"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it's established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." Proverbs 24:3-4

Friday, May 18, 2018

A Small Peek at the Family Room

Well friends...

I was really hoping that my next post about the family room would finally be an "after" post, but we are still in progress.


I am extremely excited about how it's coming along, though, and just couldn't wait to share some photos with you!

Would you like to see it?...


Ta Da!!!...


Yes, I realize this just looks like a normal family room, but here's a "before" to give you an idea of how far we've come...


(My Roman sure is a monkey, isn't he?)

The biggest and most expensive hurdle was the flooring. 

We decided to replace the carpet and I am very happy with the result.

This room has been the kids' main play area over the years, and I wanted to keep it soft and cozy for them.

(We have hardwood floors everywhere else.)

Here's a picture of the old carpet...

(If you can look past the cute kid showing off his Lincoln Log creation, HA!)


It was green, and from our best estimate- a couple of decades old.

I was thrilled to see it go...


And even more thrilled to watch the new carpet get installed...


Oh happy day!!!

Here's my new carpet "after"...


I knew that I wanted a very neutral oatmeal color when I came home with the board of swatches. But of course, didn't know the perfect one to choose. There were so many to pick from! And I really didn't want to make a mistake!

After pondering it for days, and looking at the swatches in all different lighting, I finally narrowed it down to one.

The next day a friend of mine happened to be over so I asked her to give me her opinion. I didn't tell her that I had liked one in particular. I just told her I wanted a color that didn't lean yellow, but also didn't lean grey.

She picked the exact one I had picked!

Awesome!

The day after that my mother happened to be over and I repeated the process with her. I showed her the sample board of colors but didn't tell her the one my friend and I had picked.

She too had selected the same color!

Unbelievable!

I felt as though my decision was clear.

I placed the order for the carpet and never had a moment of second-guessing.

"Thank you, Lord," I found myself whispering under my breath... "for making this big, expensive decision so easy!"


Here is this same wall "before"...


And where we are today...


(I can't decide if I like the couch with or without the check patterned pillows... Which is why, if you were to zoom in real closely, the tags are still on them...)


Even though the carpet was a bit of a splurge, we saved a lot of money in other areas. This couch, for example, I found on Facebook Marketplace for $100. The brass chandelier is an antique, and I also paid $100 for it. And I found the floral ottoman at Goodwill for a shocking $15!!! I told a friend about my $15 ottoman and she said, "I think they forget a zero on the price tag!" Haha... My thoughts exactly. I feel very lucky to have found this!

I only share this to say that lavish spending isn't necessary when decorating a home. 

I've decorated my entire home with hand-me-downs, antiques, and thrift store finds.

So be encouraged, if you're on a tight budget! Be willing to hunt around second-hand stores and scroll through Craigslist. Beautiful things can be found very inexpensively!


Like I said at the start of this post, we still aren't finished in here. But I am so thankful for the progress that has been made so far!

Micah is currently working on building a new mantle piece for our fireplace...


But I don't let that stop me from decorating the bookcases around it...

(And watching Bugs Bunny with my kids, haha...)


(The driftwood piece came from the ocean shore in Costa Rica when Micah and I were there for our anniversary last year. *smile)

I look forward to sharing more about this room very soon!


But in the meantime, thanks for letting me give you a small peek!


xo,


~ Courtney ~


P.S. ~ Please don't ever hesitate to leave a comment. I love hearing from you!!!

Friday, May 11, 2018

A Home for Traveling Strangers

I've been experiencing some sadness...

A couple of sweet girls that have been staying with us, moved on to their next adventure.

And now the house feels quiet, empty, and sad...


The morning they left was dreary and rainy, which matched our emotions about them leaving perfectly.

These girls were an absolute delight, and I have missed them greatly since they left.

I cried as I watched them pull out of our driveway for the last time...


I knew that these two young girls who I had opened my heart and my home to, were two young girls I would probably never see again.

But so it goes for the life of a missionary.

Always traveling to a new town... Ministering to a new church... Adjusting to a new host family...

"I realize that you are used to coming and going... But I am not used to it. My heart hurts. I will miss you!" I said to them as they stood by my door with suitcases in hand.

The night before we had stayed up laughing with them, praying over them, and talking about how we just couldn't believe that their two weeks with us was already over.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I knew that our church had scheduled a revival summit, and I had put it into my calendar so that our family could attend, but I didn't know the role I was to play while the revival team was here.

Our associate pastor called me one afternoon and asked if I would be willing to house a couple of the team's members. 

He said he was having a hard time finding enough families to host, and would I consider providing meals and beds for two of the girls on the team.

