Saturday, January 15, 2022

Project Update

I have been still been making progress on house projects. The week after Christmas while the kids were gone I worked really hard and got quite a few things done. I was able to get a towel rack made and put up in the bathroom (though I do still want to add a couple more hooks to it).
From wood we had on hand I was able to put together a little "kitchenette" This was the frame I made for the base.
Then I added the top and a shelf which is made to perfectly fit the little fridge that I have. I do still need to sand and varnish parts of it but that may wait until warmer weather when I can do it outside.
I have it somewhat set up but still need to do some figuring and organizing.
The den is now the living room/dining/kitchenette for the basement.
This is the main room of the basement where we can either have the pingpong set up or easily take it down.
In the playroom I was able to get the cupboard that I had mounted on the wall and I put up a counter for the playroom kitchen as well.

  I still need to do something for the floor in here. My idea that I thought would be fun is to basically modge podge some maps on the floor. I am not sure. Do you have any good economical suggestions?

My mother-in-law and I also put up a little shelf for a table and hung this coat rack on the wall.
This is another area of the playroom. They have a piano to play (who would want a house without a piano??) and a stove to "heat" and "cook" on.
Megan had painted a maze on the ceiling in the playroom a while back.

  I do really enjoy working on the building projects and I am incredibly grateful for all the things that have happened in my past to bring me to the point I am today where I can work on things like that with confidence and actually get things done.

I am grateful for:

  • My dad and his very advance knowledge of carpentry. Growing up I was able to watch and help him with many, many things. Now today whenever I have a question, need to borrow a tool or need a little help he is a great source for that.
  • My Mom and Grandma Cleone. When I was little we were needed some furniture in the house (a bookshelf and a little table) that my dad didn't have time to build. My Grandma was visiting and she was a great one for tackling things and getting them done and so she and Mom made them. At least that is my memory. Anyway, that example was inspiring to me.
  • Ken. We did many a project together that boosted my confidence levels in carpentry especially when he would just help us get it started (like putting in wood flooring or shingling the garage) and then leave the kids and I to complete the job. He also had the confidence in me that I could put up faux rock, tile a floor and tile a shower and so that helped me to have confidence in myself and get it figured out. I also have been really appreciating his organization - when I go to look for tools, screws and things like that - they are carefully in their spots. It makes working on projects so much easier.
  • My kids, who sometimes eagerly and sometimes reluctantly help me when I need a little extra help.
  • God - the Giver of all good things. The One who has all the answers and is always there when I ask for strength and wisdom. Many a prayer goes up when I am working on projects and many a prayer is answered.

Lest you should think I only work on the rougher jobs anymore - I do also work on other sorts of things as well. :-)

A sweater that I recently completed for a new baby girl at church. Crocheting something like this is such a nice project for any of those times that I am just sitting around anyway. We have a lot of yarn that has been given to us/somehow collected through the years and I love being able to turn it into something useful.
It doesn't feel like I cook or bake nearly as much as I used to but on New Year's Day we enjoyed some fresh cake doughnuts. That was a fun treat.
Flower arranging is still a huge part of my life as I work at a florist shop 3 days a week and am still running Abbi's Bridal Design as well.

  That is a bit of what I have been working on lately. What have you been doing at your place?


Wednesday, December 29, 2021

I Love Winter!

Winter has really and truly come and I am loving it. 

Well maybe not the people going into ditches and challenging things like that - except even in that there is beauty in the way strangers will stop to help and check on you. You realize you have some pretty nice neighbors and that people in general look out for one another. My little bout with the ditch this week was nothing much - I drove right out (after trying to get around another vehicle on the very snowy road and misjudging where the edge was and going down in for a moment) but a friend (and mother of one of my piano students) went into the ditch coming to lessons today. When my brother-in-law (and neighbor), Benjamin, and I were having trouble getting her out a couple of guys with trucks stopped to check on us and one of them took the time to pull her out. I love that about winter - the opportunities to see the good in others.

I love the beauty of the snow. On the trees, on the dog, on the house. You get the point. :-)

A fun thing about winter is being able to see more sunrises and sunsets - they happen at very normal hours around here in the winter. Not way early in the morning or late in the evening. I do have trouble getting good pictures of sunrises and sunsets however.

There is something very cozy about a blizzard. But I do usually find it the coziest when I am inside with a fire going and a hot cup of tea.
I like the way our house looks in the snow.

The river looks kind of like a field but it is still pretty.

Megan and I walked over to my sister's place last week. Megan found walking in the snow rather wearying.
I love the exercise.
I will be glad to get the girl and her siblings back home tomorrow. Hopefully their flight doesn't get cancelled. That happened to Jonathan yesterday. But God knows and sees the big picture and has it all under control so I won't worry about it.

