Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Bedroom Remodel

The Sunday before Brandon went back to school from Christmas break, we had decided to paint our bedroom.  It's the one room in the house that has seen little to no upkeep or style.  I mean, come on, do mom and dad ever do anything for themselves?  Well, the plan quickly took a different route.  As Brandon removed the baseboards, we saw that there was about a one inch gap between the wall and the floor that was letting in a lot of cold air from under the house.  Our bedroom is in the very back of the house, along with our laundry room and a bathroom.  This part of the house once was a garage.  They did a very nice job, from the outside, making it look not like a garage, however, they didn't do the best job from the inside.  Then, in the southest corner of the room, where the baseboard had been removed, we noticed some mold.  Ack!  Since it was Sunday, we were a little stuck with what to do next.  We called a contractor the next day, the same man who had done the inspection on our house when we purchased it.  He came on Tuesday and spent 2 hours here talking through things with Brandon and explaining to him how he would complete the job.  Several good things came from this visit.  Dan, checked out our crawl space and attic for us and confirmed that we do NOT have a moisture problem.  Whatever mold we had was from a previous issue that had been fixed.  He told us our house was a nice, well built, quilty home and in great shape.  He also explained that most homes have mold somewhere, it is not an issue until it becomes airborne.  Whew.  What a relief.  We went from what we thought to be a $2-5 thousand job to repair structural issues to about a $300 job to repair the wall and paint the bedroom.  Thank you Lord!   So, after Dan's visit, the chaos began.

The lower right corner of this picture was where the problem began.  In  order to keep the drywall seamless and also to cover up that nasty "old school" block window, we decided to take out the whole wall.

 Let the demolition begin.

After several days of demolition and clean up, we were ready for insulation.

Ahhhh insulation :)

Once the insulation was in, Brandon's dad came down to help him hang drywall.  The next few days consisted of 3 rounds of mud and lots of yucky sanding.  Then it was time to primer and paint.  Brandon made the good decision to go ahead and paint our ceiling and ceiling fan while the room was already a mess.  One full week from the time the demolition began, we were ready to paint.

This is where great admiration and thankfulness for the hubs comes in.  During this project he worked his normal school schedule, his 2 nights a week at Lenscrafters, and still attended Aubrey's basketball games.  Any moment he was home he was in that bedroom.  He worked really hard and did such an awesome job.  Thanks Brandon!

This is where it gets really exciting folks...

OUR NEW BEDROOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have to also share some of the deals we got.  I found this comforter set this past summer at Bed Bath and Beyond.  It was $150 at the time, and I just couldn't even think about spending that much on a comforter.  So, after Christmas, Brandon took me back to see if they still had it.  It was marked down to $99 AND I had a 20% off coupon.  So, I got the comforter, sheets, 2 decorative pillows, bedskirt, 2 euro shams, and 2 decorative shams for $80.  We hadn't purchased a comforter in 6 years.  I figure if we keep this for another 6 years, we paid $13 a year.  Not too shabby.  We've also never had curtains, but, I found all 4 panels and the rod on clearance.  For a 104 inch window, I got all of it for $65.  I also got the navy lamp shades on clearance for $4.99 each.  How pumped was I?  Pretty pumped.

Anyway, I love going into that room now.  It's cozy and pretty.  It's been so nice to be sleeping in our bed after 11 nights on the couches.  What a crazy couple of weeks.  However, the crazy keeps us on our toes :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Warning: Megan might rant and talk in circles

As I sat and drank my coffee this morning and had my quiet time, I was moved by my devotion.  I loved it so much I read a part of it to Brandon.  So, I would like to share it with you.

The story is told of a group of women who met each week to study the Bible, hoping to learn more about the nature and character of God and how He works in our life. The women were puzzled and even a little troubled by the description of God they found in Malachi 3:3, "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." One of the women offered to do a little research on the subject and report back to the group at their next meeting. The woman found a local silversmith and made an appointment to observe him at work, explaining that she was particularly interested in the process of refining silver. She watched as the craftsman carefully selected a piece of silver for his demonstration. She thought the piece of silver was already beautiful but evidently the silversmith saw something that she could not see. As he held the silver over the furnace, the craftsman explained that in refining silver, the silver had to be placed in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest so all of the impurities would be burned away. 

The woman was silent for a moment as her thoughts drifted to the fiery trials she was facing in her own life. Honestly, she did not get it. Why would a loving God allow His children to suffer when He could so easily deliver them? In fact, why does God even allow bad things to happen to people who are seeking Him and really trying to live for Him? 

The woman asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. "Oh, yes!" he replied. "I cannot take my eyes off the silver. If it is left in the furnace even a moment too long, it will be destroyed." The woman suddenly understood the beauty and comfort of Malachi 3:3, "He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." 

Yes, there are times when it seems as if we will be swallowed whole by the fires of Hell itself. The pain seems too hard to bear. The fear is paralyzing. The doubt is overwhelming and questions flood our heart and mind. 

Is God really who He says He is? 

Will He really do what He says He will do? 

Will He really keep His promises? 

Our trials are not random persecutions. Heaven is not in a panic and where we are and what we are going through is no surprise to God. We may be knocked down and kicked around by life, but if we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we will not be destroyed.
Our lives are filled with excess baggage and waste - a cherished sin we refuse to relinquish or an addiction to which we are enslaved. What about the emotional garbage that weighs us down or our unforgiving spirit that holds us prisoner? Fiery trials come to burn away the guilt of sin and then purify our heart. From those ashes of freedom, the Father then creates a work of beauty. 