I instantly thought of Isaiah 58:7 which says, "Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the wanderer with shelter..." and I knew I had to say yes. 

I got to work right away on preparing the house for their arrival.

We technically have a guest bedroom, but it only has one bed and I didn't know how these girls would feel about sharing it.


So I decided to let them have Nola and Elsa's bedroom, because that way they would each have their own bed.

This is what their room looked like once it was made perfect for them...


I had so much fun getting this room ready!


I scrubbed and cleaned and washed up all the bedding...




I bought fresh flowers...


And put together a little toiletry tray and vanity for them to use...





Nola made this precious welcome sign...


And I stocked the room with snacks, chocolate, and water bottles...


Once they arrived and settled in, they made themselves right at home, which absolutely delighted me!



I said to Micah, "What if in ten years Nola comes to us and says, 'Mom and Dad, I have joined a revival team. I will travel the country and stay in stranger's homes.' I would be a nervous wreck! I want to approach this company with the mindset that we are taking in
somebody's daughters! I want them to feel at home here."

Micah agreed, and we did everything we could to bless them and take care of them.

Although in the end, I realized that they were the ones who blessed us!

They were always cheerful, and appreciative of everything we did for them. It was a treat for me, as a mother, to watch my kids open up to them and play with them as the days progressed. And I was so grateful to them for showing my kids what godly young adults look like.

"They were not your typical nineteen and twenty year-olds," I said to my dad after their two weeks with us was complete. "I was so impressed with how mature and joy-filled they were... Always looking for ways to bless us!" I said. "And to think, they are from the 'entitlement' generation!"

But my dad replied, "They are Christians. Christians are peculiar. They've always been. They never fit into the mold of the culture."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

After they left I went into their room to begin the process of getting our 'normal' back, and I found this...


One of the girls left us this precious thank-you note.

It read...

Downs Family,

Thank you so very much for taking in a couple extra kids. I'm so grateful to have had the privilege to be a part of your sweet family and humble, lovely home. I felt truly welcomed since the first night. Thank you so much for sharing your space and treating us so kindly. I hope to have a home as cozy and warm as yours one day.

God bless you all!

Until next time, 

Emma


Oh, how that did my heart such good!

My only wish through the years has been to make a wonderful, restful home for my family and for visitors. I've never cared about trying to impress or make my house into a trendy show place. I've just wanted it to feel like home. 

God used her words to minister encouragement to me that I am on the right track.

Home is a powerful feeling.

It can restore and comfort you.

And what a treat it was for me to be able to share my home with others.

"Share with the Lord's people who are in need. Practice hospitality." Romans 12:13

(Side note- In case you're wondering... Our family room renovation is still not complete! I felt self-conscious of that at first but in the end I learned a lesson. I learned that I don't need to wait to have the perfect house before offering hospitality. I made sure the girls' needs were met and I did the best that I could with all the other rooms. They made me feel like that was more than enough!)

I will miss their smiles and laughter, their presence around our dinner table, and the meaningful conversations we had, but I am thankful for the experience.

"Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially those who belong to the family of believers." Galatians 6:10 


(I have decided not to include photos of our guests to be respectful of their privacy.)



Thanks for taking the time to stop by my blog today friends!

I'll be back soon...

xo,

~ Courtney ~

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Snowed In...

Hi friends!

This is just going to be a quick post to say "hello" and to let you see what northern living in April is like...


Isn't it lovely?...


What began as a serene snow storm has upgraded to a blizzard and we are snowed in!

Snow drifts as high as our fence, oh my!


The poor birds must be so thankful for Micah, who keeps their feeders well-stocked in weather like this...


Old man Winter is pitching one of his temper tantrums again. He hates to let Spring have her way.

But we won't let him get the best of us, right?!

Come on inside where it's warm and cozy... I have tea...


You may remember from one of my past posts that we were given a new barn cat recently.

Well, we brought her inside for the storm. 

I just couldn't bear the thought of her suffering out in the cold.

She's been getting properly spoiled here in the house...


And trying out all the soft, cozy napping spots...


She's been a very good girl, so I don't mind.

I have put to good use these snowed-in days...

Using it as a chance to sort through games, toys, and books...


Purging what we no longer need, and tidying what we wish to keep...


It sure feels great to get organized!


It's like a fresh, new start!

I can get so absorbed in my little projects, that I don't even notice what's going on outside.

And before I know it, it'll all be over and I'll be expected to leave my house again.

(Being snowed in is an introverted homebody's dream life! Haha!)

I found out the other day that we are expecting overnight company in the very close future.

