Our kids have worked since they were fifteen.  Probably because they wanted to eat off-campus at lunch and our scanty meal allowance didn’t give them much hope of more than dollar tacos at Taco Bell.  We have always had the intention of our teenagers getting a job as soon as they were old enough.  Jon and I both worked in high school, and benefited from the experience.

On the flip side, I know and greatly respect families who have decided that their teens will not be working because they need to be focused solely on academics and extra-curricular activities in high school, or their sports don’t allow them to have time to have a job.  Or, it just is not something they would consider for their child.

But, like SO many things in life, this topic is not a black and white decision.  As our children are in college and entering the last couple of years of high school, we have learned a lot along the way, and the biggest lesson—there are both pros and cons to our children working.

PROS

1. TEENS WITH JOBS LEARN THE VALUE OF MONEY before they leave the home.  Each of our three children, who all have very different personalities, have made mistakes at some point with saving and budgeting the money they’ve earned in their jobs.  And that is really good.  They have had to experience the “poof” phenomenon that all adults with jobs clearly understand—where did it all go SO FAST?

 They are learning priceless financial (no pun intended) lessons right now.

2.  TEENS WITH JOBS LEARN THE VALUE OF THEIR TIME.   Working naturally causes our teens to be more efficient with the time they have each day.  If your teenager is prone to couch potatoing in front of a video game or Netflix, working may be the best thing for them.  Having a job significantly reduces the down time available, so what is left is studying, eating, school activities and a little friend time–a good recipe for a balanced week.

3. TEENS WITH JOBS LEARN TO WORK UNDER AUTHORITY.  They will experience managers who are difficult, unfair, or just a new personality type.  They will also see good management examples.  Teens will learn to respect the natural hierarchy of the workplace.

4.  TEENS WITH JOBS CAN HELP CONTRIBUTE TO THE FAMILY.  We require our kids to pay us $100/ month when they are old enough to drive.  This money goes toward gas and insurance for the month for their cars, and although it doesn’t cover all of the expense, the fact that they don’t get to keep ALL of the money they earned for fun money is definitely a sacrifice when they get that paycheck.  Welcome to adulting.  And, it helps them appreciate the transportation they are being provided with all the more.

6.  TEENS WITH JOBS LEARN THE TYPE OF WORK THEY ENJOY (OR NOT).  Our children have been in the food service industry (Starbucks, Chick-Fil A, serving at restaurants),  retail industry (Tillys) , and general service industry (Discount Tire).   They are clearly learning what type of work they enjoy– and what they don’t.  They have a greater sense of empathy for those who work in these industries, as they know how hard, or boring or exhausting these jobs can be.  It is one step in helping them refine their work journey for the future.

5. TEENS WITH JOBS LEARN TO SAVE MONEY for the things that are important for them.  Our son, his Junior year, spent a vast majority of his money on fast food.  And he had nothing left to show for it at the end of the year.  This was really disappointing to him, and he has decided that the money he earns his senior year is going to be used for a better purpose.

6.  TEENS LEARN INTERVIEW SKILLS. Our teens learn to advocate for themselves, identify their skills and assets, and communicate those clearly to a person in authority.

7.  TEENS WITH JOBS LEARN THAT DOING THINGS THEY DON’T LIKE WON’T KILL THEM.  Often times our adult jobs include tasks that we don’t enjoy.  That is reality, and we want to prepare our kids to have that expectation when they are working as adults.  Just because part of a job isn’t fun or enjoyable, doesn’t mean we quit.  We remind our kids “Work is called work for a reason.”

Back to things not being black and white, we have also let our teens quit jobs they really don’t care for.  But they have to give it three months before they make that decision.  Our son really wanted to quit his job at Discount Tire his junior year (for reasons we found out later were quite valid), but he stuck it out and ended up liking it there.  Great life lesson on perseverance.

8.  TEENS WITH JOBS DEVELOP EXCELLENT CHARACTER TRAITS.  They learn to be prompt, to follow directions, to work with co-workers they don’t particularly care for, to plan their time, responsibility on the job, multi-tasking, learning new skills, and appeasing difficult customers (just to name a few!). 

