

I had some unfinished furniture pieces in our garage and decided I needed to finish them up to make extra room.  I pulled a half-completed secretary into our living room (aka ground zero) to touch up.  This was a piece I worked on for my friend Rebecca to use as her daughter’s desk.

Secretary before

I began put the hardware on the secretary and soon a peace came over me.  The drawers had been strewn all over the house as I waited for them to dry.  It was no nice to see them finally come together to make something beautiful. I am reminded that in spite of chaos, God’s peace can still reign in our heart’s and minds – not matter the mess, no matter the struggles or disaster that surrounds us.

Priscilla’s Shirer’s The Armor of God is a Bible study that brings to light the spiritual warfare that surrounds us on a daily basis and how to combat it.  In it she states:

“Anywhere peace is lacking you can be sure the enemy is at work.”

Peace

This quote stopped me in my tracks.  I realized that my heart felt as chaotic as our household because I was allowing Satan’s lies and deception to steal my joy and contentment.

I was blaming my discontent on the state of our house but, in reality, the peace that God gives is not as the world gives. Just because I was surrounded by disorder, my heart can be calm because God can be trusted with even the messiest of situations.

The Lord recognizes that we will have hard times, but God’s overwhelming peace has the capacity to give you rest in the most turbulent of circumstances. 

So many times I have read Philippians 4:6-7.  It is a well-known verse that commonly adorns coffee mugs, picture frames and refrigerator magnets.  Unfortunately, when it comes to this verse, I often confuse familiarity with apathy.

Do Not Be Anxious

 

This is one of those powerful verses that the enemy would love for us to forget.

But how do we really experience God’s peace in the midst of horrible circumstances? 

Priscilla points out that this verse is intrinsically tied to Isaiah 26:3: “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

When we make a conscience effort to pray with thanksgiving, instead of allowing anxiety to rule our thoughts and emotions, we are expressing a firm trust in God and His care for us.  By taking this step in faith with thanksgiving, we are affirming that God has the capacity to overcome anything that life brings.

This is the key to unlocking the peace that so often alludes us…

As Priscilla Shirer says, “This kind of faith catches His attention and He response by activating His peace within us – a peace that will not only guard but also guide us by helping us to discern the direction God is leading us to take in our lives.  Note the progression: trust leads to thankfulness and gratitude activates peace.”

As I wrote in 7 Tips To Find Your Calling, let your fears and anxieties become a reminder that you have something to bring before the Lord in prayer.  When we trust our situation to God by submitting our concerns in prayer and thanksgiving, He will be faithful to release His peace in our lives.  Before you know it you will to see the beauty of his plans even in the midst of chaos.

My prayer is that your every anxious thought would filter through this truth leaving you with the peace that only He can give.

Even in the aftermath of the flood, I was able to complete this secretary.  If you look closely, you can see concrete floors in the background.  What a testimony to how God brings beauty from ashes, growth from decay, and hope from destruction.

aquagraysecretary

secretary2

Enjoy some of the pictures of the finished secretary!  If you liked this post, you might also like:

DIY Faux Painted Signs (Free Scripture Printables)DIY Faux Painted Signs (Free Scripture Printables)

When Anxiety Knocks and God Answers, Part 1

‘Til Next Time,

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When Peace is Lacking

 

Living a Legacy of Faith

The relevance of this discovery was not lost on me…. A couple weeks after the funeral my mom started going through his things.  In his wallet she found a torn scrap of newspaper.  No other quote could better exemplifies the character of my grandfather and childhood best friend:

“Resolve to be tender with the young,
compassionate with the aged,
sympathetic with the striving,
and tolerant of the weak and the wrong.
Sometimes in life you will have been all of these.”

After retiring from the refinery as union president, Fairburn Moseley took on the job of chaplain for a hydrant/valve corporation in Beaumont, Texas.  My grandfather’s job was to visit and pray with employees that were sick or injured.  He thrived in this capacity as someone who showed mercy to others with an attitude of humility.

For as far back as I can remember, he was always present in my life. He was there at my piano recital.  He was there at my ballet performance.  He was there when I busted my knee in the driveway.  He even took me fishing.  So many times, we would sit together on the wrought iron swing in the back.  We would swing for hours on end.  Sometimes we just sat.  Sometimes we would talk.   But always, he was there.

