June 25, 2015

Living in the Outer Courts

Did you know that God has 'courts?'  The Bible tells us that the temple that Solomon built is a 'type and shadow' of the temple in Heaven. (1 Chronicles 28, Hebrews 8)  The temple had outer courts, inner courts and The Holy of Holies. Only the High Priest could enter The Holy of Holies once a year to offer sacrifices for the peoples' sin.  But Jesus offered the perfect sacrifice and God tore the curtain that separated us from Him and The Holy of Holies.

If you're not familiar with these facts, please let me know, and I will give a more in depth explanation.

Even though many Believers have heard this truth, they've not understood or taken advantage of the blessing and LIFE that has been given us through Jesus' sacrifice.  That is - they've never entered The Holy of Holies. They've stayed in the outer courts their whole lives, never enjoying an intimate relationship with God.

The word 'know' in the Bible - as in 'knowing God' - is the same word as when a husband 'knows' his wife.  It is intercourse.  God desires to have intercourse with us.  Spirit touching spirit.  Spirit infusing spirit. It is this relationship of spiritual intercourse that makes us whole.

God and His Word are one - Jesus tells us that in John 15 when He said, "I and the Father are one." Before Jesus became flesh, He was The Word that was at the creation of the world.  Spirit God creates with His Word.

But the Bible cannot contain an infinite God.  God is a Spirit.  He is a living 'being.'  There are no words that are adequate to describe this infinite God.  What I'm trying to say is that reading the Bible is not 'knowing' God.  Reading the Bible is extremely important as it builds a boundary of Who God is.  It renews our mind in Truth.  It causes us to think correctly.

But only reading the Bible will keep us in the outer courts.  We need to do more to touch the Spirit of God.

God's Word tells us 'to enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise."  Psalm 100  To come into His Holy Presence we must come to Him with thanksgiving and praise.

Thanksgiving is 'giving Him thanks' for what He has done and given us.  'Praise' is declaring the wonder of Who He is.  As we focus on Him, giving Him thanksgiving and praise, His Presence comes on us in a tangible way and we enter a state of  'worship.'   Just as we 'know' our spouse, there is a time of focusing on them and then a time of intimacy.  This place of 'worship' is an intimacy with God.  It is entering The Holy of Holies.

It may take us a while to learn 'to enter in.'  The enemy has a powerful weapon.  It's called 'distraction.'  It comes in the form of television, movies, internet, iphones and any other thing he can use to cause our mind to spin and not be quieted.  He can even use things that seem Godly to keep us from being intimate with God.  We can become so busy baking cookies for the church social that we've neglected our relationship with God.  I am guilty of this too.

This place of intimacy leaves no place to hide our sin or room for dishonesty with ourselves.  It lays bare every thought we have before a Holy God, every failure, every pain.  But the amazing thing is that in this place we will never find condemnation.  Instead we find a God whose mercies are new every day. Who knows our every weakness.  Who restores our soul.

In this place we are humbled, we are healed. In this place, we gaze upon God and are changed into His Image.  In this place we no longer have to try to change our actions because God changes our heart.

In this place of intimacy we find out who we are.  We find out who we were made to be.  And we see ourselves in His eyes and find out that He thinks we're beautiful.

If you're hurting or failing or feeling empty, only God can heal you.  You can't heal yourself.  You can't lose enough weight or buy a new wardrobe or do anything else that will make you feel like a loved person.  Only God can heal your identity, show you your purpose but even more than that help you understand that you are so loved, so desired, so beautiful to a perfect, beautiful Holy God. Only God can help us know that we never have to DO anything to be loved by Him.  He sees us as we are and loves us - anyway.

And then He fixes us

Be blessed.

June 23, 2015

New Windows and a 'New' Desk

Hello All!  I hope you're having a wonderful week!

I also hope you're not getting tired of seeing our living room.  I've been trying to finish some things up in this area and then will actually be moving on!  lol

I had turned an old desk into a secretary last year by adding an inexpensive book shelf and first painted it white. See how I did it here. But as the room evolved, I decided it would look like it belonged better if it weren't quite so white.  I used the same two colors on it that I used on our china cabinet, Painting a China Cabinet but on this piece I used more of the darker color.  

We also finally got our new window put in and my sweet husband added wide moulding around the new patio door and window.

I got up the other morning and the sun was streaming in the new windows and I was struck by how much I liked this room a) without the shutters? or b) without the blue of the shutters?
My husband came downstairs and I made the same comment to him and he looked appreciatively at the room too.

