Weathering the Wind

The wind has been ferocious today. I’m not sure exactly what all the clunking and thumping on the outside of the house and the roof is, but I’m thankful to be inside. I’m also thankful we had the dying tree removed from our yard over the summer. Nearby, some residents have lost power multiple times tonight, but ours has only flickered.
As I listen to the wind howl and roar, I’m reminded of the power of the weather. Despite the four walls surrounding me, in many ways I’m still at the mercy of the wind. At a moment’s notice, it could gust hard enough to compromise the structure of my home. As I watch the words scroll across the bottom of the television screen, it’s clear that I’m not alone tonight. Others are at the mercy of the weather too. In counties south of me, they’re waiting out a tornado watch. And north of me, a sinkhole caused by the rain prompted a warning to local residents about the dam on the river. It could blow any time.
More than anything, this wind reminds me of the power of God. He’s not only more powerful than the storm, but He’s our shelter in the storm. I’m reminded of the lyrics of the old hymn by Vernon J. Charlesworth, ” A Shelter in the Time of Storm.”
The Lord’s our Rock, in Him we hide,
A Shelter in the time of storm;
Secure whatever ill betide,
A Shelter in the time of storm.

Oh, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,
A weary land, a weary land;
Oh, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,
A Shelter in the time of storm.
A shade by day, defense by night,
A Shelter in the time of storm;
No fears alarm, no foes afright,
A Shelter in the time of storm.
The raging storms may round us beat,
A Shelter in the time of storm
We’ll never leave our safe retreat,
A Shelter in the time of storm.
O Rock divine, O Refuge dear,
A Shelter in the time of storm;
Be Thou our Helper ever near,
A Shelter in the time of storm.
Tonight, as I drift to sleep to the sound of the wind, I’m clinging to the promise that God is my refuge, no matter what situation threatens my soul. I’m also meditating on the words of Psalm 91,

 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
       will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 
 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
       my God, in whom I trust.”

Transformation Tuesday

This week for Transformation Tuesday, I want to brag about one of my readers who tackled her own Trash to Treasure project. Deb from Deborah Jean’s Dandelion House was inspired by the finish on my chandelier makeover, so she decided to update the knobs and hinges in her house with a similar finish.  She’s featured her results on a French Door makeover on her blog. I love the angle of Deb’s in-progress photo below.
Deb painted the door and then transformed the knobs. You’ll find that you can achieve similar results when you use Rust-O-leum’s oil rubbed bronze (ORB) spray paint. Check out Deb’s results below, and then hop on over to her blog to see the full tutorial of her project and the rest of her photos.

Thanks Deb for the inspiration!


Trash to Treasure Decorating
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What Would You Do Updates

It’s time to update you on the latest What Would You Do Wednesday ideas. 

Antique Scale

There were three ideas posted for the antique kitchen scale. I think I’m most likely to use the idea from the anonymous poster who suggested putting a basket on top to hold mail or odds and ends. Now I just have to find the right basket!

Over the Door Towel Rack

 Two weeks ago, I showed my towel rack turned magazine holder on my office door and I ask what unconventional thing you would do with it. I love the idea from Susan at Busy ‘Lil Homemaker. She suggested displaying mini quilts on it.

I could also see it used on the back of a bedroom door as a valet. You could choose your outfit for the next day and hang hangers or loop pants over the bars. It isn’t a decorating idea, but it’s a functional way to reuse a piece. Or, imagine it on the back of the entry door with cute little clothespins for drying mittens and scarves. It’s functional but decorative.

This week for WWYD, I’d like to know what you would do with a mish-mash collection of plates. It could be china, enamelware, or pottery. Maybe you broke the rest of the set, or you received a plate as part of a gift. Either way, you’ve ended up with odds and ends that don’t go with sets. Imagine your plates in the picture below.

What do you do if you have just one of something but it has sentimental value? Or what if you have several one of a kind pieces but you’re tempted to donate them to the thrift shop? How would you use the odds and ends in your cupboards? Share your WWYD comments below and let’s see if we can come up with some “out of the box” ideas!


Trash to Treasure Decorating
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Do you ever feel like everyday life is just too much? Perhaps your calendar looks like mine. I’m guessing yours is even more crowded most of the time.
Some days, I wonder why I don’t go insane. Yesterday was one of those. After a morning appointment at the courthouse with the housing commission, I chowed down a quick sandwich and yogurt and then raced off to parent teacher conferences at school. Then I drove faster than I allow my teenagers to drive to get back home for my three afternoon piano students. Before the last one was even buckled into her mom’s van, I was grabbing my purse and Bible to head in for women’s Bible study. After that, I taught one more piano lesson and then whipped up some eggs and a pancake for an 8:00 supper before making my weekly Monday night phone call to the other music coordinator from church to plan worship for Sunday. When the rest of my family got home, they cleaned out the leftovers and made up some ramen noodles for a side dish. Confession: I don’t cook on Mondays! And if that makes you think I’m a terrible wife, I’m perfectly okay with that.
I’m not a fan of Mondays because what I just described is how they typically go. I’m so thankful that I chose to relax on Sunday afternoon this week in preparation for Monday. I took a two hour nap with the Bears and Vikings game for background noise. Then I propped my feet up on the armrest of my chair and read a book. When the guys came in from hunting, we enjoyed a family movie together. By 10:00, I was conked out again.
If it weren’t for the days when I take a sabbath rest, I’d never survive a typical week. Some Sundays are just as crazy as my Mondays and I miss that rest time. Of course, I never get an entire day off (even Sunday morning I’m up early for music team), but any amount of dedicated rest time is priceless.
Do you make time to rest and refresh? How do you recharge when your calendar is packed with obligations and activity? If you don’t, I encourage you to schedule some time to relax. Soon!

