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Stereogram Truths

About 3.5 months ago….

Yep, that’s right. Before this week, it’d been 3.5 friggin’ months since I last posted anything. Not exactly on track to win any blogger awards, but that’s alright. I needed to disconnect from social media while surviving some craziness, but I already listed my excuses in the last post, so I’ll try to get back to the point… Now where was I…..

Ah yes – about 3.5 months ago, i wrote a post called Getting “There” and did a craptastic job of trying to translate some emotions that I was working through at the time into words on a screen. Sometimes, emotions aren’t made for words… Especially if you’re not quite a wordsmith, like me.

Well, I haven’t really gone a day or two without still thinking about what I attempted to write back then. But this past weekend, one of our church Elders spoke on Practical Grace at Work and pieces of it struck me in a way that I hadn’t really considered before.

The message was part of a series we’ve been delving into over the past couple of weeks, but this particular focus on work really seemed to hot me where I was and have been lately. I love it when that happens! I feel so… Pursued. So diligently pursued by God (something that I need to write on, one day, but that’s not the intent of today’s post).

Anywho, we read directly from several different scriptures (and awkwardly, I can’t seem to find the paper that I had with them listed, so please excuse my lack of preparedness!) that focused on our mindsets while at work. And as we read through them and focused and broke them down to examine more closely, I started to see this pattern emerge.

Has that ever happened to you? When it does, it reminds me of those stereogram pictures we used to see everywhere back around the late 90s, where at first it seemed to be one massive repeated pattern, but the more you stared at it, the more obvious a seemingly 3-D image started to appear right in front of you. And from then on, it was near impossible to look at the image without seeing that 3-D image popping out at you… Even if you walked away and came back later – it was as if it had always been there, and had never eluded you begin with.

Back to the story – what began to appear, like a stereogram, to me was the way that the bible spoke about work. I’d always read it as though it just referred to your job, or whatever you were meant to do we your life, and feel like I’ve asked God over and over again what it is he wants me to do… Which job should I take, Lord? What is your callings my life? Where should I go next? Etc etc… And now there was this image in front of me that I can’t imagine how I’ve missed before.

Every time the bible talks about “work” or “going” in these verses, it was used more so in the context of “while you’re on your way” or “since you’re going there anyway” and that just smacked me upside the head, guys!

I really need to find these verses to share with you because I feel like I just sound crazy spouting this off without backing it up with the actual scriptures, but it started to kind’ve wake me up from what I had always thought that the Bible had said.

Studly and I had talked about this after church and it seemed to hit us both this same way. We had always wondered what it was a God wanted us to “do” with out lives, and if we were in the right jobs or careers or fields and now suddenly, our eyes are open to this idea that God has people doing ANY and ALL kinds of jobs, and although some may get this calling to go into a far mission field or to do something super specific, god has also placed in our hearts desires and giftings and talents that are special and specific to each one of us for a reason. And he’s also given us wisdom and put people around us a placed us where we are in our lives (though we often mistake our own choices for overwriting his will)… He’s just knit together this incredibly intricate tapestry of ALL THE THINGS and whatever it is that we do… Wherever we go… Regardless of what we call “work” or “job” or any other related thing, we should do it with all of our heart and we should do it in worship to the Creator and the Orchestrator of this incredibly beautiful, amazing, intricate life.

Okay. I kind’ve started preaching a bit… But this was just so eye-opening for us.

So I say all of that to say this – we are starting to reshape how we look at things like our careers and callings. We will still be praying and asking God to lead us where he’ll have us, but also praying that we will learn what it is that he wants us to learn while we are in this season of our lives.

Hopefully, through this post you can learn along with us that it doesn’t matter if your job is collecting fees on a turnpike or shoveling ravel at a landscaping company or teaching 7th graders math or scheduling meetings for and exec… You can do it in worship and as if you are doing it directly for God, because you are.

Thanks for humoring me as I worked through this. I’m not sure if this will mean big changes for myself or possibly even both of us anytime soon, but I’m just grateful whenever I feel like my eyes have been opened and truth has founds it’s way in… Which is just the thing about truth. It always has a way of finding way into the open.

