I’ve seen lots of family initial pieces online and was looking to add an “S” to our decor when I saw a friend selling the outdoor neon letters from her former business. She had two “S”s (is that how you spell it?), one 18″, one 24″ tall. They were 5.5″ deep and heavy. Outdoor signs usually are. I asked for the 24” to make a bold statement.


I unscrewed the orange front from the heavy steel back. Inside there were a few critters and a glass tube “S”! Surely I could paint that too. Gave it all a good wash and decided to toss the metal back. The remaining orange “S” was 1″ deep and very light. Perfect!

To fill in the screw holes, I used these paper fasteners and painted right over them. There was also a small crack in the outer curve that I covered with a piece of masking tape. Painted over that too.

I had bought some gray clay-based paint a few years ago and experimented with it on the outside. Then used Annie Sloan Old Ochre on the inside and hung up my big “S”.

It needed something but just fit the space on the wall so I couldn’t add things around it. I decided to add a Fall wreath for now. Maybe it will be a seasonal piece, or I might find a small magnolia wreath to leave year round. What do you think?


As for the glass tube “S”, I painted it black with another product I wanted to try out. I’d like to hang it in our mudroom but haven’t quite landed on where. Maybe I need another wreath to hang from this coatrack? Or make a collage on the wall?


I just love repurposing things. It’s where I feel most creative.

Dresser Reno

When these pieces became available, I loved the style for our guest bedroom which our granddaughter uses often. I chose the Paris Gray/Pure White ASCP combination because it is so fresh looking. (Also, I had leftover Paris Gray from our master bathroom re-do.) In less than a week, we had a sweet new bedroom set. I love ASCP because I could paint the white, and while it dried, paint the gray. Gave the pulls a fresh coat of white paint too. There was one broken pull to replace, so I put it on the dresser with a stand alone fancy drawer. Originally, the tall chest of drawers had 4 fancy and 2 plain drawer fronts. So I swapped out a fancy for a plain on the dresser to give it some interest.
Also let our granddaughter help paint the pulls. She loves to help!


Here are the other pieces. I forgot to get a full shot of the mirror but the bottom of it is showing in the dresser picture.



Stencil Your Shelf Paper

Stencil Your Shelf Paper! Breaking Point

Painted Vanity

I finally got around to painting our Master Bath vanity this week – thank you, Spring Break. I will post on the full makeover soon, but wanted to share this little tip on my shelf paper alternative.

We recently painted the bedroom gray and cream and I wanted to give the vanity a facelift too. Paint, new hardware. I used Annie Sloan, mixing Graphite and Paris Gray 1:1. Loved the color and wanted to wrap it up with some pretty shelf paper before replacing the cabinet contents. But sadly could not find any paper in a gray pattern. In fact, I don’t think they’ve made new shelf paper since 1970.

Stencil Your Shelf Paper! Breaking Point
So, I decided to try my hand at stenciling. Hey, if I mess up, no one really sees the inside of the cabinet but us, right? I used Paris Gray along with the new vanity color. Finished it off with two coats of lacquer to protect it from toothpaste, lotions, oil spills and water. I learned less paint on the brush makes a neater stencil.

IMG_1539What do you think? Would you try it?

Stencil Your Shelf PAper! Breaking Point

Stay tuned for the complete makeover.

Old Speaker to Fresh Night Stand


I am so happy to finally have a bed and headboard in our guest room. Of course no guest room is complete without a nightstand for a bedside lamp and to lay a cell phone/alarm clock, right? It so happens that we had this set of old Advent speakers laying around that I rescued from garbage pickup in hopes of upcycling them. So I began the simple process of taking them apart. Wow, it took more muscle power than I expected!guts

This left some rough edges on the inside so I needed to get creative. What was flexible, paintable and easy to attach to the inside curves? I found some vinyl ceiling tile trim (2 for $8) that I could bend and attach with liquid nails and some finishing nails. Since I was using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, I knew it would stick to the vinyl.

The speaker had a hole in the back so for the inside, I used paintable wallpaper border on the back panel. That wouldn’t be strong enough to cover the outside though. Again, more head-scratching and wondering what to use…. I was looking for a tin square to attach but couldn’t find any sold separately. So, found this faux-tin (vinyl) ceiling sample online at Home Depot for under $5 which they shipped for free to the store. I only needed 2 squares, so I have most of the sheet left. tile

Since we don’t have a level small enough to fit inside the speaker to ensure level shelves, I used the compass app on my iPhone. Open the app, swipe left and there’s a level!


