Monday, June 16, 2014

My Journey Back to Faith

I planned on sharing some more before and after's of the house but, felt compelled to share something that's been on my heart (and in a draft post) for a while now. I've never shared this part of my life partially because I think I was embarrassed and also a little afraid of being judged when I make the inevitable misstep.

I've been working on my spiritual growth over the past few months but, just didn't feel God's presence. I'm a Christian, I went to Christian schools for many years and I believe His Word to be true from my very core. God is all around us, every second of every day, in every thing. I absolutely know and believe that with every ounce of my being but, how do I reflect that in my actions and make it my heart? How do I take that and have it make a difference in my life? That is where I was struggling.

My heart didn't feel whole.

The hubs says that he feels God speak to him and all he does is listen and act. Um, #excuseme what. I want that! I want God to talk to me and I listen. I knew I needed to really pursue Christ to be the kind of wife and mother I want to be (and the one God wants me to be). Not just say but, act. Like really live my life chasing His will. Fulfilling His purpose for me. Letting Him transform my heart, thoughts and actions. It's almost like I would hear God speaking to me and then kind of resist it when it was something I didn't want to hear. A good friend told me that often times we view our relationship with God like we view the one with our actual father - and that made a whole...whole lot of sense to me. I've always been one to think that I know better, that despite what someone (anyone) tells me, I'm gonna do it my way. Even if I know they're right and I'm wrong. I have to learn the hard way which, has caused me a lot of pain, heartache and tangled feelings that I've had to work through over the years.

As #craycray as it sounds, PowerSheets are what have helped me connect the dots. Helped me create some action items that will help me build that deeper relationship with God that I desire and truly transform my heart. I reached out to a friend and asked for her advice. This is someone I have seen grow in incredible ways and she has had such an impact on me as a wife, mother and so much more. She had many words of wisdom and her words of truth and encouragement were what really pushed me into taking action on changing those empty feelings I was having.

After I spent a few days praying (as best as I know how) reflecting on what I want my life to look like, what kind of family I want to raise and what kind of wife, mother, friend and person I want to be, I had 5 areas of focus.
  1. Faith
  2. Husband
  3. Children 
  4. Others 
  5. Self

I've learned that my brain seems to work best in a compartmentalized manner (which is reinforced by the time management/organizational system that I'm using. Seriously, amazing. I'll share more about that in the next couple weeks) and when I write things down. Seems to be the only way that things really sink in. 

From this larger goal, you're asked to break it down into an Action Plan that included listing the Why and How. This forced me to form and refine my purpose and put it on paper. One of the biggest things I've learned from Advocare is the importance of having a solid purpose so, I really embraced this exercise. 

My Goal:
  • I want to know God's heart through reading the Bible and devotionals (Jesus Calling) start to finish this year and through prayer. I want to seek and align His will with my daily activities, thoughts and actions. I want to ACT on His will and teachings.
My Why:
  • Because my family needs me to do this more than they need me to do anything. I don't want God to have to teach me the hard way to get me to listen. It's the only way to fill the void in my heart and accomplish every and any other goal I set. I want Him to know that I treasure His blessings and grace through my thoughts and actions, not just my words. Words mean nothing if your behaviors and actions don't align. My boys teach me that every day. They learn by seeing. I want to earn their respect.

My How:
  • Finding a church and asking God for the guidance and discipline to do this - I'm honestly embarrassed to admit that we don't go to church. I always felt like you didn't need to go to church to be a good person and a strong Christian but, as it turns out, there are several verses here that talk about the importance of going to church and why. My girlfriend also said that it's important to pray about it and find a one where God wants you to serve - not just where they have casual dress code and a great daycare/kids program (not that I even thought...or maybe even mentioned that those were my criteria to her. Nope. Definitely didn't do that). 

  • Reading Jesus Calling each morning before checking any social media - this was a hard one for me. Again, embarrassing but, I'm working on it.
  • Being still, spending time with God and praying throughout the day - it's weird. I feel like I don't know how to pray. What do I say? How do I become disciplined and focused so that my mind doesn't wander? I'll start praying and it's like I'm not really there. This is a big focus for me because I think prayer takes practice.  
  • Getting rid of distractions that keep me from this - I unfollowed a lot of people/groups on Facebook and Instagram that weren't positive or fully in line with my values (ex. Someecards, certain fitness accounts on IG, etc.). I've also set some technology boundaries. My phone is a slippery slope. I found myself checking FB, IG, etc. habitually. Kid #1 calls my phone my camera because I'm always taking pictures with it and not too long ago he said to me, "mommy, QUIT LOOKING AT YOUR CAMERA! LOOK AT ME!!" I now am only on my computer or phone (for anything except something regarding the husband or kids) before they get up, when they're at school, or when they're napping. It's been really hard because I love being available to my Advocare people/team all the time, but it just didn't align with my core, nor my priorities so, I've had to set some boundaries. 