He used nice quality 6" wide boards around each window.  We decided not to miter the corners and to add some trim later if the seams were too obvious.    These pictures were taken before I primed them or painted them.
I filled my 'new' desk again with my blue and white.  One of the things that caused me to incorporate my blue and white in my decor again was this beige color.  I like it so much better with the beige than I did with the pure white furniture and slip covers.
I primed the window trim yesterday and am planning on painting it today.  Then I'm considering not adding the shutters back or painting them the same color as the desk.
What do you think?

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

love and blessings~

 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me." John 15:4

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June 22, 2015

Dining Al Fresco

Hi Everyone!  I hope you all had a Happy Father's Day!

We had a wonderful weekend - celebrating our granddaughter Rhynn's third birthday with building a swing set and a pizza party and celebrating our dads in our typical fashion - grilling on the deck.

We love piling around this table that my husband made.
Because we eat our here so often in the summer, I've collected dishware that is outdoor safe.  Most everything on the table is either wooden or acrylic.  I love these glasses because no one can ever tell that they're acrylic until they touch them.
The dinner and dessert plates are all acrylic and the little bird napkin holders are metal.

You can see our new window in this picture.  We replaced an old patio door with a window last week and I am loving the change.  My husband and I painted the new trim, both inside and out, and it looks likes it's always been there.

I've moved my herb garden to the deck for the summer and this baker's rack is a perfect place for it.
A carafe is great for ice water  It has a plastic lid that keeps the critters out.
And for the first time this summer, the weather was perfect for an after dinner swim.  My husband, the best dad and "Captain" in the whole world, had a great time with our Levi and Rhynn.
I hope your weekend was as blessed as ours!  Happy Father's Day to my Heavenly Father.  His grace and love in my life is more than I can ever thank Him for.  It will take me all of eternity to express how grateful I am for His loving presence in my life.

love and blessings~

"Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love."  John 15:9

All dishes and glasses - Meijer
Wooden salad bowl - HomeGoods
Napkin ring - Amazon
Linen napkins - HomeGoods
Wooden candle holders - garage sale
Glass carafe - Meijer
Recycled glass stemware - One King's Lane
Baker's rack - Joss&Main

June 15, 2015

Painting a China Cabinet

Happy Monday!

I hope you're having a great start to your week!

Several weeks ago I found this china cabinet at a Salvation Army rummage sale for $100!  It had all the French Country curves that I love and was so blessed and excited to find such a great bargain.

Here is the cabinet when I first showed it to you several weeks ago.

I had always thought I'd paint it.  I love the look of painted furniture and have pinned so many beautiful pieces on Pinterest.  Painted Furniture

I recently painted this piece and I've loved the way it turned out and had decided I would paint the interior of the china cabinet the same way.
So a couple of days ago I removed all the dishes and the glass panels and started painting.  I'm still a little uncomfortable painting furniture but I figured the worst thing that could happen is I would have to paint it a couple of times to get it like I wanted it.  So I started the same way - painting the interior with the same turquoise I used on the small cabinet.
While that was drying, I painted the exterior SW Gray Beige with a chalk paint additive I purchased through Amazon. Rusty Hippo Instant Chalk Paint I didn't worry about getting it in all the crevices too much.  When that dried, I dry-brushed a darker beige chalk paint (that I custom mixed) over the whole cabinet.  Before that had really had time to cure, I went back over the cabinet with a sponge sander, taking the paint off the edges.

I increased my contrast on these pictures so you can better see the details.

I also added a dark blue paint over the turquoise in the interior.  I didn't leave it this 'choppy' but this is the last picture that I took while I was painting.
I used more of the darker beige color in the panels on the base of the cabinet.

I had pulled the cabinet out away from the wall to paint it and when I took a break to eat lunch realized I really liked it at that angle.  So I left it like that.
Pulling it out away from the wall made it more of a focal point in the room.
I haven't added the glass back in the doors.  I mentioned to my husband that I'd like to put chicken wire in the doors instead.  While he hugged me, he told me we didn't have any more chicken wire and he didn't think they sold it any more, so we'll see how this goes.  lol

Even though I love our floor plan I have missed having a formal dining room.  This has added enough 'drama' to the room and I'm much happier with the whole feeling.
We recently got a new patio door and last week had a new living room window put in so I'm trying to keep them out of the pictures until we get moulding put up.  Then I'll share the whole area with you, including the updates we've made on our kitchen.

