Light Against Darkness

As a licensed cosmetologist I’m required to complete eight hours of continuing education every other year. This coming Fall I’d planned to attend an in-person class like usual, but with the virus things ended up different. Now we have to complete the hours at home by watching videos (on our own time) with the instructors demonstrating the latest hair styles on mannequin heads.

I’ve actually benefited more this way because there’s only one stylist at a time creating a color or cut (not two or three all doing their thing) so it’s been easier to focus and gain some takeaways. Normally at the hair shows it’s too busy and I’m distracted and find entertainment through Pinterest or balancing my checkbook etc.

While watching one of the color lesson videos recently I admired the stylist’ work as she demonstrated the trendy process of a darker color underneath with some pastel colors overtop.

It wasn’t a style we see much of where I live although it was still intriguing…however it was her explanation of the process that caused my heart to get involved and reflect on her words… “The way that you can see darkness is to have something light lay next to it.”

She was obviously and ‘simply’ referring to the contrasting of light and dark hair color she’d just created, but my mind and heart raced straight to the parallel of our sin-darkness in comparison to the light of hope we have through Jesus.

…okay so I guess I did get distracted after all even with the videos…

But follow me here — sometimes we can’t see the darkness of our sin until we experience and are exposed to light — it’s then we’re able to see just how dark our situation or sin really is.

At times our sin is obvious; we know we’re doing wrong but we keep stumbling in it because of our brokenness. Other times we’ve become immune and have gotten so far away from the light or truth of God’s word that we fail to even recognize the danger at all.
Contrarily some have never learned the truth of Jesus, therefore oblivious to wrongdoings. There’s usually an idea of positive versus negative “morals” but the separation of light and dark in a spiritual sense isn’t known and as a result isn’t a consideration for correction.

We moved to a subdivision outside of town a few years ago and one of the things that I loved about it was the fact that at night it’s incredibly dark considering how many houses are in our neighborhood. No one ‘used’ nighttime yard lights…and for myself I can definitely sleep better when it’s pitch black, therein lies my reasoning for celebration.

That changed around a year ago when one of the neighbors put up a large floodlight at the top of his new metal building. The light pierces the darkness of night and brightly spills right through the window and straight into my bedroom. Seriously if any future NASA landings on the moon happen, this thing will probably grab their attention as they look back down at earth…it’s that ridiculous.

Light has power and boldness and I’ve had to use my irritation of the neighbor’s “nightlight” as a good reminder that light is able to overcome darkness.

Side-note: Over the past year I’ve known my neighbor’s shop light was gonna some how make it into the blog!!

There are so many versus on light and darkness throughout the Bible that it’s hard to pinpoint one as key, but I feel like John’s words in 1 John 1:5-7 are quite applicable:

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you: that God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”

In the words of a talented high-end hair stylist:

“The way that you can see darkness is to have something light lay next to it.”

At times we risk darkness because we aren’t in the light of Jesus as we should be. The way to get there is by connecting to a power source: reading our Bibles, worship, connecting with other believers, prayer…that light we experience is like a wake up call for us; it’s then that we see just how much we truly need light as a source of life, over the sin of darkness.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. —John 1:5

Happy Father’s Day & June’s DIY Craft

I realized (this morning) we’re going into the last full week of June and I hadn’t yet posted a DIY for the month, so I’m using the kid’s Father’s Day gift to their dad as my DIY because I may not have time to put anything else together for a June DIY.

Had I been more organized I would’ve posted this idea weeks ago so mamas could help their kiddos put it together to use as a Father’s Day gift BUT there’s no rule saying you can’t give him a gift like this any day of the year!!

So without delay here we go…

Kid’s Personalized Photo Message

ITEMS NEEDED:

Kiddos feet (or hands)

Washable Markers

Camera

Grassy area (to make for an easy background)

Picture Frame (if desired)Simply choose a nice area in your backyard or at a park and position your kiddos in the way you want them sitting for the photo…if kids are using hands, they’ll need to lay on their tummies…if using their feet they can sit on their bottoms with their legs straight out. EXAMPLES BELOW.

