Craigslist Blessing.

It’s so easy to get our eyes off all the blessings God bestows. Most of them we probably missed the first time around! But sometimes something comes along that one just can’t deny is a tremendous act of God’s outpouring of love in a tangible way. We celebrate those moments and thank the Lord for them. Inevitably, life continues and can soon choke out that gratefulness we feel about said blessing.

I wanted to take just a moment to write of such a blessing, not so much for telling all of you, but to force me to slow down and concretely commemorate God’s tender provisions by putting it into writing. It’s a way of re-celebrating how intimately involved God wants to be in even little aspects of our daily lives – areas we think may be “off limits” or out of His realm of caring.

Go back with me a few weeks. Surely you remember the {dining room table} that I’ve mentioned more than once. You may recall that it came with six chairs, 2 of which were {arm chairs} that I painted and am currently using at the ends of the table. I was left with 4 side chairs that I began to refinish for use at the kitchen table. The legs got painted. I began to staple fabric onto the chairs, fabric that began as an extra Ikea curtain panel I had on hand. I struggled. I tried. I wanted to like how it was turning out and told myself this would fabulous in the end.

My sweet husband saw my struggle and noticed my frustration. He kindly encouraged me to just get rid of the chairs and we’d do something else in the kitchen. Whew! Relief. So I listed them on Craigslist with sad little pictures. Solid chairs, good “bones”, in a sad state, a perfect project for an ambitious person: $15 each.

chairs 7

chairs 3

chairs 6

chairs 2

chairs 9

In an hour I got an email from one woman who wanted them. The next day she was to come out, so I told another woman who emailed that they were spoken for. However, first woman emailed me the next morning to say that her husband wanted her to wait since they were in the middle of a remodel. I understood. Boy, did I understand!! I respected that she respected her, probably respectable, husband. Still with me??

I emailed second woman and told her the chairs were once again available. She was thrilled and planned to drive out the next day, double checking on my asking price. She arrived the next morning with her son. She took a look at the chairs, oohed and ahhed that they were just was she was needing. She already had the fabric she would be using to complete them and looked forward to putting them into her French Country kitchen. We chatted about big moves, major changes, following Christ, and, as she was a few years ahead in her journey through life, she encouraged me to keep believing God has big things in store for our family! She was a breath of fresh air to my soul and I was so refreshed by this woman God brought to our home through Craigslist.

As she pulled her money out of her pocket, she talked about how God laid on her heart to pay more. She handed me the roll of 20’s and insisted I take $100 for them rather than the $60 I had asked for. Wow!! That has never happened to me in the history of selling on Craigslist! I refused but her son said, “She wants to do this. Please take it.” I humbly thanked her and received the blessing she wanted to bestow.

I have begun reading One Thousand Gifts Devotional (by Ann Voskamp) after receiving it as a birthday gift from a dear friend. I pray my eyes will be more and more opened to the “manna” we are fed from God; the daily food from His hand – the food needed for just today. You see, it wasn’t just the money. It was everything about the exchange. It was the encouragement one lover of Christ can offer another. The hug one older mamma can give a younger one, as if pumping just a little more stamina into her for the day. It’s the proof that God does not give up. That He doesn’t lead you to or into something and then let you go it on your own. It’s a little sign that He will provide fellowship and communion in places least expected.

Thank the Lord with me for Darlene, my Craigslist “buddy”, and her family, and pray that they will be richly blessed by the hands of God, as she has blessed our family by her encouragement and unnecessary generosity. And pray my simple eyes will be more opened to less obvious ways God provides, though still provisions and acts of love, nonetheless.

–Beth

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First trip back to Maryland after moving.

Let’s hear it for last-minute decisions to visit friends and family!! Ken and I decided that the kids and I would make a trip up north when we realized that Jake had a week OFF classes and Ken had a week FULL of classes (and an all-important test for his FL contractor’s licensing). A quiet house for Ken and a busy week of social engagements for the kids and me turned out to be a win-win for all!

We had a wonderful time in MD, and the bonus was Ken joined us for a couple days when it turned out that he needed to get a truck and trailer up to Maryland. It was a long drive for him, especially to turn around and drive back with us two days later, but it was so nice to see him earlier than we thought, and he enjoyed the chance to [briefly] see family and a couple friends.

We had a super busy and fun week, and packed our days with activities and visiting. It was fantastic to catch up with grandparents, BFF’s, cousins, aunts and uncles, and bask in the cool fall weather. We hit a pumpkin patch (where it rained the whole time!); joined in on a tradition of making apple cider with my family; got a glimpse of the Chesapeake Bay with Ken’s family; celebrated my birthday (several times over — thanks, everyone!!) and generally just had a blast. Here are some pictures to prove it:

digging for dinosaurs

cousins

picking a pumpkin

cider making with grandad

jake and adelle

 

hay ride 3

hay ride

sleepover with jordan

dean and tatum (2)

riss, gracie and adele

grace and halia

I have to say, the drive up was very pleasant – it’s an easy-to-navigate route and the kids were wonderful (most of the time!) There was that moment when some unmentionable liquid spilled a bit on a family member’s backpack. There was also the normal sibling bickering and of course, the restlessness that kicks in at about the 11th hour. We drove through rain the last couple hours. But all in all, I have no complaints and would do it again! Thanks to all our Maryland friends and family for making our visit such a memorable one. See you again soon! 🙂

–Beth

Makeover for plain curtains.