I believe the words I just wrote. I know and accept the truth that trials and hard times make me stronger and strengthen my faith, but there are times when I want it all to stop. I find myself asking, "How much is enough, Lord? How many trials do I have to endure? When will the pain and trouble end?" 

"How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" the woman asked. The silversmith smiled and answered, "Oh, that's easy. The refining process is complete when I can see my image reflected in the silver." 

God is not committed to our comfort. He is committed to our character. Only God can exchange the ashes of our sin for the beauty of His forgiveness and grace. God alone can replace our despair with His peace that passes all understanding. Hope can only be found in Him. Our purpose in life is to know and become more like Jesus ... and act just like our Father.    

One of my first thoughts was about how much I love the analogy of refining silver.  How neat that you can only refine the silver in the hottest of heat?  How neat that the craftsman never takes his eye off the silver?  How neat that he knows the silver is completely refined once he can see his reflection in it?  Wow, holy cow, I mean, that gave me the chills.

I then wondered how many awesome analogies I miss in the Bible. 

My next thought then went to the heaviness in my heart that I have right now for some that are in the deep heat of the refining process.  I think about an awesome couple who have returned home from adopting 2 precious little boys from Ethiopia.  Momma has gotten sick and has been hospitalized for a few days with dehydration.  I think man, could they not have just been able to come home, exhausted and in such a huge transition and not had to deal with this?  Gheesh.  Pray for them.  You can read more about them at  Then I think about a dear dear friend who has 3 children, one who is special needs, and she is now concerned about her sweet baby girl being delayed as well.  You can read more about her at  My heart is heavy for this folks...extremely.

I would ask that anyone who reads this would please pray for the families I've mentioned.  They are heavy on my heart and I know would appreciate the prayers.

We're all in the refining process.  Boy does it look different for each of us?  In the deep deep heat, is when we are refined...and once we've been refined just right, Christ sees himself in us.  That's pretty cool...beyond cool.

 Malachi 3:3, "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."  Knowing He's watching and never leaves during our refinement, to me, is an amazing picture of love, commitment and dedication.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

So you're saying I'm the one with the problem?

Today's Truth 
2 Corinthians 6:6 (NLT) "We have proved ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, our sincere love, and the power of the Holy Spirit." 

It would be just fine with me if I never had to go through another storm. However, God is more committed to my character than He is to my comfort. Every storm is an opportunity to grow in Christ and trust Him more. 

The Apostle Paul was well acquainted with vicious storms and harsh realities. In his writings to the church at Corinth Paul offers five truths that - when applied - will enable us to stand firm in the storm. 

Truth 1:  Live a pure life.
Truth 2:  Seek understanding.
Truth 3:  Learn to be patient.
Truth 4:  Practice kindness.  

When bad things happen, we cry out in desperation for someone to care. 

If you could have been living in my head these last few weeks, you would know what a smack in the face this was in my quiet time this morning.  When bad things happen, we cry out in desperation for someone to care.  I mean, is is such a bad thing that I want, scratch that, I need people to care?  And I don't mean care in the sense that of course people care, but, I need to make them understand...make them really get what's going on in my head.  Make them understand that some of the comments they make about Nolan are thoughtless, not ill meaning, but, thoughtless.  Make them understand that we (Brandon and I) don't and can't think about what the future holds like you can with regular children (like we can with Aubrey and Adelynne)...I don't know if he'll get to go to kindergarten when he's 5, or 6, or ever.  I don't know what life with and for him will look like when he's 5.  I just don't. The older he gets, the more "stuff" there is...the more obvious it becomes, the more he'll stand out. Why can't you understand that?  It does prove quite frustrating for me when I just want you to understand....please just understand, call tail to my feelings, walk on eggshells around me, when you talk about your "normal" children and how hard it is raising a regular child, please don't, please know when I'm struggling and in the pit over this and censor everything (yes, I mean everything) you say out loud, I'm likely to be oversensitive.  When I use the term, understand, I don't mean feel sorry for me, I don't mean treat me like my problems are bigger than yours...because they aren't, I don't mean tip toe around me and calculate everything you say...even though it seems like that's what I want you to do.  I mean, just, understand...To perceive and comprehend the nature and significance of; grasp...To know thoroughly by close contact or long experience with.

My quiet time reminded me that within this storm, it's not about making people understand.  God is concerned with my character and growing me, rather than making me comfortable.  He's trying to grow me, rather than me trying to grow other people in the ways of how to treat and help those with children of special needs and all that entails.  The holy spirit is working, whether it's in me, or in you, he is.  I need to be living a pure life, seeking understanding (oh, I'm the one who needs to learn to understand...oops), learning to be patient, and practicing kindness. 

Many things I know within my head, it's a matter of getting my heart to follow.  And while I will probably always struggle with "making people understand,"  the reality is, you couldn't possibly understand because you don't live it day in and day out, it's not your child it's mine, and it hasn't happened to you.   Just like, I can't understand what it's like to miscarry or struggle with infertility, or to lose a parent, etc...I can't understand because I haven't lived it.

Rather than focus on how you, my blog reader, my family, my friends, may "understand"...rather, I'm going to focus on my part of the journey, the 4 Truths listed above.  That, my friends, is encouraging.