the ugly measuring stick

A couple of weeks ago, I had an interesting conversation with one of my students. We were talking about social media and how we (too often) perceive images we see on social media to be ‘real life’. In reality, we are looking at a (usually) carefully crafted version of what that person wants us to see. We photograph the happy moments, and the moments where we look like rockstars, and then we crop those pictures and filter the heck out of them. It’s deceptive, and it’s powerful. And it brings out the ‘ugly measuring stick’.

I follow several fashion feeds on Instagram (because that’s what unfashionable people do). I’ll scroll by and see their “ootd” (outfit of the day, don’t worry-I had to Google that too). Their clothes look so cute, the hair is perfect, and they’ve used that dang-blasted filter that makes everything look so sharp and bright. Meanwhile, I’m in stretchy pants and old sports t-shirts from high school 97% of the time, and the rest of the time, I’m fumbling through my closet looking for clothes like they wear. I just don’t measure up.

I follow some creative and beautiful moms on Instagram. They’ve got feeds full of pictures of their kids in tulle dresses in meadows with flower crowns in their hair. Or pictures in their (WHITE) homes with their kids sitting on the kitchen counter dressed in boutique clothing helping them make gluten-free muffins. And my girl be all like:

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They look like they must be a better mom than I am. They look like they are always doing something creative and memorable with their kids. Meanwhile, I catch mine tackling each other while I’m folding laundry.

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(That picture didn’t make it on my Instagram feed. I’m just as guilty as everyone else – I just don’t have good photo editing skills like some do). I feel like I just don’t measure up.

Why do we do this? Why do we want people to think we have perfect children, stylish clothes, and beautiful homes? Why do we want people to think we are something more than we really are? WHY DO WE WANT PEOPLE TO THINK WE HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER?

When we carefully craft this image of ourselves we are unknowingly setting unrealistic expectations for others and telling lies to ourselves.  We’re making room for the ugly measuring stick that tells us we’ll never measure up, and we’ll never be enough.

Here’s my perspective on this: this is not Godly. For me, Satan uses social media to whisper lies into my mind. When we compare ourselves to others and then shame ourselves for not measuring up, we are telling God that His creations aren’t good enough. This is something I struggle with for real. I know I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and I know that God made me exactly as He wanted me, flaws and all. But still, somehow, I manage to convince myself that I am still just not good enough. Have you ever been in this situation before – where you know what you are doing wrong (believing lies), yet you continue to do it?!

I don’t think social media is a bad thing, and I don’t think you shouldn’t post lovely pictures of your life. I think inspiration and encouragement is a wonderful thing. For me, I just have to learn how to process it, and use it only as inspiration and encouragement, and not a measuring stick telling me how bad I suck at everything I do.

This year, I want to me more conscious of this, from both ends. I want to share more real life, and less harmonious instances. I don’t want to portray something I’m not. I don’t have it together. In fact, many days, their are times when I am holding on for bedtime to recover, regroup, and crash. I don’t want to cause someone to feel less because I only choose to show myself at my best. Because that’s happened to me.

I also want to kick that ugly measuring stick to the curb this year. For me, that’s going to take a lot of prayer. More specifically, prayer to see myself how God sees me, and prayer for the ability to resist those ugly lies that Satan tries to whisper through social media.

It’s also going to require me to keep social media in check. For me, that’s Instagram (I rarely use anything else). I don’t know what that looks like for me right now. I enjoy social media as a way to shop, keep up with family and friends, and to share with others. But I’ve got to find a happy medium where I use it just as that, and not something that makes me feel inferior because I don’t have family pictures of my children frolicking in a meadow field, while my husband and I (wearing a ball gown and tux, of course) gaze lovingly into each others’ eyes. After all, we know how family pictures go for  us:

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Have a blessed Thursday 🙂

 

if you come to my house early…..

