July 2014 archive

Be ye perfect as I am clearly perfect

I struggle with perfectionism. I admit it. It’s so doggone engrained in me partially because of my personality and partially because I grew up in a home that was OCD…literally.

We were prepared, AT ALL TIMES, for the Pope to arrive unannounced or perhaps the Queen of England was swinging through Baldwinsville, NY…you just never knew! Either way….you could eat off the toilet seat if you so desired. Where does that object belong? Well let me tell you because EVERYTHING has it’s place. Don’t walk in that room!! That’s the room we look at, we don’t use it, you might mess up the vacuum lines. TRUTH! Cleanliness and organization is next to godliness for sure.

Now my mom has come a long way since my childhood and is an amazingly relaxed grandmother. In complete rebellion of her former self she doesn’t even do the dishes every night or make her bed in the morning…GASP…my lips to God’s ear it’s true.

So here I am a few generations in dealing with this perfectionism curse. I think I’m more like a glass of soda where the ice has melted…a watered down version of a perfectionist but I still taste like soda.

I MUST fix our eleventy billion pillows, eleventy billion times on every surface the kids chuck them off of, squish them down or carry off into other rooms. All day, errrrrry day. My bum cheeks tighten together so air tight you would swear I was a frog when I see the fringe on the carpet in disarray, or clothes left on the floor or the kids making out with the windows. On the other hand I let a lot slide too. I’m a confused perfectionist or maybe my laziness just crashes into my perfectionism creating “me”.

MUY MAL.

MUY MAL.

MUY BUENO!!!

MUY BUENO!!!

I have learned over the last few years I can be miserable and make my family miserable keeping a perfect home or I can just pick my battles. So what if my carpet under the table could feed a third world company. My drawers are sorta organized and folded properly, my pantry is pretty logical, you will find what you need eventually. I don’t measure when I cook, I don’t use drop cloths when I paint, I’m a “wing it” sorta girl a lot of the day.

Heart palpatations

Heart palpatations

SO MUCH BETTER!!!

SO MUCH BETTER!!!

I had a massive epiphany when I took the Myers Brigg test a few months back. If you haven’t taken it before then PLEASE do it…free version here. I really love figuring out why I do what I do or why I process like I process; unlike the introspective, emo, 20 something me that was blatantly in sin and selfish and shallow….maybe that’s why I was miserable???? Not too much to figure out there as much as I tried. Now, in my current quest to “know thy self”, it’s so I can better relate to my husband and my children…BECAUSE GOOD GOLLY WE ARE ALL SO DIFFERENT.

I’m an introvert. Nobody believes me! It’s sad really, I think I breath down the neck of an extroverted personality but it’s a mask. I didn’t raise my hand in class my whole life. I would rather die than be put on the spot to debate in front of people, I am a wall flower at social mixers unless I have a friend there. I NEED alone time and if it is stolen from me I get really angry or emotional. ( I sound so fun don’t I?)

When I read my test results (best descriptors found here) I cried. I felt understood…by a TEST!!!! Being understood is so huge for me. I am an INFJ across the board.

Lets take a little look at my tendencies.

“INFJs are gentle, caring, complex and highly intuitive individuals. Artistic and creative, they live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities. Only one percent of the population has an INFJ Personality Type, making it the most rare of all the types.

INFJs place great importance on having things orderly and systematic in their outer world. They put a lot of energy into identifying the best system for getting things done, and constantly define and re-define the priorities in their lives. On the other hand, INFJs operate within themselves on an intuitive basis which is entirely spontaneous. They know things intuitively, without being able to pinpoint why, and without detailed knowledge of the subject at hand. They are usually right, and they usually know it. Consequently, INFJs put a tremendous amount of faith into their instincts and intuitions. This is something of a conflict between the inner and outer worlds, and may result in the INFJ not being as organized as other Judging types tend to be. Or we may see some signs of disarray in an otherwise orderly tendency, such as a consistently messy desk. (OH…there’s that inconsistent me)

INFJs have uncanny insight into people and situations. They get “feelings” about things and intuitively understand them. INFJ themself does not really understand their intuition at a level which can be verbalized. Consequently, most INFJs are protective of their inner selves, sharing only what they choose to share when they choose to share it. They are deep, complex individuals, who are quite private and typically difficult to understand. INFJs hold back part of themselves, and can be secretive. (Oh my goodness this paragraph was a lightbulb to me!)