I think that my Spiritual journey is much like my health and fitness journey. I had to get to a point where I wanted and needed change and was willing to do the work to make it happen. 

God put things, like Advocare and my friend, Danielle, in my life to give me the tools, support and mentorship that I needed to truly transform my life. It's been an amazing journey so far and I am so excited to live the life that God is calling me to and fulfilling His purpose for me. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Basement {Before & After}

I want to apologize for the half-heartedness of this post right off the bat. I am knee-deep in my #powersheets (and loving every second) and working on a few of my monthly and weekly goals like:
  • trying to create and implement a time management system
  • learning to set some boundaries with work and the kids, 
  • and blogging more often.
I haven't quite got it all figured out just yet but, I'm working on it!

So, our basement. I didn't take many before pictures because this was one of the first areas we conquered and I think I was trying to block the whole situation out. I've since come a long way and have learned to embrace a good challenge but, this basement was a holy hot mess. There were cats (one of which they claimed to be the grandparent of Jinx from Meet the Parents...?! I can't make this stuff up) and birds...and a tanning bed.  

We started by ripping out the blue indoor/outdoor carpet and refinishing the floors (which I talked a little bit about that and the office HERE). Everything was a disaster down there and had to be re-done. Walls, trim, baseboards, ev-er-y-thing.

I'll start with my favorite room. Mostly because it's a long narrow room and we really had to be creative with how to best utilize it. It was originally a "media room". 

and who even has physical "media" anymore? Not me but, I do have wine. Lots and lots of wine.

Isn't that a much better use of the space?! Obviously, if you agree, we need to meet because we're destined to be bff's.

The wall color. Oh, the wall color. It's Sherwin Williams Ethereal Mood and although it's in the gray family, it pulls GREEN. I mean really green. I'd definitely do a different color if I had it to do over again, just because I'm not a huge fan of green on walls (unlike the previous owners) but, I chose this color off of a swatch instead of a sample on the wall. Big mistake, people. Huge. Rule #1 when choosing a paint color. Put it on the wall!

The racks came from Wine Racks America. They were super reasonable and great quality. I highly recommend them, if you're looking to do something similar in your home. The countertops are green onyx and I LOVE them. They are definitely unique and don't appeal to everyone, or look good in every room but, we wanted to add some character to the basement.

On to the living area.

I didn't get an after shot just like this one, because of the way the room is now put together but, you get the idea - hot mess city.

The after is actually shot from where that TV is.

{that couch and chair. another one of the husband's pre-marriage purchases...}

We opted not to paint the brick, like we did upstairs since I thought white would kind of compete with the floors. We sprayed the fireplace surround black and that looks about a thousand times better than brass. And you may recognize the built-ins. We repurposed the shelving in the media room and installed them out in the main room. They were sprayed in Sherwin Williams Dover White and the wall color is Sherwin Williams Useful Gray. I LOVE this color. It pulls a little tan (?) but it's a really great neutral gray that works in a lot of different rooms (It's also in the nursery upstairs that I'll be sharing later this week after the closet system is in). 

Here is the basement "bedroom" - which after shooting these, I realized that it looks a little more like a prison cell than a bedroom. This was a storage type room up until last week so, I've never spent any time making it into a true guest bedroom. I promise it's not this bad in person. Well, the rug is. I'd like to blame the husband but, I think this was a pregnancy brain purchase about 5 years ago. It's a king bed so the room is actually pretty big, but it was kinda hard to capture. Wall color is Useful Gray as well.

I will tell you, I am LOVING everything Nate Burkus at Target right now. #idie over these sheets.

The bathroom proved to be difficult to capture as well but, you can see the detail in the onyx a little more here. Isn't it dreamy?! The wall color is Agreeable Gray and this is another favorite. It pulls a little tan/green but, it's still gray. Definitely one you want to sample first, though!

So there you have it. The finally finished basement! Will be sharing some more #powersheet (are you guys sick of hearing about these yet?! Sorry, they are seriously just that amazing) awesomeness and my 5 goals for the next 6 months, as well as, my mission statement...that I've been meaning to actually come up with for oh, I don't know, 2 years now. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on it!