Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Nexus Brown Cabinets with Walnut Countertops from IKEA

I just happened to check out the new link IKEA sent me this week for their kitchen planner at planyourkitchen.com and I stumbled upon a pleasant little surprise!

FINALLY, they have the cabinets we bought for our new kitchen PAIRED up with the countertops we ended up making a quick decision on. I have been googling all kinds of stuff to give me a visual on how they are going to look together. We put the samples together at the store back in November upon making a decision, but I haven't been able to visualize it sense...hence the excitement to see this picture:

Whoo-hoo-hoo! I like it.

Our handles are different than pictured and our flooring will actually be just about the same as the countertops. I haven't finalized a backsplash yet...originally I was going to go with something "whiteish" as pictured...but I wasn't sure if it would be too big of a contrast. I kind of like it now that I see it in the picture. Decisions, decisions!

Suddenly I'm no longer tempted to rip open the boxes of countertop we're storing here behind our couch (it's too cold to store them at the church house).

Monday, January 30, 2012

Freedom of Speech

Not my typical blog post, and definitely veers from "HOME+Something"...not sure if I even want to go here...but for the sake of the subject, I must.

"Freedom of Speech comes with great responsibility:  Using it perhaps when you shouldn't, not using it when you should. It may also come with great consequence:  the liberation of like-minded people into action, the persecution from disagreeing parties to silence you."


As a blogger, I am faced with the responsibility that comes with Freedom of Speech.  We all have venues to express our opinions.  Blogging is just another one of those venues that may touch the souls of people all around the world instead of the group of people you stand talking to face to face.

I am thankful for those who have spoken candidly about subjects that are controversial and may cause, as the quote stated, "persecution from disagreeing parties."  For if it weren't for their willingness to excercise their freedom, I would not have been liberated in many of my own beliefs, theologies, and passions that have been laid dormant within me for fear of "persecution" or "ex-communication."   It's a little like the phenomenon of Lady Gaga really.  I mean, what person who has ever felt a little odd about expressing their opinion because it was just off-the-wall doesn't have some sort of admiration for Lady Gaga?

"I used to get made fun of for being either too provocative or too eccentric, so I started to tone it down. I didn't fit in, and I felt like a freak."

In 2010, TIME magazine named her one of the most influential people in the world (ouch!).  Not exactly Mother Teresa, BUT her willingness to continue forward despite adversity is note-worthy.

More noteworthy would be Martin Luther King, Jr.  I'm not a MLK Jr. expert, but he apparently knew the power and influence available if he exercised the right to "Freedom of Speech."  Did he know the consequence?  I think he probably did and one outweighed the other.  At the core of his being he believed and stated:

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

His INability to stay silent, led to his death...but more importantly led to the freedom of millions.

Sounds a little like someone else I know.  Sometimes I refer to him as my homeboy JC aka Jesus Christ.  Not the swear word often heard when something unbelievable happens...(which in that instant, maybe that is giving him credit). I'm talking about the amazing guy aka God with skin, working organs, walking around just like us guy. 

Anyway, if you're American you've surely heard of him.  He too knew the power and influence available through "Freedom of Speech."  Now I'm not talking about "name and claim it" type of power...I'm talking about the choice to use his voice to confront some major issues going on down here when he showed up.  They didn't have an Amendment proclaiming that right, but he wouldn't have stayed silent if it was illegal to speak, which the religious leaders of that day would have definitely liked to make it that way when he showed up.  Instead, they claimed WHAT he was saying "illegal" and hung him for it. 

His inability to stay silent led to his death, and because he's God...his resurrection as well. 
It was a real death just the same. 
With pain, humiliation, and disappointment as the words he spoke were so controversial, it really stirred up a raucous.  And the religious leaders had those who were believing everything Jesus said so scared, they cowardly denied even knowing him.  BUT because he was willing to speak and die a humiliating death....billions are allowed to be free.  And he DID know what he was getting into.

Ah...the responsibility that comes with choosing to exercise Freedom of Speech.  I guess the people on the other side were exercising their right too, eh?  Is defending the claims being made against you declaring anything?  JC didn't do a lot of defending...he just kept proclaiming the truth and confronting those things that were contrary to the truth...the religious leaders defended, attempted to create more rules to silence him, and finally set a trap to silence him once and for all, or so they thought.  Martin Luther King, Jr.  kept confronting discrimination...and the discriminators defended their actions and silenced the confronter, or so they thought, his words and actions live on in the liberation of many. 