   What is winter like where you are? A friend from  Florida and I were visiting this morning and I guess we had about a 100 degree difference in temperature. 80 degrees sound nice but I can live with our -18 as well. It makes you feel like you conquered something when you go out and survive. :-) 

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Progress in the Basement

    The kids have been gone this week, the florist shop I work at is closed for the week and a bunch of my music students took a week off so I have had more time to work on other things. My mother-in-law and across the street neighbor, Sharyl, offered to come down the last two mornings and help me work on my basement. We made some good progress, had some fun and probably pulled some muscles in ways we shouldn't have but I am super excited about that progress!
   Yesterday, we got the two basement windows trimmed. I had been struggling with knowing just how to measure properly for it but I got it figured out in my head and so actually on Friday morning I measured and cut and then on both windows I needed to cut the top trim board narrower so I took it over to my dad and he did it on his table saw (our is very old and I find it a little scary so I was thankful that my Dad could do that for me). Then yesterday Sharyl held pieces up while I nailed them in place. 
  The next big project was shelves and trim in our bathroom closet. We got some done yesterday and I finished them up today. Yeah!

   Both the window trim and the hanging shelves were projects that I hadn't really tackled before and so that made them feel a little overwhelming but they weren't actually that hard. It always feels good to go ahead and do something that seems hard and conquer it.

    Today we also worked in our playroom and that's where some muscles may have gotten pulled badly as we worked to hang a cabinet that was very solid and heavy. Normally it would have been find for me but with my shoulder still in recovery from a sprain it probably wasn't the best idea BUT I got it done and I am pretty happy about that. I did also go to the Chiropractor this afternoon and he didn't chew me out too badly (in fact he was pretty understanding) but thought it would be better if I don't do that anymore until I am totally healed. Thankfully I don't have any more heavy cabinets to hang so we should be good. I am excited to show you pictures of the playroom but that will be another day.
 I also got a shower curtain hung in my bathroom. When I first tiled the shower we intentionally designed it so that it shouldn't have to have a door or curtain. It did work pretty well that way (we have had a little issue of moisture coming out but nothing too bad) but I always needed to water really hot when showering or it felt breezy and cold. I don't like cold showers. So I decided maybe a shower curtain would help trap some of the heat in the shower (because my bathroom is quite large and it is hard to heat up that big space with the steam. So I had bought the shortest extension rod at Menards but it was still too big. I took that back and wasn't sure what to do next.
I remembered that I had some dowel rods. So I cut one just slightly shorter than needed, hot glued some Styrofoam on either end  to allow me to slide it in place without hurting the tile and so that it fit snugly. It works great. I am excited to have a hot and steamy shower tonight. I found the shower curtain on Amazon a while ago and thought it was a pretty fun one for a florist/beekeeper/gardener.
  One other quick (and kind of funny) project was to drill holes in a toilet plunger for Sharyl. She wants to have it to use for washing clothes (it has not been used for it's intended use) should she need to go off grid. She is a prepper as I like to be too. Here is a video on Youtube that explains the system if you are interested.

  It has been a fun week so far. How is yours going? Are you working on any projects?


Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 I just wanted to pop in here quickly and say hello! I didn't write Christmas letters this year so I thought I would do a quick one on here.

   First and foremost I want to say that God is good! This last year we have been blessed with His strength, blessings and provision in amazing proportions. It has been a hard year too but that makes God's love and help shine ever brighter. I am so thankful for the gift of Jesus coming to earth to pay the penalty for our sins so that we don't have to be burdened down by that weight in our lives and so that we can spend eternity with Him in heaven. I am also incredibly grateful for the gift of the Holy Spirit that God sends to dwell in Christians to give them comfort, help and strength. This year would have been perfectly awful without that. 

    Some of the major events of our lives this year have been:

-A bunch of getting and changing of jobs in our family. All of the kids have done some rearranging and I got a part-time job at a local flower shop in January.

-Ken moved away and filed for divorce (which was final in September). You can read more about that here.

-Malcolm was born to Mara and Thomas in April and we have all enjoyed him so much ever since! 

-We have worked a lot on our basement and almost have it ready to try out being AirBnB hosts.

-We went to Nationwide Youth Round-up in Colorado in July and had a great time.

-It was a crazy busy year for weddings. I think I did flowers for around 25 this year. Jonathan also did videography for a bunch of weddings. But he got burnt out and decided that wasn't what he wants to do anymore.

-We enjoyed Jackpine Retreat with Family and Friends in September.

-In November we took a trip to Florida which was a lot of fun.

-We hosted Thanksgiving for family and friends. Since I had recently sprained my shoulder everybody else had to do most of the work but we had a great time!

      The kids are currently out west visiting their Dad for Christmas. I am blessed to have had invitations to go more places while they are gone than I have been able to accept. I am incredibly grateful for all those that love us and bring so many blessings into our lives. God is truly faithful!

  Speaking of going places.. I had better get moving! Much love to you all! ~ Abbi

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Thoughts on Worship

Psalm 95:6 & 7
Come, let us bow down in worship,
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
For he is our God and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.