I'm really loving all the summer home tours that are being posted right now!  We've done so many changes since I did a home tour last year that I think I'll try to do the same in the next couple of weeks.

Have a wonderful week!

love and blessings~

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy." Matthew 5:7 

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June 12, 2015

Good Health

Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. 
3 John 1:2 

I have only been to the doctor once in the last ten years.  I made some radical changes in both my beliefs and in my practices in the last decade that has caused me to walk in better health, which is God's will for us.

Most believers in Christ have heard of the "Daniel Fast."  Do you realize that nowhere in this story is the word "fast?"  Daniel had heard something from God which caused him to have a deep conviction to not eat the way the King wanted him to eat.  Daniel ate this way all the time and was confidant that the King would see that his eating habits were good.

Daniel 1:8 says, "But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king's choice food or with the wine which he drank..."

We are spirit, soul and body.  What we eat affects us spiritually and physically.  What we believe affects us spiritually and physically.  There is no division between our soul and body.

Whenever I have an "ailment", I search my soul.  The first thing I do when I'm not feeling well is seek God to see if sin in my life has opened the door for sickness or body "malfunctions."  My sin could be anything from worry to judgment to eating wrong to not following the leading of the Holy Spirit.  Most the time as I receive correction and direction from the Holy  Spirit, I will receive healing.

Seasons of grief or hopelessness can cause deeper illness.  As we daily spend time in the Presence of God, we receive the soul healing that will bring physical healing.

In the last few months my left shoulder was really causing me discomfort.  I couldn't raise my arm straight up.  My chiropractor, who's also a dear friend and is Spirit filled, helped me understand that our heart is connected to our left arm and my grief over my dad's death was causing this malfunction. As my heart healed, so did my shoulder.  (I know someone that recently underwent a painful shoulder surgery and is going through physical therapy.  Prayer is much easier. And the root of their pain is still unhealed.)

Anything that takes the place and the authority of God is "anti-Christ."  The term anti-Christ often means "instead of Christ."  When a doctor gives a diagnosis that is contrary to the LIFE of Christ, it is anti-Christ.

Did you know that the root word of the word "sorcery" in Galatians 5:20 is "pharma" as in pharmaceuticals?  Pharmaceuticals confuse your body's God-given communication that He has created for you to know that something is wrong and seek Him for healing.  Pharmaceuticals mask your body's symptoms, never bring healing, and actually thwart healing because many people will ignore their body's signals.

For example: we've eaten something that is poison to our system and is causing us to be nauseated and sick.  We drink Pepto-Bismal which gets rid of the symptoms and still leaves us sick.  The unhealed sickness may go on to cause further problems.

Fresh fruits and vegetables contain "life."  They are alive and God has created them to feed us.  When we fill our bodies with nothing but 'dead food' and I use the term 'food' lightly, our bodies cannot get the nutrients it needs to be healthy.  Then we pray for healing and don't understand why God isn't answering our prayer.

White processed sugar is one of the biggest causes of cancer.  I recently suggested to someone who has cancer that they give up sugar but they decided to keep eating sugar and go through chemotherapy.

There is so much information out there now exposing the fast food industries and companies like Monsanto.  Please do not ignore what God is trying to tell us.

Here is what I do when I'm not feeling well. ** As a precaution, I am not recommending any of these things.  Please make your own decisions about your health care.

  1. Seek God.  I first seek God for direction and understanding as to why I'm not feeling well.  I repent of sin.  I spend time worshiping, in the Word and praying.
  2. I visit my chiropractor.  I have a weekly appointment to get adjusted and an hour massage. Having your spine aligned causes your body to be able to communicate and heal itself.
  3. Essential Oils - I have an extensive collection of Essential Oils.  The Real Truth About Essential Oils
  4. Apple Cider Vinegar - I take 1-2 teaspoons of ACV in a glass of water daily. Reasons-to-Use-Apple-Cider-Vinegar-Every-Day  I am truly amazed by how much better I feel when I take ACV daily.  If you follow my other blog, you know that recently I had a garage sale and have been painting my kitchen again.  The difference in my muscle pain when I take ACV is amazing!  It takes away all my aches and pains!  Ibuprofen has been proven to cause 'leaky-gut' and all sorts of health problems.
  5. Cinnamon and Honey - did you know that both cinnamon and honey kill 99.9% of all harmful bacteria?  Putting cinnamon and honey in tea and drinking it throughout the day may be all you need for healing.
  6. Colloidal Silver -Colloidal Silver - while I was searching for a good article for Colloidal Silver, I found several that were against it.  This product was recommended to me by other friends who share my views and when other things have failed to make me feel better, this works.  (I'm always amazed that people will quickly take pharmaceuticals without ever worrying about the terrible side effects.)  I only take this when I'm sick.
  7. Hydrogen Peroxide - When I'm getting a sore throat or congestion, I gargle with peroxide.  I also put it in my ears.  If I'm really feeling bad, I eat a tablespoon full, which a doctor I know recommended several years ago.  It is safe.
I'm sure as soon as I quit writing today I'll think of something else.  The biggest thing is to drink lots of filtered water and eat lots of vegetables and fruits.  I also try to 'juice' often. The Benefits of Juicing  I follow several of the holistic websites on Facebook and love reading about all the health benefits of fruits and vegetables.