 

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Every Sunday after church we would go to my grandparents’ house as they lived just down the street from the church.  We had a weekly ritual of ordering pizza and eating it on tv trays in their living room while watching tv and talking.   Our Sunday lunches were definitely low-key, but that didn’t change the fact that they made a big impact on me.   I can still smell the pizza and feel the warm sunshine that streamed through the windows over my grandma’s sewing machine.

Late one Saturday night, I talked to my parents and decided to invite the Lord to “live in my heart,” as Baptists say.  Basically, I invited Christ to be Lord of my life by asking forgiveness of sin and professing my trust for salvation in Him because of Christ’s sacrifice.  This was the beginning of my relationship with Christ.  This was not an empty act but the first day of the rest of my life. 

My grandpa recognized that…

I “walked the aisle” that morning at church and we went over to my grandparents for lunch as usual.  As everyone went into the kitchen to get their pizza, he sat with me and solemnly said, “Karin, what you did today was a really good thing.”

There was nothing profound about those words but by his heartfelt demeanor, I knew He valued what I had done….rather, what Christ had done in me.

His presence in my life was vital to understanding how God loves me.  I learned that humility and mercy go hand in hand.  Out of his mercy, my grandfather wanted to give me the very best but was humble enough to realize that the best he could give me was not of him.  He was a conduit of love, grace and peace that was straight from God.  In my grandpa, I saw Him.

The same applied to how he loved others.  No matter their age, not matter their social status or intelligence, he loved them with the very love of Christ.

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What God needs most are men and women like him, who are willing to be present, to be full of grace and to exemplify the very qualities of God Himself.  Because of my relationship with my grandpa, whom I called Baba, I was able to better understand the same kind of characteristics in God. –  He approves of me.  He never leaves me.  He wants to spend time with me.

So often I struggle as a parent to know if I’m doing enough to encourage her faith.  In reality, the biggest impact I can make on her is focusing on my own faith – spending time with Him and allowing her to see Him in me.  My greatest parenting strategy is nurturing my own relationship with Christ.  

The greatest impact we can make in the life of another person is loving them well and encouraging their relationship with their Creator.  True ministry means getting out of God’s way in order for Him to intercede through us to offer grace, mercy and love to a lost and dying world.

This is not a flash in the pan ministry strategy.  There is nothing hurried or showy about God’s most important means of discipleship – establishing meaningful relationships with others.

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Leaving a legacy of faith means desiring to give someone your best, but recognizing the best we can give is not of us.  We make our greatest impact on others by living a life that points to Him.  God designed us to reflect His characteristics by leaving a legacy for others like a bright light for others to see.  Through an attitude of mercy and humility that comes from God Himself, we can do that.

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Free Scripture Verse Printables HERE

My grandfather lived out Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you: to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.”  God desires to free you from the burden of slavery and sin.  He is gentle and humble in heart – not giving us what we truly deserve but instead, lavishing us with grace and love beyond measure. 

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As I pass by this quote on my bookcase, I’m reminded not of the words on the page but the man who made them come to life.  I only knew him for 12 years but the lessons He taught me about how God cares for His own will last me an eternity.

 

 

Here’s a poem I wrote about him as a senior in high school:

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Thanks for taking the time to read about my grandfather that is still so close to my heart and memory.

Til’ Next Time,

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DIY Entertainment Center (without building a thing!)

When we moved into our house a year ago, I realized we would need a better solution to fill this large wall in our living room.  A small TV stand wasn’t going to cut it.   I needed an entertainment center with some shelves so the space wouldn’t look so barren.

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I looked at several media centers in furniture stores but they just weren’t my style and most were a few thousand dollars.   I needed a sleek, inexpensive solution to fill a large amount of wall space.

At one of the furniture stores, I stumbled upon this dresser in the “scratch and dent” section of the store.  At the time I purchased the dresser, it went on clearance for $300, less than half the original price!  It had a few scratches and one broken knob – I figured I’ve rehabed much worse!

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I realized I would need something on each end so I found these shelves at Target.  I liked the way the molding and the legs were very similar to those on the dresser.

