Wednesday, May 18, 2016

It is Finished!

We finished the Buffet this week and it was a bittersweet moment.  We hung the final door and looked at each other in amazement.  We had done the impossible!  It seemed impossible when we started...but we just took it a small chunk at  time and somehow over the last two months, between tutoring our grandson and all the doctor appointments and daily living, we got it done.  We are both over the moon with the finished product.  God has been so good to us as we went through the process.  I prayed before the start of each working session to make it go well and for us to play nicely with each other.  (lol...that was a 'biggee' since we are both leaders and each had different ideas of how it should be accomplished.)  

My husband said the nicest thing to me when it was done...He said I had been "invaluable" to the building of the buffet.  WOW...that really made me feel good since I am not the wood worker in the family.  As for him...he designed this from a glimmer of an idea of what I wanted.  All I gave him was that glimmer and he ran with it.  This will be a memory that we will always have together.  

The next project will be the back splash tiles over the counters in the kitchen.  They are on order and won't get here until the 30th.  

Today I am switching from Max to David Paul Tripp.  He really spoke to me today and I just wanted to share it with everyone.  It is a bit long but worth the read...

From the book "New Morning Mercies", by David Paul Tripp.
Change is not found in defending our righteousness, but in admitting our weakness and crying for help.
     I wish I could say that this is not my struggle.  I wish I could say that I've fully accepted the reality of my spiritual battle.  I wish I could say that I am always thankful for the help God provides.  I wish I could say that I am always open and approachable.  I wish I could say these things, but sadly, I can't.  When I'm approached about a wrong I've committed, I don't tend to say to the other person: "Thank you so much for confronting me.  I know that I suffer from spiritual blindness and don't see myself accurately.  Please keep rebuking me; I know it's a visible sign of God's love."  No, there are two things that tend to be more natural for me as I feel my ears redden and my chest tighten.  I first activate my internal defense system and mount arguments in my mind against the charge.  Perhaps I was misunderstood.  Maybe this is an invalid judgment of my motives.  Perhaps what this person thought I did, I just didn't do.  Then I work to erect arguments for my righteousness.  I list all of the good, empirical evidence of the sin that still resides in my heart, but I am also defending righteousness that doesn't exist.
     Here's the sad part; in doing both of these things, I am devaluing the grace that is my only hope in life and death.  To whatever extent I am able to convince myself that my sin isn't really sin -- that is, that my little wrongs do not really rise to the level of what Jesus died for -- I am not really that excited about grace.  Why?  Because I have convinced myself that I don't really need the rescue and forgiveness that grace offers.  And to the degree that I am able to work myself into believing that I am righteous, I have less esteem for the perfect righteousness of Christ, which is the only righteousness with which I can stand before God.
     So I may have a crisp and clear theology of grace and I may be able to point to passages in God's Word that clearly preach that grace, but where the rubber meets the road in everyday life, self-righteousness stands in the way of that grace having functional and transformative value in my life.  My defensiveness in the face of the confrontation of the body of Christ and the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit should fee from and stops me from running to the place where help is ever found.
     What about you?  Have you really abandoned your righteousness?  Does that make you run toward the grace of Jesus?  Or will you defend today what Jesus died to destroy?  Perhaps before you start confessing your sin you should first confess your righteousness.

By Grace Alone...

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Lost the Bubble!

So much has happened in the last couple of weeks with the kitchen and I haven't posted since the 25th so I actually had to go back and see where I was when I last posted.  Sigh.  They say the memory is the first thing to go and I honestly don't remember what the second thing is.  Hmmm (old joke)

We ordered new counter tops to match the buffet we are making and they were installed last week.  Here are some picks of the installation.  It was a very interesting process.  The guys were very efficient and got them all done within about 3 hours.  

First part of counter top installed.  There was only one seam in the quartz and it was amazing to watch him with his tools and how he made it all look seamless.

I was pretty sure I would have to remove the tiles that matched the old counter tops and as soon as I saw them against the counter top, there was no question about it.  A couple of days later, I ordered new stainless steel tiles and started removing the ones below.

All 'wrong color' tiles removed.  I still have a lot of cleanup and spackling to do here.  Ugh. But honestly, it looks better already!

