As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Project #1: Refreshing the Library


As promised, I am back to talk about our completed house projects from 2023. 

The loveseat in the library has needed reupholstering for a long time.

(You can read about how and why we made our fourth bedroom into a library ~ here ~.)

~ loveseat in The Farmhouse kitchen ~

When we moved from The Farmhouse eight years ago, the loveseat was showing some wear (it was used almost constantly in the Farmhouse kitchen). But it has only gotten worse over time . . . so bad in fact that when a grandchild hid one of Bekah's rings in a hole in the fabric on the arm, that ring wasn't discovered for a year! 😂 

So when I had the opportunity to order some discounted fabric from a company that was discontinuing its furniture line, I ordered enough for all three of the pieces that I wanted recovered. First in line to be reupholstered was the small wing chair in the guest room, but when I picked up that chair from the upholsterer, I asked to be put on his (long) list for both of the pieces of furniture in the library: the loveseat and a wing chair that I had purchased on Facebook Marketplace. 

And that is how the library got an update during our challenging year. 

Only a couple of weeks after my dad came from rehab to live with us, the upholsterer called to say that he was ready for us to bring him the chair. As excited as I was to have the work done, my time was completely taken up in my role as caregiver, so Ron loaded up the chair and the roll of fabric and delivered them to the upholsterer. He returned a week later to pick up the chair and to drop off the loveseat and fabric, and finally made one more trip to pick up the loveseat. 

We had chosen a mustard Lover's Knot pattern for the chair. I love the pattern, but I had intended to use the reverse side (the one with more mustard and less ecru). I guess I had just assumed that Ron would read my mind? Oops. I have considered taking the chair back to the upholsterer and asking if it could be reversed, but I don't think I want to spend the money to have the job done again. What would you do? 

You can see the difference in this photo: ecru with mustard vs. mustard with ecru.

For the loveseat, we chose a pattern called Flowerbird in natural and green. The green in the fabric echoes the color of the trim in the room, and it also has a little bit of mustard to complement the chair. 

It didn't come with the cat, but he's there a lot. 

Since the loveseat fabric is light, we ordered this quilt to cover the seat and keep it clean. The quilt was inexpensive, but it is 100% cotton and the quality is good.

The last step in our refresh was choosing a rug, and I found that more difficult than choosing upholstery fabrics! We tried a rug that we had stored in our attic, but the colors were not right nor was the size. In June, I ordered a rug online, but the red was too bright and there was too much blue, and I decided that it was also too big, so I returned that one. I continued to measure and consider and shop, online and in stores. 

At the end of October, I ordered another rug because I really wanted to have a cozy floor when our out-of-state children and their families came home for Thanksgiving! I chose ~ this one ~ from Amazon. It was square (which really works best for this small room, although square rugs are hard to find) and it was inexpensive. It looks better in person than in photographs, but I am still not totally satisfied with the colors. (Rugs are hard!) It may stay for years, or it may be a "place holder" until I find the perfect rug. The low investment makes that a possibility.

Do you ever use "place holders" while you're waiting for the right thing? 

Our library, while not a main living space, serves many purposes. It was our homeschool room. It is a reading nook. It is a place to pay bills or do computer work. During the pandemic, the library served as Ron's home office. It stores our craft materials. It is an extra gathering room. It is a place where the grands play games together or create one of their original musicals. It is a room for a private conversation. It is also where Bekah does much of her work for college. And occasionally it serves as an overflow guest room, air mattress and all! 

Now it is refreshed and will continue to serve our family for years to come! 

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Completed House Projects | 2023

Each January, Ron and I have a meeting to discuss our house goals for the coming year and we usually choose a "top five" to work on. Some years we accomplish all five, some years fewer. Sometimes we change course in the middle of the year because there were life changes or because something that wasn't in the top five became more urgent or doable. Even when there are changes, it's helpful to have goals to organize our time and resources, but flexibility is key. 

In January 2023, we had a delayed Christmas visit/celebration with Kati and family (who had been sick at Christmas). Less than a week after they returned home, my dad had a sudden decline in his health (he passed away in the fall), and life was markedly different most of the year.

House projects fell to a very unimportant place on the priority list. Did we even make house goals last year? I honestly can't remember whether we did or not, and if we did, I don't remember what they were. 