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I have a deck of Behr paint swatches and found the color that best matched the white of the dresser.  Who knew there could be so many shades of white?!  I used that paint to touch up the scratches on the dresser and also paint the shelves.  (I used Zinsser Bullseye 123 Primer before painting since the shelves were so dark.)  This picture gives you an idea of what the shelves looked like with just one coat of primer.  It really made all the difference!

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To help the bookcases and dresser to coordinate, I bought new knobs for both pieces.  I spray painted the existing dresser pulls and new knobs in Rustoleum Universal in Iron Rubbed Bronze.

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The back of the bookcases was laminate and it was pretty obvious because of the big seam down the middle.  I decided to cover the backs in bead board wallpaper to give it added texture and character.

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If you haven’t used Martha Stewart’s bead board wallpaper, it’s a pretty great product.  It looks identical to bead board and is very easy to install and paint.  I wouldn’t recommend it for super high-traffic areas like a mudroom by an entry door, but it is excellent anywhere else.  (There’s a bead board wallpaper tutorial to come!)

I decided to paint the wallpaper in Behr Sonata, the same color as the backing of my China Cabinet.  This color coordinates really well with navy and it’s one of my favorites!media-center-after

Next I had to decide how to fill my new shelves!  The nice thing about bookcases is that you can easily change the feel of a room by how you accessorize them.

Now I guess I have more of a traditional, nautical feel but it would be super easy to change out a few items to give it another style.

 

My favorite accessory is this framed quote, something my late grandfather carried around in his wallet.  My mother found it after he passed away: “Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the wrong.  Sometime in life you will have been all these.”

baba

He was such an example of godly character and his life personified this saying as He was always kind and considered others as better than himself.  So much I have learned from him has affected how I parent my daughter as I posted in Leaving a Legacy of Faith.

 

 

before-and-after

 

I’m very pleased with my “entertainment center”.  I was able to customize it specifically to my needs and the bead board wallpaper added some extra character and color.  This was a fun project and a much better alternative than our little TV stand.

If you like this project you may also like:

Light and Airy Master Bathroom Makeover

DIY Faux Painted Sign Tutorial with 15 Free Scripture Printables

 

If you would like to receive my posts in your inbox once a week, subscribe HERE.

‘Til Next Time,

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*As usual, there are no affiliate links in this post.

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7 Tips To Find Your Calling

So often when trying to define God’s call on my life, I felt like His plans for me were elusive and intangible.  In reality, however, I had placed obstacles in my own life that made it hard to hear what He was so patiently and clearly telling me. As God’s handiwork, we are created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).  Our one job is to be obedient to Him and He will take care of everything else.

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1. Just Go With It

When God repeatedly told me to write, my mind was flooded with thoughts like “But what will this lead to?”, “Will this be worth it?” and “Am I SURE this is what He is telling me?”  It was in the midst of this doubt that I read Luke 1, where the angel Gabriel tells Zechariah about the imminent birth of his son, John the Baptist.  Zechariah answers in disbelief saying, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

The angel responds to his lack of faith by taking away his voice until the day of John’s birth.   In other words, believe God when He tells you to do something the first time.  Don’t spin your wheels by questioning Him but be obedient to the last thing God told you to do – even if you don’t understand it.   He will be sure to show you the next step in His perfect time.

2. It’s God’s Calling, Not Yours

C.S. Lewis once said, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself.  It is thinking of yourself less.”   Pray for God to redirect your focus to “HIS WILL” instead of “his will for ME”.    Don’t chase your call but chase the God who calls you.

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God is our only source of power and strength so if we focus on ourselves, even while trying to do good things, we will surely fall flat on our face.  God has given us each different gifts and talents but without His power burning bright in us, we are like a candle without a flame.  A candle can have a uniquely colorful glow and aroma, but without the flame, it cannot fulfill its true purpose of providing light.

3. You Have Gifts and Talents

There are various spiritual gift surveys online including this one that can give you an idea as to what your God-given gifts are.    In addition, be aware of your talents.  Maybe you are great at decorating, gardening or baking.  Perhaps God wants you to combine your gift of encouragement and baking skills to make gifts for neighbors as a means to reach out to them.  Be prayerful about God can use your gifts and talents to honor Him.