Side note: DO NOT write on feet until your children are sitting how you want them for the picture otherwise the washable marker will smear or smudge.

Once you have kiddos where you want them write the words ‘WE LOVE DAD’ across feet or hands. Depending on how many you have to work with you’ll need to spread the lettering out accordingly…if you’re the size of a “Dugger family,” no worries you can change it up a bit and add an extra message to cover all those feet or hands….maybe even write out Dr. Seuss’ The Foot Book story across them…I don’t know??

Say Cheese! Have them smile and then snap a few pictures. Afterwards you can use a wet rag to wipe the lettering away that way Dad doesn’t see the evidence.

Normally I would’ve just did a quick print at Walmart to put in a frame, but due to COVID the photo machines are off limits. So this year (since this was a last minute idea) I just had my oldest daughter send a digital copy to her dad’s phone (this morning) via text messaging.

If you do choose to print your photo you can always do so online through Walmart, Snapfish, Shutterfly, or a number of other photo printing shops. Many of these online resources offer great savings deals when ordering!!

My nieces were visiting from out of town yesterday so we did pictures for their dad too!We’ve done this gift before for Father’s Day maybe six years ago so here’s a then and now —plus a screenshot pic of the text message the kids sent their dad this morning since we didn’t print the photo out this year.

THEN:NOW:

The photo from when they were younger is placed in a frame and sits on a nightstand next to Nathan’s side of the bed. We may update it with the newer pic…some day…maybe…Soooo although this is super last minute for a Father’s Day gift you can use this DIY idea any time of the year. And you can alter the words to fit the person or occasion and however many hands or feet you have to work with! Plus if you don’t print it it’s one less thing you need to find a place for.

Enjoy! And as always let me know if you decide to do this DIY!!

Happy Father’s Day Dads!!

  • Psalm 103:13: “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.”
  • Proverbs 23:24: “The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.”
  • 1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

Love and miss this guy so much!! (P.J.W. 1962-2001)

…If you were blessed with a “good one” be sure and wish him a Happy Father’s Day (and even if he wasn’t maybe you should anyway…) Some haven’t had the experience of a “good one” and if not, rest in the assurance that your Heavenly Father loves you absolutely unconditionally!!!! He is, without a doubt, a “Good One!”….the Best One, in fact!

Kitchen Remodel and Thought

Alrighty here’s my ‘positive post’ as promised. Sorry I kind of went on a rant for a moment in that last post but I felt I needed to explain…I actually read through that yesterday and had to go through and delete about a half a dozen “and” words!

Moving along…be ready for lots of pics.

For the past few weeks the husband and I have been at work in the kitchen…no Paula Deen dishes getting whipped up here though…

Instead, what was supposed to be just a few hours of putting up shiplap for backsplash on a Saturday morning turned into a two week long project of sanded cabinets topped with a few coats of fresh paint, which then led to the idea of new wall color and custom floating shelves, topped with a make over on our kitchen door that exits to the garage.

Here was our kitchen before:I decided I was sick of the distressed look so that’s what sparked the decision to paint cabinets at the last minute after the shiplap was put up.

So here was the first step with the shiplap backsplash:For the shiplap we used plywood that Nate cut into 4 inch strips. We painted it, nailed it up with the nail gun and then touched up any nail spots. My excitement lasted for not even a half a second before I decided cabinets were getting painted and all the other hoo-ha.

For the paint on the cabinets I bought a pricey specialty chalk paint from an area seller which was worth every penny spent. It’s called Frenchic Al Fresco, originating from France and I might as well just say it: it’s like a drop of Heaven landed right in the paint can. This stuff glides on smooth as butter, leaving zero streaks or clumps. It also doesn’t require a sealer and can be used outdoors as well.

