House For Six

The Year of Stewardship: The Lies We Believe

Deme CrinionComment

I've deemed 2017 my Year of Stewardship.  Can you see me pounding my gavel all official-like?

If stewardship is what we do with what we've been given, then I have to admit.... I've been less of a good steward and more of a selective clinger.  Life's been swirling, sometimes faster than I can handle, and I've been frantically grasping at some of those gifts, while totally abandoning others. 

Now that we're in a season that feels slightly less chaotic and uncertain, it feels like the right time to take a closer look at how I've mistreated some blessings, and what got me to clinger status in other cases.  

The past few years were full of so much change and flux that we often felt like we were just surviving our circumstances.  To climb out of that mentality I know that it will first take some major shifting of the ole' mindset, followed by some practical changes to help us get to a place where our family is thriving once again.

I think a lot of ways I've fallen off course, stemmed from a lie.  In fact, I think there's a lot of lies floating around about what will bring us happiness and contentment.  And what we should do when we're not basking in all those rainbows and unicorns.

I sat down with a notebook and started to write down the lies I've allowed myself to believe.  Some of them actually hold some truth, under certain circumstances, and understanding that distinction is key.

The most effective lies have an element of truth (which makes them so believable), but that truth has been twisted.  And it takes the God of Truth to undo the damage from the Father of Lies.

Sadly, there's a lot of untruth I've allowed to occupy my head-space.....

"You should lose 10lbs before you wear that"

"If I just had this one more thing, then I would love it and never want/need anything else"

"Too much time has passed.  They won't care and it doesn't really matter anymore.  Some friendships don't last forever"

"It's not on the list or in the budget this time, but I'll just borrow from another category.  It's so cheap, it really won't make any difference"

"If I don't act right now this opportunity (or price) will be gone forever"

"You're so selfish for wanting to pursue hobbies and/or a career outside the home, away from your family.  That's where you should be until the kids are out of the house."

"Your desires, career, happiness and personal fulfillment are more important than serving your family. Your personal happiness is the highest priority."

"The dishes are more important than creating"

"Creating is more important that making sure the kids have clean clothes to wear tomorrow."

"You would be happier on your own." 

"You're not a good mother.  So many other women are more patience, loving, and selfless - they nurture their kids far better than the crap show you're running."

"All he sees are my lumps, bumps, and wrinkles.  Hide yourself."

"I can't do this anymore"

"My kids will be embarrassed by other kids for not having as much, or the latest and greatest, or..."

"Just accept that this is the world we live in"

"Your dreams will have to wait"

"But it's not perfect yet"

"If you devote yourself to family life, you will lose yourself"

Some of these still sting when I read them, because at my core, I struggle to reject them.   

There is an undoing that needs to happen in me.  An untwisting of the truth, and a reminder of what is in fact true, good, and worthy.  Then there is the work moving that truth from head-space to heart-space....because it is one thing to know something and another to live it. That's where grace comes in - thank God!

When we operate from a place of exhaustion, lack of purpose, or skewed clarity, it's easy to just put our head down and go through the motions to survive the day.  And it's also really hard to pick your head back up, especially when the whirlwind isn't slowing down.  Yet, God promises that we can set our feet on solid ground no matter the circumstances.  And boy, am I in need of that. 

Tomorrow begins the season of Lent (a time of prayer, almsgiving, and fasting in order to draw closer to Christ and be renewed in his grace).  I know that not everyone who reads this blog observes this liturgical season, but I can't think of a better time to pull some of those weeds masquerading around as flowers.  I hope you don't mind that we tackle some of that work here over the next few weeks.....and don't worry, I have plenty of house projects to update you on too!  #winkwink

Our entry floors are finally done and they're completely different than what we planned.  The happiest of accidents indeed.  I'll have an update on that space later this week.  In the meantime, I would love to hear from you....are there certain lies you find yourself falling for?  What helps you stay grounded in truth during a season that demands more than you feel you can give?

A Quick Coat Closet Makeover

Deme CrinionComment

The coat closet makeover has to be one of my all time favorite projects.  They give you such a big bang for your buck in the function department, but don't demand a ton of time or resources. All it takes is a little creativity and resourcefulness.  

Our most recent closet makeover was small scale, but made a huge different in how we come/go each day....and how pleasant we are now that we don't have to wrestle a snow gear monster before greeting each other.

Quick, easy, and budget friendly coat closet makeover

We're dedicating an entire room to laundry/corralling our kids gear (those lucky ducks), but James and I were still in need of a space for us to drop our own bags, shoes, and jackets.  There's a tiny little coat closet right next to the garage door we had been using.....which mostly consisted of jackets on hangers above a heap of jumbled shoes, more jackets, and bags on the floor. 

It was like being welcomed by a crap avalanche every time we came home and opened the door. Super serene and welcoming, right?