You would not believe how such a simple change could make such a big difference. Well, you probably would, but that seemed like a good opener. The backstory: we are working on getting the last little things done in the guest room. There is a French door leading to the foyer, I suppose so the room could be used as an office or sitting room. We aren’t replacing doors in the house just yet, so we are stuck with glass door, despite using the room as a spare bedroom.

Ken hung a curtain rod above the door inside the room, so the curtains could be drawn for privacy as needed. But can be opened to let in light and open the room up a little more. Since we’re pinching pennies wherever possible, we put to use some previously owned tab-topped curtain panels, generously handed down to us from Ken’s mom. Here’s the outcome:

guest room curtains

Oh no. Oh, no, no, no – this will not do. These curtains used here make me think of ill-fitting clothes (imagine: high-waters) and outdated accessories (think: poufy hair scrunchies. Oh, to think we actually sewed and proudly wore them as teens – in every color possible!) It’s not that the curtains themselves were a problem. It’s that I had to hang them high enough for the door to clear. And that they need to slide open and closed easily (which I don’t find tabs to do). I kindly thanked Ken, and knew I had to fix it somehow. My head hit the pillow that night, and then it came to me: ruffles!!

See, Ken’s mom hadn’t just given us just one pair – she gave us about 5 pairs! Of the same type! So, a day or two later, I hauled out the sewing machine and gave those nerdy-looking curtains over the door a much-needed makeover. Using another panel, I added some ruffles, dug out some clip rings for easier sliding and then ironed them all. Ta-da!!

guest room curtain after ruffles

Oh yes. Much better. Much, much better! (Just for fun, scroll back up to the “before” shot to appreciate how much cuter they really are! I have stepped into the room at least once a day since fixing them . . . just to say “hello” to my pretty new friends.)

Now I can warmly welcome guests into our home and show them to their “quarters” without feeling the need to explain that we’re trying to save money and use what we have and that’s why we hung the curtains over the door that we haven’t budgeted to replace yet because the room was supposed to be an office but we’re using it as a guest room and with that in mind won’t you please enjoy your stay!

Nope. I can just skip right to the “enjoy your stay” part!

–Beth

P.S. Stay tuned — hope to post more shots of the guest room soon. You future “guests” may be interested in those! Please pardon the poor quality photos. I’m lazy and just snap shots with my phone. Another “someday” . . . I’ll take photos with a nicer camera.

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Burgerfi.

Have you seen my dining table makeover? We took a “blah” table that we bought off Craigslist and made it just right for our home. We love it! You can read all about it *here* if you haven’t already.

My sister-in-law, Lisa, was also on the hunt for a new table for her dining room. We’d been scouring Craigslist for a piece just right for them, to no avail. Well, she stumbled on something several weekends back that had us all excited so we hooked the truck up to the trailer (well, our husbands did) and the 4 of us hauled out to Downtown Orlando for her 8 foot “solid wood”, “dark brown” find.

Upon arrival at the owner’s house, we *find* that it was a veneer top. And black. And scratched. Well, the scratches we could have done something about, were it solid wood. But it wasn’t. So Lisa decided not to get it, and our trailer stayed empty. Lisa kept a stiff upper lip, knowing that just the right table will come along soon enough. She’s good and patient, that one.

We pulled into 7-11 for a consoling cup of coffee. Turns out Ken’s iced tea was fermented and Lisa’s cream for her coffee was sour. He leaves with nothing and she dumps her coffee in the parking lot trash. (This may or may not be the best time to say it, but the coffees Dave and I were drinking were delicious.)

We settled for a drive by the lake, through a picturesque portion of the Orlando shop district.

We ended up in Winter Park to check out Ken’s new office. We found some parking to accommodate a truck and (empty) trailer and headed across the street from a restaurant called Burgerfi. None of us had been there, but one of us had heard great things and all of us had to try it! Their claim to fame is all natural burgers – hormone-free, grass-fed – everything I prefer with my beef.

I found this photo of the Winter Park Burgerfi — decorated for Christmas. Which it obviously wasn’t when we were there.

I bet the burgers are fabulous. I’d like to find out for myself. But being that it was getting late and we had kind-of, sort-of had dinner already, we decided to go “light” and split some French fries, onion rings and a “Concrete”. What’s a concrete, you ask? So did I. Actually, I just read the menu where it explained that it was Burgerfi’s custard layered with basically any other dessert of your choice. Since we were sticking with a “light” theme (ha!), we chose Key Lime.

I’m telling you, it was a decision we didn’t regret. The Key Lime was so fabulous! You might wonder why we didn’t get 2 concretes. Why, actually, we did – one for each couple! And just when we were scraping the bottom of the cups (Lisa thinks I may have gotten some plastic cup on my spoon), it came to mind that I maybe should have taken a picture. Just to put right here in this little post. But I didn’t. I was busy scraping plastic from the side of my cup. So I had to borrow a picture from the freely-sharing World Wide Web.

This, my friends, is a Key Lime Concrete:

And to think I had foolishly assumed I wasn’t hungry and that we wouldn’t be able to finish our concrete. So much for eating “light”. 🙂

–Beth

P.S. Since that eventful, delicious evening, I’m happy to report that Lisa has found just the right table for her dining room! Patience paid off. 😉