Tuesday, April 21, 2020

March Bible Journaling Pages

We have been enjoying some rare, beautiful spring weather here in Wisconsin so I have spent days and days in my garden and all the bruises, scrapes, and aches in my body show it.  But after today, the temperatures will return to the 30's and 40's once again (Surprise, surprise!  Once again Easter Sunday will be freezing cold!  I guess it doesn't matter this year because I won't be going anywhere other than my living room for church).  Anyway, I tell you all that because I will have some extra time on my hands to blog, so I decided to share some of my Bible Journaling Pages.  Even with a household full of family, I still find time to Bible Journal every day.  Staying close to God is more important than ever as we navigate through these difficult times.

Most of my pages are pretty old by now.  I finished 2 Chronicles, and quickly moved through the short books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther and I just started the book of Job.  I thought it quite ironic that I ended up in the book of Job right during the pandemic.  Ironic or God's Plan?  I will talk of what God is teaching me through the book of Job in a future post, in the meantime, here is what I learned from last month's pages.

I created this page when I read the verse 2 Chronicles 33:13. "And when he prayed the Lord listened to him and was moved".  Isn't it wonderful to know that when we humble ourselves and pray God listens to us and that He can be "moved" by our pleas?  Remember that each time you pray for our nation during the pandemic.  

To create this page I painted a background with craft paints and used stickers, stamps, and my own handwriting for the words.  The praying hands is a stamp, and I cut the arrow using a die cutting machine.

Whenever I read the Bible I often see verses that apply to whatever I am going through in life right now.  The verse pictured below definitely shows how I feel with regard to the pandemic.  It's a pre-printed image that I colored with gel pens.

We've often been taught that the battle is not ours but God's, right?  That is definitely true now when we are fighting an "Invisible Enemy" as our president likes to call it.  I colored this image with silver and gold gel pens.

We must always remember to "Rejoice" and be thankful to God in all circumstances.  Even though I have had some minor suffering (nothing in comparison to the suffering of others) I can still rejoice and be thankful for what I do have.  We lost some income, but I am thankful my husband still has a job.  We lost a vacation, but I am thankful I got a refund for my "Non-refundable hotels".  We lost our freedom, but I am thankful we are all healthy.  We lost our ability to meet with other believers in person, but I am thankful we can still meet virtually.  We lost seeing our son in person for Easter,  but I am thankful that we have my other children and grandchildren here with me.

I colored this pre-printed image with gel pens.

Here is a page I created myself.  I loved the verse and wanted to create a happy, cheerful verse to emphasize it.  Isn't it awesome to know God "Delights in Us"?  this page was created by first coloring a background with gel pens.  The flowers and birds are stickers that you color in yourself.  I picked them up at the Dollar Store.  The Dollar Store does have a small craft section where you can find lots of cute, inexpensive crafting supplies.  The verse was created using a mix of stickers and my own hand writing.

Here is a pre-printed image I colored in with gel pens.  Another good reminder for these difficult times.

One thing that has been a disappointment to me during the entire pandemic was how the majority of Christian Churches have been responding to it.  Most seem more concerned about the survival of their church and/or comforting people, giving them hope and peace.  OR, playing church as normal, but virtually.   I totally agree with comforting people, and we should have hope and peace if our faith is in Christ, but one word I'm not hearing much of is "Repentance".   We need to put 2 Chronicles 7:14 into practice now more than ever "If MY people, who are called by MY NAME, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, THEN will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will HEAL their land."

I created this page because I was so moved by Josiah's response to finding God's law.  He could have so easily said "Well I didn't know any better", but instead he tore his clothes, and wept in despair.  He humbled himself and repented.  We as church need to repent for allowing the sins of this world into our churches and into our lives if we expect healing to happen.

The background was created with paints, then I used stamps for the major words I wanted to highlight and then my own handwriting for the rest.

Just a beautiful pre-printed image I colored with pencils.

A simple page I created myself.  I hand drew everything but the globe;  the globe is a stamp.  I made 'google eyes" to emphasize the word "eyes".  The background was created with paint and I put a bit of Washi Tape on the top.

A fun page I created to celebrate that God is with us and is our leader.  I used bright paints for the background.  The shadow figure, butterflies, and tree are stamps.  The words "our" were emphasized by stamping on white card stock.

Another verse very applicable to today's times.  The irony is when I was creating these pages it was all before the pandemic began.  I knew then about the virus and I felt something was going to happen because the news was really focusing on it more than previous viruses in the past. It made me wonder "What were they up to now?"  I felt God was speaking to me then to stop spending money, but at the time I had no idea why.  I also felt led to finish creating a new bedroom in our home (future post on that coming soon!). But I never suspected in a million years that our entire country would be locked down.  Now as I look back on these pages, I see God was preparing me for what He knew would lie ahead.

