Posts Tagged ‘Faith’


image courtesy daccentkueh

After reading the introduction and first chapter of Jeremiah, I feel a brotherly affection for the “weeping prophet”. I too, weep for family and close friends who don’t want to come to bible study because they are too busy, or feel its “not for me”. Those of us who feel that we are good enough or better than the next guy.  I don’t want to feel that I am better than anyone. Ever. An [inflated] EGO is just the acronym for Easing God Out.

I encourage my friends and family to gain a deeper understanding of Christ from time to time. I truly believe that learning more about Christ, in turn, allows us to learn more about ourselves and how we relate to the rest of their world.  However, with my toughest compadres, I am often met with contempt and even anger.  In these times, I return close to home to protect myself and my family from any negative reactions. It has happened so many times.

In the end, though, I can only look at my own heart.

And with each passing day, after another scriptural lesson, I know that I am called to do God’s work.  After starting a morning in bible study, prayer, worship and contemplation, God brings people into my life who are seeking Him.  I find it fascinating that what I just studied that particular morning or week is exactly the lesson or scriptural reference that someone needs to hear. And I am so honored and humbled that I can be the person God calls to do His work.

As I was contemplating His words through prayer in the early morning hours of our vacation, I heard my golden retriever walking around on the first floor.  This moment actually struck me out of my prayerful state as this is a rare occasion.  All week my sweet canine has had quite a bit of trouble getting to his 12 year old feet on the slippery laminate floor.  My husband or I have had to pick up all 86 lbs. of our fluffy canine to get him to his food bowl or to the back door for relief at least 4 times each day.

As I make my way down the stairs, he is staring at me with his head tilted and those big brown eyes tinged with age.  His tail gives a knowing wag as if to ask, “Ready for our morning walk? I have something to show you.”

We open the door to the salty sea air enveloped in darkness.  Lit only by the occasional front porch or streetlight, the quiet streets lead us toward the sound of the ocean.  I removed my shoes and our feet touched the cool, soft sand as we made our way up and over the dunes.  The pitch black ocean seeped into my bones and fear stopped me from going any further.  I took a seat on a wooden bench at the edge of the beach and faced the pounding waves. With the street and house lights casting a weak shadow past my place on the bench towards the dark ocean, I looked into the loud, vast blackness.  I trembled as I looked away and was comforted by a million stars twinkling overhead in the moonless night sky.  I was in awe of the beauty overhead.  I returned my gaze into the ocean and once again felt fear seep in.  But I somehow gained the strength to look directly into the darkness.   As the waves pounded the surf, I saw a faint light from a barge out at sea miles away from where I sat.  I looked to the left of the deep to search for more light, but only then did I find I was beginning to appreciate the darkness. With each crashing wave, I found the simplistic beauty in its raw nature. I was no longer afraid. The waves are just doing their job.  And then I was struck with how my life in Christ resembles this exact moment.

God used my sweet canine to remind me what life looks like in Him.

My life in Christ is this beach.

In the early morning hours of late July.

Behind me I have the man-made light casting a week shadow into my life.  This represents the good and evils in the world.  The shadow created by the man-made world points directly toward the ocean. The tumultuous surf and dark ocean is the ultimate destruction one will face after leading a life without Christ.  The harsh death and eternal darkness of not obeying God.  But the sand is cool and soft beneath my feet.  If I walk along the beach, I know that the narrow stretch of sand runs along the coast for miles. With the ways of the world to my left, and the dark ocean to my right, I will be guided by the stars, aka Christ, until the sun (Son) returns.

The beach is the long stretch that separates land and sea, and this path is well planned. It was created thousands of years ago.  The path that everyone knows to be real. To. Be. True.  This beautiful path has now been laid out before me.  And the sand remains refreshing and soft with each step I take.

And the stars will give me strength in the darkness.  As the waves pound the beach under the cover of complete darkness, I find that I no longer fear its deafening crash and blackest black ocean. The beach is now in front of me.  And even in this moonless night, I can see that it is beautiful. Of course there will be dark days.  But I will not fear what is at my right.  Or my left.  Because I can just look to the stars to lead me home.

