My ‘wobbly’ life and encouragement for Easter

From time to time, I experience what I like to call a “mom meltdown.” For example, as I was driving home yesterday after a late-night Easter basket run, I looked around my vehicle, at the kid crumbs and discarded french fries and junk from all the projects I’m working on, and I mentally threw my hands up in the air.

“Why can’t I ever seem to get it together?” I asked myself. “I’m always so overwhelmed and behind on everything.” And then came the other inevitable questions:

  • How do my friends do it? They always seem so organized and at peace.
  • When will I ever get caught up?
  • What do I need to change to make things easier?
  • Why does life seem so hard?
  • What is wrong with me?

And as I drove home in the dark, exhausted and on the verge of tears, this verse popped into my mind:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – 2 Cor. 12:9 (NIV)

For Type A people like me, this verse is hard. Because I want so much to improve myself, to accomplish my goals, to please others, to control the outcome. It’s unnatural for me to boast about my weaknesses because I spend so much time trying to get rid of or minimize them.

But during this particular late night “mom meltdown,” it was as if God himself laid His hand on my shoulder and simply asked me to let go …

… To let go of the idea of perfection – the perfect home, the perfect family, the perfectly organized and chaos-free life.

… To let go of the silly notion that I will catch up on my to-do list.

… To let go of the striving for significance, influence and approval.

And then He asked me to rest. Rest in the promise that He’s still working on me and I will never be complete on this side of heaven. Rest in the promise that He cares for me and has never failed to provide me with everything I need.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – Isaiah 40:28-31 (NIV)

So in spite of the fact that my life often looks and feels a lot like the wobbly fan I recently renovated on my back patio, I can actually rest and rejoice in the chaos of every day. Because it is one more piece of evidence that Jesus is alive. His power rests on me and is made perfect in my weakness.

Hyacinth

May you enjoy a restful and joyous Easter celebration!

A finished project, an unfinished project and a ‘kick in the pants’

I am happy to report I have finished the Great Outdoor Fan Renovation! In case you missed the final reveal earlier this week, here it is again:

Oil-rubbed-bronze-outdoor-fanAnd to rewind further, here’s what the fixture looked like before I smothered it with spray paint:

Fan-before

For all the DIY deets on this project, click here.

Although I’m excited to finish the fan upgrade, my post today is primarily about an epic, unfinished project I’m preparing to tackle. Perhaps you’ll recall my post back in, uh, September on how I turned our Miami Vice pink bathroom into a coastal-inspired oasis? No? ;)

Here’s the before of the master bathroom:

Hot-pink-master-bath-2

And the after:

Master-bathroom-renovation (1)

The truth is I never entirely finished that room, hence the reason I don’t have any photos of the sink and vanity. Here’s what that side of the room looks like today, more than seven months later (hanging head in shame):

Master-bathroom-renovation

Fortunately, I just got the “kick in the pants” I needed to work on finishing this project! My favorite DIY-friendly clothing company, Duluth Trading Co., contacted me recently to help raise awareness for a fun contest aimed at helping procrastinating DIYers like myself (you too?) get stuff done once and for all.

The awesome folks at Duluth sent me an Armachillo shirt (love!) and a pair of skinny jeans (my new, all-time-favorite pair, by the way) as well as a $100 Visa Gift Card to help out with supplies for the bathroom project, which I spent faster than you can say “Lowes.” :)

So here is the plan for this side of the master bathroom:

Master-bathroom-plans

And here is the design inspiration for the furniture, fixtures and accessories:

Bathroom-ideas

I’ve already got the faucets and cabinet paint ordered and I’m ready to work on DIYing my own driftwood-inspired mirror frame.

In the meantime, if you’ve got a stalled or unfinished project around your house or yard, Duluth wants to give you a “kick in the pants,” too! 

Duluth Trading Co. is picking 10 people to win a $200 Visa Gift Card to help finish a project and$200 Duluth Trading Gift Card good toward tough gear to wear while doing it.