This simple page was created because I found this verse so interesting.  All the power is in God's hands.  He can either choose to help us, or trip us up to accomplish His will.

To create this page, I painted the background using craft paints, then hand wrote the verse and some notes.  The lines that the notes are written on is a stamp.

Did you know our battles are not our's but God's?  All we have to do is believe, stand still, and watch!  God will fight for us.  We do not even need to fight.  Let God fight for us because He is with us!
I absolutely love this Bible story.  The men of Judah never had to fight this battle.  God himself set up an ambush and when they came to the scene they looked toward the vast army and saw only dead bodies lying on the ground.  Amazing!

And finally another pre-printed image colored with gel pens.  What a great promise from God, isn't it?

I hope my Bible Journaling pages brought you some encouragement today!  God Bless!


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Sunday, April 19, 2020

A Bedroom In My Family Room?

Many of my regular readers know I've been going through my home room by room redecorating and updating them.  As I design the room, I'm not just interested in updating the decor, but making the space more practical for my new stage of life as an empty nester.

The room we chose to update this year was our family room.  It's a large, long room and it has always been an awkward space to decorate because of the length and the lack of light.  In the two "before" pictures the room is decorated for Christmas, making the room appear even more cluttered.

This is a view of the room if you just walked inside.  A large mammoth entertainment center covers one long wall (remember when these were all the rage?).  The walls are stucco with a faux painting of gold and creams.

This is a view of the room if you were standing by the Christmas tree looking back.  Again, it is very cluttered because I had to make room for a Christmas tree.  But I really want you to notice the French doors, as they play a huge role in the renovation project.

The Reason

Now, before I begin my tour of the beginning of our renovation project, let me explain my reason why we decided to do what we did.  As you know, we are empty nesters.  We have three small bedrooms on the third floor of our house with a narrow staircase leading to them.  When the children and grandchildren come home to visit, they usually stay about a week and average about three or four visits a year.  The last time they were here, we didn't get much sleep.  The crying grandchildren woke us up at night and Ashley, who doesn't like the mattress in the guest room, requested to take our bed.  So we gave up our queen size bed for Ashley (I know, what a princess).  But now my husband and I were sleeping on a full size bed and we weren't comfortable as we kept hitting each other all night.  Then Jason, Ashley's husband couldn't sleep with the baby in the master bedroom, so he went to sleep on a sofa in the living room.  Of course we then teased Ashley the next day and asked her how she was enjoying that nice, large Queen size bed all to herself while her elderly parents suffered on a full size bed.

Now there are two other reasons we wanted a bedroom on our main floor other than guests:  accessibility for old age and air conditioning.

 We were concerned as we age that we may not always want to or even be capable of climbing the stairs to the master bedroom.  It would be nice to be able to stay in our home as long as possible by making it more "old age friendly".

The last reason is that our home does not have central air.  We have one small window air conditioner that miraculously cools the entire main floor to our satisfaction, but the third floor is hot.  The lack of central air is usually not a problem for us.  We are outside more than inside during the summer and neither my husband nor I even like air conditioning.  We are able to sufficiently cool our house with box and ceiling fans.  However, every year we get about a three day heat wave, which makes sleeping upstairs very uncomfortable.  On those days we sleep on mattresses or cushions on the floor on the main level.  We thought it would be nice to have a real bed for those hot summer days.

The Problems

Now that you know why we wanted a fourth bedroom in our home,  let's discuss the problems with creating a sleeping space in a living room.  The main problem we had to deal with was how to create privacy without losing the light.  The living room is a dark balcony space that overlooks a sunroom.  There are only two windows on the east side of the house.  I did not want to just wall a portion of the room off and lose all that light.

The second problem, was losing too much space for a bed so that there wasn't enough seating space.  The bedroom portion of the room had to remain as small as possible so that our family still could gather together in this room.  I should also mention that I have three total living rooms in my house, so I'm not really giving up a large space for large gatherings.  I have a small sitting/living room open to my dining room, and a very big open sunroom that was large enough for my daughter to be married in.  I only needed enough space for the family to comfortably watch TV in this room.

The Solution

Now that you know the reasons we wanted to renovate this room, and the problems we had to overcome, here is how we solved them.

The first thing I did was to paint the walls pure white in a semi-gloss finish to brighten the room and reflect light.  The white instantly updated the room and made the woodwork pop!

After months of thinking, talking, and researching, we decided that a wall of glass that created a partition but still let light in would be best solution.  We used the existing French doors to the room.  Hubby simply took them off their hinges and made a wall with them.  Then we purchased Plexiglas and hubby made two sliding doors that operate like the popular barn doors in Farmhouse style homes.

Here is a picture of the the room still under construction.  The French doors were made into walls to section the room off.  I stained the new wood surrounding the doors black.  Later I would stain the area on the outside of the black "Early American".