Just me looking at the workmanship of the quartz.  I was amazed by the whole process.  I would have liked to have watched them create each piece from scratch.

Tom had a lot of fun looking under the counter to see how straight the facing on the buffet was.  We were both amazed at how straight it came out.  Yeah!!

 This was how they handled the angled wall/corner and the two heights that I asked for because of the sink.  They did a really good job cutting the angles on site.

This is Hayden.  He was the type A personality the got the one seam done so beautifully.

OK, I had a little fun putting stuff on the buffet.  So glad to get my bread maker off of the regular counter top.

The following pictures are after they completed the counter top install.  The plumber hadn't come yet to put in the faucet/soap dispenser/water filter.

 I found a few new decorations...:)  It's kind of like buying curtains for a room and realizing you need new paint and furniture.  ROTFL  I am having a lot of fun with all this.  Tom says now we'll probably have to paint the rest of the house.  (He's right but I'll probably have to rest for a while after this room is done.)

 Another angle... 

As you can see, the faucets aren't installed yet.  They are just resting in their holes because the installer had to make sure the holes were the right size.

So, this last week we have also been working on getting the doors done in our spare time.  The picture below is one of the six doors (dry clamped) to see how it is going to fit.  We couldn't be happier.  Now just 5 more doors and we will be done with this major project!  Have I said how much we are loving retirement?  :) :) :)

The Headline Story
By Max Lucado

We love to know where we came from. We need to know where we came from. Knowing connects us, links us to something greater than we are.

That is why God wants you to know his story. Framed photos hang in his house and lively talks await you at his table. A scrapbook sits in his living room brimming with stories– stories about Bethlehem beginnings and manger miracles; enemy warfare in the wilderness and fishermen friends in Galilee. The stumbles of Peter and the stubbornness of Paul are all part of the story, but they are subplots to the central message of the headline story!  John 3:16. . .“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life!”

God saves his people! God’s story. And we are a part of it!
By Grace Alone...

Monday, April 25, 2016


I love the new grays that are at Sherwin Williams right now.  I also love their 40% off sale!

We got some paint for the kitchen Friday and I spent all day Saturday painting the breakfast nook.  I did it in two shades.  A lighter shade behind the buffet that we are (still) building and a slightly darker shade of the same family on the other three walls.  Here are some pics.

Ignore the mess in the buffet...I'm using it to hold all the painting stuff right now.  lol

We also got the stiles and rails jointed, planed, and cut for the doors. Now I have a lot of sanding to do!  Twelve stiles and twelve rails...ugh. We have three to redo because the router took some bites out of them that it shouldn't have.  I guess it was hungry.  :)

Sealed by God
By Max Lucado
As a parent, when our children stumble, we don’t disown them. We may punish or reprimand, but cast them out of the family? We cannot. They are biologically connected to us. Those born with our DNA will die with it.God, our Father, engenders the same relationship with us. Upon salvation we become, as John 1:12 says, “children of God.” He alters our lineage, redefines our spiritual parenthood, and in doing so, secures our salvation. Paul says, “Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 1:13). And a soul sealed by God is safe! God paid too high a price to leave us unguarded.Again, a reminder from Paul in Ephesians 4:30, “He has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.” What a difference this assurance makes!
By Grace Alone...

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Slowing Down

We kind of took the weekend off.  Other than installing the pull outs that we got when we were in Texas (during Christmas) and putting in the 45 degree angle brackets we didn't do anything pertaining to the cabinet. I also finished putting the oil on everything.  The last items are the shelves, doors, and counter top.  I played around with pots and pans to see if everything would fit.  I got almost everything in that I wanted to.  I may have to visit the container store again for a couple more pullouts.

Here are the 45 degree angle brackets that we got installed this weekend.

This is a sample of the quartz counter top we picked out.  The paint colors are for the walls in the kitchen.  (I'm using either the lightest or the next lightest for the walls and the other two colors will be used in a stencil I ordered.  (To be shown after I finish spoilers!)  We have never had to paint any walls in this house since we bought it almost 9 years ago.  The paint that the builder used was amazing and cleanable.  (Sherwin Williams does paint right!)  I'm ready for a change though.