Scrolling through my unpublished drafts, I found this post I’d written around the time Rhyan was born. And it was too true and to ‘me’, not to share. Funny enough, nothing has changed. This is still me and my family and my house 99.3727% of the time 🙂
True story, ya’ll….
A couple of months ago, Ben and I were getting ready to close on our construction loan and convert it to a mortgage loan. Rhyan was a month old at the time, and PB was out of school for the summer, and, at times, I felt like I was struggling to be a functional human being.
In order to close the loan, we had to have the appraisal guy come and take pictures of the house for our loan processing. He called to schedule an appointment to come on Friday, at 10:30 in the morning. We had to go out of town the day before, but I thought I could still manage (when will I learn?). I could clean the house after we got back and tidy up any ‘leftovers’ in the morning before he came.
We ended up getting home around 10:30 p.m. on Thursday night. The house was a disaster and I was too tired to do anything productive, so we put the kids to bed and went to bed ourselves.
That night, the stars aligned and the unicorns danced, and somehow, somehow, the kids and I slept until 9:00! I felt like I had spent the night at the spa. Ben had to work so he was already gone when I got up. I started our usual morning routine: feed the kids, wipe the butts, and steal a few snuggles.
I looked at the clock….9:15. That gives me an hour to straighten up this place (and myself). 


Just about the time I was surveying the damage and deciding what mess I would clean first, I heard the gravels crunching in our driveway. Hmmm. I looked out the window, thinking I’d probably see my mamaw.

No such luck.

It was the appraisal guy. And he was 1 hour and 15 minutes early.

And at one instance, I realized all of these things: I was still in my underwear. I had not brushed my teeth. There were dishes piled HIGH in the sink, and it smelled strangely of crusty tacos and an old sponge. Rhyan had just soaked the couch with spit up. Laundry was everywhere. Everywhere. I was still in my underwear. I was still in my underwear.

And actually, I just stood at the window until he was completely out of his truck, and starting to walk up on our porch. I don’t know why. I think I was just shocked at the complete mess that was my house, and paralyzed by the fact that I didn’t know what to do first.

I took off running to the bedroom to throw on some shorts. That was all I had time for. By the time I heard the first knock, I had just got my bottoms up. I ran through the house and told PB to hurry and pick up the house.

Uhhhh, okay, mom. I’ll get right on that.

When I got to the door, I realized I knew the appraisal guy. Not sure if it makes this situation better or worse?

Anyway, he came in the house, told me he just needed to get a few pictures for the paperwork, and he’d be out of the way. I apologized for the mess and craziness of the house. He said not to worry, he’d seen worse. Yeahhh.

He walked around the kitchen first, so I made a quick dodge to the bedroom to throw some clothes under the bed.

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As I was slinging socks into the closet, I heard him flush the toilet. YA’LL. I HEARD HIM FLUSH THE TOILET.

I felt my face get hot. You know when you get really embarrassed and you get the red face and it burns? Mine was on fire, literally. He had walked into the half bath to take a picture FOR THE APPRAISAL OF OUR HOUSE, and he had to flush a turd down the toilet before he could take the picture.

I will have you know that at this point, I quit cleaning my room, and calmly walked into the living room with my children, and accepted the sting of defeat.

So, the moral of this story is if you plan on coming to my house to see me and you come at an earlier time than promised, I can not guarantee the state of my home. Consider yourself warned!

Have a blessed day 🙂

 

 

changes.

I figured out how to merge my old blog into this one.

If you know me, you know that’s a huge deal. And I did this ON MY OWN. WITHOUT TECH SUPPORT. I know, I still can’t believe it.

For this past couple of days, I’ve been digging around through old posts and I’ve determined a couple of things:

  1. My photography skills s.u.c.k. I would love to say I’ve gotten better, but alas, I have not. I just don’t think I have it in me.
  2. I love to write. Really, I do. I know to some of you that sounds crazy. It’s like when someone tells me that they love math. How is that actually humanly possible? Anyway, back to writing. A few weeks ago, I was in my parent’s basement still going through my old junk, and came across a box of diaries and journals. I had an ENTIRE box full of diaries and journals, spanning all the way back to 2nd grade. It’s just something that I like to do. And blogging has given me that outlet to do what I enjoy. It made me happy to write a new post. It just felt comfortable and natural to me. And I turned 29 this month (refer to yesterday’s post), so now I’m sassy and doing what I want to do.
  3. There are different seasons in our lives. And like the seasons change, so do we. I’d like to think that my writing style is the same because its just ‘me.’ But I look at some of the things I wrote about 3 years ago, and I laugh. I can’t believe I thought THAT was a big deal (I can’t believe I thought it was hard to take 1 kid to the grocery store!) In so many ways, my life has changed over the past 4 years, and I’ve changed too. I’ve adapted to a new season in my life. And I guess I’ve determined that’s just what we do. We live and we learn, and then we move on to the next season. I like the feeling of growth you have when you realize you are moving into another chapter or season of your life. Somehow you feel better equipped because you’ve made it through the previous season.
  4. I love the memories that this old blog gives me. I’m so glad that I’ve published these stories from my life. Looking back, there are so many things that I had forgotten about, and would have never remembered had it not been for this little ole’ blog.
  5. It’s important to do what you love, as long as you love to do it. Then, stop. I loved to blog, and I blogged pretty heavily for 2 or so years. And then, I stopped loving it. It became more of a chore. I had new responsibilities and things changed in my life. So I stopped. And I’m glad I did. This isn’t my life, or my job. It’s a fun outlet. And when it stops being fun, then it’s time to stop. Amen.

Have a blessed Thursday!

29.

I turned 29 this month.

TWENTY-NINE.

That’s one year away from 30. THIRTY!

I’ve decided that I have two options here. The first option is to panic and start dreading the big 3-0, telling myself I’m old now, and destined for the remainder of my life to contain white Keds (before they were popular again), high-waisted Lee Ryder jeans, and minivans. -OR- I can ‘own’ it.

And really, I think I’m going with option 2. I’m not going to lie. In the days leading up to my birthday, I started feeling old, and that scared me a little. I suddenly felt like ‘young and 20-something’ was not applicable to me. Thirty seemed grown-up and serious. I had a little pity party after the kids went to bed, watching Friends re-runs on the couch, realizing that I was now older than their characters were portrayed to be. Talk about a punch in the gut!

And then right before bed, on the eve of the last birthday I’ll have in my 20s, I felt ridiculous. I’M ANOTHER YEAR OLDER. Do you know what that means? That means God has so mercifully blessed me with another year of life. That’s a pretty big deal. I’m thankful for that. For another year as a wife, as a mom, and as a daughter of the King.

So I fell asleep that night, thinking about how fortunate I was to have another year under my belt, and how I appreciate the good stuff that comes with age.

I’ve decided in this 29th year of life, that I’m going to be sassy. I don’t know why, but the first day I woke up after my birthday, I just felt sassy. I think, in the course of one night, I decided that I could do what I wanted to do now, and I could tell people what I really wanted to tell them now, AND I would give significantly less ‘craps’ about what people thought of me now. Freeing thoughts, people!

I also decided, in the same course of that night, that 29 is going to be the year that I “DO”. I’m going to say ‘YES’ to the things that God lays on my heart for me. I’m going to say yes to doing those things that I really want to do, but tell myself I don’t have time for.

And blogging is one of those things. I started blogging in 2011. And I enjoyed doing that.just.so.much. And then life and responsibilities shifted so I stopped. And really, I’ve missed it since I stopped. I don’t have any regrets about quitting, because I was able to focus on more important things during that season of my life. But now, I’m feeling that tug again. And as long as I’m feeling that call, I’m going to answer it.

After all, that’s what 29 year-olds do now.

modern farmhouse table makeover


Let me start by saying this:

I am NOT an expert at refinishing furniture, nor do I claim to be. I have an obsession with yardsale-flea market-hand-me-down furniture. I rarely buy anything new for two reasons. First, I’m cheap. Really cheap. Especially when it comes to home pieces. And secondly, I’m picky, and rarely find anything new that I like ‘as-is’. So I take anything my family doesn’t want, or anything I find a good deal on, and envision it as a stripped piece of furniture that I can make brand new (to me). 

