Monday, May 14, 2012

What Could've Been a Scary Day

I am not an overly dramatic person, in fact, I'm usually quite the opposite, generally pretty even-keel. Now, if you know me really well, you know this is by far not always the case. Seemingly little things stress me out like losing my phone, forgetting my coupons when I go to the grocery store--yes, trivial things often get the best of me. On the other hand, I tend to be calm in what others might consider high stress situations: fender bender, speeding tickets (yes, I admit it), managing special events, responding to tragedies, etc. What tends to happen in these situations is that I am calm in the moment, emotions in check, and able to take care of what needs to be done. The stress/reality usually hits me a bit later.

Tonight I am feeling the stress of what happened (or rather didn't happen) to me & the boys earlier today.

This morning was a beautiful one, so when Levi woke from his morning nap, I decided to take both boys on a walk to our local library, which is literally two blocks away. We had never walked there before, we usually drive, but it was a nice walk on the sidewalk of Northside Drive, a busy 4 lane road in the city of Jackson. Our visit at the library was pleasant, too. When I left I thought to myself how I'm really starting to feel as if I'm a part of this community because I saw & visited with three people who are my neighbors & that I know from our church. We returned home and had lunch at about 12:30.

I didn't know until a few hours later that at around 2:00 that afternoon, a man had been shot and killed, in broad daylight, right in front of the library.

Ryan had received an email about the situation & at first was a little panicked that it might have been one of the two young men I had seen at the library, Scott or Kenyel, both of which have been in our youth group & are really like family to us. Thankfully, he was able to contact them relatively quickly to make sure they were okay.

The identity of the man is still unknown at this point, and when I first heard about this, I wasn't too shook up. This evening is a little different. I have tucked my boys into bed & am praising God that today didn't go differently: that we are all safe & that we didn't have to witness it. But I'm also saddened that someone needlessly lost their life today.

You know, most of the time I honestly feel really safe here, we live on a quiet street, we have a monitored alarm system, but the truth is, living & working in urban ministry isn't always safe. But you know what? That's okay. I know that God has called us to live & to serve here. He is sovereign, & I completely trust Him with our lives.

Thanks for letting me share my story. I needed to get it off my chest, but at the same time, I wanted to praise my Father for His provisions for my family.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Journey of a Dining Room Makeover

Our dining room has been a work in progress that is now pretty much complete (minus some artwork I want to create to hang in there, I mean, are we ever really finished with a room?!). When we first moved in, this is what the room looked like with our stuff in it:

Not terrible, just dark & boring...kinda blah!

Well, the first thing I wanted to do was lighten up the space by redoing the chairs. Our dining room table & chairs were a yard sale find before we moved to Jackson. Ryan did a great job of refinishing the table, but the chairs were really a little too beat up to be worth the effort of refinishing them. However, the beat-up look was perfect for the distressed look I wanted to accomplish! Plus, the more beat up they get, the better they look-perfect for a household of boys & dog!

So here's the chairs before & after:

I found the fabric in the remnants pile at a local home fabric store & fell in love. Obviously a white background is not kid or dog friendly, so I decided to cover the fabric with vinyl I purchased at Hobby Lobby. Granted, it's probably not the coolest thing to do (I know, a little reminiscent of Grandma's vinyl covered sofas from the 70's), but every time I wipe down the chairs after a meal of spaghetti, I inwardly give myself a pat on the back for being willing to go there with the vinyl.

The next step was to find a green for the walls. This was not an easy task. In our former house in Georgia, one of our bedrooms was yellow and the kitchen was green. I was unsuccessful in choosing the right shade of yellow & green the first time around for both of those rooms. Beware! Greens & Yellow are tricky! It seems they always appear much brighter on the wall than on the sample! To make matters worse, when we painted the nursery in our house here in Jackson a soft green, I also chose the wrong shade the first time. So, you can imagine my paranoia about choosing the correct color for the dining room after three previous failed attempts to choose the right shade. Plus, it's one of the first rooms you see when you open the front door. Oh the pressure!!

So, that history explains why 7 samples later, our wall looked like this:

See what I mean? Greens can look so different! Believe it or not, all of these shades seem to coordinate with the fabric on the chairs. So maybe it seems like a lot of trouble to buy that many samples, but it was worth it to me because I felt completely confident about my choice. I LOVE the final result!

So, here's the after shot:

One of my favorite additions to the room is the floor to ceiling curtains I found at Ikea during our trip to Atlanta over the holidays. They were $24.99 for a pair! What a deal! A great trick to make a room seem taller is to hang the curtains just under the molding (thanks Nate Berkus for that tip!).
All in all, I am very pleased with the outcome!