Working in high school prepares our teenagers for launching into the real world.  There are incredibly valuable life lessons that working in high school prepares them for.   A high parenting value for my husband and I is preparing our children for the real world…which jobs do in significant ways.

CONS

There are cons.  Cons that sometimes have made us let our kids take a few months off of work.  Again, this is not black and white.  We need to stay flexible with our kids lives, keeping academics and emotional health as a priority. 

There are less cons listed below than the pros above…but they are still significant and worth considering when making this decision with your teen.

1.YOU LOSE YOUR DRIVERS  This was a big one that caught me by surprise.  As a mom of three with a husband who travels every week, I couldn’t wait until our oldest daughter received her license—yay drive help!  But since we also asked her to get a job, she was often scheduled to work when I needed that extra driver to pick up another child from soccer practice or after school activities..  This struggle has not gone away over the years, but we have decided the value of work is higher than the value of an extra driver.

2. YOU HAVE LESS TIME WITH YOUR TEENS.  They are busy.  And then the job makes them more busy.   This is an important con to consider.  Often our teen is scheduled to work during the dinner hours, so if having dinner together as a family is a high value, this might get in the way.  Teens will often be working on the weekends, after school, or in the evening, and when they are home they are studying or resting or hanging out with friends.

3. THEY MAY MISS OUT ON FAMILY EVENTS.  This is the reality of working.  Sometimes our teens have not been given days off that they requested for special occasions or family outings.  This is always difficult at the time, for all of us.  But it is another life lesson—being a reliable and loyal worker speaks volumes in your work life.  And sometimes that comes at a cost.

4.  ACADEMICS.  For some children, having less down time during the week actually helps them condense their studying to be more on task and efficient.  However, there have been many Thursday nights our kids have been scheduled to work while having two or three tests the following Friday.  This teaches them to plan ahead for these tests, but it also means late nights after they get home from work.  

And sometimes, if our teens have not been able to keep up their academic workload because of a job, we have given them time off from work because school is always a priority.

5.  SPORTS.  It is very hard for teens to hold a job during their high school sports seasons.  Our son is a golfer, so from spring to fall every year we learned that he needed to put his job on hold because practiced after school every day with tournaments on the weekends.  Most employers aren’t flexible enough to work with that schedule.  So, he works from October to March every year, and that works for us.

So there it is!  Our lessons from the past several years. My husband and I have had many late night discussions about each child and their work life–making sure they are finding a healthy balance with all that they are involved in.  We have had to make some difficult decisions along the way, but in the end we are glad for our own stories around work and are seeing our children develop many character traits that we want them to take into college and adulthood.

~Amy

PS: Keep an eye out for a blog about TIPS NOW THAT YOUR TEEN DOES HAVE A JOB!

Also…I created these prayer journals for the Fall.  I will be creating a new version for each season of the year.   If you are like me and need some structure during your prayer time to keep you focused, you might love one of these.  They are a perfect size, to sit on your nightstand, on the table by your favorite chair in the morning, or to drop in your purse.  $15, including shipping.  Just click here to purchase now!

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Hi Friends,

If you are like every parent out there that I know, you worry about how technology is possibly (ok definitely) going to affect your child negatively–if not now, someday.

Besides moving to a remote valley where there is no access to wifi, no phones or computers in your house (oh and no friends who have access to technology), this is something we as parents have to face.  And honestly, it is really scary.

When our kids were younger, I came up with a Power Point to share with our children talking/teaching about technology –its benefits, its dangers, the good, bad and the ugly.   It is simple and very general so we could tailor the discussion to our family’s needs at the time.  It is something I could share with them even now as older teens, but the format is geared for elementary-middle school children (however if you are a little Power Point savvy, you can “adult” it up a bit for your older ones!).

I want to share it with you in hopes that it may provide a jumping off point for you to have this discussion (most likely one you’ve had a few times before–it is not a one and done), with some structure and open ended points to allow some good family processing.  Just click on the link below and you will be able to open it up, customize it to your family, add, subtract, whatever you want. 

FAMILY TECH PLAN

With all my camaraderie in this journey of parenting!