With the rest of our house in disarray, I needed to claim myself a corner of sanity.  So during one naptime a couple months back I pulled everything out, dug through our extra hardware for leftover hooks from our last coat closet project, and grabbed a can of leftover paint.  

I didn't let myself get caught up in design details or color schemes and just focused on getting it DONE before the baby's chants of "Up!" rang out from her room.  I didn't even take before pics. #badblogger   

I started like I do any organizing project and pulled everything out of the closet.  I wiped down all the shelves and baseboards, then grabbed a paintbrush.  I wanted something darker that would hide scuffs and dirt, but the only colors I had were a deep but bright blue we used in our shared boys' room and the black paint we used on our shutters and garage door when we painted the exterior of the house (post on that coming soon!). 

More neutral felt right since I do have some colorful accessories, but that also meant that two coats were needed.  Since I was in a time crunch I opted to only paint the section below the shelves and leave the top lighter.  I set up a small fan on a chair to give the drying process a boost. 

Once it was dry enough, I grabbed our drill and screwed in some hooks.  I screwed them right into the existing trim so they're extra secure.   I also had these simple shoe shelves from Meijer (just $10 each). I planned to use them in our boys' room, but they didn't work and they were the perfect side-by-side fit in here.  Well almost...   

They fit with 1/2 inch to spare going wall to wall, but the quarter round along the baseboard took up just enough space that these would not sit flat on the floor.  So, I pulled off the quarter round and figured James could cut the trim pieces to fit around the shelves if we really wanted a more finished look. 

For now, we sort of forgot all about the missing quarter round because with just a little paint, a sprinkling of hooks, a few baskets, and some shoe shelves, we now have a high functioning sliver of a closet. 

Quick, easy, and budget friendly coat closet makeover

I've taken the hanging rods off of closets in exchange for hooks in the past, but this closet is quite small and we do keep multiple coats in here during the fall and winter months. Keeping the rod and a few hangers seemed a good way to store multiple coats and keep the hooks free for bags, purses, scarves, etc.

Quick and easy coat closet makeover

That woven basket keeps some of my running gear and gloves, while the bins up top hold on-the-go resupplies, tools, and off-season items.  

Quick, easy, and budget friendly coat closet makeover
Quick, easy, and budget friendly coat closet makeover

Definitely my favorite kind of project: quick, minimal investment, reuses what we already have on hand, and makes our lives less chaotic. Since I was able to use leftover paint and hooks I already had, the only cost was the $20 spent on the shoe shelves, but even if I did fork out the cash for hooks and a quart of paint, I think this could have easily been an under $50 project. Cheers to that!

Quick, easy, and budget friendly coat closet makeover

The Year Of Stewardship

Deme Crinion6 Comments

With January almost over (how?! why?!) and our household finally out of the pass-the-stomach-virus game, I needed to sort through the spaghetti of thoughts I've had swirling about the new year.  Our new home marked a shift in our family's life, and I'm only just beginning to understand the ways that move positioned our family for new things and to better invest in what was already there.

To be honest, the past couple years have been full of so much change that we became really good at survival mode.  So good that we almost forgot what it was like to thrive.  Of course life wasn't without joy, but it felt like we could never seem to get our feet planted on solid ground. 

With our family a little larger (Hey, Liv!) and having committed to laying roots in a new place, I'm not quite sure what thriving looks like for us now.  But I think it's time to find out.  

(blank slate #seewhatididthere)

(blank slate #seewhatididthere)

Before Christmas, I started praying about the coming year.   I don't pin myself into a mega resolutions list each year.....sometimes I might land of a few specific goals, other times it might be a general area to focus, or maybe there really is a single word that feels appropriate for the year.  So many different areas came to mind as I thought about where to focus in 2017, but all of them carried the same theme:  stewardship.  

Stewardship is what we do with what we've been given, and I feel God asking me to look at how I can be a better steward of the gifts in my life, in our new season.  And there are many...

How am I using my time?  Where am I wasting it?

How do we view and use our home?  

What is my mindset towards our "stuff" and how do we treat it?  

How am I caring for the relationships in my friendships, my children, my marriage?  

How do I view and treat my body? What about my family's health?

How am I cultivating my faith?  Where have I become stagnant?

How am I using my unique gifts and talents? 

How are we managing our finances?  

It feels like so much to work through, but I'm not trying to figure this all out in a week.  I'm taking the year to really dive into this concept of stewardship, one area at a time.

Admittedly, I've avoided those questions, because I know some of the answers are ugly and embarrassing......we've been exhausted and over-committed. I've been lazy and indifferent. I've been anxious and fearful.  I've been irresponsible. And I've floated through the monotony of routines.   

And floating is dangerous, because before you know it the days turn into weeks, and weeks turn into months, that turn into years. I'm so much more aware of how fast the time is going (with our kids in particular) and I don't want to waste this time.  I can't afford to.  It's all far too important....for the here and now, and the life to come.  This is not about being perfect (no hope there), but about having my head in the game.  