They will be with us for two weeks!

I have much to do to get ready for their arrival, as I'm sure you can imagine.

I don't know when I'll be able to blog again, since I still have to keep the homeschool and housework plates spinning, plus our family room project is still not complete. I really wish to make their stay with us as comfortable as I can, so I'll be busy as a bee with that!

(Any advice you can give me for hosting long-term company, I would greatly appreciate!)

So anyway friends, wish me luck, and say a prayer for me. I will need it! Also, feel free to leave a comment. I LOVE hearing from you! Your comments make blogging much more fun!


xo,


~ Courtney ~



Thursday, April 5, 2018

More Progress in our Family Room

Hi friends!!!

I hope you all are happy and well!

I'm excited about the progress we've been making on our family room project!

I updated you on it about a month ago, but a lot has been accomplished since then, so I'd like to document it here.

The renovations we've worked on over the years usually take several months to complete because we really only have nights and weekends to work on it. As I'm sure you can imagine- laundry, meals, homeschool lessons, and Micah's job all still require our attention, and don't let us off the hook just because we're in the middle of a project.

So, I don't have "after" pictures just yet, but "progress" pictures.

Come on in, I'll show you what we've done...



~ Corbels ~


Micah designed and made a corbel set to finish off the beams in the family room...



They're made from a very old oak tree that once graced our front lawn. It was a beautiful tree, but we lost it in the tornado several years ago.

Micah has gotten creative with the "tornado lumber" as we call it, ever since.


I think they're a nice touch.


~ Brass Chandelier ~


I was so happy to see that 90's ceiling fan go!

I purchased this light a couple of years ago at a friends' antique shop. 

It's been waiting patiently in storage all this time and now it's finally hung!


This is exciting stuff!!!

~ New Plaster ~


We had to remove some very old and crumbly wallpaper from this little hall area.

Micah re-plastered and textured the walls...


And I painted it all to match the colors in the family room...


~ Flooring ~

The photos above show the difference between the finished and unfinished hard wood floors.

We've lived in this old farmhouse for eight and a half years, and we're still refinishing floors!

Before we could get to these floors however, the old carpet had to be ripped up...


It was a green carpet with a leafy pattern and it was here when we moved in.

We know that this family room went through a renovation by the previous owners somewhere in the 1990's, so we assume the carpet is from that.

Like everything else in this room, I was happy to see it go!


We got the kids involved and had them help...


They thought it was fun!


Projects like this can cause the entire house to feel like it's in an upheaval.


That can really wear on me since I'm home during the day with the children trying to homeschool.

It affects the atmosphere of our home life. And that is everything to me!

At the beginning of the renovation I prayed that the Lord would calm my nerves about it and allow me to feel ok throughout the process.

I've been doing my best to make sure at least some areas of the house are clean and tidy...


And I'm still playing happy music and making nice meals...


We've been carrying on as if everything were normal...

(Our family Easter Sunday...)


But the house has been a tremendous mess!

Our front room has been forced to store the family room furniture...


I just keep telling myself that it must get worse before it can get better, and it'll all be worth it in the end!!!


We ran into a little roadblock with the hardwood floors.

When they were exposed after the carpet had been removed, not all of the boards were there!

Some pieces were missing...


This problem delayed the sanding process for about a week.

We had to figure out how to fix it!

We joked and said we could perform a floor graft. (Like a skin graft, haha!)

And that's what Micah did!

We decided to take some boards from this area of the room and have this section re-carpeted...


 Micah then used those boards to patch in the missing area...


Again, the kiddos helped...


These are just the types of problems you bump into with such an old house.

Thankfully, Micah doesn't shy away from hard, tedious work.

Each little piece was cut and nailed in by hand...


Once the carpet is installed, no one will ever know, and most likely we will forget all about it! 


Here it is, done and ready to sand...


This was during the sanding process, and from another angle...


Once the floor is done, it will all be down hill from there!

I can't wait!...


We had a guy from Home Depot come over to measure for our carpet install, so it's starting to feel like there's a light at the end of the tunnel!


Like I said above, my home means everything to me. We have literally put our blood, sweat, and tears  into this old farmhouse. 

I've dreamed for years that this family room will one day be a beautiful and cozy place for us to enjoy, and now we're finally getting close!

I picture antique art on these crisp white walls, live plants basking in sunbeams, and rows and rows of interesting books on the shelves.

I know this room has it in her!

And I plan to bring out her full potential!

Hopefully my next post on this family room will finally be the "after" shots!

Check back with me soon...


xo,


~ Courtney ~