~Amy

Also…I created these prayer journals for the Fall.  I will be creating a new version for each season of the year.   If you are like me and need some structure during your prayer time to keep you focused, you might love one of these.  They are a perfect size, to sit on your nightstand, on the table by your favorite chair in the morning, or to drop in your purse.  $15, including shipping.  Just click here to purchase now!

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Do you love a good BEFORE and AFTER?  I do.  And it’s one of my most favorite parts of my job, because I get to watch the process unfold step by step and often see the look of joy on the homeowners face when we reveal their new space!

Here are a few good ones from 2018:

LIGHTEN AND BRIGHTEN

 WOOD TO WHITE


Happy Couple!



LIKE A BRAND NEW KITCHEN

So there it is…just a few of our kitchen makeovers from 2018.  

Thanks for following this blog!  If you are not already a subscriber, consider entering your email below and get the free E BOOK on design!  Also, we post our projects and other tips and designs (almost daily) on Instagram  @simplyusdesign–we’d love to have you join us there!

~Amy

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My life is bigger than it has ever been.  It feels as if all the small paths I have walked are conjoining into a large open road that is full and busy and bustling with dreams realized.  My life feels overflowing with relationships and new roles and exciting opportunities.

But most of the time I feel quite small. 

Let me explain.

Our kids are big.  They are in college and final years of high school.  In many ways I feel like my husband and I have “accomplished” raising children…they are healthy, smart, kind and pretty amazing people.

AND YET…

I feel small in my parenting…teenagers come with all sorts of challenges.  They are becoming real life people with real life minds and thoughts.  Their problems are bigger, their feelings are bigger, and their needs are bigger.  Most of the time my husband and I hope and pray every day we are making the right parenting decisions with each new turn in the road.

__________________________________

In the last couple of years I have been invited into some significant leadership and speaking roles in our church that are amazing–and scary big.  I am incredibly grateful and excited about the opportunities.  It is a exponential time of learning and growth for me, and the opportunity for influence and responsibility fits right in with what I feel called to do in this season.

BUT

I often feel unequipped and unqualified…the bigger the role, the more I sit in this place.  This past year I have dealt with more insecurity and self-doubt and kicking myself after meetings for saying too much, or not saying enough, or saying the wrong thing…I think?  I have questioned my wisdom, my intelligence, my ability to express coherent ideas.  I have wrestled to find my voice–only to find it and then spend the next week analyzing what I said and how I could have said it differently or better.

________________________________________

Our marriage is big.  We are just a few months shy of twenty-five years, and I can’t believe how much life Jon and I have shared together.   I am so proud of the intentionality and work we have invested over the years, resulting in a strong and loving marriage at this significant milestone.

AND YET…

I often feel small in my marriage that I cherish so dearly.  I worry that I am not showing up well, that I am not present like I want to be, that my dear husband and I are not spending as much quality time together that we could be.  Marriage is a consistent practice in selflessness, service, and grace.  

_____________________________________

My opportunities for community are big.  Not just in the church, but in our home.  Starting in a couple of weeks our weekly neighborhood bible study resumes in our basement for its ninth year.  It is a small group of women who carry in big suitcases of life’s challenges…and we unpack them together each Monday night in the light of God’s goodness and grace.   And then on Wednesday morning, another group of women shed shoes at the front door and grab a steaming mug of coffee and sit through a class that is scary big for all of us, because we are looking deeply at our flaws and working hard at evolving into our better selves to carry into our spheres of influence.

YET…

I sometimes struggle in living up to these roles.   Because leading assumes one knows how to guide others in whatever endeavor is present.  It assumes the leader has figured “it” out, has perfected whatever they are leading in.  But mostly I feel like I am trying to figure out my own messy life along with everyone else.  And that doesn’t always make me feel confident or skilled at bringing others along the path we are on.

____________________________________

And my work life is big.  This summer my design and painting company has grown to six employees not counting myself, full time work and referrals that book us out months at a time.  I have never experienced this kind of role that is really about fourteen roles in one-accountant, customer service, marketing, CEO, fellow paint pusher, boss, scheduler, payroll manager, H.R., trainer and quality control.  (I’m making the oval teeth emoji face right now.)

