One random Saturday afternoon, my husband decided to lift up some of the carpet in our house to discover hardwood floors. It was something we always wondered if we might have as the house was built sometime in the 50's and has been remodeled by previous owners. I am not sure what prompted him to check, but after discovering what we found, we could not help but wonder why we waited this long to finally look!
Glorious, beautiful, full of character, REAL hardwood floors! We were quite thrilled!
But as many DIY projects go, we also revealed some surprises along the way...sections of wood that had been taken out to remodel and left with plywood under the carpet. The largest spot being about a ten foot section in front of our sliding glass door.
So the fun began. We put in an order of new hardwood to replace the patches that needed to be fixed. And we slowly started to replace each section. These are old hardwood floors so we are talking about pulling out and re-hammering nails into every. single. board. Oh fun.
Brent has to do pretty much this entire project himself unfortunately. So I am on clean up duty and filling in nail holes.
So despite all the work, the potential of this space was already being seen. Just being able to look at all my white decor against that beautiful wood got me very excited. Even in it's mess the room feels so much bigger than before.
And I am also on camera duty of course. This is my work out clothes by the way, as opposed to my spy clothes.
After pulling up the carpet in the dining room we decided to continue it through the hallway. We discovered two more patches that need to be fixed. There is hardwood also in the bedrooms but we are keeping the carpet in there at this point. The downstairs living room is a garage conversion so it does not have the original hardwood. So for now, this is what the work consists of.
A few weeks later, which consisted of taking out plywood, waiting for new wood to arrive, and putting in the new wood, we finished the biggest job of redoing this large section.
We tried to stagger some of the new wood with the old wood in hopes of creating a more unified look between the wood but we won't find out exactly how that will all pan out until we sand and refinish the entire floor.
This was the status of our floors for a couple weeks. We took a break in order to prep for my Valentine's Party and then the following weekend we helped my mom at her flower shop for Valentine's Day.
Since then, we got out of the groove a little in getting a ton done each weekend but it is slowly coming along. One more patch got fixed recently and we are currently working on the last section down the hallway.
That section against the wall behind the dining table is actually where a fireplace hides behind the wall. We are leaving that section unfinished in hopes of recovering the fireplace next. We are not quite sure the condition of it but we can see the brick behind a storage cabinet in our laundry room which shares the other side of the wall. Crossing our fingers we have a lovely fireplace addition someday...
It's no surprise that this project has become a much bigger one than we intended. But the positive aspect of being patient through the process is that the space is still livable. We still have people over and I still decorate. It is not a total eye sore. And we throw runners over in progress sections so my nephew isn't tripping all over it. So hopefully in a few weeks we will finish the floor repair and will tackle refinishing it all.
And one of my favorite parts about having hardwood floors? Being able to work out! No more catching my shoes on carpet or running around barefooted. I love being able to jump around the house more often now...and even jump rope in our dining room! It feels really epic as a workout-aholic. It's the little things.
I have been talking a lot about intentions lately, specifically about marriage here on the blog. But it is really getting a hold on my heart in all areas of life. I tend to be one of those who floats from one extreme to the other. I love an opportunity for intense discipline for a short period of time. They are attempts at finding balance in the long run yet I often get discouraged when I fail at my unrealistic goals. I do learn a lot and have to be kind to myself in accepting that with each step I am growing and becoming a better version of myself. But some of those deep habits that I just cannot shake are still hard to deal with even when progress has been made.
Yesterday was the beginning of Lent so I took some time to contemplate what I wanted to practice during the next forty days. In previous years I have done things like cut out sugar or fast from Facebook. Though these were good practices at curbing an ongoing obsession or waste of time I have not seen a huge change in the big picture sense. So this year instead of doing the usual routine of completely restricting myself until I fail and then just forget about my commitment all together, I am taking a different approach.
I have decided to look at my intentions. Why do I think I need to cut out sugar or fast from social media? Neither are bad or things that I need to completely take out of my life. I know there are seasons of life where I was able to have these things in my life and remain a healthy balance. I want that again. I want to look at my struggles or sin in life and see the root of the issue and try to do something to change it.
From this I considered some of the sin in my life right now:
-Overindulging in food: not so much about what I eat (I eat fairly well most of the time) but how much I eat. I often reach for food out of stress or tiredness. I realized that I do not need to cut out certain foods but instead look at my approach to food all together.
-Wasting time online: it's not just Facebook or something else...it is my time all together that is not always used wisely. Instead of cutting out Facebook (since it is the one I struggle with the most) I have decided to come to the computer as a whole with a different perspective.
In order to find a better balance of these areas in my life I am choosing to be more intentional with my time this Lenten season:
-Pause before I eat
-Sit when I eat
-Think before I eat
-Eat off a plate
-Take a break from my scale and listen to my body
With time online:
-Set intentions before sitting in front of the computer
-Set a time limit
I am far from perfect and will probably fail at one point or another. But I am tired of being so hard on myself out of intentions of selfishness and vanity. I want to take control of out of control behavior in my life because I know that I can. With the right intentions, I can find freedom to the things that hold me in bondage to living the life I truly desire.
This last Monday I had the opportunity to speak at a local church's MOPS (Mother of Preschoolers) group on 31 Days of Serving My Husband. The speaking coordinator for the group found me online and invited me to come share my thoughts on marriage. This was definitely a new and exciting venture for me. I have been sensing on my heart a desire to take what I share on this blog and extend it out into real life face to face interaction. This speaking opportunity was confirmation that women are being encouraged by my words here and it feels like such a blessing to be at a point in blogging where I really sense a clear calling and purpose in my life.