I’ve messed with other chalk paints but they’ve really been to no avail. This stuff will always be my new go-to every time I paint a piece of furniture.

The floating shelves came about as a result of me wanting to allow a little more natural light to spill into our kitchen, so we removed a few cabinets and replaced with an open shelf concept:

Click this link for the DIY YouTube video Nate used for the floating shelves if you’re interested.

This was the final look after shiplap, cabinets, wall color, and shelves were done. But there was one thing still bothering me…

That darn garage door…such an eyesore…so I got ahold of a tattoo artist (from the area) who’s shop has been closed over the past few months with the virus mess. She’s actually been supplementing income by using her talent to paint customer’s windows, outdoor concrete walls, and sidewalks so I figured why not add a garage door to her art gallery showcase. Click that link to see the local gazette write up featuring Ginny, she’s such an amazing gal. We had an awesome time visiting, plus I took her on a tour of our “impostering farm” afterwards which she absolutely loved.

I’m kind of a nut for wildflowers and they go with the whole farmhouse thing so the flowers are a combination of some of my favorites — sunflowers, poppies, and daises.

K so this is the FOR REAL FINAL look now:

Next up will be that kitchen table project!!…right Nate!?😊

***Without the cost of the door we spent under $200 for this entire kitchen makeover. Let me know if you have any questions, comments, or need tips if you’re considering tackling your own DIY kitchen remodel.***

Bare with me, here comes my devotional thought…

I keep standing in my kitchen thinking I can’t even believe this is mine, like I’m “wowed” by the fact that this Pinterest inspired style has taken up residency in my own house…and here it is — at the core truth it’s honestly just a trivial, little earthly thing…nothing fancy…nothing flashy…at all…but I love it!! And in the midst of my awe I’m reminded how God feels about each one of us. He graciously proclaims His love over us even though we hold onto physical and emotional scars and wounds that beg to lie and tell us we’re unlovable, even though our mouths disregard the warnings of James 3, and even though we mess up repeatedly. Right?

Just like my kitchen, no one is really that fancy or flashy because of our natural sin nature, we’re all prone to it. And if a person struggles with that fact, they should consider that even in a “state-of-the-art kitchen” or just a “plain ordinary one,” grease still splatters and cookie-crumbs fall to the floor when either type of kitchen is serving its purpose…

Check out our hope in Ephesians 2:4-5, and soak up these words with me:

“But because of His great love for us, God, who was rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.”

Two words, mercy and grace.

Mess ups, failures, flaws and all…God shows us a better way of life through Christ and He believes that, despite our shortcomings, we are worth more than we could ever fathom. How many of us would willingly give up our own Son on an old wooden cross for another’s life?

But God.

Because of you, because of me. Because of His love for us.

Rather than gushing over my freshly remodeled kitchen…when I stand within its white walls and pleasant charm I want it to serve as a reminder and be whisked by the fact that God loves me exceedingly and abundantly, even though I’m nothing fancy or flashy — I’m good enough for Him!

Thanks for reading today, have an amazing week!!❤️

Just So You Know

I’m pretty excited to share my next post with you! (The ‘happy’ one I’ll put up after this one…)

But let me just say I honestly feel like I can’t even post that next one without feeling a little bit guilty. And that’s unfair and sickening to me.

Because of the ridiculous rioting taking place it begs and tries to halt life, everyone’s life…bringing attention to the negative…and I’m just not going to revolve my blog around such nonsense. I have future posts planned that have nothing to do with the latest in news and yet there’s a lie trying to fester within me that keeps saying ‘my posts should only give thought and focus to the mess that’s currently happening.’ …Well that mess has Satan’s ‘yuck’ written all over it. I’m not saying I should be totally ignoring that lie, but I’m not about to feel like I shouldn’t be able to be excited and enjoying life just because of other’s poor decisions and dealings. I shouldn’t have to feel like all of my posts need to wrap around that situation or that if they don’t then I’m being insensitive.

