Under Construction

...Oh, that applies to so much more than this little blog.

Dear readers, I feel a stirring in my soul and a fire ignited within that is so exciting, and I can only pray to identify and resist whatever crap is thrown my way to try to quench that fire, which is the Holy Spirit on a mission through me. That being said, I am confident of the direction that I want to pursue with my writing. I want to inspire, I want to edify, I want to challenge, and I want to share--vulnerably, with fear and trembling*--my journey of seeking, searching, and serving Christ. I am so tired of trying to find some other identity in my written voice, especially through this blog. I get discouraged by a lack of traffic, by my cluttered layout/design, and my sad attempts at photography a la my trusty iPhone. But that doesn't mean I want to throw myself into being a better blogger. I want to be a better vessel for God. Period. Life manifesto, new battle cry, zest and zeal du jour, or swinging for the fence (as our pastor calls it)...whatever you want to call it, I don't want to pursue anything else. Will this wane? Probably. But that's on me. Christ is unquenchable and boundless.

So, I don't know what this here blog will look like in a week, month, year, etc. But I pray that it looks different than it does, and than it has. Some elements, I want to retain: frankness, proper grammar sprinkled with a few made-up words, the community, etc. But others, I will leave for someone else to do...and much better than me.

Here we go...

*Philippians 2:12


Search me, O God, and know my heart...

"...Try me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." {Psalm 139:23-24} 
I've been mediating on Psalm 139 today. This verse has always been a favorite of mine, especially in the context of the entirety of this sweet Psalm from David. But today, it hit me, what a bold prayer this is. God, Lord of all, invited in to the tempestuous depths of my heart. There's so much in there, so much I'd rather clean up, or just plain hide before inviting the precious Abba into this place. What would He find lurking in there? Would He love me less? Wish He hadn't gone there?

In these times of struggles, of pursuing that Still Small Voice until the silence is almost deafening with anticipation and desperation, The Word speaks, and reminds me that I know the answer to these questions. They're written in the very place He dares to go, where He has made a home...

What would He find? A broken human, desperately in need of a Living Saviour. 

Would He love me less? "You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me." {Psalm 139:5} No. He's got me. Always has, and always will. 

Wish He hadn't gone there? He already went there, straight up to that cross, so that He may embrace me, even in my sinful state, and love me as His own.


Comparison is the Thief of Joy...and It Sucks

I'm about to get ruhl real up in here, but I am struggling, y'all. I have struggled for a while now with comparison, in my glorious human state :: sarcasm ::, but it seems to ebb and flow quite a bit. At times (and quite often, really), I can look at some who is beautiful, doing well, seemingly has it all together, super fit...you name it, and feel genuinely stoked for what they have going on for themselves. "You go, Glen Coco!" But sometimes, a quick browse of Instagram, or catching up on blog posts, or just being in public with a restless heart, and I turn into the little black rain cloud that is liable to break down at any moment and would do well to shut it down for a few days and not share this crazy with another unsuspecting soul.

But did you catch the key there? A restless heart. When I let me heart stir for things of this world, and when I start to believe the lies that so easily creep into our heads (especially for women), it's not long before I'm lost and useless. And the latter is what is most unfortunate...but it's also the point.

When I serve no one but myself, I'm useless. My all day, every day is about me, how I'm feeling, what I'm going through, yadda yadda yadda. I'm not available to serve. I'm not free to share the gospel of Grace. How can I be? Anyone in their right mind would look at me in that state and be like, "Uh, I don't want what she's having." And rightly so!

To add to the ridiculousness, it's very possible that people may look at my life and think that I've got my stuff together. My sweet husband reminded me of this one day when I was expressing this sort of thing to him in confidence, and it sort of baffled me. But he's right. We never know who is paying attention or making certain assumptions, even assuming the best of us.

It's so easy to wallow in this state, and to feel like the answer is to cancel my Facebook, unfollow all blogs (except food blogs...well, maybe the perfectly styled food blogs get the ax, too), close my Instagram account, and wear blinders 24/7. (It's all very Handmaid's Tale.) But the issue is me. I don't go away in those "solutions." I am instead left to my own devices, to blame others for executing a perfectly cultivated life (meanwhile, I have no idea what their day-to-day really entails, or what the motivation is behind lovely photos and styled living), and to let circumstances of this world disable me. Where's the testimony in that?

Thankfully, God has shone his merciful light on the reality of this situation, and is assuring me daily not to worry about the lot of others. And slowly, I will catch on to His wisdom and cling to His outstretched hand. He has provided a beautiful life for us, but even if that disappears tomorrow and even my sad attempts at styling a shot of my morning coffee are never again a possibility, it's all good. Because He is everything. He measured time and the heavens, and named every star. He is mighty and sovereign, and nevertheless, He loves us, feeble humans who are so easily distracted and wooed from Him by shiny things and lies. I absolutely believe that we can be blessed with goodness here, from Him (and only from Him), but we cannot do it apart from Him. That's the ultimate litmus test. Without Him, everything is delicate beauty hiding dirt and despair. 