I’ll keep you posted on anything that may change, but for now… Of you’re the praying type and you’ve stuck with this post this long, please pray for me… For us. I’ve felt increasingly drawn in a completely different direction with my work-life, but I’m not sure yet if it’s just my being impatient or washy-washy with where I am or even just bored with having done the same thing for so long. I don’t want to be rash and I don’t want to do anything stupid, but I’ve just felt that I’ve been leaning more and more into the direction of doing something small and on my own, working with my hands and utilizing my creativity.

Advice is also welcomed and even encouraged!!

Thanks for stopping by, friends. I’m glad to be back and hope to find a rhythm with posting, again.

Love y’all!
~Hope

Where’s the Caffeine?

I owe you a post today on Paint.  As boring as that sounds, it’s not going to be one of those posts where we pick paint, we drastically change our room, and wah-lah everyone’s happy.

If only life were so simple.

It is 100% a tale of woe.  And I believe this tale isn’t tool often enough… because most of us are not interior decorators with minors in color theory, or Sarah Richardson with a God-given ability to always pick the perfect tones and color combos (btw – I’m convinced she couldn’t make a bad color choice if she tried – it’s like she’s allergic to bad colors!).  In reality, small pieces of paint colors against a huge wall is never indicative of how it would work in the space, and sample-sized painted squares on several walls is still not the same as an entire room of the same color… especially if the color you are painting over is bold or overpowering in any way.

Anywho – that post is coming.  And hopefully later today.

But for some crazy reason, I had to be at work for a teleconference meeting by 4:00 this morning, which meant waking up at 3:00… and I am just SO not a morning person.

Wait… is that even considered morning?  Maybe it’s more like I’m not a “devil’s hour” kind of person. ??

Who knows.  It’s way to early to be solving such deep problems.

So this is a post promise – I will have the post written and up sometime within the next day or two.  But for now… I have a much simpler goal of just trying to stay awake at work.  And frankly this is a problem that I never thought I’d have.

Oh… and did I mention that I’m going to be here until at least 3:00 this afternoon?  Yeeaahhh….

ZZZzzzzzzzzzz

Wha- dang it.  Fell asleep already.  Where’s the caffeine?!

~Hope

Let Me Entertain You

When we bought this house, it came with quite an array of …. junk.  Only some of which is even worth mentioning.

We acquired a massive wood pile in the back yard (which may hold some possibilities, but is currently just a massive eye sore and most of it is unusable).  We gained a ridiculous amount of crap in the garage (seriously – how much fertilizer and bug killer does one need?).  And we inherited a massive entertainment center (left in a not massive room) that was too tall to just move into another room without first being completely disassembled.

Initially, this all just seemed to translate into a lot of work.  But once we started to really get a handle on things, much of it started to look more convenient than previously thought.  So we took stock and just added all it to the list.

THEN we found out that family was coming for Christmas and suddenly our list got rearranged and prioritized to an unrealistic amount of things that had to be done before mid-December.  Awesome.  But hey… what better time to just get stuff done, right?  We work better on a deadline anyway.

So as we went through the list and started to determine what we actually had time to accomplish before our guests arrived, we decided that we didn’t have enough time to build an entertainment center as I’d really wanted, and this beast would just take way more work than we really wanted to invest (since we didn’t plan to keep it long-term).  But we had to have something because our previous/current Tv Stand didn’t exactly fare well during the cross-country move.  Enter a certain discounted home furnishings website and our luck in finding the perfect Entertainment Center for what we really wanted in our space.  Boom!  Everyone’s a winner.  Huzzah!!

Unnnnntil we got an e-mail about it not possibly being delivered until the day after Christmas.  Wait – what?!  The website had initially said that it’d be shipped within 3-5 business days… back when we made the purchase at the end of November.  And we paid for standard shipping.  Stupid fine print!  Because it was considered an overpriced piece, the only method of shipment was to have it physically driven from somewhere in the middle of Illinois straight to our home in Texas.  And that alone would take at least 3 weeks.  Sheesh.  Sounds like the worst road trip ever.  NoThanks!

