Fear, faith and ‘fresh water in the desert’

Earlier this year, I got fed up with just talking about flipping a house. So I did a ton of homework and started house hunting. After a few months, I found my little white house and I closed on it Nov. 6.

Long before I took the plunge and bought this piece of investment real estate, I was well aware there would be anxious moments along the way. (This is probably why it took me so many years to go through with it.)

Now I am officially “in the thick of things” with the renovations. Because there is such a wee profit margin on this home, I’ve committed to doing most of the work myself, an undertaking that has inevitably required Herculean effort.

Bathroom-demo

Bathroom gut job

If I was honest, I’d have to admit there are many sleepless nights when I wonder:

  1. Will I ever actually finish this house?
  2. Will I live to tell about it, or will I need to be buried out back next to the new septic tank?
  3. Will I lose all my savings and have to work in fast food to pay the bills?

So perhaps you’re wondering what keeps me going during these frequent moments of doubt and fear?

  1. Sheer grit.
  2. A deep faith in God and a belief that He has led me to this place for a divine purpose.
  3. An amazing support system of family and friends who have helped me in so many ways, from sharing business contacts to physically helping at the house when I get stuck on a project.
  4. Determination to create a lifestyle where I do work that I love, make money at it, and teach my children what it looks like to work hard, be generous and live abundantly.

Of course, now that a typical day consists of me choking on drywall dust, wading through building debris, and spending far too many hours within two feet of either a toilet or some other sewage pipe, I’ve clung to the 23rd Psalm more than ever before.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
    He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely Your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

Regardless of each day’s challenges, I’m reminded that the most profound growth we experience in life often comes in our most uncomfortable moments. And I think of the wise advice fellow entrepreneur Amy Howard gave me at Haven this year. “There is fresh water, even in the desert.”

AMaker'sGuide

What have you done lately to venture out of your comfort zone?

A porch worthy of Thanksgiving

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Marie Callender’s. The opinions and text are all mine.

Over the past several years, it’s become a tradition to host Thanksgiving dinner at our home for my extended family. I always look forward to preparing for this special day that we all get to spend together.

There have been years in our lives when we have been away on military duty and separated from family over the holidays. So I try to never take for granted these precious moments when we’re all present.

This year, I created a festive Thanksgiving vignette on the front porch, so when folks arrive on the big day, they’re already feeling inspired and in the holiday mood.

Fall-front-porch-decor

For example, I added some pumpkins, a Chrysanthemum, a gourd and a Thanksgiving-worthy wreath.

Mums-and-pumpkins

Fall-front-door

I kept my stenciled dropcloth pillows on the chairs and rocker because I felt the colors and pattern were appropriate for the season. I simply added a fall-inspired plaid throw to the mix.

Porch-rockerPorch-rocker-closeupAs we all gather around the table this Thanksgiving, we’ll be thanking God for the privilege to be together. And we’ll be sending up heartfelt prayers for those brave men and women serving in our military who won’t be able to share a holiday meal with their family this year.

I hope you’ll keep them in your thoughts and prayers, too. One way we can all show our support is by helping out with the USO’s Operation Celebration™ program.

Marie Callender’s is teaming up with the USO to support this program, which shares a bit of home with our troops and helps them celebrate the holidays year round.

Every time you enter a code from specially-marked packages of Marie Callender’s meals or desserts, Marie Callender’s will make a donation to the USO to support USO Operation Celebration™.

Marie-Callender's-Comforts-from-HomeAdditionally, Marie Callender’s is holding a Comforts From Home Facebook challenge, encouraging you to submit your own photos in support of the USO. You should use the hashtag #ComfortsFromHome and share and describe photos that depict what home means to you.

Submitted photos may be featured on-air during special episodes of Kitchen Crashers (HGTV), Hello/Goodbye (Travel Channel), and Guy’s Grocery Games (Food Network).

Kitchen Crashers on DIYNetwork & HGTV – Airing Nov. 9 and Nov. 14
Hello/Goodbye on Travel Channel – Airing Nov. 10
Guy’s Grocery Games on Food Network and Cooking Channel – Airing Dec. 14 and Dec. 19

The best part? Scripps Network will donate $1 to the USO for each photo received (up to $10K)!

Visit ComfortsfromHome.com to learn more about how you can join Marie Callender’s in helping to bring a little bit of home sweet home to our U.S. servicemen and women overseas.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Marie Callender’s. The opinions and text are all mine.

Giving myself grace vs. making excuses

Hello! I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve actually had the chance to sit down at my computer for more than 15 minutes.

I have been working on three, yes THREE, big DIY projects this week and I’ve also got something huge in the works that has kept me busy over the past several weeks. More to come on that very soon. 😉

But today I wanted to share with you something I’m struggling with and an amazing article from Ruth at Living Well Spending Less® that’s really helping me gain some perspective.

I am a serial procrastinator. As a result, I am often left with a mountain of work I have to squeeze into a small amount of time because I’ve put off important, deadline-driven stuff until the last minute. This leaves me feeling exhausted and defeated. I’m trying to get better at managing my time, but it continues to be a challenge.

ahh-procrastination

Source

One question I have is when is it good to take a break from all the chores and work? When are breaks healthy and when are they just excuses for me to do something other than what I should really be doing at the moment?

Below, Ruth sheds some light on the difference between giving yourself grace (we all need it sometimes!) and just making excuses for not doing what we need to do.

As women, I think we tend to be pretty darn hard on ourselves, and sometimes our expectations are unreasonably high. We want to be good moms and good wives and good friends, and we want to do all those things we think we are supposed to do, and be involved with church and school or start our own business or implement all those ideas we see on Pinterest. The list goes on and on.

And, because we put so much pressure on ourselves, it is really easy to feel like we are failing when we can’t get it all done. This is exactly why it is so important to be able to give ourselves grace when things don’t turn out exactly the way we wanted them to, or when we let ourselves down, but I also think sometimes we don’t give ourselves the grace we need because we are afraid it might mean we are making excuses.

What is the difference between grace and excuses and how can we tell which one we are choosing? 

Grace vs. Excuses

  • Grace says ‘mistakes aren’t fatal’; excuses use mistakes as a reason to quit.
  • Grace realizes that progress is more important than perfection; excuses use perfection as a reason to procrastinate.
  • Grace says ‘I am not my mess’; excuses let the mess define them.
  • Grace understands the bigger picture; excuses fixate on the small details.
  • Grace recognizes that people aren’t perfect and offers forgiveness; excuses use the failure as a reason to write someone off.
  • Grace is big; excuses are small.
  • Grace offers courage; excuses propagate fear.
  • Grace brings hope; excuses make you feel hopeless.
  • Grace gives you the ability to try again tomorrow; excuses allow you to give up.

I think Ruth’s list is super insightful and I’ll be using it to help determine when I really need to take a break and when I need to keep working to break my bad habit of procrastination. 🙂

This week, will you give yourself grace or will you make excuses?