As I wrap this up, I think back to the above quote from MLK, Jr.:

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

I am left thinking about what things matter to me that I continue to be silent about?  And then, I am reminded of the "Serenity Prayer":

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference."

I happen to be someone who has a hard time accepting that there are things I can't change.  But just as soon as I think I can change something...courage to change them is lacking indeed.  I definitely need wisdom to know "when to hold 'em" and "when to fold 'em."

How about you? Is your life beginning to end because you've been silent about something that matters?  Who will speak first?

Psalm 39:1-3 (The Message)

A David psalm.

I'm determined to watch steps and tongue so they won't land me in trouble. I decided to hold my tongue as long as Wicked is in the room.
"Mum's the word," I said, and kept quiet. But the longer I kept silence The worse it got--
my insides got hotter and hotter. My thoughts boiled over; I spilled my guts.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Plumbing Covered with Cement: Check

We are soooo close to putting this horrid cement job behind us.  Just have to remove the frame around the shower and pour the shower floor before we store our new best friend "Orangey" away until spring when I have grand plans of mixing and pouring large cement patio blocks. <------wow...long run-on sentence. OR until I talk the hubster into cement countertops....mwahahahahha! Actually I don't know about that yet...just throwing the idea around a bit.

Anyway, the cement job wasn't so horrific once we (by we I mean they) got started and all the supplies, machines, tools, were in place.


My twin uncles who are only a few years older then me, worked like a well-trained team of Oxen keeping that cement mixin' and spreadin'.


My 13 year old got in on the fun lugging 5 gallon buckets of water from the neighbor's house.
Our friend, Vernon, lifted bags of cement for 2 hours straight and my amazing husband did a LOT a bit of everything.

Two and half hours later, smoother than an elephant's ba-hoosky...we have a nice solid (well soon-to-be-solid) floor to walk across again.


We felt like celebrating...so we went to our church's "Minute to Win it" game night and left the cement to cure by the heat of our "little propane heater that could."


Exhausted from Saturday's events, we took Sunday off from going to church and went to check on our work, prepared to finish the pour on the shower floor.


But, like the cats exclaimed in the 1985 movie I filmed with my friend Joni Todd when they discovered the flood wrecking their town, "Horror!"

Picture Stolen from someone else's blog

(No pictures accompany the following events):

The middle of the basement was covered in 1-2 inches of water streaming toward the old plugged drain. At first glance we thought perhaps the water was just run-off from the wet cement. Most of the cement was not yet cured and when my babe sat down the work light, he noticed it sank a little into wet cement. Further discovery showed a huge bubble of concrete in that section. Ah ha! Someone must have bumped the valve that was keeping the old water line off while we were trying to bury it for eternity.

My babe dug through that cement like someone digging to find a lost wedding ring (not really, I just though that sounded kind of funny). Actually, he calmly dug until he found the valve and said, "Yep, somebody must have bumped it on."

With the mystery solved, we quickly worked to get the mess cleaned up and the cement smoothed back out. The rest of the cement wasn't cured enough to take the forms out, so work was delayed another day. I guess we were forced to take a Sabbath-rest after all.

Like I said before, "Cement, how I loathe thee."

One last shout out to the men who helped carry  (73) - 80lb bags of cement into our basement...you know who you are!

And another shout out to our new friend "Orangey."  Hope you enjoyed your shower!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

One Plumber Plumbing


This old church house came with the following plumbing:

(1) Toilet
(1) Bathroom sink
(1) Other sink (laundry basin)
(1) 5 Gallon water heater (that's not a typo...5 gallon...not 50 gallon)
(2) Floor Drains

Also Note:  All plumbing was in the basement.

As you can imagine, A LOT of plumbing needed to be added to make this a livable space for an American family of 4. Hey, we'll still be living with the below average number of bathrooms (we will have 1 for us and 1 for the apartment)...the average is 2 per household. And we kind of thought we need a place to bathe and do laundry...soooooo...

Step 1: Cut into the current floor to locate and modify existing plumbing. Usher in the giant cement saw, cement dust, sludge, swinging sledgehammer, and lots of chunks of concrete to haul out.