Tuesday Mini-Transformation

Sometimes the best transformations are not the ones that take days and hours to complete. Sometimes, the best trash to treasure projects take no more than an hour, but make a huge difference. Here is an example. 
I work with a laptop with a secondary monitor, keyboard and mouse attached. Sometimes, that leaves me with little space to put my papers. And I don’t want to smother my laptop with books and papers. What papers you ask?  I guess I should admit that I cleaned up my desk a little for the photo.
So, I figured if I could find some way to get my laptop up off the desk a little, I’d have a little place to put papers I need handy while I’m working. I went down the basement to browse around in our stash of scrap lumber. I found a pine frame from a small cabinet door that was damaged in shipping and replaced by the manufacturer. I just couldn’t throw it out after they sent me the new one. Now it looked like just what I needed.
Believe it or not, it is exactly the size of the laptop! I had my hubby help me put “legs” on it, which were just scraps of pine 1 by 2.
Sanding would have been smart, but I was in a hurry and didn’t take the time. Bad example, I know!
Once the piece was put together, I grabbed a can of spray paint, left over from the deck furniture project, and quickly transformed it into a rich chocolate brown.
The opening in the frame also allows air to circulate under the computer and give me a place to slip cords through as needed.
With my hubby’s help, I had this completed and in use in less than 45 minutes. I’m pretty handy with power tools myself, but he offered to do it while I made dinner. Win-win!
I’m so glad I found a use for something I almost threw away. Honestly though? I’ve had it in that lumber box for many many years. Like more than ten. I think that qualifies me for pack-rat, don’t you think?

Trash to Treasure Decorating
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Inspiration Monday

Last Saturday, I got up before the sunrise so that my son and I could shoot some of his senior pictures at the lake. As a result, I captured some shots that I would have missed if I had slept in.


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Photo of the Week

I thought I would get a head start on my Monday photo of the week and post it on the weekend instead. Last Saturday, Dallas and I got up before the sunrise so that we could shoot some of his senior pictures over at Arrowhead Bible Camp. As a result, I captured some shots that I would have missed if I had slept in.
If you haven’t take the time to watch the sun come up in a while, I highly recommend it!

Happy Weekend

I took a little break from Trash to Treasure this week. With a funeral on Monday and another college visit with my son on Friday, that left a very short work week! But, I’m collecting new ideas all the time, and I’ll be back next week.

Happy Weekend!


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Photo of the Week- Flowers for Grandma

Today’s photo is in memory of my grandma who passed away this past week and who we will lay to rest this afternoon. She always said, “Bring me the flowers when I’m alive, not for my funeral.” She was always such a cheerleader for my creativity and my writing. I’ll miss her.



Trash to Treasure Decorating
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Transforming Church in Rural America

Shannon O’Dell wants to change the way rural congregations do church. When he arrived in Arkansas, he had a congregation of 31 people. Now, the church has over 2000 people on multiple campuses. Most rural churches are tradition oriented and not change oriented. Drawing from his own experience at what was renamed Brand New Church (BNC), O’Dell challenges churches to be ministry minded and focused on reaching people—even some people who make conservative believers uncomfortable.

I received a copy of “Transforming Church in Rural America: Breaking All the Rurals” from the publisher through O’Dell offers some common sense ideas with practical examples that contrast with how most churches operate. He isn’t afraid to break the rules, or “break the rurals” as he refers to it. Using the acrostic V.A.L.U.E., he helps the reader see the value of vision, attitude, leadership, understanding, and excellence. He also gives practical steps to transformation for those going through a change.

The author offers a lot of free helps for the reader to save some of the steps that his church went through. For example, they saved their research from the bylaws of various churches and has those available for download for churches researching constitutions to write their own. Throughout the book there are also links to video clips available on his website. I had technical problems at first but after a Java update, I did get most of the videos to play. Refreshing the page whenever I received an error message seemed to work too.

Shannon O’Dell has thought this out well and has given many good examples from his own church. There are a few things that caught me off guard a little, despite my progressive attitude towards change. First, some people will be taken back by his casual use of words like “dang” and “sucks”. He’s of a new generation and some will not like this. O’Dell is confident, but in a few places he comes across as a bit arrogant. This too might hinder some from seeing the good ideas that fill this book. He doesn’t address how to honor the people who are hanging on to tradition while still moving forward. He implies that letting them get mad and leave is a simple solution to growing. I’d like to see him address how to make it work without making them walk.

Finally, I wasn’t on board with his pastoral driven style of leadership. I think there is a compromise between congregational leadership and top down leadership. Although O’Dell does talk about replacing committees with teams, he still places almost total authority in the hands of the pastor. Even when it comes to building projects, he suggests that the pastor should be in charge. This can rob people of using their gifts, especially if there is a contractor or expert in the church who knows much more about building or finances. He says his system won’t work with a pastor who is a control freak, but it seems that this style of leadership would be the very thing that produces control freaks.

All in all, this is a book to stimulate ideas. Churches will find changes that they can attempt in their own congregations as well as some things that they will disagree with. No church is perfect. O’Dell has had his share of staff troubles and ministry problems too. But the idea that rural church needs to be shaken up is relevant and timely. This book is a launching place. A lot more had to happen behind the scenes for Brand New Church to get where it is today.

In Chapter 7, there are is a problem with paragraph spacing that the publisher must have missed. This isn’t the author’s problem, but it’s something I’ll mention to the publisher.

I had the opportunity to review this book compliments of the publisher through the review program. My reviews are objective and honest.