There we were… back to the drawing board.  And our options had now dwindled down to paying a stupid amount of money for a new Entertainment Center that wasn’t exactly what we wanted and would need to be refinished anyway (which seemed like a waste of said money) OR refinishing “the Beast.” And of course now we were only about 2.5 weeks away from guests arriving and were already planning to finish a dining room table and ottoman that were scheduled to be delivered sometime within that timeframe.  Murphy – you ol’ poopstick.  Why does your law always seem to win out?

Just to give you an idea of what I’m talking about, here’s a peak at the beast… in all of its original, left behind glory.  Oh – sorry for the awful lighting and terrible camera angles… this room is long and narrow and there weren’t really a ton of options for better perspective.

Yeah.  It’s pretty massive, right?

And has thus far become the dumping ground for all books and assorted “stuff” that didn’t yet have another home in the new house.

And before you start thinking anything like “it’s not so bad” or “that would be expensive if purchased anywhere”… let me give you a few close-ups from after we disassembled and explain what we discovered.

Among being built without much attention to detail, and without anything remotely close to some level of craftsmanship, it was also not stained until after it was assembled.  And though that may not seem that terrible, when I say “assembled,” I’m even including the insertion of the adjustable shelves.  None of it was stained before being put together.  AND it was stained INSIDE the home.  I know this because of the stain marks on the walls and on my tile floor.  *sigh

Anywho – without further delay, here’s a few close-ups of what we were working with (sorry again for the bad light spots and weird shots… I wasn’t thinking about the blog when I took these and I am kicking myself for that, now):

See those drips and all that goop? And how about some along the wide open sides (before you start thinking that it was just because it was near the floor… which they managed to get stain on anyway):

Yeah. Random and unnecessary.

I really wish I would’ve gotten some better shots, but I was taking them after daylight was pretty much gone and we had turned on the overhead lights (stupid stupid stupid!).

How about one more shot of the brush marks where you can tell they didn’t blend or wipe in the stain, but just brushed it on like paint and left it:

Not exactly my favorite look.  Call me crazy.

And it had also seemed to have taken a pretty good beating over the years – water spots and wax build-up aplenty:

Hott, right?

If you’re into that kind of thing.

So… now that you have a better idea of what we’re up against, let’s get into some progress shots.

Oh a Thursday night, I finally took the plunge.  I pull out my new Ryobi Orbital Sander (now THAT is a score I’ll have to tell you about sometime) and went to town.

Here’s everything laid our in the garage and you can tell that I’d already begun sanding everything:

You see that area in the bottom left corner of the image where it is really light?  Yeah… I hadn’t sanded that down, yet – that is just where the middle piece meet the side piece on this one.  See what I mean about not sanding until after it was assembled?  And if you look at the bookshelf furthest from the camera (*coughiPhonecough*), you can see where the adjustable shelves had been when they that piece was stained.  Nice and thorough, boys.  Nice. and. Thorough.

Anywho, as I got into sanding, the wood looked pretty nice.  Without the caked on stain and sealant it wasn’t so shabby and I was starting to see the possibility of a nice piece.  Just needed a little love and elbow grease to bring it out.

And when I say “little”, what I really mean is a ridiculous crap-ton, of course.  Obvs.  But look at the different!

Unfortunately, I had to get serious.  I do believe with the right stain color and the right technique (read: ANY actual technique) this could be a not-so-bad wood piece.  But I did NOT have time to stain the entire thing in a way that would bring out it’s beauty and still have time to apply a poly to ensure that it wouldn’t get worn too quickly or easily.

This meant that we were going to need to paint it.  My only hesitation to just paint from the beginning was that 1) there’s a lot of wood knots and texture to this piece and was worried that just straight painting would look a little cheap (and I did not have time to distress anything after applying paint), and 2) this is Texas.  If we really were considering selling this thing after sometime not to long after Christmas, I needed to appeal to the masses, right? Nothing too taste specific and nothing to crazy.

