Monday, April 30, 2012

DIY projects: Light Fixture

I thought I'd post this quick entry with some show and tell of one of our recent DIY projects. My little family moved to Florida about a month ago, and we're currently renting a house. It's a cute little abode that's great for the 3 of us, and has everything we wanted in a house. It has a fireplace, 2 car garage, fenced in back yard, covered back porch, laundry room, eat-in kitchen and seperate dining room, and great closet spaces. I also love having dual vanities in the master bathroom, because now I have twice the counter space on which to scatter my makeup and hair products. :) The best part though? Florida living is cheap. We couldn't touch an apartment in Pennsylvania for the price of our rental house here. And we're 10 minutes from white sand, electric blue and green water beaches! Have I mentioned I like living here?

We went from buying a major fixer-upper in Pennsylvania (which is still sitting patiently on the market), to living in someone else's house that we're not allowed to make any changes to (but we sort of do anyway). For a couple of DIY-ers, it can be frustrating to feel like we can't fully make the place our own. But we've discovered some tips and tricks to help us give our rental some personal touches.

I'll start with the lighting. This little beauty was in the formal dining room, which is directly connected to the living room. It just screams 1993.


We decided we wanted to turn the formal dining room into an extension of the living room, mostly because I didn't want our huge TV anywhere near our beautiful fireplace, and because we have no use for a formal dining room in addition to the eat-in kitchen with just the 3 of us living here. So the plan was to create a sitting/conversation area around the fireplace, and then in the dining room, put the TV and entertainment stuff and another couch. The only thing that was keeping the TV area from looking legit, was the darkened glass and brass light fixture dangling down in the middle of the room. You can't replace rental lighting... or can you?? Yes! You sort of can!

We headed to Lowe's and grabbed a drum lamp shade in a nuetral cream color. Josh got out the drill and removed the ugly glass encloser around the light... it was starting to look better already. He then took about 5" worth of chain off, and then attached the lamp shade. Obviously we kept the glass shade and the extra chain links in storage to put back when the day comes for us to move out. But for the time that we are living here, we can totally live with this new and improved light fixture!


So that's that. I'll post pictures of our other projects a little later.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


I am laughing at myself because I started typing a Facebook status, and it was getting rather long -- like, 3 paragraphs long. And I thought, "Hmmm... maybe I should just put this in a blog." So that's what I did. I started a blog. Like the greats before me (ahemcoughDeirdre), I am putting a piece of myself out there for all to read. The topic of "wealth" is on my mind at the moment, but in general, I plan for my blog to be as incohesive and erratic as me, covering everything from recipes, to DIY projects, onto mothering, wifing, worshipping, and so on.

Here's what I'm thinking about today: Wealth. What is wealth? If we were to survey every person in the world, the responses would be as diverse as those questioned. What got me asking myself this question tonight, was scrolling through my news feed on Facebook. I just found it funny when one of my friends was complaining about a certain political candidate's wealth, and how no one should be THAT rich -- and she posted this rant via her iPhone. Her iPhone. Now, let me make it very clear, that I am most definitely not this candidate's biggest fan. There are a slew of reasons I don't care for his leadership, but the fact that he is wealthy or even filthy rich is not one of those reasons.

"Wealthy" is such a relative term. If you have a wardrobe, a ride, cable, a smart phone, internet, are literate, have a home, and food on the table... YOU are wealthy and you are living someone else's wildest dream. Why do we gaze enviously at someone else's wealth or feel that they should not be allowed to have what they have? Others might be looking at us the same way. In the US we make up 6% of the world's population but have over half the wealth of the world, and yet we still don't feel rich. We look at someone like Mitt Romney and set the bar there. We say, "THAT is what rich looks like." Yet if you were to ask Romney, he wouldn't say he's arrived. In fact, I guarantee he's still looking for where to best invest his money tomorrow to "secure" his future.

I guess wealthy is a mindset. If you were to ask, say, Mother Theresa, for example, she would have told you that she was wealthy, even though she lived a life of poverty. Some days, or maybe even most days, I feel pretty wealthy too. I look at Josh and William and really do think to myself, "I have it all". Other times though, my glass looks half-empty. And if I'm not careful, I can overlook the fact that my son is walking, and instead, complain about the fact that he has to wear braces on his legs. In the same way we can choose to focus on the good when it comes to circumstances, we can either spend our days wishing for things we don't have, or thanking God for what we do. As for myself, I've decided that I am rich.

Trust me, there's more that I'd like to have. I love the experience of sitting down at a restaurant and having someone else bring me my made-to-order food, and then cleaning up after me. I always think, if we were "wealthy", I would just eat out for every meal. And I want more clothes, my own UV light and collection of gel nail polish, a ginormous mirror above my fireplace, a Dyson vacuum, new pots and pans, new bedding set, shoes, shoes, and more shoes, a bigger garden, a bigger yard for my garden, and shoes. Oh -- and shoes. If I don't stop myself, I might let the days waste away wanting more, when all the while I was already surrounded by wealth that I ignored because I was distracted by the glittering of things I hoped for.

I guess this principal doesn't apply just to wealth. There's lots of dreams that can keep us from being content. Maybe you feel unsettled and discontent because you want to make a name for yourself, and until you are well known or famous, you won't really be happy (used to be me). Maybe you feel like you won't be happy until you are married, so you are cruising through life just waiting to find that special someone, and everything else that happens in your day to day are just mundane details. Maybe you're on the brink of retirement, and you've set your life to auto-pilot until that day arrives when you can truly enjoy life. I don't know, that's just a few examples. But what is it for you that's keeping you from being content? What's that carrot stick you're chasing that's promising "future happiness" and keeping you from enjoying life today?

God wants us to learn the art of CONTENTMENT. 1 Timothy 6:6-7 But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. That is a great verse. And I think this one does an even better job getting my point across... Hebrews 13:5 Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you," <-- In other words, we already have it all. Jesus, who is rich in love and mercy, will never leave us or forsake us. So we should be content with what we have. Easier said than done, I know... but it's worth shooting for, I think.

Now how do I put some sort of fancy font on here and spell check? Only after I've achieved those two things will I truly be happy :)