The Lord told me several years ago that, "healing is natural."  I have seen God heal people instantly when I've prayed for them.  But I've also seen some people's ailments come back in months to come because the root soul sickness was not healed or they continued their bad practices.  

Only Jesus can heal our soul and body.  All glory and honor be to Him and Him alone!

love and blessings~

    June 9, 2015

    Simple Upholstery Update

    Hi Everyone!

    It's another beautiful day here in Michigan.  The sun is shining and our peonies are in bloom!

    I'm still working on my kitchen.  I told someone I thought I would wait and start painting again this fall and I doubt they saw my comment before I started painting again!  We've also been adding some some architectural details to the kitchen.

    But I'm taking a break from that today and did just a small project that I've wanted to do for a while.

    I reupholstered this chair a couple of years ago   I used a simple blue linen from Hobby Lobby.  It was in our living room for a couple of years but for a while I had it in the guest room.

    But after getting my new Bergere chairs all done and in the living room, I decided I still wanted some more of the blue in there and put it back  See how I painted the upholstery and redid the chairs here.

    Now that this chair has found its home, I decided to add some interest to it by adding toile to the back of it.

    This is the original upholstery that was on this chair.  I'm sorry that this picture is weirdly blurry.  I didn't realize it until I had already finished the chair.  I pulled the blue linen off the back of the chair and used it for my pattern.

    I laid the chair forward on my ottoman to let gravity work for me and not against me.  I've tried to do this before while the chair is standing up.  This is much easier!
    If you're just adding a piece of fabric to your chair, lay a piece of your fabric on the back of your chair that is the approximate size.  Lay it face down with your pattern facing the chair.  Then use a pencil to trace inside the frame of the chair.  Cut your piece of fabric out leaving a small edge to tuck into the frame - about 1/4 to 1/2 inch.

    Then using a flat head screw driver, I simply tucked my fabric into the frame of the chair.  I had fabric glue on hand in case it wasn't secure enough but I never used it.  I didn't want to put the same double piping in this area that I put elsewhere on the chair and I didn't need to.  Just tucking into the frame held it securely.

    I then covered the lumbar pillow that came with the chair in the same toile.
    It's not a dramatic change but just a little interest.  And maybe just enough to make your house more personal.

    My grandchildren are coming over this afternoon while my daughter and her husband pick up their new minivan and visit the hospital birthing center.   We're all very excited about our new grandson that will be born soon!

    Have a beautiful day!

    love and blessings~

    "And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near;   for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father." Ephesians 2:17,18

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    June 4, 2015

    Bruce Jenner

    "then God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." Genesis 1:27

    I have the utmost compassion for anyone who has suffered with "gender confusion."  I can't imagine how painful it must be to not even have that most basic identity of 'man' or 'woman' settled in your being.

    And I know that God has great compassion on every person, no matter how far they are from Him.  I don't pretend to understand homosexuality and gender confusion.  I know that we were all born 'wrong.'  We were all born 'dead in trespasses and sin' (Ephesians 2:1) so it's not surprising that sometimes that separation from God results in this kind of confusion.  But any sexual sin should be viewed as something that can be healed and redeemed by the blood of Jesus - when we recognize it as sin and repent.

    But having compassion does not mean we should ever give anyone the impression that this sexual sin is alright.  Sin is sin.  And sexual sin damages us more deeply than other sin because sex is spiritual. God loves people and He hates sin because it destroys the people that He loves.

    I recently read an article that states that doctors have discovered that a woman has the DNA in her body from every sexual partner she has had!  We know that sex is a covenant act.  And we know that sex causes a bond that is very hard to break.  I think this gives a greater understanding as to why. The 'two' have truly become 'one.'