So take heart, friends, if you too sometimes feel those pangs of jealousy, comparison, and discontentment. Drop everything (including your phones and laptops), and look to He who is greater than all, and more beautiful than we can comprehend. Let Him be your eyes and show you what it means to be well.


{Ikea Hack DIY} How to Add a Drawer Knob

It's almost embarrassing to call this project an Ikea Hack given the simplicity of the change, but I was looking for a quick and easy way to give our Malm dresser a little sumpthin'. We're working on an envelope to add Pier 1's Hayworth Dresser to our master bedroom suite (we have the nightstand and bedside chest already), but in the meantime, our 6-drawer Malm is functional, even if a little clunky. 

I was already in the midst of about five other projects this weekend, so I wouldn't allow myself to chew off any more than simply adding knobs to the drawers. I love the idea of O'verlays and/or adding mirrors or gray grasscloth to the drawer faces, but I opted for easy peasy, knowing we wouldn't be keeping the dresser (and anything too custom might make it tougher to sell on CL when we're ready for the Hayworth piece).

Funny enough, there are tons of awesome posts out there with tips for upgrading various Ikea dressers and nightstands, but they seemed to skip an important detail in their tutorials/DIY recaps: how to add the knobs. They mention that step, but it's not much more than a mention. "Add knobs." Oh...kay. And it may be an intentional omission because the assumption is made that it's too easy to cover, but I had no idea how to go about it, so this little girl needed some help. I Googled and found this awesome video, which helped me knock out this project in a snap. So, dear blogosphere, I offer to you my step-by-step recap, dedicated to those of you who also need the 101 deets.

What you'll need: 

  • Painters tape
  • Pen/pencil
  • Yardstick (or measuring tape)
  • Knob and screw* - I used these satin nickel and acrylic knobs
  • Drill with appropriate sized bit (I used 3/16 per the recommendation of the dude at Lowe's)
  • Screwdriver
  • Cloth/rag
  • Washer (optional) 

The Drawer {Before}
First, find the center of the drawer using the measuring device of your choice. Apply a strip of painters tape on the drawer face, and mark the crosshairs of the center with your pen/pencil. (If you're doing a handle with two screws, you obviously need to do that math to find the appropriate placement in the center, since it'll depend on the size of the handle. If I were doing a handle, I'd probably make a template to reuse. But center is simple enough to find for a single knob.) 

Enter: power tools. This was the first time I've used a drill, which was probably a little bold given M was away working on set all day, but I was like, "Well, I mowed the lawn, edged, and had a beer today, so maybe it'll all just fall into place." Workin' on my dude skills, y'all. Turns out, not so scary. And I only sacrificed one drill bit. (Yeeeeeah, so the direction of the spinning...matters. Lesson learned, am I right?!) Before drilling, I applied another strip of painters tape on the inside of the drawer (where the drill would come through) to help minimize splintering (in the absence of scrap wood). Then, drill on through at the crosshairs. Confidence is key!

Looky! A hole! Use the rag to wipe away the debris, and remove the painters tape. (I actually saved the strips of painters tape for the subsequent drawers, and pushed the sticky side of the used tape down on the freshly drilled wood shards to minimize mess; then wipe with rag, or in my case, washcloth.)

Now, attach the knob and screw. I added a washer on the inside of the drawer for a cleaner look, but that's totally optional. Use the screwdriver to get it nice and secure.

That's it! It took less than 30 minutes to do all six drawers, and I was so surprised at what a change it made. The addition of the knobs has been great motivation to finish up more of the decor elements in our master, such as adding a tray, catchall, and some objets to style the top of the dresser, hanging curtains, and adding a plant to the corner (behind the dresser). I'm thinking a fiddle leaf fig in a round basket. (Of course I am, right? Blogger, duh.)

Thanks for bearing with the shoddy iPhone photos. And if you're still feeling frisky, check out some of my other DIYs!

*Lil tip: make sure you have the right screw length for the drawer thickness. Neither of the screws that came with my knobs fit, so I had to make another run to Lowe's to find an in-between length. Fun.

My Oily Beauty Arsenal {Featured article}

Having spent the majority of my adult life working in either healthcare or the cosmaceutical industry, I was very intrigued when I sat in on my first oils class and began learning about Young Living. 

I thought to myself, ‘If this stuff really delivers, I think I found the answer to the future of health and wellness for our family.’

On the one hand, coming from medicine, I can be somewhat of a skeptic and rely on decades-old medical advice with the best of them; however, the deeper I get into healthcare as a whole, and the more I see trusted brands and ingredients exposed for shoddy quality and long-term detriments, I know that there has to be another way…a better way...

To read the rest of this article, head on over to the Baby Steps to Essential Oils site! And while you're there, check out the plethora of great information and resources about using essential oils for you and your family that the gals have pulled together.  

To join my incredible team on our oily adventure, sign up right hurr.