I used the same Old Ochre Annie Sloan paint that was on the headboard spindles. Scuffed up the edges a bit, then added some Annie Sloan dark wax to finish! And done! Two projects done, so maybe not a Chalk Paint newbie anymore?

IMG_2299 2


My mom passed away in July and we siblings are just now going through and choosing what we want to remember her with. I picked her sweet little lamp with roses on it. She used it all the time and had it as far back as I can remember. What a perfect complement to the nightstand.


Here’s the post where I did the headboard.

IMG_5012Not sure yet what my next project will be. Maybe the cabinet in our master bathroom. Or the old teacher’s desk in our office….
Please stop back and see what’s next!!

Chalk Paint Newbie

We have a guest room that finally has an actual queen-sized bed. The air mattress, rest its soul, never made it past six months. I wanted a headboard now, but the new ones I shopped for were blah or pricey. I happened upon a new store, Sandpaper, that sells Annie Sloan chalk paint. Loved what I saw in the store and asked lots of questions. Next thing was to find a used headboard to refinish.

Went to a few salvage spots and finally found a great piece at ReStore where money raised supports Habitat for Humanity. The $30 price tag was cut in half for a Labor Day special so I walked away with this headboard in great condition for only $15! FYI, a full-sized headboard is smaller than a queen-sized one. Bring your measuring tape to salvage markets.

headboard found at ReStore
headboard found at ReStore

I took a chalk painting workshop, and boldly left the store with cans of Coco, Old Ochre, clear wax and a new brush in hand. I made trips back for dark wax and a second brush.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paints – Coco and Old Ochre
finished headboard

That was so easy, I decided to chalk paint some old Advent speakers that I’m upcycling into night stands! And I have an old desk to transform. Stay tuned…

Christmas 2013 Decor

I want to create a Pinterest pin to include new Christmas ideas I used this year so I can remember them next year. So far the only way I can see to add multiple pictures to one pin is to grab them off a url. So…trying to do that here. If you know how to do that with multiple picture files, please let me know.

deconstructing christmas
deconstructing christmas
chandelier 2
chandelier 2
upstairs tree
silver bead and gold ribbon garlands
bannister greens
bannister greens
downstairs tree
plaid ribbon and white birch garlands
fireplace shot
copper bin of logs, greens and lights
easy centerpieces with battery light strings
wooden crate with logs, greens and lights for fireplace


He sees me. He knows me. He loves me!

IMG_4319Many times I struggle with my priorities when I wake up. I have two main desires, to spend time with God and to spend time with friends and family via facebook and twitter. Lately, God has not been my first choice. This is a heart issue that I’ve asked God to help me with.


Today I decided to take Jesus Calling and my phone (only to check the scriptures) outside to focus on God and keep my social media distractions at bay. One quick swipe of my bench and I realized the dew was too thick to sit on any furniture, so I landed on the concrete steps of our patio. And here’s what God had to say:


Let the dew of My Presence refresh your mind and heart. So many, many things vie for your attention in this complex world of instant communication. The world has changed enormously since I first gave the command to be still and know that I am God. However, this timeless truth is essential for the well-being of your soul. As dew refreshes grass and flowers during the stillness of the night, so My Presence revitalizes you as you sit quietly with Me. …

I laughed out loud and smiled with Him.

Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46:10

I Just Took a Walk

Finally went on a prayer walk through my neighborhood. Oh, I’ve walked these blocks several times already this summer, but I drown out most everything listening to my iPod.  Today, I left the ear buds out. Instead, I tried to hear everything God had in my path. This time I really set out to pray over my neighbors.

I signed up for the Summer Initiative at Salt & Light and June’s assignment was to prayer walk your neighborhood.  More on that here. June is fading quickly. I think fear had me stalled in the idea stage. Fear that God might have a plan for me in my own neighborhood. Fear that He might ask me to do something that will make me look crazy or feel uncomfortable.  Fear that when I reach out, I might get turned down.