I didn't finish this post yesterday, but we actually got the shelves finished today.  We marked off everything on our 'list' that has been completed and the only thing left is the creation of the doors.  I say "the only thing" but they will be the hardest thing of all.  There are six of them and we are making them out of walnut which means that we have to joint and plane the wood before we can cut the pieces just like we did for the sides and the front facing.  I think we are both dreading it because precision is key to making them.  I can't tell you how many times on this project we have made the statement "Well, no one will see that!".  LOL   When something comes out perfect, we go, "Wow, can you believe that, it just fell into place."  

Your Part is to Trust
By Max Lucado
Some of us have written our own Bible verse from Popular Opinion 1:1: “God helps those who help themselves.” We’ll fix ourselves, thank you. We’ll make up for our mistakes with contributions, our guilt with busyness. We’ll overcome our failures with hard work. We’ll find salvation the old-fashioned way…we’ll earn it!
Christ, in contrast, says to us; your role is to trust. Trust me to do what you can’t. By the way, you take similar steps of trust daily. You believe the chair will support you, so you set your weight on it. You trust the work of the light switch, so you flip it. You daily trust power you cannot see to do a work you cannot accomplish.
Jesus invites you to do the same with him. But just him. Not another leader. Not even yourself. Just Christ. Look to Jesus…and believe!
By Grace Alone...

Friday, April 15, 2016

Busy Week!

We got a lot done on the cabinet this week.  God has kept our hands busy.  Early in the week, we got the floors completed.  (Shown in first two pictures)  This gave some more stability to the cabinets but the real stability came whenever we got the back's cut and added on.  Those cabinets are as solid as a rock now.  Tongue and groove is absolutely the way to go when putting together a cabinet.  

Today we got the backs and the nail rails put on, as well as my slide out shelf cut, sanded, and installed. 

We ordered the quartz top for it yesterday.  It is called Alpina White but it has different shades of gray in it as well.  I'm going to paint the wall behind the cabinet a light gray and put stencils of limbs of trees and birds across the wall.  I ordered the stencil stuff last night also.  I'll need to get that done before the top comes.  Now all we lack on the cabinet is the shelves, 45 degree corner boards, and the doors.  (The doors will take quite a while because we will be back to working with raw Walnut wood again.)  We find ourselves stepping back and saying "Wow, did we really do this?"  It seemed like an astronomical project when we started but taking it in small bits like we have has made it fun and relatively easy.  (all bloodshed aside)

"A Simple Exercise
By Max Lucado
Do a simple exercise with me.  Measure your life against just these four standards from the Ten Commandments:

You must not steal.  Have you ever stolen anything?  A paper clip?  A parking space? ... you thief.
You must not lie.  Those who say they haven't - just did.

You must not commit adultery.  Jesus said, "If you look at a woman with lust, you've committed adultery in your heart" (Matthew 5:28).

You must not murder.  Before you claim innocence, Jesus said "Anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder" (Matthew 5:22).Jesus made his position clear: "Anyone whose life is not holy will never see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14).  

So where does that leave us?  It leaves us drawing hope from 1 Corinthians 15:3.  Christ died for our sins - in place of - on behalf of!  So, don't measure yourself by keeping commandments.  Measure yourself by the cross."
By Grace Alone -

Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Purposeful LIfe

I like to tell my husband that I am here to give his life purpose.  He laughs and thinks to himself that he could use a little less purpose.  :)

The cabinet is coming along nicely but it looks like the next week will be down time.  Tom did some serious damage to one of his hands yesterday and then today he damaged the other hand on the router and it is damaged so badly that he needs to let it rest and heal.  Both wounds bled profusely and one of them probably should have had stitches but he refused, being the tough guy he is, so he needs to be really careful and not break it open again.  

I think I enjoy the woodworking a bit more than Tom.  Don't get me wrong, he enjoys it as long as I'm not asking a million questions or if something goes a bit  I tend to want to know exactly what we are doing next.  Step by step and if I don't understand it, I ask again.  Poor Tom.  I've never been one to learn anything halfway.  Since there is so much that is 'directional' and I am 'directionally challenged' it makes it hard on him.

Here are the latest pictures.  The bay walls are finally up!  The cleats are in also.  We got the kick panel done but have not installed it yet.  That's about it for now.