That said, when we looked back at 2023, we were surprised (shocked!) to realize that we had accomplished more than we thought! In fact, it was a pretty productive year on the home front. 

So here we are . . . 

I will list them in this post, and then I'll write a short (or long, depending on the project) blog post about each one. 

#1  Refreshed the library with some reupholstery and a new rug.

#2  Built a bookcase for the master bedroom to replace a table/desk. 

#3  Installed blinds in the sunroom. 

#4  Completely gutted and remodeled our master bathroom.

I'll tell you the back story and some of the details of each project, as well as how we were able to accomplish it a year of challenges. Stay tuned . . . 

Thursday, January 18, 2024

"Our God Will Go Before Us"

I often think of this verse in Exodus as I stand at the beginning of a new year. It is true at the beginning of a year . . . and it is also true at the beginning of every day and every moment. 

Last year held much that I did not see coming, and there were times that I felt like I was drowning in my circumstances. But His presence did go with me. He gave me grace (and is still the giver of grace) for each difficult moment. 

This song speaks of those Scriptural principles. That God will go before us. That His presence goes with us. That He is with us always, even to the end of the age

And so, this song became the anthem of last year. I listened to it. I sang it. I meditated on it. I played it in my van every day as I drove to the nursing home to visit my dad. I never knew what I was going to face or how I was going to handle it, and I needed the fortitude that came from knowing that my God was going before me. 

I know that I am not alone. Many of you faced difficult circumstances in 2023. And we will encounter more difficulties as we walk on our journey. Some of them may seem impossible. But He has promised to go before His children and never to leave them. 

May you know His presence in this new year! 

Technical note: 

I am suddenly unable to comment on my own blog (or anyone else's!) through my Google account. I have tried to figure it out, but ~
ugh~ I am not techie and I am befuddled. I even considered ending my blog journey, but 1) I value the friends I have made along the way and don't want to lose touch and 2) I love the outlet of musing and chronicling our journey, even if it's only for posterity or my own records, so I am planning to plod on.

That said, I will be commenting as "Anonymous" unless a blogging miracle happens. 

Saturday, January 6, 2024

Christmas | 2023

This year, we gathered for our family Christmas celebration a couple of days before Christmas. It was nearly an "open house" as some could come early but needed to be home before dark, some were working until nearly dark, and others were somewhere in between. It gets complicated as families age and grow and move, but it is so worth digging in and trying to make a plan to celebrate together! Those times are limited and they are golden. 

Christmas music playing. A bountiful buffet. (Many cooks do not spoil the broth. Many cooks make for a lovely spread!) Loved ones gathering. Tears. Remembering. Quiet. Laughs. Noise. Stories. More stories. More laughs. Giving tokens of our love. A Christmas Fairy and her helpers passing out gifts. Eating too much dessert. (I got no photos of the dessert spread, but trust me when I say there was plenty.) Delights. Sadness. Joy. 

And Emmanuel. God. With. Us. 

Good times!! 

On Christmas morning, we had our traditional breakfast.

We've been hosting Christmas breakfast for many years, and where we once had both of the younger girls at home and all four of our parents came, now it is just Ron and me, Bekah, and Mom.

That is the way life is, always changing. The wise consider and make the most of the opportunities. 

In the afternoon, we opened our gifts to one another, then made some hot drinks and went for a leisurely drive. We were home in time to Skype with Kati and Andrew and the children. Then we went over to Mom's house for some Christmas treats. 

At Mom's

The rest of the week did not go as planned as we all came down with some kind of respiratory virus. Plans were rescheduled, but that means . . . Christmas has lingered! In fact, we will host our final holiday gathering tomorrow when Ron's siblings and their spouses come to Pineapple House to celebrate. 

So, yes, Christmas is lingering here at our house. Even so, we have taken some time to look back on the past year and document its highs and lows. (I talk about this habit ~ here~ .)

We are also looking ahead and setting some goals and making plans for house projects we'd like to accomplish this year. I'll share some of those with you. I'd also like to tell you about some of the house projects that were completed in 2023. 

As I often do, I'd like to leave you with a song. My Kati sang this at my Dad's funeral service and it has become a(nother) favorite. It is my prayer for the coming year to make the Lord "My Dwelling Place" more than ever before. There is no better place, no safer place. 

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