BUT I do not feel CEO big…

Just the opposite… because I know the responsibility I carry for my business name and reputation is one bad review away.  I feel small under the weight of needing to train the amazing women that work for me well enough so that I don’t need to always be present–because my sanity lies in finding margin.  I feel small knowing that we are being paid thousands of dollars to produce a near perfect product, and all the cogs in the wheel need to turn just right to make that happen.

So…my life feels pretty big at the moment.  And REALLY small.

For me, this season is a juxtaposition of calling and fear and one more thing…PEACE.

In the midst of all the insecurity, I hold strongly and confidently to the fact that I am where I am supposed to be, at this perfect time, in this right season.  I know this because I have spent too many years of my life pushing my own agenda, striving after dreams with self-propelled will.  

This season is different.  Each part of my life is present because a few years ago I surrendered my agenda to God.  I decided that I was going nowhere without his plan being first, and that he couldn’t fulfill his plan for my life unless I got out of the way.   And the opportunities began to literally fall in my lap, one after another. 

So the peace I feel comes from this bigger plan out there.  If I stumble or trip along the way, it’s okay.  God is walking beside me in all of it, and heck, if he wants all this to be in my life than he can certainly manage my weaknesses.

God’s way is not our own.  In our weakness, He is strong.  In our insecurity, he is secure.  IN OUR SMALLNESS, HE IS BIG.

And I can take a deep exhaling breath and rest in all of that.

How about you?  What is BIG in your life?  What makes you question your abilities, your strength, your wisdom?  It may not be something good…it may be something very, very difficult.  Health, marriage, parenting, work. 

From my story, I would encourage you to turn it all over to God.  Lay it in his large, capable hands.  There you and I can stop striving.  

What is God calling you to give to him today?  Do you trust he has a better plan for your hours and days (even better than your own?), for your pain (he can bring great peace in the midst of it), and for your relationship with Him (he is ALL about relationship)?

I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; 
I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know,
from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none
besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and
create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the
Lord, who does all these things. Isaiah 45:5-7

Friends, rest with me in the smallness.  It means God is doing big thing around us…and more importantly…IN us.  And he will equip us with all that we need for this season, right now.

xoxo,

Amy

Also…I created these prayer journals for the Fall.  I will be creating a new version for each season of the year.   If you are like me and need some structure during your prayer time to keep you focused, you might love one of these.  They are a perfect size, to sit on your nightstand, on the table by your favorite chair in the morning, or to drop in your purse.  $15, including shipping.  Just click here to purchase now!

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Well hello everyone!  We have been very busy over at The Designed Home, painting, accessorizing, decorating, staging, and refinishing cabinets!  So busy that I barely have time to share the pictures.  But today I am excited to show you an incredible before and after.

This client is a friend of mine and we started her redesign project in January.  She had not updated her furniture and decor for about ten years and was ready for a change.  After meeting a couple of times, we set these design goals in search of a whole new look:

  • a fresh new color of paint
  • new furniture for family room and kitchen nook
  • new lighting
  • new curtains
  • accessories

But what about the style?  Becky loved elements of the farmhouse style, but her current home was very traditional.  So we ended up with a mix of farmhouse with some contemporary elements like metallics (notice the gold lamps).   The end result:  Casual and Classic.

The eating nook:

Becky wanted a new table that could sit six comfortably.  I found these Moroccan style curtains that are a bold pattern, but this room could handle it.  We added a circular light which looks great over a circular table.  Add in faux leather chairs that weather spills and a cute tray with succulents and there you have it!


So lets dive in a bit…

We started with painting the walls one of my favorite grey colors:  Scroll Beige (trust me, it looks grey).  After discussing room layout, we decided to go with a design that accommodated the most seating possible for when Becky and her husband host groups in their home.  Also, Becky wanted to be able to see the TV from the kitchen while she was cooking.  Function always comes first in design!

Then we picked the general color scheme for furniture and accessories…we would have a neutral palate of furniture, rug and walls, but then bring in blue and a pop of golden yellow with a few pillows and accessories and pattern in the curtains.

 

Becky’s husband had one request– swivel rocker chairs.  We found these dark grey, light grey and cream chairs at a store in Denver called “The Showroom.”  It’s also where we found her couches and end tables.