God's Love Will Not Let Go
By Max Lucado
George Matheson was a teenager when doctors told him he was going blind.  He graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1861.   By the time he finished graduate seminary studies, he was sightless.  His fiance returned his engagement ring with a note.  I cannot see my way clear to go through life bound by the chains of marriage to a blind man.
Matheson adapted to his sightless world but never quite recovered from his broken heart.  He became a powerful and poetic pastor, led a full and inspiring life, turning to the unending love of God for comfort.  And he penned these words:
"Oh love that wilt not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe, that in thine ocean depths its flow may richer fuller be."
The love of people may come and go, but God's love will never leave you.

By Grace Alone -

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Getting Excited!

It's funny how you get excited as you start getting closer to some goal that you have set for yourself.  We are definitely making progress on our creation of the cabinets for the breakfast nook.  We now have a standing product.  Very exciting stuff.  We are actually amazed each time we see it because we can't believe we did it!  My husband, Tom, is quite the designer.  I tell him what I want and he spends months designing it so it is just right when we go to cut the pieces.  

It's funny how much time was spent on the end pieces (literally hours and hours of jointing, planing, cutting, sanding, oiling and waxing) and only one of them will be visible.  That piece of furniture to the left will be removed and the cabinets will actually fit in that corner.  So, this is where we are until this weekend when we have time to work some more on it.  

What Makes the Difference?
By Max Lucado
I once shared a class with a girl who got engaged.  I don't remember much about the class except the hour was early and the teacher was dull.  I don't even remember the girl's name.  I do remember that she didn't stand out in the crowd.  She was shy and not very confident. 
One day, however, her hair changed and her outfit changed.  Even her voice changed.  She spoke with confidence.  What made the difference?  Simple.  A young man she loved looked her squarely in the eye and said, "Come and spend forever with me."  He proposed to her.  His love for her convinced her she was worth loving.  God's love can do the same.  It can change us!  The Bible says " God has loved you with an everlasting love; He has drawn you with loving-kindness." (Jeremiah 31:3).  
Jesus can live without us -- But he doesn't want to! 
 By Grace Alone... 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Jesus Was a Carpenter

I had often wondered why Jesus was a carpenter.  I think I get it now.  He took something rough and imperfect and made it into something beautiful.  Just like he has done with us.  Our imperfections and the trials in our lives have made us more loving and beautiful internally, even if they haven't made us more beautiful on the outside.  He loves us sins and all and His love molds us into something more beautiful than the rough spots that show on our skin.

We had this piece of wood that was really rough, and it was rough through and matter how much we shaved off of it during the planing process.  It was going to be one of the 'pretty cut' panels too so I was a little worried about it.  Not too much, just a little.  When it was completed, that flaw shone so beautifully and darker than the rest of the wood.  I was so glad that we had used that particular piece for the 'pretty cut' part of the end.  I don't know if you can tell from the picture below but the board on the left that is all oiled up, right in the very center where you see the swirls the most was the rough part.  I had sanded it from 100 grit down to 12,000 grit and it shone like glass all over but the rough looking part still had little dips in it.  The oil soaked into those dips and made it a very beautiful piece of wood.

When all the boards are put together to make the end of the cabinet, it will look like the picture below.  The picture below is before sanding, waxing, or gluing together.

Last week was super busy taking care of our grandson while he was on spring break.  We spent a lot of time doing make-up homework because he had been sick for two weeks.  But Friday we finally left the house and went to the space and rocket center to have some fun.  We captured a few pictures where he wasn't running all over the place (which was not easy...he is a very active

We rode the 3G which spins you around and gets to going up to 3 G's, which at first feels pretty good because it feels like your compressed spine got totally uncompressed but then it feels like your spine is going to come apart when it gets up to 3G's.  I was ready for it to end and decided that I am getting too old for fun like

This week we are back to focusing on the cabinet and ready for the break from childcare.  :)  Tom has been calculating how much more wood we will be needing to get on Saturday at our special wood getting place and I sanded today.

A Tabulated List of Grace
By Max Lucado
A couple who resorted to do-it-yourself marriage counseling resolved to list each other’s faults and then read them aloud. The wife gave her list and he read: You snore; you eat in bed; the list continued. When the husband gave her his list, she smiled. He’d written his grievances, but next to each he’d written– I forgive this. The result was a tabulated list of grace.Imagine you are before the judgment seat of Christ. The book is opened and the reading begins—each sin, each deceit, each occasion of greed. But as soon as the infraction is read, grace is proclaimed. Jesus says, I forgive this. Registered forgiveness! No humiliation! No shame! Because in heaven you will be in your sinless state—happy to let God do in heaven what he did on earth. He will be honored in your weakness! 
By Grace Alone...