The event was at Bayside Church, one of the largest Christian churches here in the Sacramento area. It was quite a privilege to be able to present at such a popular and growing church. The group consisted of 100+ moms of preschool age children. At this point in life, many of these women are my peers and it was such an honor to encourage them in their marriages.
The weeks leading up to the event were nerve wracking to say the least. I have experience in public speaking but it has been over five years since I have been in front of such a large crowd. But it was a dream come true to stand up in front of a group of women, share my heart, and represent this blog as a brand. Another check off my blogging dream list that years ago I had big hopes for but never really believed I would get there.
It is hard for me to sometimes take credit for these milestones. All I want to do is to say thank you to all of you. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for encouraging and supporting. I think what it comes down to is that I have these dreams but not necessarily the confidence to live them out. But it is in having friends, readers, and family who encourage, support, and believe in me just enough to push me out of my comfort zone to become the person I want to be.
So all this to say, I rattled my brain on how to represent the message of 31 Days of Serving My Husband in a twenty minute presentation. It was a good practice for me to narrow down my main focus and really what is truly on my heart specifically when it comes to serving my husband. Even though it is based on previous content, the message is new so I wanted to be sure to share it online with you all as well.
But more than anything else, when I watch myself I cannot help but want to share that this is me. This is how I talk. This is how I wave my hands around when I am passionate about something. Behind this computer screen I know that so many of you who I have never met already know me so well. But I offer you another bridge into my heart and life that you so lovingly welcome here in this online space.
At the end of the day, I sure love my home but I love my husband a whole lot more. I suppose it's about time I started sharing about that.
And be sure to listen through to the Q&A session at the end. One of the ladies went ahead and turned the questioning to Brent who was embarrassingly the only man in the room recording this for me. He got asked what his response to having me do 31 Days of Serving My Husband was like and I am really proud of his answer for being put on the spot. Oh, the man behind this blog. He finally gets a voice!
Here are my discussion questions I gave to the ladies to discuss amongst their table groups. I invite you to ask yourself these questions and feel free to respond in the comment section. I would love to hear!
// 1. When it comes to serving your husband, what ways of service come easiest to you?
// 2. What areas of service are harder for you? Are there specific areas that your husband needs you that is sometimes difficult for you?
// 3. Do you and your husband know each others love languages? What is your love language or what comes most naturally to you in giving love?
// 4. How well do you take care of yourself? What are some areas you could work on this week or month that would help you better take care of yourself for the sake of your marriage?
If you sense a press on your heart to dig into serving your husband better in your marriage, I encourage you to listen to that prompting! 31 Days of Serving My Husband: The Devotional is written for you! Would you be willing to take 31 days to invest in your marriage?
I am not a big coffee drinker. I am not sure that is the right disclaimer when you are about to share a coffee recipe. Nonetheless, I do not drink coffee a lot. When I do it is usually a treat. So I like my coffee drinks sweet.
I personally rely on some sort of green drink and exercise to get myself going in the morning. But I realize this is not the norm. Coffee makes me happy. Or crazy. An exclamation point version of my regular self. I get hyped off of decaf. It's a little much. I have been reading the book Quiet (a book about introverts) and she mentions that hypersensitive people can be extra sensitive to caffeine. It makes sense. I am sensitive to all kinds of things. Certain foods mess with me immediately after one bite. I am not sure why I never considered the affects of coffee in the same way.
I suppose my point to this tangent is that I do not drink a lot of coffee and I wanted you to know why. I feel the affects of caffeine and try to use it wisely. Like when I really really need it. So as I sip my decaf almond joy iced coffee, please know that my fingers are shaking as I type.
Anyways, what got me on this almond joy kick was that I occasionally receive a free coffee coupon to the coffee shop at our church. If I help out in Sunday school or something, they are so kind as to treat me to a free drink. And every time I get a free coupon I get myself an almond joy iced coffee. It is so good. I look forward to it all week when I get one of those coupons.
So I thought I would try making it at home. It is not as good as the decadent version they have at church because they don't use the sugar free stuff like I do here. But this recipe is still pretty darn good. I have a feeling I am going to be sipping one of these more often this summer.
So if you like decadent, please feel free to use the full sugar version. But if you like to caffeine up without a lot of guilt, than I got the perfect little sweet coffee treat recipe for you here.
And by the way, I had to go out to buy the almond syrup. Why had I never known about this almond flavor before? I think an almond joy ice cream recipe is in my near future!
And if there were way too many tangents in this post, I blame the decaf.
Skinny Almond Joy Iced Coffee
1 cup coffee
3/4 cup Almond milk 30 calorie (or any milk of your choice)
3 tablespoons Splenda (or other sweetener)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 teaspoons (or 3 pumps) of Torani Sugar Free Almond Syrup
3 teaspoons (or 3 pumps) of Torani Sugar Free Coconut Syrup
Mix together and serve over ice! Or warm on the stove top for a hot latte! Feel free to try the ratio of milk and sweetener to your personal taste as well! Enjoy!
If you use the same ingredients as I do, the drink comes out to be 54 calories (30 cal-almond milk, 24 cal-cocoa powder). Say what!? I know. Amazing. Drink up!