But the INFJ is as genuinely warm as they are complex. INFJs hold a special place in the heart of people who they are close to, who are able to see their special gifts and depth of caring. INFJs are concerned for people’s feelings, and try to be gentle to avoid hurting anyone. They are very sensitive to conflict, and cannot tolerate it very well. Situations which are charged with conflict may drive the normally peaceful INFJ into a state of agitation or charged anger. They may tend to internalize conflict into their bodies, and experience health problems when under a lot of stress. (GUILTY!)

Because the INFJ has such strong intuitive capabilities, they trust their own instincts above all else. This may result in an INFJ stubborness and tendency to ignore other people’s opinions. They believe that they’re right.(Poor Ryan) On the other hand, INFJ is a perfectionist who doubts that they are living up to their full potential. INFJs are rarely at complete peace with themselves – there’s always something else they should be doing to improve themselves and the world around them. They believe in constant growth, and don’t often take time to revel in their accomplishments. (This made me cry…it’s so true and sad…but true.) They have strong value systems, and need to live their lives in accordance with what they feel is right. In deference to the Feeling aspect of their personalities, INFJs are in some ways gentle and easy going. Conversely, they have very high expectations of themselves, and frequently of their families. They don’t believe in compromising their ideals.”

OK…now that you’ve gotten a glimpse of me you are probably either identifying with empathy or sympathy or you’re deciding if you still want to be friends with me. You gotta admit it….you are dying to figure out what you are and possibly your spouse or family? It was HUGE for me to see Ryan’s results. We are quite opposite in almost every letter which is why we have to work hard at communicating and giving grace in our different processes. Obviously, you can see I am half donkey which I have to be so aware of and consider….CONSIDER that Ryan could have a good or even better way of doing things. CONSIDER :-)

He and I are so close to finalizing the details of what we believe to be our ultimate adventure in the second half of our lives. A vision the Lord has given us both for ministry and we are so excited and scared and overwhelmed by it. We believe we were created for this ministry and the journey of our lives, thus far, has been our classroom of refinement and growth so we could be prepared for this. But oh my INFJ and Ryan’s INTP go toe to toe so often in creating and moving forward in this ministry. What is the next steps needed, how are we going to do this, what do you see about that, who is going to handle this, stop…breath…pray…let’s compromise somehow. WE are getting there and when I stop and ponder this vision I burst into tears. Just the very thought of it makes me feel alive. So we are working through the strengths of our personalities and trying to give grace in our weaknesses.

I may still fix the pillows 15-20 times a day…but I do it myself, I don’t make my kids do it….that’s pretty “gracious” of me don’t you think? I’m slaying the perfectionist beast as much as I can identify it and just skimming the cream. I am learning to appreciate my unique personality and perspective instead of feeling alienated by it. I’m thankful for my close group of girlfriends that love me, quirks and all. I’m thankful that God has an individual purpose for me that engages my uniqueness in the kingdom. HE has also called you into a specific vision for the kingdom work that will compliment your giftings. It’s a beautiful picture of the body at work.