Notice the striped curtains behind the chairs?  We found them at Pier One.  They are a subtle pattern which works well with the bolder pattern in the chairs.

Design tip:  Mix subtle stripes with bolder florals or larger prints. 

These curtains also balance the strong Moroccan print on the kitchen nook curtains. As long as you carry the same colors through, you can pull off different patterns in elements of a room (well you can sometimes mix colors too, but that’s for a different post!)

The mantle design in is a mix of classic and contemporary (we called this picture the blue jellybean print).  Mixing these two styles adds interest and surprisingly a sense of peace and calm.

 

Below: This mirror above the couch was originally above Becky’s fireplace mantle.  She asked for it to stay in the room if possible.  This wall could hold more, but since we had more going on with the mantle and other areas, we kept it simple.

We opted for a square coffee table which would allow some resting of feet and plenty of surface area for drinks.

One more….

 

This before and after gives a good view of what “lightening and brightening” can do for a room.  If you are wondering how to do that in your home, start with lighter walls and lighter furniture.  Then add in color with accessories, curtains and pillows.

I found this navy blue lantern –love!  And the yellow flowers from Home Goods….

One final pic!

THERE’S MORE!  But for another blog …(we also worked on updating Becky’s bedroom, dining room and bathroom).

Hopefully this post gave you a new idea or two for your house.  Almost all of the items you see in these rooms besides the main furniture came from Hobby Lobby, Home Goods, Pier One, or Target.

If you want to see our progress on projects on a week to week basis, follow us on Instagram @amyandval.  We have a lot of fun over there and I post design tips too.

Have a great rest of your week!

xoxo

Amy

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All through February we worked on a new cabinet refinishing project for a wonderful lady named Jackie.  This was one of our larger projects–a kitchen, butler’s pantry and large laundry room, all in different colors!  The end result has been great.  Somehow I forgot to take “before” pictures, but picture medium stained wood cabinets, and no backsplash.

This project had a new element of design fun for us– Jackie wanted a color other than white on her cabinets.  We picked this light blue/green color (Woodland Blue by Benjamin Moore) and kept the island white  (Jackie is considering changing her island counter to a white marble in the future).

This makeover added lightness, whimsy and a fresh look!

We picked this backsplash in the neutral family with just a touch of gray.  Jackie’s walls are going to be painted a color called “Owl Grey” and the backsplash will pull that color through the kitchen nicely.

As I usually recommend in all the kitchens we makeover, we put beadboard around the island and on the ends of the cabinets.  This serves two purposes–one, to add a more sturdy surface to accept the paint and not chip in the future (compared to the laminate wood on most island ends), and two, it upgrades the custom quality of the kitchen.

The lighting isn’t great in this picture below, but you can see the who area.  

Here is our team and Jackie is in the middle with the great smile.  It has been wonderful working with her!

We are working on two more kitchen cabinet projects right now so I will of course add these to the blog!

xoxo,

Amy

P.S. We have a new Instagram site @amyandval where we are posting pictures of our projects as we go!

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When our oldest daughter, Hannah, was in middle school I had my first totally gut wrenching experience of watching her be truly hurt by friends.  She had been invited to a house for a birthday party with a group of girls from school.  When I dropped her off she was all smiles, bouncing up to the door with a polka-dotted gift bag. I remember feeling all warm and fuzzy about the new friends my daughter was making—all was well in the universe.

About four hours later she texted that she was ready to be picked up.  When I arrived, she walked out to the car, absent of all bounce.   “How was the party hon?” I asked.  “It was okay,” she responded sliding into the passenger seat.  “Is everything all-right?” I continued, noticing her flat tone.  “Not really, Everyone is sleeping over except me.  I didn’t get invited to.”

And then she burst into tears.

I can’t begin to explain the flood of intense emotions that rolled over me. I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me by a bunch of pimply snap chatting middle schoolers. But I don’t need to explain, Moms, you know exactly what I am talking about.

Not only did I desperately want to hug my child until all the pain was squeezed out of her, but I found myself instantly remembering long locked away feelings of being left out when I was a child…which is always fun.

It. Felt. Awful.