Step 2: Remove nasty drain pipes and replace with nice white PVC drain pipes.

Kitchen Sink

Step 3: Oh heck, I really have no idea what I'm talking about. My hubby did all the work and he looked like a master engineer with all the PVC and CPVC elbows, weyes, tees, and purple glue stuff encircling him.


I do now know a few things and that is this:
  • Purple Primer is messy and smelly, but it ensures a tight seal and a happy mood.
  • Drains look like spaceships
  • Photobucket
  • PVC is used for drains (stuff leaving the house), CPVC is used for water lines (water coming into the house)
  • Cool new words like "3-3-Weye" (not the letter Y), "3-2-Bushing", "Couplings", and probably a few other useless words that I hope I never have to say to the guys at the hardware store again.
  • When all the drain pipe is in and you run 20 minutes of water through the pipes with no leaks or water backing up, it's cause for celebration!
  • My husband is just amazing, amazing I say! (I already knew this part, but it's worth repeating)

    With this new information in place, I can now say we have a nice set of pipes in our house.

    Look at those Pipes!

    Our new plumbing includes the following and now includes 2 levels of plumbing:

    (2) Toilets (1 up, 1 down)
    (1) Walk-In Shower
    (1) Bathtub
    (1) Bath/Shower
    (2) Washer Hook-ups
    (3) Bathroom Sinks
    (2) Kitchen Sinks
    (1) Dishwasher
    (1) Refrigerator Water Line
    (1) Outdoor Spigot
    (3) Floor Drains
    (2) 50 Gallon Heaters (not hooked up yet)
    (1) Water Softener (not hooked up yet)

    Now, the thing that has delayed us a couple of weeks now....covering those pipes back up. Cement work, I loathe you.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    Decon to Recon Home Renovation

    There is soooo much deconstruction! I've personally had it with deconstruction. It seems to be about the only thing I can help with.

    Deconstruct and then haul out the aftermath and then haul away the aftermath and then unload the aftermath. I'm touching this stuff FOUR times and then sweeping up afterwards!

    I'll stop whining ONLY because I have begun to see some REconstruction going on. And it is so exciting!

    First off, we tore out the stage on the main level where the worship band use to stand.


    We found some very disturbing construction below the carpet and sub-floor. Apparently when they removed the sunken baptismal they replaced it with some rigged up boards that weren't supported by anything.


    We've wondered why the floor seemed to move all those years when the band was "stomping Satan under their feet." Turns out, God saved them from a catastrophic fall through the floor to the pits of hell below.

    The floor remained open for several weeks as we struggled through a tough month. And then the gumption came to rebuild the floor and support structure. I had the privilege of throwing every unusable board out the window (literally) and then loading them up in the truck to take to the burn pile to unload again. Before your sympathy for me overflows too much, my wonderful dad and kids helped too.


    Now, we have this beautiful sturdy floor (or sub-floor I think is what it is called) complete with plumbing for the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry area that will one day be built in its place.


    My husband is super talented.

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    2012 Resolutions

    I probably spoke on the subject a year ago, but in case I didn't I feel the need to mention I have a love-hate relationship with New Year's Resolutions.

    I hate failing, so I hate to resolve to do anything that may fail...which is why you will notice I'm not resolving to lose weight, eat healthy, or exercise more in 2012. Not that I won't do those things, but I've set myself up for failure more times than I can count in that area...and I just can't bear to fail AGAIN after I declared to the world that I was going to try it AGAIN.

    The flip side to resolutions, however, is that I really do love setting goals and as much as I resist falling into the the New Year Resolution trap, I'm drawn to it as much as I'm drawn to Caramel Topped New York Style Cheesecake at The Outback. And, I suppose God has been working a bit on my heart about a few things I need to resolve whether it is a new year or not. So here is my list as I was inspired this morning.

    1. Give more, save less.
    2. Forgive more, condemn less.
    3. Get rid of more, hold on to less.
    4. Thank more, complain less.
    5. Encourage more, degrade less.
    6. Love more, hate less.
    7. Repent more, disown less.
    8. Laugh more, scowl less.
    9. Think globally more, think personally less.
    10. Surrender to God more, think of self less.

    By the grace of God, there will be less of me and more of Him by this time next year. When He is doing the work, I can't fail right?