Foreclosure Before and Afters- Part Two

Oh the health saga continues in so many ways and although I don’t feel beaten its been discouraging the last few weeks. More setbacks, more mysteries. I’ve decided to lighten up the blog a bit and post some superficial fun because who wants to talk about my GI appointment this week or my upcoming colonoscopy (gulp)? BOOOOOORING!! I mean really…if there’s one thing I like to do it’s keep my life lively and I can’t think of a better way to spice up my routine then a little rooting around in the place you want no one to see. So we will journey forward into the unknown and keep praying the Lord will surface my “team”. The ones that will help me figure out this mystery and link arms with me forward to healing and better quality of life. In the mean time I’ve been killing it in the kitchen making tasty, TASTY din dins and feeling so encouraged that I can truly cook in a new way and get “most” of my family to partake in my creations. Most of my family…

Anywhoo…. let’s take a looky loo at a few more rooms we’ve been working on. The process never really ends but it’s fun to see where we are at in the meantime!

For those of you just joining us the punchline is that Ryan and I bought up a disgusting foreclosure out in the country a hair over two years ago (Read smoke smell you could chew and pet urine soaked into the hardwoods and floors and just your basic filth) We could never have afforded the house or the land if it wasn’t in this shape and we fell hard for this “fixer upper”. We had 10 days to make it liveable and then moved in EXACTLY two years ago TODAY!!!! We continue to plug away at projects and decorating as money and time allow. It’s mostly fun.

Let’s start out with our master bedroom. This was one of the few rooms that wasn’t in horrible condition. Sure it smelled like the inside of an ashtray but the floors didn’t have urine on them so we were already doing better than the rest of the house! The parquet floors were not sealed and were dull and dirty. We decided we would just pull them up and carpet the room….BUT….our amazing floor guys took it upon themselves to refinish them while they were refinishing the hardwoods. When we came back to see the house we were in love with how they came out and cancelled the carpet!

My awesome dad and husband put up the paneling behind the bed last year as I was so frustrated with having to decorate all the big walls. Large expanses of wall are tough!!! We moved the bed from between the windows and put it on the far side of the room and I LOVED it. Exactly what the room needed. I know not everyone would paint a room in apricot but I find the room so soothing and it compliments the parquet floors really well. Also this room is tough to photograph!!

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My crazy talented friend, Candace, crocheted that HUGE ripple blanket for me for a house warming gift. I mean that’s a king size bed…that blanket took more hours than I can imagine. Gosh I’m loved!!!

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And some details….
I sold my original bedroom suite a few months after we moved in because I was ready for a change after 10 years and my heart was being lulled into the “grays”. The headboard was a goodwill redo by my girl Nikki at Funky Junk Shop for $100, the long buffet was a redo by one of my dearest friends and mega talents Sarah and Nathan Torrence at 508 Restoration and Design and the chevron dresser is another Funky Junk Shop Goodwill salvage. I sold my bedroom set for $800 and I collected these pieces over a few years for $700. That’s my greatest secret. I don’t cough up money if I don’t have to. I sell off what I am sick of and I use the money to buy what I want. Some people buy a bed and 30 years later they still have it. Good on them. I love change but I don’t have the money to buy new stuff so I sell and reinvest. Heck…I made money off this one!!

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Ryan works at this incredible leather company as their photographer and web designer. Over the years we have gotten some SWEET deals like this massive hide for our rug and that gold leather poof in the corner ($25…no lie!). BUT…you are literally looking at the most expensive piece of furniture in our house. Ryan WON that buttery blue ottoman at the Christmas party raffle this year. WON it!!! I won’t even tell you what it’s worth. I honestly don’t know what to do with it. It’s too nice for our house and three sticky handed children so it’s in our room for now.

I wish you could smell it and rub your face on it. I may do this more than I should.

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Want to hear the most obnoxious part? I make my bed first thing in the morning…ERRRRRRRRY day. I know, I know…so annoying but I can’t help myself. Takes less than 60 seconds and the room instantly looks picked up. I blame my mom.

We have a bathroom off our bedroom. It has an odd shape to it. They must have gotten some sort of deal black granite squares because they slapped those babies down on the kitchen counter and both bathroom counters. I hate them. This bathroom has no windows and to put brown floors and black counters is just DUMB. The light over the toilet is like a horror movie light (still haven’t changed it) It slowly flickers to life and has the most unflattering shade of yellow it casts. Baby steps to renovating.