I spent several years googling ‘how-to’s’ and watching videos, finding I never had the right tools, or the right help to create the looks I saw. So instead, I do what I can do. Not as an expert, but as someone who has little experience, money, and time. 

With that being said, I’d like to think of my ‘how-to’s’ more as a ‘what worked for me’, or ‘mistakes not to repeat.’

When we set out to build our house, I knew I wouldn’t have much spending money to buy new furniture right away. And one thing that I had just dreamed of for my new house was a farmhouse kitchen table. I have always wanted one. So I started casually browsing the web for ideas. I found several plans to build farmhouse tables, and considered giving it a try, but neither Ben nor I have the expertise to do something like that right now. And I would hate to spend all of that money on lumber and such, and then ruin it. Then I looked at buying one, and quickly saw that wasn’t going to happen, as it was wayyyy out of my price range.

So then I turned to my bfff-ffff, craigslist. He’s never let me down. I browsed for several days when I came across this:

It was described as a ‘farmhouse table’, with 6 matching chairs for $200. The picture on craigslist was a small, grainy cell phone photo. I called about it, and asked to come look. Up close, the table had lots of dings and scratches, and the chairs had shiny black leather bottoms. That doesn’t scream ‘farmhouse table’ to me. Plus, the color was way too dark for my preference. When I think ‘farmhouse’, I think rustic and worn. And although this was worn, it wasn’t a ‘rustic/worn’ look. It was a ‘we bought this straight from the manufacturers, and the our kids and cats demolished’ worn look. I asked her if she’d take $150, and she met me in the middle at $175. So we loaded her (the table, not the girl) up, and took her home.

Once we unloaded her, I hugged her and squealed with excitement, as this ‘skeleton’ was exactly what I was looking for. And then I started her makeover.

I started with the table first, and began by sanding the whole thing down.

This was messy. And time consuming. I used my palm sander (pictured on top of the table) and went with the grain of the wood. I did every square inch of the table, and then I vowed to never sand again.

Once I finished, I wiped the whole thing down, really, really good. I used a shop-vac to vacuum the cracks in the wood, too.

Next, I put a wood conditioner the table and let it soak in and dry. I then started staining the top. I used Minwax Special Walnut, and used 2 coats, letting each coat dry 24 hours before I added anything else.

Once the tabletop was dry (a good 24 hours after the last staining), I used a wipe-on poly to seal it. After some research, I decided on the wipe-on poly because it seemed to get good reviews as far as durability and high-traffic. And of course, a kitchen table is going to have high-traffic and lots of wear and tear. I was very pleased with the end result using this.

I used 4 coats of poly in the end, and after each coat was dry, I lightly sanded the top with 200 grit sand paper (I didn’t do this to the last coat).

Next, I started on the legs. I painted one coat of an antique white color (the name escapes me right now) on the legs, and then I lightly sanded the edges, and rubbed a bit of the stain on the freshly sanded edges to create a bit of a worn look.

I let everything dry overnight, and wiped it all down, and this was my end result:

I’m very happy with the final product. No, it’s not an ‘authentic’ farmhouse table, and the top planks are more like pressed wood, but I got a good deal on it, and made it my own.

It came with six chairs, and I will say that revamping the chairs made me question my sanity. I removed the chair pads and started by sanding one chair. It took over 3 hours to get it completely sanded.

That was 3 hours of my life that I will never get back.

At this point, I was kicking myself for doing this. I had a great table, but no chairs to match. So I went to Lowe’s and bought some paint stripper. It was an orange, thicker material and was fairly easy to work with. Once I let the stripper set for a while, I scraped it off. But even after I did that, I still needed to sand it down a bit.

I would hate to think about the time I spent refinished those dern chairs.

But in the end, they turned out fine. It was incredibly time-consuming though, and I imagine there has to be an easier/better way.

So that’s it. My $175 ‘modern/revamped farmhouse table’. I’ve always worked with older pieces, that had chipping paint or no finish at all. This was my first time taking a ‘modern’ piece and making it into something of my own. Other than a few ‘sanding’ nightmares I had while I was working on it, I’m pretty pleased!