Here’s a close-up of some of the neat little knots and textures of the Beast:

See those pretty little bits?  If I was going to be stuck with this piece for any period of time, I was NOT going to lost any of that goodness.  But what would that mean as far as painting was concerned?

Frankly, I didn’t have time to second guess myself and flip-flop around with it.  I need to just make a decision and get to work.

And with that realization, paint became the name of the game.

So I got to work.  I didn’t want to hand paint the entire thing because… let’s get real.  In this day and age, that’s just silly.  So I decided I would “prime” the piece with some leftover paint I had and then spray it white. White is simple, not too taste specific, and all in all would work well in many spaces.  Now we had a plan.

It began.  And as I was working, I realized that the paint I was using as my primer, was actually a cream color and not a white (though you probably can’t tell from this distance).

Dadgummit!  Ah well.  Close enough.  No going back now, right?

Welp, this is where I stopped taking pictures.  Because frankly, this is where things started to get SUPER frustrating.

I had opted to spray paint the entire thing because of time and in order to get an even and non-strokey finish.  Since I hadn’t yet purchased a paint sprayer, but had asked for one for Christmas, I figured I’d super simplify things by just using good old fashioned spray paint.  I’ve done a ton of spray painting in my life and already had a good handle on technique and figured it wouldn’t take too much effort this way.  So why not, right?

Going into this project, I have always been a brand snob when it comes to spray paint.  When it comes to normal paint, I’m more of a color snob, but not really as concerned with brands.  But with regard to spray paint, I have always stuck with the original – Rustoleum.  To be clear, that was before.  I am no longer stuck on Rustoleum spray paint and it may take some kind of miracle (or severe shortage of other options) before I’m willing to purchase another can of their spray paint.

I purchased somewhere around 15 cans of spray paint for this project (though not all at once, because I initially figured I could get it done with much less).  Out of the total, at least 6 cans were defective.

That is over 1/3 of the total.  Are we serious??  Really?!  Come the HECK ON!  And it all translated to 3 total trips to the store for more because I’d need one or two more, would buy more than I thought I’d actually need in that trip, but then would get home and discover that several of them wouldn’t work.  And here are the categories of insanity that I was working with (read: the ways they were defective):

  • watery, yellow liquid rather than the glossy white paint it was supposed to contain
  • something I can only describe as some kind of paint turd slowly oozing out when the “trigger” was pulled, and then never stopping even with the trigger was released
  • messy, chunky bits randomly spewing out all over the piece
  • almost empty! no really – having taken the red stopper off myself, I hadn’t been spraying for more than 10 seconds when it was just done.  empty.  completely out of paint.

Needless to say, I was BEYOND furious.  How many times did this have to happen?  And I had even purchased them from different stores, so it’s not like it was just one bad pallet.  And when I’d run into another bad can, it felt infinitely worse than it probably would’ve been if I had just been starting because by then – I was spraying/spewing this awfulness onto the piece where I had already made so much progress and was trying to blend in where the previously sprayed areas were.  So as it was spreading its ridiculousness, it was ruining what I had just worked so hard to already finish and/or correct.

UGH!

A MILLION TIMES UGH!!

By the time I finished, I just needed to not even LOOK at the thing for a few days.  Seriously.  I convinced myself that it stayed in the garage to “set” before we brought it into the house, and that was true, but it really didn’t need to set for 4 days.  I was just beyond frustrated.

So here it is.  Far from my best work, and definitely in need of touching up and a little distressing, but it was what it was and it would stay that way for at least a month or more… or until I could build myself up to messing with it again, anyway.

(ignore the laundry basket filled with blankets… you see nothing!)

And here are a couple of close-ups so that you can see how the painting translated with those cute, quirky little knots and bits of texture that I wanted to preserve:

I do wish I had filled in just the little finishing nail holes and just left the natural wood roughness, but it all seems to blend for now, anyway.  Besides… you live and you learn, right?!