Saturday, March 19, 2016

More Cabinet Building

Our day yesterday was extremely productive!  I sanded the front face frame to a glowing sheen and Tom jointed, planed and cut almost all of the boards for one of the side panels.  Below are some pictures of the completed fun.  We really are having a blast with this!  The final sanding on the front face was with 12,000 grit sand paper.

"Jesus is Praying for You
By Max Lucado
While we wait for Christ's return, we can be encouraged because Jesus is praying for us! As recorded in Luke 22:31, Jesus says, "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to test all of you as a farmer sifts his wheat."  Loose translation - Satan is gonna slap your faith like a farmer slaps wheat on the threshing floor!
You would expect Jesus' next words to be, So get out of town! But Jesus shows no panic.  In verse 32, He says, "I have prayed that you will not lose your faith.  Help your brothers be stronger when you come back to me."
Everything changes when Jesus prays for us.  The devil may land a punch or two, but he never wins the fight.  Jesus protected Peter, and Jesus is protecting you."
By Grace Alone -

Thursday, March 17, 2016

God Keeps our Hands Busy

We are really loving retirement.  For the moment, cancer is leaving me alone.  I couldn't be more thankful!  

Tom and I (ok, it might have been more me than Tom...) decided that we needed to work on a project together so we pulled all the walnut boards that we had bought last year out of the attic. The first board you see below has a lot of issues (too warped and bent to even think of straightening out with the jointer and planer) so we set it aside to be dealt with last. (If at all.)

So, what are we making?  I've been begging for some cabinets for my breakfast nook area and Tom had already created the design to build them.  When it is done, it will have 3 bays and, if all goes according to plan, it will be 104" Wide X 40" High.

The first thing we had to do (yeah, he let me play with the wood some too!) was cut the first pieces down to a general size and then run them through the jointer and the planer.  Sounds like nothing, right?  At the end of the first day (about 5 hours of work) we only had 3 'stiles' done.  These stiles were each 2' wide by ~38" long.  (When the final cut is made on them, they would only be 36.5" long)  They looked so pitiful sitting by themselves on the blue moving mat.  I didn't get a picture of that but we were like Jimmy Stewart in the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" when he is dancing around with two one dollar bills telling them to make babies.

The next day (about 3 days later, since we have other obligations to take care of also) we got the rest of the stiles and rails done for the front face frame.  This was 7 pieces of wood cut, jointed, and planed in one day.  We we VERY excited to see all those little pieces lying together.  Below are the six rails completed.

Today, Tom used the router to put the grooves in for the floor and the corner pieces that go on the top front.  After that, came the gluing and screwing together of the rails and stiles.  We actually ALSO got the Front Face Frame put together.  Below are some additional pictures of the process we went through today.

We just HAD to drag it into the kitchen and see how it was going to fit.  :)  Loving the variegated walnut colors.  Can't wait to see how the doors come out.  Raw wood is so fun to work with.


The "Max" for today is for my husband and I.  I won't say that the 'building' of the front face frame was easy when we started the project but it developed into a rhythm of love.  It has been years since we did a project together and we are both leaders so there is always a bit of pull and push in the beginning but Love Bears All Things.  I love you, honey, and I'm so thankful to be here doing a project with you (and for your patience with me as you teach me about woodworking!).

"Love Bears All Things
by Max Lucado
Wouldn't it be great if love were like a cafeteria line?  It would be easier.  It would be neater.  It would be painless and peaceful.  But you know what?  It wouldn't be love.  Love doesn't accept just a few things.  Love is willing to accept all things!  In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Paul says, "Love bears all thing, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."  I envision the leathery-faced saint pausing in his dictation.  Checking off his fingers, he reviews his list.  Let's see...patience, kindness, envy, arrogance.  We've mentioned rudeness, selfishness, and anger; forgiveness, evil, and truth.  Have I covered all things?  Ah, that's it--all things!   Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.   Every single one!"
By Grace Alone...