Turns out, the walk was pretty powerful. My heart was opened to really wanting to know who my neighbors are. What’s their story? God helped me examine myself as I walked as well, surely to humble me. Keeping in mind that I am on the same journey I hope to invite my neighbors to join. Remembering that I struggle with sin daily.

For too long I have pushed aside the command of ‘love my neighbor as myself’.

How well do you know your neighbors?

GroupLife Midwest: Ten Essential Awarenesses… with Rick Howerton

Ten Essential Awarenesses…Small Group Leadership That Transforms with Rick Howerton





  1. All of us have fallen or will fall into every one of the life situation categories at some time in our lives.
  2. Tribal group members may have a Mark 9:24 perspective of Scripture.
    1. God is a person, not a genie in a bottle.
    2. Faith is belief + doubt and acting on the belief part, and letting God be God.
  3. Tribal group members will “investigate then embrace” the truth rather than “embrace then investigate” it.
  4. Tribal group members need to discover truth in community.
  5. Tribal group members are comfortable firmly planted in a Deuteronomy 29:29mindset.
    1. It’s ok to live in a mystery, I can’t think in the same dimension as God.
  6. Tribal CMC members today are more likely to have emotional trigger points than before.
    1. When we recognize triggers, we can lead them to healing.
  7. Most welcome dialogue but will shut their minds off if the Bible study, by design or not, becomes a monologue.
    1. If group members cant speak openly/honestly about what they think, they wont hear what you are saying.
  8. Tribal group members are hearing “voices“ that are not in the room.
  9. Tribal small-group members will not always accept that the author of the study or the lecturer on the DVD is the final authority.
    1. If they have baggage with the local church, they probably wont hear the pastor as an authority.

10. Tribal small-group members need the freedom to discuss other belief systems.

Spiritual growth begins with discomfort.

Many times Jesus left people with a ? instead of an ! Allow time for people to process what they are hearing.

When God’s opinion is hard, help them accept a hard opinion.

Give your small group members time to investigate truth, they will embrace it in God’s time.

GroupLife MidWest: The Character of Leadership with Steve Gladen

The Character of Leadership: FOUR questions everyone needs to answer to last in ministry
by Steve Gladen


Picture                         MOSES

  • Moses knew and embraced who he was and who he was not. (Exodus 3)
  • Moses was honest about his heritage and who God had created him to be, and he exchanged luxury and power for a life of rejection and humiliation’ and God honored him.
  • God made you for a purpose; God has a plan for my life – unique to anyone else on earth (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • Identify the truth of who God created you to be from the lies of what Satan and the world are selling.

TRUTH: Solving the identity crisis…

Principle                        JESUS

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in Him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

  • The branch exists for the sake of the vine; it has no other purpose.
  • Branches just hang around and bear fruit. When the branch is attached to the Vine, the Vine is responsible for the branch, and the Vine will see that the branch bears fruit.
  • Your responsibility as a branch is simply to abide/remain in Christ (the Vine).
  • Every day, you will choose whether or not to live out your identity (branch) and your priority (remain) for the sake of the Vine (Christ).

In light of who you are in Christ, answer the next question…

2. THE PRIORITY QUESTION: What is really most important?

Picture                        MOSES

He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.” Hebrews 11:26

  • The world values power, pleasure, and possessions. Moses valued God’s purpose, people, and peace.
  • Personal disgrace for the sake of Christ was reasonable to Moses.
  • Moses lived in light of eternity; he saw the bigger picture; he was looking ahead to his reward.

Principle                        JESUS

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:8

  • Jesus identifies your top priority as God’s Glory! And the way you glorify God is by bearing fruit.
  • The by-product is that you will show yourself to be Christ’s disciple.
  • The key to bearing fruit (and thus giving God glory) is knowing who you are (branch) and remaining in Christ (the Vine).

Leadership Principle: Pray for a Big Picture mentality. Base your values on what you know to be true for eternity. Once you decide to follow Christ and surrender your life to Him, you’re in this for the long haul. People may disappoint you; they may misunderstand you and criticize you. But regardless of hard circumstances and hard people, submit yourself to loving Christ, loving His people, and looking ahead to your promised reward.

Questions: What do you value most? What implications do your values have to your eternal goals?

Now with your identity confirmed and your priorities set, determine your choices and responsibilities.