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Got that sink and faucet for $30 at Habitat for Humanity store, painted the walls a pale gray, painted the cabinets are charcoal gray, new knobs, painted the mirror, new lights on that half of the bathroom and decor. Would love to rip up the floor next and put down white tiles. That will greatly improve the closed in feel and look so much cleaner.

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I was so excited to have a main level laundry room after going down in a 100 year old basement in our last house. Do you know what a camel cricket is? Just picture a demon reincarnated and then you have a good mental image of my arch nemesis. I can switch out a load of laundry in 10 seconds flat and book it back up the stairs to safety before the demon bugs drag me into their lair.

In this house you have to cut through the laundry room to get to our basement where guests stay and the play room. We don’t have any fancy pants washer/dryers yet and the cheap stock cabinets are not our style so paint, paint and more paint to the rescue. It’s amazing what a few hours and a little bit of paint can do.

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Pending projects are take the second curtain and sew a ironing board cover (probably never gonna happen but one can dream) and pull up the linoleum and tile the floor and replace that cheap laminate counter with something nicer.

The last room I am showing this post is Chloe’s room upstairs. We have been piecing together the “story” of this home from neighbors. We know that eight people lived here, five dogs and numerous cats. Most everyone must have smoked. Clearly, no one lifted a finger to clean. In two years they lived here they ran this house down. The bank “neutralized” the walls with one shotty coat of white paint but that was putting lipstick on a pig.

The carpets upstairs had GIGANTIC pet urine stains that went down into the subfloor. You only got half way up the staircase before you had to pull your shirt up over your nose so you didn’t gag on the intoxicating aroma of smoke and urine tantalizing your nostrils. I was so nervous about us truly getting the smell out. I am hyper sensitive to smell and I didn’t want to be known as the “stinky house”. Cross your fingers.

Our friend Brad volunteered to work with Ryan doing the ungodly task of ripping out those foul beast carpets and dragging them outside. They were cast into the Lake of Fire to burn for all eternity OR we just brought them to the dump. Either way….I felt horrible watching them wrangle and fold and carry down those carpets just inches from their faces. It ain’t right.

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See that slightly black film across the carpet? That’s spray paint! We found out they spray painted the walls BLACK. BLACK!!! Who are these people? We died laughing when this old country plumber showed up at the house while we were working on it to fix the sink. He had been in the house when the previous owners lived there and told us in his amazingly slow country drawl that, “Them gothics were living all up in here. A black room and no lightbulbs.” We haven’t unearthed any pentagrams yet so I think we are cool.

Well we swung this room in the other direction to extra girly with some sugar on top. This was destined to be Chloe’s princess room. That window and the best view in the house called out to her! She wanted a pink room but all I could picture was obnoxious Barbie pink. Then my friend Sarah showed me Martha Stewart “Ballet Slipper” pink which is a muted pinky/peach color that was more cottage than little girl. I love it!

Our friends Adam and Sabrena were on pink duty.
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bibidy bobidy boo….

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After multiple layers of KILLZ the subfloors were sealed, new carpet laid and we officially slayed the urine beast. No one would EVER guess that this house had been violated by pets. Praise Jesus. It worked.

So there you have it. Four more rooms about completed!!!

SO I have to end this post by asking a question and hoping you will leave an answer in the comments.

I’ve been asked to speak at our church next month for a little mini workshop on “Creating beauty in your home”. I am not a professional decorator by any means and I was clear that I didn’t want it to be a “how to” or just a bunch of tips. Decorating is so extremely subjective and my style isn’t your style. I wanted to focus on the heart of the home and the attitude of using our home for God’s glory to bless others. So I ask you this question. “What do believe it means to create beauty in your home?” Your answers may be used in my workshop and also help me understand how people view their homes. Whether hospitality or decorating is your gift….we all have a roof over our heads. How do you view it and how do you use it? Thank you so much for taking the time to answer!

Happy July!

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