I get the frustration. I get seeking justice. I get the protest. I get speaking out, but doing so with peace!! My heart breaks for the hurt of others. I FULLY want to see each and every person treated fairly and equally…but my posts will absolutely not get hung up feeling like I can’t write or share about the positive things that excite me nevertheless just because of this ongoing madness.

With that, it is my prayer that all people would seek Jesus — replicating His love for others. This might be my only post that ever mentions the latest news and that’s okay, I know where my heart lies. ❤️🙏

Finishing up I’ll leave you with a picture of our family spending Friday evening with some of our best family friends, who adopted four Haitian kids a few years ago.

When people have a discrimination issue they certainly miss out on some of the best, beautiful memories and moments that can happen. These kids are such an awesome blessing in my life and to my own kids as well. We’re so thankful to know and love them!

…and yes their mama gave me permission to post the pic and added through her own words that, “kids are such a shining example of God’s desire for us and they accept people how God created them.”

Thanks for reading friends, take care!

‘He has told you, O man what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?’ —Micah 6:8

Learning in the Garden

Nate and I decided to plant our vegetable garden (this year) in large containers on our patio outback. This is definitely a means of rookie gardening for us.A few weeks ago when we transferred our plants from their indoor starter containers into the outdoor ones they weren’t looking too hot. I was like ‘ahh great here we go again killing off another season of veggies’…because when we’ve planted directly into the ground in past years that’s typically how we roll so I was bracing myself that this year’s gardening “experiment” would be no exception. But with my doubt, Nathan reminded me, “just give it time, it has to adjust to new soil.”

…And I think he’s right because over the past week these plants have really began to grow. They look good!It makes me think of someone new to the Christian faith; a life without Christ compared to a seasoned life with, should look dramatically different. Therefore those beginning stages can have kind of an ebb and flow effect as a new believer adjusts and learns fresh ideas, almost like a culture shock. Continue reading “Learning in the Garden”

Living on His Plans

When people talk about how they can’t wait for life to return to “normal”, I mentally stand on the other side thinking: ‘but I’m not 100% okay with the old kind of normal, the pre-covid normal…What changes do I want to see made within my family for our “future normal”…What is it that I want to grasp as a spiritually beneficial takeaway from this unique time?’…Because I don’t want to revert back to my Alicia’s world, impatient, on the go self when things do return to “normal”…my true colors usually show up best with a well thought out detailed itinerary…that’s part of my control girl flaw.

I’m trying to figure out how to mesh this current lifestyle (the things I’ve learned during my coronavirus-downtime) with what’s to come when life eventually does return to “fast-paced normal”…and the idea of loosening my firm grip on ‘itinerary-style-planning’ definitely needs to be part of a wiser planning method for myself.

We’ve all seen firsthand now how things can dramatically change in a matter of day to day living.

I have to laugh in spite of myself — back in late February, before I even knew the word coronavirus existed, I had sat down at my kitchen table and counted through my calendar all the days that I had marked down to substitute teach, and there were many. And in my eyes I was seeing dollar signs and the amount of money that I’d be able to tuck into savings to put towards a trip our family has/had scheduled this summer. In the midst of counting sub days I literally thought of how foolish it seemed because subconsciously I knew something could come up and any of those days could be taken from me, none of them were necessarily ever guaranteed to stay locked in. Sure enough every single one of them was canceled out through the end of the school year due to the virus. Continue reading “Living on His Plans”

The Wild Joy of Mothering and Prayer

Yesterday morning as I worked through my independent Bible study at the kitchen counter, I could hear the voices of my children connecting together — grouped up in my youngest daughter’s room the three of them laughed in between small talk and LEGO building.

Like music to my ears (hearing them bond) I shot up a heartfelt prayer of thankfulness to the One who encourages loving relationships. I thanked God for the laughter, for zero arguing and that the Holy Spirit would flood that room with joy. I closed with a blessed feeling of Amen.