And here are a couple of shots (terrible angles, again.  sorry!) from when I finally got some decor up on the shelves (incl. some Christmas stuff).  Also… the Pup says hello?

As you can see, we had to get creative when it came to an end table for now.  These are just two stained crates stacked on top of each other, but it does the job for now.

Well, there ya have it.

I have big plans to switch up the stuff on the shelves, to hang something above the TV (to fill in that empty space when the Christmas tree garland is gone), and to put something on the top of the piece so that it’s not weird and naked when viewed from above.

You start to get a little glimpse into the height of this room in the shots above, but it’s really just soooo massive.  I need to not only put some things along the top of this piece, but then will still need to figure out something to do on the walls above it, too.  I have tons of things pinned as inspiration, but I’ll eventually have to narrow that down and formulate an actual plan.  And then do the same in the open space above the windows, and then the areas below the “window” openings from the floors above on the other two walls.

You know what they say about Great Rooms… with great room comes great responsibility.  Or something like that.

Now that this thing is “done” and back into the house (in a newer, larger room than before), for now, we have decided to keep it for longer than month or two.  It’s still probably not going to be a forever piece unless it really starts to grow on us (perhaps some touch-up paint and light distressing would help with that?), but it more than works for now.  And it’s funny, I can already picture a few things I’d like to do with it in the future (pallet wood backs to the shelves, filling the nail holes, lightly distressing the piece a bit, and many other things that will quite possibly never happen), but I’m not unhappy when I look at this wall, anymore.  And that, my friends, speaks volumes!

So what have y’all been working on, lately?  Any house projects taking up your time?  Is your “to do” list as massive as mine is?  I swear that thing has found a way to clone itself while I’m sleeping.

Hugs and awkward high fives!

~Hope

Thankful Thursday

This week’s post got me wanting to focus on something I often take for granted:

My Job.

There are so many times that we find ourselves frustrated or stressed or even just having an off day and we tend to blame our job. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those people who lives to work, but if I’m honest… I do LOVE my job.

Overall, you could say that I’m in Mission Management/ Operations Coordination. It’s one of those jobs that is never without surprises, there never really seems to be any lag time, and I’m relied upon pretty heavily by people of all different levels – from entry level to senior management. It’s a great place to be!

With that being said, there are definitely days when I wish I could just… well… not be there. Days where I wish that I DID have some lag time or slower moments just to catch my breath, rather than seeming to be perpetually behind. Being in such an important office and doing work that makes such a big difference in people’s actual lives… let’s just say that it’s pretty typically a high-stress environment.

All-in-all… I love my job. I love most of the people I work with and I love working in a place that I feel really makes a difference in people’s lives (even though they don’t really notice).

I’m so grateful to have the job that I do. Even while hoping to one day be a stay-at-home mom, it’s always been important to me to have a job that I love… So I’m so thankful to have found that for the past several years, and hopefully all of the professional years that I have to come.

What are you thankful for this week?

Monday Monday

I’m a little late posting this… Seeing as how it’s almost Tuesday, but today has been a pretty blah day.

I’ve been sick most of the weekend, for some odd reason, so it was kind’ve a waste as far as getting anything done. Luckily, the East coast was hit with more snow (yay?) and we were given the day off of work, so I was able to get some more much needed rest, as well as getting a little laundry done.

Studly and I were both off work so we got to spend some time together, which was awesome. Unfortunately, that means that he will be working some longer hours this week to make up for today’s day off, so it was a little bittersweet. I feel like it was a great time for me… Getting to actually have a nice day to enjoy before going back to work, since sickness and sleep stole much of my weekend.

Anywho, this Monday was anything but typical for us, but all-in-all it was a good day. The downside is….. Having Mondays off always seems to make Tuesday that much harder to bare.

How about y’all – How was your Monday? Anyone else get a surprise day off thanks to one final snow?

And finally: is anyone else as done with this winter as I am?! Ugh!!

~ Hope

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