So!  I'm going to offer myself a nice dose of grace, muster the courage to face some hard realities, and get ready to make changes for the better going forward.  I obviously don't have all the answers, but I hope we can explore this topic of stewardship together throughout the year.  

There will still be plenty of home projects and organization happening around these parts too, so I'm planning to run this as a monthly or bi-monthly series on the blog.  January always seems to bring that desperate sense of needing to PURGE ALL THE THINGS and I think starting with the excess STUFF is a good place to start.

How about you?  I would love to hear what's on your mind in 2017! 


Entry Inspiration and Plans

Deme Crinion2 Comments

Throughout this month I thought I would show you some of the spaces we plan to give some love this year.  After Christmas I like to sit down with a notebook and brain dump on house projects for the coming year.  My list is almost always too ambitious, but I do allow myself to just dump all those ideas onto the page and then I go back over it with a realistic editing eye.  

I've come to realize that too much of a rigid schedule gets me derailed and discouraged almost immediately, but I also know that I need some structure and guidance or I will be all over the place.  As much as I would love to knock out projects left and right, I can't keep up with that kind of pace.  

I haven't always planned with the seasons in mind either (I do not recommend attempting to paint furniture in the garage in the suffocating humidity that is summer #askmehowIknow).  I seem to have better success with 2-3 projects per season.  That usually ends up being one larger project per month, along with a few smaller things like organizing a cupboard or hanging some pictures. 

The two areas we're focusing our energy for the rest of winter are the laundry room and the entry. You've seen our plans and progress for the laundry room and I'm working on slapping a big fat "Done" bow on that one by the end of the month.  

As for the entry, a water leak damaged the flooring in our 1/2 bath and entry area....which sort of bumped this project up the list by default.  Can I admit that I'm secretly giddy about it?

We've spent a lot of time working on the main living/dining areas of the home, but this is the first thing people see when they walk in the door.  I'm really excited about creating something that reflects what you'll find throughout the rest of our home in this space.  

We had to rip out the flooring in the entire entry which includes a 1/2 bathroom (where the leak originated) and a full sized coat closet. Since the entry shares a wall with the stairs, I'm hoping I can convince James to suck up the pain and let us tackle the stairwell while we're at it.

When we ordered the flooring we used throughout the rest of this main level, we actually ordered enough to eventually do this entry space too.  Or so we thought.  We didn't account for the bathroom or closet space, and we would have been short just a couple of square feet in the main entry too.  No problem, we'll just order a couple more boxes right?  #ifonly

I could only find that flooring a couple of places online.  One didn't ship to our area and the other had ridiculous shipping costs for just 2 boxes of flooring (shipping was free when we placed our original bulk order).  We could have tried to order though another vendor but then we started entertaining the idea a plan B. 

Sometimes plan B turns out to be even better than plan A.   I simply hadn't let myself envision any other options in this space because THAT WASN'T THE PLAN.  Once the crew pulled up all the old flooring I could start to see something different altogether. 

If we were going with a different material we wanted it to be distinctly different from the wood flooring in the adjoining it would look intentional and not like we ran out of flooring #oops #wedid

We narrowed our search down to a darker grey/slate tile, some sort of brick option, and something more bold in the way of color or pattern.  I'll spare you all the back and forth and in between.  

Bottom line: the slate tile felt too safe (and we have that look in our mudroom), the patterned tile felt too busy and had the potential to lose our adoring gazes over time, and the color options were limited and pricey.   Which left us with the brick.

At first, this felt a little safe too but then I came across this entry by Rhea Crenshaw.

It's still neutral but laying the brick in a herringbone pattern will give us the interest and impact we're after...while hopefully standing the test of time.   There are many expensive options out there, and we really needed to stay within our approved amount by the insurance company. So when I found this product at Home Depot we were sold. We're going with grey (which we saw in person at our local store) and it should be installed next week!

When we think about our plans for the space as a whole, this flooring makes sense.  We definitely want bring some white trim work onto the walls.  I love the architectural interest they add, not to mention the functionality - super easy to throw up some hooks for guest's jackets, bags, etc.  And then this space needs some color.  Our whole house does and it's one of our main house goals for the coming year.  

I sort of went color crazy in our first fixer and then went the other extreme in our last house.  I think I've finally realized that I need a mostly neutral base, so that I can bring in the bold color I love without it feeling overwhelming.

Here's a few more spaces that are getting us excited to tackle this project!


Entry by Studio McGee

Entry by Mary Ross

via Southern Living

Our entry is covered in wallpaper and I really don't want to remove it (we still have the battle scars from our Albuquerque fixer).  It's in great shape, so I think if we take the proper precautions we can trim/paint right over it.  #fingerscrossed

Anyone else had success painting over wallpaper?  How about using a brick material for flooring?