My husband created a sliding barn door system all by himself.  He did not purchase one of those fancy, expensive kits.  We left the wheels and nail holes all exposed for a modern industrial look.

The clear Plexiglass slides directly behind the French doors so you can't even tell it's there when the glass is open,

As I stated earlier, the room is actually a balcony, so we wanted to close off the opening to the sunroom below for sound privacy.  We decided a bookshelf would not only be very practical but very pretty as well.

Here is a view of the Plexiglass doors closed.  Now I know most of you are wondering about privacy.  As of now, privacy is not an issue.  We have a pocket door attached to the main living space of the house that we can close anytime my husband and I want privacy.  If more privacy is ever needed, I could also put a rod behind the doors and add a curtain that I could open and close.  My husband and I have been using this room for a month now that the kids have been living with us, and we have not felt privacy to be an issue yet.  I also realize that if I ever have guests use this room, they may want more privacy so I would definitely hang drapes for guests.

A view of the room open with the doors behind the French doors.

Here you can see what the doors look like closed from inside the bedroom looking into the family room.

The Bed

For the bed, we wanted the largest bed possible without sacrificing space, so we decided on a queen mattress.  I ordered a fabric headboard from Wayfair and we attached it to the wall.  Then my husband built a wooden platform that a mattress could sit on top of.  There is plenty of space underneath the bed for under-the-bed totes.

In this picture you can see the shelving unit my husband created.  He put bead board paneling behind the shelves.  I painted the shelves a bright high gloss white.

Now I know you're anxious to see the final results but I don't know when I will be able to show them to you as just days after we almost completed the room (I still have to polyurethane the glass doors) the Apocalypse happened and my kids moved in with us.  It was actually PERFECT TIMING,  but I never really got a chance to decorate the room the way I planned so I haven't taken pictures.  However, I will say that the room is working out perfectly for our now multi-generation household.  Because there is a living space right next to the bedroom it's as if my husband and I have our own "Master Bedroom Suite".  The kids have the entire third floor of the house to themselves.  Each grandchild has their own bedroom.  We share the bathroom, kitchen, and dining room, but at night my husband and I can retire to our "suite" and have time to ourselves before bed.  It couldn't be more perfect!  

The funniest part of this whole story is that I always felt led by God to do this but I didn't really know why other than the reasons listed in the beginning of this post.  Every time I would tell people I was putting a bedroom in my living room they looked at me as if I were nuts...including my own kids!  I would reassure them that we would make it look spectacular and not weird, but no one believed us.  So far I only had one friend and my kids see the room since the pandemic occurred, and everyone now agrees it's the coolest thing ever.  Before the room looked very dated.  Now it looks hip and cool, like a New York City loft;  and it's not even decorated yet, plus we still have some of our old furniture!  I was planning on carpeting over the tile, and buying new decor and furniture, but now that is all on-hold until we see what the future holds.  For now, the room is perfect as it is!

If you really want to see "After" pictures without it being completely finished just let me know in the comments and I will post a few current shots.

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Monday, April 13, 2020

Grandma & Me: How We Celebrated Easter During The Apocalypse

Edited 4/16/20 to mention to those who may not have seen my previous pandemic post.  My children and grandchildren moved in with us the day before the first lockdown began.  That is how they were able to celebrate Easter with us.

Happy Belated Easter everyone!  I meant to have this post up last night and then guess what?  We got a winter storm and our power went out which fried our Internet modem.  We couldn't get a service man over until Monday morning!  I tell you, we were definitely living in the apocalypse between being shut in and unable to go to church, then getting about 10 inches of snow dumped on us when it was 57 degrees just the day before.  But when the Internet went out, that was the straw that broke the camels back.  Momma was not happy!  I was overcome with worry over how the kids would be able to work Monday morning without the Internet.  Thankfully our Internet provider sent out a repairman immediately so they didn't miss too much work.

My husband and I have been working feverishly in the garden the past month.  We are converting one of our flower beds into a vegetable garden in preparation for the apocalypse.  It has been so much work moving the flowers to other gardens.  The yard was looking so beautiful.  The crocus already bloomed, and all the daffodils were started to bud and some even bloomed.  I cut as many as could before the snow fell and brought them indoors.  I hope the rest survive.

The yard did look like a winter wonderland, but no one wants a blizzard this time of year.  Alethea is dying to get outside and play in it.  We had a slew of Easter activities yesterday so she didn't have time.  Hopefully today when dad is done working, she can go sledding.  

The thing that makes me real sad is this was the week we were suppose to be on vacation.  We were suppose to go to Wheaton, Illinois for Easter and then to Tennessee and Kentucky afterwards.  If we were able to go on vacation, we would have enjoyed 60 - 70 degree temperatures instead of this snow and cold.