3. THE RESPONSIBILITY QUESTION: What will I do with my life?

Picture                        MOSES

He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.” Hebrews 11:25

  • First Moses refuses the comfortable life because it was not God’s plan.
  • The choices you make will determine your character and the state of your heart….and that will determine how much God is able to use you.
  • Choose to identify more fully with Christ by accepting responsibility; every day you have the choice; your plans for you or God’s plans for you.
  • You are as close to God as you choose to be.

Principle                        JESUS

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:4

  • Jesus clarifies that your first responsibility is to remain in Him.
  • What you do with your life will be determined by continually remembering who you are: a branch of the Vine.
  • Understanding who you are will shape your inner thoughts, intentions, values, desires, affections and motives (all issues typically associated with character).
  • Focus on remaining in Christ to shape your being to drive your doing, which results in producing either good or bad fruit. Galations 5:22 says that if you focus on the remaining, the Holy Spirit will take responsibility for bearing the fruit in you: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Leadership Principle: Remember that this is God’s small group, not yours. He is entrusting it to you as part of His plan for your life. Continually ask Him, “God, what do You want to happen in this small group? What can I do to better serve You and the people You have entrusted to me?”

Questions:             What has been the focus of your life recently?
What has been the fruit?

Know who you are, why you are, what you’re responsible for, and finally…

THE PERSEVERANCE QUESTION: How far am I willing to go?

Picture                        MOSES

“By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw Him who is invisible.” Hebrews 11:27

  • Faith is the prerequisite for spiritual leadership.
  • Faith does not stop with the initial believing; you must persevere through life by faith (Colossians 2:6).
  • Perseverance as a function of perspective: you will persevere to te end o=if you keep in mind Christ for who He is (the Vine), and keep perspective of who you are (a branch).
  • Live for an audience of One: the “invisible” One.

Principle                        JESUS

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” John 15:16

  • God has chosen you and appointed you to bear fruit on His behalf.
  • Remain focused daily on Christ and who you are because of Him.
  • Don’t get side-tracked from your primary responsibility to stay connected to Christ (and bear fruit through the Holy Spirit). Only then will you lead others spiritually.
  • Prioritize your life according to God’s values (like Moses) and persevere to the end by remaining (abiding) in Him.

Leadership Principle: Are the embers of your small group committed followers of Christ? Do they see themselves as branches of the Vine? Are they continuing to live by the same faith with which they came to Christ? Are you living by that faith? Keep it simple. Continue to live and lead by that same childlike faith. Take a small group meeting and teach your group the “abiding” truths in this outline.

Questions:             What are the things that are in your way of ultimate faith and perseverance?
Other than the Holy Spirit, who is going to help you to abide in Christ?

Following is the twitter stream from this session from various tweeters…

There’s no movement without the first follower.

“The enemy of the best is the good”

Every movement needs a leader, but remember, it’s about the movement not the leader.

Often in ministry we don’t want to embrace who we are.

Embrace who God has made you… God wants you to be YOU!

God wants you to be original in your ministry. Big statement for us who are early in ministry

You never know who is in your small group and the destiny that resides within.

Identify the truth of who God created you to be from lies of what Satan & the world r selling

The branch exists for the sake of the vine; it has no other purpose. Jn 15:5

What we teach about tithing & God using our 90% we miss in our teaching about sabbath.

The vine will see that the branch bears fruit

We bear fruit for a season. There is a time for pruning.

Every day u will choose whether or not to live out your identity & your priority 4 the sake of the Vine (Christ)

God wants you to be an influencer. Satan wants you to be influenced.

Personal disgrace for the sake of Christ was reasonable to Moses.

Life isn’t always gonna look pretty. But there’s joy in the imperfections. –

In the game of life it isn’t going to be pretty for the follower of Christ but we can find joy in the imperfections of this world

The key to bearing fruit is knowing who you are (branch) and remaining in Christ (Vine)

Every day you will choose whether or not to live out your identity and your priority for the sake of Christ.

You want God to use you – glorify Him in the small things.

The third- the Responsibility Question: What will I do with my life?

Choices we make determine our character and the state of our hearts–that determines how much God is able to use you.

Are you going to choose your plans for you, or God’s plan for you?

You are as close to God as you choose.

God’s economy is not equity. It’s more about eternity.

How important are people? How far are you willing to go to reach them?

Faith does not stop with the initial believing.

Perseverance is a function of perspective