[In loving honor of our golden boy, Boomer, who left us to be with our Heavenly Father in December 2015. May he rest in peace, until we meet again.]





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After five years and baby number two on the way we were quickly outgrowing our tiny kitchen.  Narrow, warped cabinets, leaky faucets, crumbling flooring and sagging ceiling would send even the most content mom running for the hills.

Below are some before pics:

stove with only two working burners. 

The microwave fit only sideways under the outlet next to the stove.  Our previous microwave’s door melted from the cook top heat.

Back door opening into stove.

Kitchen sink with deep window behind counter.

Narrow cabinetry opposite of kitchen sink. Full bath in kitchen

dining room into kitchen

Before dining room

Notice the new refrigerator in our dining room.  We saved money by buying it at a scratch and dent outlet, but it would not fit into the previous refrigerator’s spot.

Thick stone wall between kitchen and family room (22″ thick)

With an old house, you cannot expect to update a kitchen without finding ten other things that NEED to be updated.  After living with our new refrigerator in the dining room for two years, we saved up enough to start looking behind those thick walls.  We wanted the kitchen of our dreams but knew we had to be prepared to fix any surprises along the way.

Entrance to dining room from living room. Gregg put up drywall around the jagged edges to protect our toddler.

We decided to remove both inside kitchen walls, relocate the bathroom and open up the entry.

We finalized our contractor’s agreement as we packed up our house.  I told a few of my friends I was looking for a place to stay for six weeks.  Our friend, Bill, and his new wife graciously let us stay at her house. They had just recently married and a few weeks before had moved her and her children into his home. We were blessed to stay at her beautiful 100+ year old farm right around the corner from our house.  God is great- His timing is perfect (as always!).

Our temporary home

Boomer exploring the pond as C wishes he could climb in, too.

Meeting the neighbors

Right before renovations began, we were told we had to rewire the entire house to replace all the knob and tube electric.  Our insurance agent told us knob and tube wiring had a 49% chance of fire.

While 7 months prego, a 13 month old in tow, and trying to keep all the contractor’s on track,  I was ready to throw in the towel and book a trip to Hawaii!  Instead, I vicariously lived  through these inspirational rooms.

One of my inspirations for incorporating barn beams and rustic stone for the interior.

brandywine prime room

My husband and I went to dinner one evening to a restaurant that recently remodeled their historic building. Beautiful mix of rustic with modern elements to create a chic dining experience. The exposed stone walls provided the perfect motivation we needed to finish our walls.

brandywine prime room1

So much eye candy. Thick slab of white marble on island, chrome accents, creamy white cabinetry and dark wood elements. I can envision my next cocktail party right here!

All that marble makes me smile. Interesting lighting and a dark wood island with white perimeter cabinets.

Something’s Gotta Give kitchen. This is where I first saw soapstone with white cabinets and fell in love. Simple backsplash. Inset cabinets with nice details

Back to reality:

We widened the entrance to the new kitchen (from living room) for a more open layout. Our contractor found a old barn beam in our barn that he re-purposed for the threshold.

new widened entrance

G worked nights and weekends running new wiring for the electric and patching plaster.  On Friday evenings, we would meet with the contractor to discuss items needing to be completed by us over the weekend to make the contractor’s workload easier for the upcoming week.

As my belly grew, the rest of the stone walls came down and cleanup began.

Load bearing wall removed between galley kitchen and old dining room.

I would have loved to expose as much stone as possible, but we desperately needed outlets, and studding new walls was the easiest way to add more outlets.

stone wall studded for electric and drywall

We were disappointed the original main floor boards were laid right over the basements beams.  We had no sub flooring and no vapor barrier to protect the house from the damp basement.  We hired a flooring guy who sured up the flooring and used it as a sub floor. He laid a vapor barrier, and installed 5″ wide white oak flooring then added a dark stain.

Newly stained flooring

Tired hubby in the open entry

New half bath and entrance to basement.

The open room for our new kitchen!

Once the flooring was finished, the house felt fresh and young again.  It is a new beginning for everyone!

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