And I’m happy to say that craigslist and I are still ‘bff-fffs’.

Have a blessed Monday!

hey, remember that time i quit blogging?

Ahem.


So in case you haven’t noticed, I fell off the face of the (internet) earth for a little while. And by little while, I mean over a year.

I’m mysterious like that.

It was partially deliberate and partially unintended.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy blogging, because I do. But when blogging (and the internet) starts interfering with family time, and starts making me crazy (which it did; I’ll explain shortly), then it’s time to step back and get my priorities in check. 
Towards the end of the spring last year, I found myself complaining and whining about how I never have time for anything anymore, and how I was oh-so-busy. The ironic thing is that I was on summer break (hooray for college’s early summer vacations) and WAS NOT working. So how in the world was I so busy? How did I have ‘so little’ time for anything? 
I was spending too much time on the internet. That’s a little embarrassing to say. It’s not like I was ‘gaming’ all day on the computer, or even spending hours at a time on the internet. I was just making ‘pit-stops’ on the computer throughout the day. And those little pit-stops were adding up and taking up  time. 
So what was I doing on the internet? Wasting time. Pinterest, Facebook, news, blogs, blogs, and more blogs. I wasn’t doing anything productive. I was oodling over blogs filled with recipes, crafts, and home projects and then feeling inadequate because I fixed hamburgers for supper and I hadn’t touched anything crafty in months. I was using the internet as a tool for comparison. And nothing good comes from that. As Theodore Roosevelt stated, “Comparison is the thief of joy”. I just love that.

With that being said, I took a break from blogging and did other important things, like make a baby, and build a house. And then, when I decided to come back to my blog, lo and behold, I couldn’t figure out how to pay my $10 domain registration fee to Google. And they deleted my blog.

You read that right. I couldn’t figure out how to pay my $10 fee, and they shut my blog down.

So I read between the lines and figured a couple of things out:

1. Obviously, the good Lord was telling me to step away (and that I should never, ever, EVER teach an internet course).

and 2. I needed to focus on what I enjoyed about my blog. I needed to write what I wanted to write about. I didn’t need to worry about photoshop or html crap, and how my ole’ blog paled in comparison to others, but rather focus on what I liked to do: write.

It has been an awesome year for me and my little family, and I have enjoyed every single ounce of it. But, lately, I’ve had a tug on my heart to get back to this little ole’ blog of mine. I’ve missed writing. I’ve missed connecting. And I’ve missed sharing all of the little things that God leads me to do.

So I’m back. My blog is still very plain. My pictures still aren’t edited. I still have no clue what HTML code is. And I haven’t updated any of my pages or done any ‘fancy’ work to this thing.

Buttttt, I made a new human this past year, and that does count for something!

Have a Blessed Thursday!

photo dump.

I think part of the reason I’ve been hiding from my blog is because I’ve taken ZERO pictures on my camera. My battery has been dead, and I’ve been too lazy to charge it. I’ve taken a few pictures on the iPad, but didn’t know how to upload them to my computer. I know.

Anyway, Ben was a champ and finally uploaded them for me. And now I’m going to dump them on my blog to show where I was hiding/what I was doing for the past month that I’ve been hibernating.
We celebrated 4 years, man! And I got a one-of-a-kind-misspelled-words-and-all-handmade-by-Ben-card. It’s hard to believe 4 years have already flown by. We celebrated with a day in Asheville, North Carolina at the Grove Park Inn Spa. It was N.I.C.E. 
I tried self-tanner.
And failed.
This little booger started using the potty! And I would consider him ‘potty-trained’ now. He started about a month ago, and after about a week or so, he was doing really well. He’s not worn pull-ups in over a week.
I’ve been dreaming of floor plans in my sleep. After approximately 7284 revisions, I think we’re satisfied with our layout now. I can’t wait to share it with you!
I’ve not, I repeat NOT, been doing laundry. I don’t know why.
We’ve been cooking, and I’ve been eating. Desserts. Lots of desserts!
And that sums up May! We’re all caught up.
Have a blessed Thursday 🙂