    The blessing of the family and church is so important, but it's sex that marries us.  Two men or two women cannot be spiritually married.  They are both the same side of the whole.  You've got two lefts and no right.

    But it's amazing to me how easily our society has gotten behind Bruce/Caitlyn as he has made this change. The media has bullied people into supporting him and praising him for being "so brave."  I saw a preview of an upcoming interview that Bruce has given.  He said, "I am the new normal."

    If a cat thinks it's a dog and starts to act like a dog, has surgery to make it look more like a dog, and tells people it's a dog, it will still give birth to kittens. No matter how confused the cat is, it's still a cat.

    If a man surgically has his genitals removed, has plastic surgery to make him look more like a woman and has breast implants, he still has the DNA of a man.  He has not become a woman.

    And I wonder how many people that are applauding his bravery would want their son to marry him?

    I truly appreciate all the Christian people who have stood up to the popular opinion and disagreed. It's not a matter of being kind, although I think we should always be kind.  It's a matter of what the next generation will believe.  If your 'confusion' is accepted and encouraged, if sin is never acknowledged, we'll head further down this slippery slope.  And I can't imagine where we'll end up.

    All sin separates us from God.  We should always pray that people would repent of their sin and be restored to right relationship with God.  Any lie that stands in the way of this should be brought down.

    I heard that Bruce had a panic attack as he was going into surgery.  I pray that when all media approval dies down and he's left alone, he doesn't regret his decision.  I pray for all his children.  I think that one of the saddest things in this whole event is that they are not able to express their confusion and anger.  The media has tried to make us all ashamed of our disapproval.

    So, God bless you, Bruce and family.  I've always had concern about people who want to be in the public eye.  I think they probably have a very deep need for approval.  I pray they find their identity in Christ.

    love and blessings~

    "For God is not a God of confusion but of peace." 1 Corinthians 14:33

    Trash to Treasure to TREASURE

    It's an absolutely beautiful day here in Michigan!  The weather is just glorious!

    So I've been taking (really long) breaks from antiquing our kitchen cabinets and enjoying our deck.

    Last year I told you about a wonderful table that we found and turned into a table in our entry hall. See the story here.

    But after having the table in our entry hall for a couple of years, I got the bright idea to make it into a dining table for our deck.  The wrought iron base weighs a ton so it's perfect for outside.

    We simply used three 2" thick boards for the new table top.  I sanded the edges until they were rounded and then white washed it.

    Mark then made a simple bench for the grandbabies.

    The cushions on our chairs had died a couple of years ago.  I had left them out in the sun too much, our dog found out they were comfortable and even a chipmunk discovered that she could get some good stuff out of them!  I thought they were a total loss but when I priced patio cushions I decided they could be saved.

    I recovered them in drop cloths and I love them!  I used drop cloths that I bought at Sherwin Williams and they are heavier than what I used in our living room.  Very durable.  And this time I'm keeping the cushions put away unless we're using them.

    I spray painted all our patio furniture black to match the table base.  I love the scroll work on the chairs and how it coordinates.
    The view from our deck is wonderful!  We live in town but don't have anything in back of our house.
    You can see our pool and cabana in this picture.  Our pool is open but it hasn't been warm enough to swim yet.  I love our cabana.  It has a refrigerator, kitchenette and a bathroom in it.  Great for pool parties!

    We just replaced our patio door.  You can see through it to the dining room here.  Our contractor is coming next week (God willing) and putting a new window in where the second patio door is.  I am so looking forward to this.  

    We have never used this patio door (on the left of this picture) and I think a window will be much nicer and energy efficient.  As you can see, we haven't painted our trim yet around the patio door. We're waiting until the new window is in and will do both at the same time.
    I got the baker's rack at Joss&Main.  It had an "indoor" shelf on it and Mark replaced it with wood.  I still need to white wash it so it will be more weather proof but it's great to set your tools and food on when grilling.

    You can walk straight through the entry hall to this level of our deck.
    We used to ring this old bell to tell our guys to come home for dinner.  

    We completely rebuilt our deck two years ago.  Mark made these planters out of the old wood and I planted boxwoods in them this year.  They're supposed to be hardy to -30 so I hope they live.

    Our family has had so many great meals out here in the last two years since we re-made this table.  It seats everybody from Great Grandma to sweet babies and we love it!
    We'll spend a lot of time out here this summer and in the pool. 

    Have a great day!  

    love and blessings~

    "He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul." Psalm 23:2,3

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