“I am so so sorry honey.” I softly said. “I just don’t know why they don’t like me enough to see me as one of their group,” she sobbed.  I had no words to explain…who knows? 

We drove home in silence. Both of us hurting and confused.

Now I know some of you moms out there would be making a phone call the next day to the mom who hosted the party, or crossing those girls off your child’s friend list permanently and believe me, I understand. Our mama bear comes out in those situations like a dog chasing a cat.  I just didn’t have the fight in me for that one.  Hannah and I talked about security in God and not in friends and how much we loved and accepted her in our family.  But the pain was still there, and to make it worse it happened a few more times that year.  More fun.

I actually think in that situation I did the right thing.  This was part of Hannah’s friend story.  I didn’t rescue her.  I just sat in the pain with her.  But I didn’t always choose that option.  Over the years with our three kids I found other (unhealthy) ways to deal with my pain and theirs.

For example, sometimes after our children experienced particularly painful encounters, I would make secret plans in my head to move my family to a remote country where we would raise chickens and help orphans because of course there would be only rainbows and no pain there.

Other times, I would react, like the time I stormed out of our back door and told off a group of boys that were teasing my son (this had been a repeated event and I just lost all my cool).  And then I calmed down.  And got the full story.  And realized I could have asked more questions and talked to them in a reasonable way about how this behavior was really hurting my son instead of as a freaking out suburban crazy bear mom.  And then I called to apologize to all the moms for my overreaction.  And then felt even more terrible because one of the moms had just been diagnosed with terminal cancer and I didn’t know.  Geez.

A couple of times I sent emails to moms to try to work out the problems and both times that exploded into an awful exchange of misunderstood tones and meanings.  (Important note; DO NOT EMAIL OR TEXT IN THESE SITUATIONS.  Resist your inner millennial and pick up the phone).

But most often, I didn’t do anything except brew mean thoughts about those kids who were hurting our kids.  How they were just plotting and planning ways to leave our daughter out (which I realize sometimes is the case, but not usually) or how they relished the pain it was  causing my son to not get invited to high school social events (ok, relish is probably too strong of a word).  I would make up stories about how if I could only give them a taste of their own medicine then they would stop, or that maybe I needed to intercept my child’s phone and send a nasty text back. 

So…just so you know I’m not very proud of these thoughts. 

Note that what I didn’t at all account for in this inner mental tirade was that our child MIGHT have POSSIBLY contributed to the situation.  Which as moms we need to admit is very often the case.

And the problem is that when the next day my child is full of smiles and pep because they are now best friends again with that child that hurt them (AND sent me into an emotional nosedive just twenty four hours before) I was not over it.  And would have to drive this child to an activity in a carpool or feed them a snack at my kitchen counter.  With a smile pasted to my face.

I was sharing all of this with a close, wise friend few years ago and she (as good friends should do) said, “Amy. You need to get off this emotional roller coaster. You are riding it right along with your child and they don’t want or need that. They need you to be waiting at the end of the ride, calmly, sanely, with a hug and and ice cream cone. (Well I added that part about the ice cream but I could imagine her saying that.)

And when you watch them get back on the coaster (which they inevitably will), just sit on the bench and breathe and pray.”

In essence she was telling me to get a grip.

She was sooo right and her words were incredibly freeing.

Moms, our kids don’t need a mom who joins in on the railing and complaining against the perpetrator, or a mom who sends and email they might regret,  or runs out the back door yelling and pointing fingers.  Ahem. 

No.  They need stable, calm, sane mom. Solid in her foundation as a secure adult who is not rocked by the misdeeds of others (mere children for gosh sake!).  Who is confident of her God who loves her and her child…who takes a moment to calculate what time of the month it is before responding like a crazy person.

Our child needs a mom who assures them that everything is going to be okay and asks empowering questions like, “Wow. That must really hurt.  What do you think you should do about this?”

Believe me I know this is hard.  When our kids are hurt it causes us moms to go a little let’s say…bat you know what crazy. Just ask our husbands.  We lose rationality and clear thought.  We are out for blood.  We are mad. Like a little insane mad.  Because these are our flesh and blood and our primal instinct as moms is to protect them from pain at all costs.