In spite of the apocalypse and the bad weather, we were determined to have a great Easter no matter what.  I heard so many people say that they were sad that Christians couldn't celebrate Easter this year.  But that isn't true!  No, we couldn't celebrate in our churches with other believers, but we all still celebrated our risen Savior no matter what!  

We still rose early Sunday morning and put on our very best Easter clothes for church, even if it meant we would only be sitting in our own living room watching the services live stream.  I wore my new Easter dress from TJMaxx, and the grandkids wore new Easter outfits that my daughter's sweet neighbor purchased for them.

Our Lord has still Risen and no corovirus or winter storm will stop that fact!
Alethea loved singing "Christ The Lord Is Risen Today" during our church service.  I picked up this beautiful sign decor from Hobby Lobby last year.

And how cute is this little guy?  He gets handsomer every day!  

Alethea really enjoyed coloring Easter eggs early Sunday morning.

She also loved wearing her new Easter dress.  In fact, she is still wearing it!  She won't take it off!
She's definitely a girly girl just like her Momma and Grandma.


The kids loved the daffodils I brought in from the garden.  Of course Atticus just wanted to grab them and put them in his mouth, and we couldn't have that.

Atticus' peachy pants looks so cute with the coordinating plaid button down and suspenders.

Alethea's dress came with a matching pink coat.  It is so beautiful.  I don't know what I loved better, the dress or the coat.

We took some time to take other family photos before the church service.  Here is the little nuclear family:  my daughter Ashley, her husband Jason, and the grand babies.

What a smile, eh?

After the egg coloring and family photo shoot was complete, we all settled down on the sofa and watched Ashley and Jason's church in Wheaton on-line.  The music was so beautiful!

Hubby was the only one who didn't dress up this day.  He was up early working outside so he had his work clothes on.  He came in for the service and Easter dinner.

After the service we had a small lunch and Alethea went down for a nap.  While she was napping I put her Easter basket together.  I wanted to hide the basket in the house so she could look for it when she woke up but her mom told me she has difficulty finding things, and in a large home like ours, she'd really have problems.  So I laid these flower cut outs on the floor and all she had to do was following the path of flowers to her basket!


Alethea's Easter basket this year was small because I couldn't get to the store to shop.  So her basket consisted of just a chocolate bunny, some yogurt pretzels, and Reeses' Eggs, but she was tickled pink with it nevertheless.  It takes so little to make small children happy.

For Atticus, the only item in his basket was a stuffed toy.  But here is the exciting news:  he was so excited about it, he actually took his first crawling movements to get to it!  We were so excited to watch him crawl for the first time!

He was absolutely thrilled with his little stuffed elephant!

Later that evening, I set the table in a "Kid Friendly" Easter theme.  I used the daffodils from my garden and the "He Is Risen" sign for my centerpiece.  The daffodils looked so pretty in a blue Ball canning jar.  I scattered the paper flowers from the Easter egg basket hunt all over the table, and used blue dinnerware in celebration of spring.

We had a traditional Easter dinner of ham, mashed potatoes, corn, and cranberry relish.  I went off my Keto diet for two days. I've been on Keto since last fall.   It's good to "carb cycle" once in awhile so your body doesn't plateau at a certain weight.  I will resume my regular Keto diet tomorrow.

Well, I had to have some fun with this crazy weather so I decided to run out quick and do some fashion photos!  When I wrote about my new Easter dress in THIS POST  I mentioned that it might be too cold to wear it on Easter and I was RIGHT!  It's actually ridiculous even spending money on a new Easter dress when you live in Wisconsin because it's usually too cold on Easter Sunday to wear a frilly dress.

However, in light of the snow, and this horrible lock down were all under, I still just wanted to celebrate and have fun, so I ran outside in the snow and celebrated Easter no matter what!  Just like The Who's in Whoville from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, I was going to celebrate the Easter Holiday!  I was not going to let the weather or the coronavirus keep me from singing "Christ The Lord Is Risen Today!"

My husband would not let me walk out in the snow with my open toed nude sandals, so I threw on a pair of white booties instead.  It was a good idea, or my little toesies would have been covered in snow.

I just love this dress and can't wait till I am free again and I can wear it out on a warm day.  The halter style is so flattering.  I love that it comes with a pink belt to accentuate my waistline.  And I also love the longer length of this dress.

These nude Nine West shoes (old) I wore inside the house.  I had stockings on because it was too cold to go bare legged.

For accessories, I wore pink earrings, a rose gold bracelet, and I carried a vintage white straw bag.

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter in spite of the circumstances.  My daughter and I were so pleasantly surprised when we went on Facebook and saw that so many people still got dressed up on Easter Sunday and watched services in their living room.  They also did many of the traditional activities such as dying eggs and making a nice ham dinner.

Have A Great Day!  Amy

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