No joke within seconds my boy comes storming out of his sister’s bedroom — head down, arms crossed tightly to his chest and feet stomping madly as he made a beeline straight for his basement bedroom.

Yup I’ve seen this move a thousand and one times before…

“Dude! Please get back here so we can talk about this situation, and when you come right away it shows me respect!” I pleaded.

With that, he turns around before hitting the steps and marches straight over to where I sat on the kitchen stool waiting.

“What in the world happened?…I just finished offering up a prayer of thanksgiving that y’all were getting along so well and I even boldly requested that Satan stay the heck out of that room, so how did things turn south so suddenly?” I spouted out calmly but rationally.

Our eyes met and a sly smile spread across my son’s playful face immediately, followed by — “I was just kidding mom, we’re fine!”

Goodness! Isn’t mothering full of surprises? Continue reading “The Wild Joy of Mothering and Prayer”

A Finished She Shed part 2

Last Fall I posted A She Shed in the Making part 1 where I shared that Nathan had this brilliant idea to build me a she shed as a fifteenth anniversary gift! I’m pretty sure by the time we hit up the building material store he was wishing he’d have never entertained the idea…but alas six months later the she shed is pleasantly finished! When my husband started it at the end of last year the weather turned pretty cold so he made sure he got it buttoned up on the outside and the inside waited until warmer days over the past month. I’ll share photos and let them do the talking.

Also if you’ve hit up this post due to a tag-link and are in the midst of planning or building a she shed then WELCOME!! Let us know if you have any questions or need hints on how to go about this or that. We have quite a few cost saver tips too!

Continue reading “A Finished She Shed part 2”

Mystery Blogger Award

Thank You Gail of gaillovesgod.blog for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award. Gail has a wealth of Biblical knowledge, a ginormous love for God, and shares her testimony in a way that points to Him! You can check out her blog here! Thanks so much Gail for the nomination!❤️

Here are the guidelines…

• Put the award logo on your blog

• Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog

• Mention the creator of the award
The creator of this award is..Okoto Enigma

• Answer the five questions you were asked

• Tell the readers three things about yourself

• Nominate ten to twenty bloggers

• Notify the bloggers that you nominated them by commenting on one of their posts

• Ask your nominees five questions with one weird or funny one

• Share a link to your best posts

Three things about myself:
1. control-freak….yikes!
2. I’m reading a book to help deter that flaw (Control Girl by Shannon Popkin)
3. Jesus is my saving grace!! Continue reading “Mystery Blogger Award”

May Day Baskets!…DIY #4 project

I can’t even believe myself right now, it’s the middle of April and I’m actually getting my DIY post out before the end of the month. Woot! Woot!

This month we’re going to work through a DIY that will be for the benefit of next month—May Day Baskets!!

Anyone remember those?

I felt like I needed to do some research and provide just a bit of background info on these little “forgotten” about gems and here’s what I found out:

According to NPR.org May Day Baskets used to be quite a thing with a history clear back to the ancient European pagan festival of spring known as Beltane. When the continent became more Christianized some of the more rowdy aspects of the celebration faded out with May Baskets managing to remain.

Interesting right?

In the 19th and 20th centuries May Day Baskets made their appearance in the United States signifying and celebrating the welcoming of Spring time. A person would collect goodies in a basket and then secretly deliver them to a neighbor’s door on May 1 as a special treat.

In some communities May Baskets provided a chance to show romantic interest. The giver would place the basket at the door, knock and run off…however if the receiver was able to catch the “basket-hanger” it was a chance to steal a kiss from him or her.

In more recent decades, for whatever reason, May Day Baskets have lost their luster.

I’ve joked in years past that May Baskets should be a thing again because maybe when they faded out is when the world got so messed up and maybe if they made a come-back the world would be a little bit brighter…super far stretch from reality but we could try!!

Here’s what you’ll need if you’re interested: Continue reading “May Day Baskets!…DIY #4 project”