Head on over to the Duluth Trading Co. Facebook page here for official contest rules about your chance to win cash and clothes to help get the undone done. Five winners will be chosen on April 23, and five more on May 1. If you don’t win the first week, you are automatically entered in the next. That means people who enter early have more chances to win.

Best of luck with your “kick in the pants!”

The Great Outdoor Fan Renovation

I recently mentioned that one of the projects in our budget-friendly backyard patio upgrade is refurbishing our tired-looking ceiling fan/light fixture.

Patio-plansLast week I asked the hubs to take the fixture down for me. (I’m not totally comfortable working with electrical wiring … yet. ;))

Old-fan-hung

After it was down, it was really obvious it needed some TLC.

Old-fan-down

I removed the fan blades and dusted and scrubbed the fixture.

Cleaning-fan

I used sandpaper and steel wool to remove any visible rust spots.

sanding-fixture

Then I primed the whole thing using Rust-OleumPainter’s® Touch Ultra Cover 2x Primer in flat black. This product is currently my favorite spray primer because it gives great coverage, goes on evenly, and doesn’t spit or sputter.

Priming-fixture

After priming, I gave the whole fixture two coats of Rust-Oleum Metallic Paint & Primer in One in oil-rubbed bronze.

Oil-rubbed-bronze-fan-fixture

Next came the tricky part. I was originally planning on reusing the same fan blades and just painting them using my faux wood grain technique. But that plan went out the window when one of the blades broke in half as I was removing it.

Fortunately I had an old fan in the basement that was taken out of our dining room when I added the chandelier. The fan blade color was perfect, but there was a problem. The holes in these “new” blades didn’t match the holes in the fan I was planning to attach them to. So I had to first plug a few of the old holes and then stain the filled holes to match the blades.

I started by flipping the blades over to the side that wouldn’t be seen and taping the holes that needed filled with putty.

Patching-old-holes

Then I flipped the blades over to the “good” side, filled the holes with stain-able wood filler, and brushed on a coat of stain to match the blade color. (Only two out of the three holes in each blade needed filled.)

Touching-up-holes-and-blades

My objective was to make the old holes as inconspicuous as possible. One word of caution here: If I had to do it over again, I would have only used stain on the holes and scratches, not on the whole blade, as it didn’t adhere well and left me with a sticky mess as I was attaching the blades to the fan.

Speaking of attaching the “new” blades, I had to drill two new holes in each of them so they would line up with the holes in the fixture. Before screwing the blades tight to the fan, I added washers to each of the holes for added reinforcement. (The last thing I want to do is decapitate one of our picnic guests with a flying fan blade.)

Drilling-new-holes

The washers were added to the top of the fan (aka the part you don’t see). Also, in case you’re wondering, these fan blades are finished in a light oak color on one side and a mahogany color on the other.

Here’s the final result:

Oil-rubbed-bronze-outdoor-fan-2

 

Oil-rubbed--bronze-outdoor-fan

 

Oil-rubbed-bronze-outdoor-fan

I love the new look, although I am disappointed because the fan wobbles a bit, which I believe is due to one of two factors affecting its balance:

  1. I bent the metal that holds the fan blades in order to shimmy my screwdriver in to remove the screws before I painted the fixture. (With the right tool, this would not have been necessary.)
  2. I switched out the fan blades (because I broke one of the old ones, remember?) to larger ones and this may also be slightly contributing to the imbalance.

So if you can avoid these two pitfalls, you should have a like-new, wobbly-free fan. :)

Let’s take a look again at the before:

Fan-before

And the after:

Oil-rubbed-bronze-outdoor-fan-After

It looks like a new fixture!

Special thanks to Rust-Oleum for providing me with the primer and paint I needed to complete this project. 

I’m linking this up to Home Stories A to ZFluster Buster and We Call It Junkin’.