  Worship of God our Creator I believe should be a large part of a Christian's life. The Bible speaks of it often and I don't believe it is optional.  Luke 4:8 says: "Jesus answered, "It is written; Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only."

 So what does it really mean to worship? 
   I started thinking about this again lately because of some things that came up in my life. A few weeks ago I was biking over to my sister Keren's for our Tuesday morning prayer time. The roads were icy (and no, I shouldn't have been biking but I like the exercise and fresh air and I have limited time) and my bike slipped and I fell down, landing on my left shoulder. It hurt! I sprained my shoulder and tore some stuff. It is healing nicely now and I can do a lot more but I was very restricted at first (I do still have to be careful) and I couldn't play the piano with my left hand. For a long time piano playing/singing has been my way of working through emotions, of really pouring my heart out to God and how I feel like I am able to worship most intensely. I love doing it in the church setting along with the congregation singing and I love doing it here at home by myself.  Not being able to play the piano really put a cramp in my style and I struggled with it.

  A lot of times we have a tendency to relate music to worship and kind of forget that worship is so much more than that. To worship means to give reverent honor (high respect, great esteem) and homage (special honor or respect shown publicly) to God.  From looking into the Greek words used in the Bible for worship we get the idea of "to kiss" such as kissing the hand of a superior or kissing the ground at their feet, to completely prostrate oneself to do that. Romans 12:1 explains a little of what worship is: "Therefore I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercies, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. This is your true and proper worship." 

So, I believe worship would be this total giving up of ourselves to God. Throwing ourselves at His feet (figurately but also sometimes, perhaps, quite literally) and honoring Him for who He is, what He has done and what He will do. To realize that we are nothing without Him, To publicly declare His praise and worthiness.

So, I absolutely believe we can do this with music but I also believe we can make beautiful music (that is even filled with wonderful, God praising words) and not worship God at all while we are making it. We can sing it in pride. We can sing it while day dreaming and not thinking of God at all. The heart has to be engaged and humbly honoring God in order for it truly to be worship. Let's not forget who the One is that we are worshipping: "Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire." Hebrews 12:28 & 29

    I was looking for pictures to go along with this post (because I like pictures - and just words are never quite as fun) and it was kind of fun for me to look through pictures and see which ones reminded me to worship. There are so many things in our very normal lives that should prompt us to turn to God in worship, here are some that struck me in that way...

Bread - something yummy that fills our tummies - a gift from my sister-in-law. This reminded me that my trust in God is so well placed. This has been a super hard year but God has put so many people in my life to bring help and beauty. He provides for us over and over again. 
Another reminder of God's care and provision - my Dad helping to fix things up for AirBnB guests to come in the future. Working to finish our basement for this purpose has felt very overwhelming at times as I have faced projects that I had never attempted before. But through it all God has been there to give me strength, wisdom and a helping hand when I need it. 
A walk outside with my girls. Getting out in nature is very often something that prompts me to worship God. He is the creator of everything and I do love to see His artistry and design in the natural world. And then thinking of my girls (and my boys and that Grandson)... when I think how God has blessed me with the children that I have- that God was willing to entrust them to my care and training- my heart is just overwhelmed in worship of a God who gives me strength, gives me wisdom and gives me grace when I make mistakes - which  is often.
My mother and my Grandson - two of the people that very openly show me love. Both gifts from God. He is the one who blessed me with them in my life. 
Flowers. Not only do I enjoy and admire the beauty that God made but I am so overwhelmed with gratitude that God has so blessed me that I can work with flowers regularly and share them and their beauty with others. To know that God made me with the talents and interests that I have and He lets me pursue those things instead of doing many, many other jobs that don't energize me and help me thrive. He is so very good to me!
Canoeing on the river by our house, it is an activity that I find very peaceful and restful. Both of those things (peace and rest) are truly found in Jesus Christ. That is surely something that prompts me to worship. Even in the midst of trials we can have peace and rest.
Seeing how God provides for us - not just the bare necessities but abundantly, beautifully and wonderfully. It leaves me in awe and reverence to know that He can provide so well for each one of us.
And though I did speak earlier of how music is by far not the only way to worship God it certainly is one beautiful way that we can spend time giving God the glory, honor and praise. I am incredibly grateful that God made music and that he made it so beautiful. I am thankful for the many wonderful song writers and composers that put thoughts into music in a way that can be meaningful to so many of us. 
When we were in Florida last month I did have fun just sitting on the beach thinking on the awesomeness of God and what He can do. I was able to spend time in prayer and praise. I am very grateful for that time.

"But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23 & 24

God is seeking those that will worship Him - I hope that you and I will be among those that do!


Thursday, December 9, 2021

Coffee with a Homeschool Mom

 One of my homeschooling friends, Heidi Larson, started recording Podcasts a year or so ago. She wondered if I would be willing to be a guest and so a few weeks ago she came over one Saturday morning and we recorded this episode. 

  We didn't drink coffee together but we did have a cup of tea (more my style). It was fun to visit with her. I hope if you listen that you find it encouraging.


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