4.  Uncover Your Fears

Don’t allow fears to deter you from following God’s plans.  Allow them to be the very catalyst that drives you to the foot of the cross.  Be mindful of fears when they come into your thought life.  Take those opportunities to not only hand over the fear to God in prayer, but to submit the entire situation over to Him.  For example, maybe I realize I am nervous about a meeting with my daughter’s teacher.  Instead of giving just the fear over to God in prayer, pray to give the entire situation to Him in prayer.   Let your fear be a prompt or reminder that highlights opportunities to allow God to intercede through you as you give the entire situation over to Him.

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5.  Your Calling Is Closely Tied To What You Enjoy

In most sports, there is that feeling you get…just like when you hit a tennis ball on the sweet spot of your racket. You get a good spin on the ball and you know the racket was used exactly how it should be used. Always be watchful for that same feeling. When you find yourself in the middle of a task, hobby or job and notice that same satisfaction, know that you have found the point where your God-given talents align with the tasks He has laid before you. When you approach the point where your gifts and calling intersect, have found your sweet spot.

6. Be tenacious in pursuing your God-given goals.

Sharpening our gifts and talents will take work.  Within the work lies the preparation, growth and character-building that will be necessary when His plans are fully realized.  Development is part of the process because God wants us to make sure we are ready for all He has planned.  It’s through working towards our God-given goals that He prepares us for the task at hand.   The work God does within us while we wait is just as important as what we are waiting for.

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7. Stay in the Word

It’s much like drinking coffee for the first time.  At first, you drink coffee in the morning because you know it will help you get through your day.  But before you know it, it’s a habit, something you crave and can’t make it through the day without.  Know that time in God’s Word is not wasted and God’s Word cannot return void.  As it says in Isaiah 55:11, “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

My favorite verse is 1 Corinthians 2:9, which states, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard and no mind has conceived what God has planned for those who love Him.”  Know God has plans for you that are so much greater than anything you have imagined.

Which tip was helpful to you and why?  I’d love to hear feedback and your tips below!

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DIY Faux Painted Signs (Free Scripture Printables)

The farmhouse style of painted signs are such a warm addition to any room. However, if free-handing lettering on a sign isn’t exactly your cup of tea, know there’s an easy and inexpensive work-around for lettered wall art.

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Many stores are selling these thin wood frames that are reminiscent of the stained wood borders of the painted signs you see around.  I have noticed them at Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and even Walmart.  I happened to find my frames at Target for $3.99 each!

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Here’s what you need:

  • Thin wood frame
  • White card stock
  • Matte Mod Podge
  • Scissors

Download and Print

Print each sign on letter-size card stock using the link below.   The heavier the card stock, the better.

If you want a sign larger than 8 x 10, download the file and convert it to a jpg file using a free file converter like zamzar.com.  (This will allow you to get a higher resolution image needed for larger signs.)  For Zamzar, go to the Convert Tab and select the image you want to download and select “jpg” in the drop down menu for File Type.

I promise it’s super easy and the jpg file will come to you in your inbox.  From there,  you can print a larger copy online (I like Walgreens.com) or take it to a copy store.  Make sure it is printed on matte paper in order to get the painted sign effect.

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Add Mod Podge

After the printer ink has dried, lay your printed paper on a sheet on a flat surface.  Paint a thin layer of Mod Podge over the area within the gray line.  Let it dry completely.  If the paper curls some, it will straighten when it dries and you can lay a book on it overnight.

We will not use the glass in the frame, so the Mod Podge protects the art from humidity and gives it a painted look.  This is probably the only time you’ll use Mod Podge that you want brushstrokes!

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Cut and Frame

Then, cut along the gray line.  Take the glass out of your frame before framing your art and you are done!  It looks just like a painted sign for a fraction of the cost.

 

As a thank you to my email subscribers, HERE is the link to all 15 free Scripture Verse Printables!   Be sure to subscribe to Renovated Faith by email in order to get the password.

If you are already a subscriber, check your inbox for the “Please Confirm Your Subscription” email or email me at RenovatedFaith@gmail.com.  I’d be happy to help!

signs

If you like this post you might also like:

Light and Airy Master Bath Makeover

Sit A Spell : The Value of Spending Time With The One Who Made It

Be sure to comment below to share your favorite printable above!

‘Til Next Time,

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