The problem is in those moments we are totally focused on the now. Not the tomorrow or the years ahead.  Not our child’s long term maturing process.  Not our relationships with other moms…like when you will see that other mom at the bus stop or show up for the same volunteer time at your kid’s classroom, or sit down the row from each other at the middle school band performance. Awkward. Not that that has ever happened to me…

In those moments we are not understanding the long term perspective.  That our kids really end up being okay.  They figure it out.  It becomes part of their story, they learn from it how to be a better friend to others and who to choose as future friends.  We forget that that child that we are so mad at will possibly be in our home for years to come and really do we want to be harboring ugly feelings for an eight year old mistake when they are fourteen?

So, slowly, I got off the roller coaster of our child’s friendships.  I got a grip. Those friendships were brutal sometimes; still are.  Just last year my daughter had a incredibly painful friend situation her first year in college.  I listened.  I prayed for her.  I hung up and prayed for my heart which was killing me as I sat over a thousand miles away from her.

But you know what? She got through it.  That is the same child who was not invited to the sleepover?  She’s amazing.  And secure. And has good boundaries.  And has an incredible group of friends this year who all flew to our home for a weekend stay and some mountain skiing just last month.

Just last week our seventeen year old son shared that he had been left out of something his whole group did together.  They just didn’t want him there.  The pain is still very powerful and real. Those mean thoughts wanted to take root. But I just handle it differently now.  I pray.  I ask God to give me wisdom and peace and to shut my mouth.  I listen to my son and if he doesn’t want to talk about it I don’t pry.  He will be okay.

He will.

They survive.  We survive.

The pain…if we can wrap our brains around it moms, is not this evil ugly monster trying to devour our child.  If they have a safe and sane place to land at home, the pain turns into strength and learning about how to treat others, and perseverance, and healthy boundaries, and maturity.

I don’t think those girls at the birthday party were intentionally trying to be mean.  They were just clueless.  Can we give those who hurt our children the benefit of the doubt?  And can we acknowledge that our children aren’t perfect and also will cause hurt to others in their eighteen years of childhood?  Can we demonstrate grace and forgiveness to those in our home and those outside of our home? 

What an incredible example of Christ’s love we can be.

Moms, you are amazing!  Press on!

Xoxo

Amy

Also…I created these prayer journals for the Fall.  I will be creating a new version for each season of the year.   If you are like me and need some structure during your prayer time to keep you focused, you might love one of these.  They are a perfect size, to sit on your nightstand, on the table by your favorite chair in the morning, or to drop in your purse.  $15, including shipping.  Just click here to purchase now!

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It’s time for another kitchen makeover post!  This is a project I worked on last October for one of my LONG-time dear friends.  Susie and I have known each other since meeting in a bible study in college at the University Of Colorado, and we have walked through a lot of life together over the last 30 years.

Susie and her husband Johnny live in a great neighborhood but wanted their older ranch house kitchen to have an update.  The cabinets were original and had been resurfaced at one point along with new granite countertops put in, but overall the fixtures, paint, hood, cabinets and flooring needed a new current look. 

Ok here we go.  Originally we  just discussed painting the cabinets.  Susie already had plans for refinishing her wood floor and a new fridge.  But as we looked at her kitchen, I suggested we replace the hood over the stove along with considering painting and replacing the lighting–all three ideas would create a big updated impact with only a small  increase to their overall budget.

She and her husband decided to add these ideas to the project and we created a plan.

DESIGN PLAN:

~Paint Cabinets

~ Backsplash

~ Lighting

~ New Hood

~ New Paint

~ New Fridge

~ Refinish Flooring

So, Valerie and I went to work!

Here are a couple more before pictures:

 

 

 

Those are the big picture views of Susie’s new kitchen!  Here are some close up pictures:

Backsplash/Lighting

We picked a stone backsplash that was a little more neutral since the counters had a lot of pattern.  Then we replaced the flush-mount light over the sink with a hanging glass pendant from Lowes.

We replaced the fan over the kitchen table with a new light, and hung a new canvas to pull through the reds that Susie loves.

Here is a the new hood from Lowes.

We also added bead board to the flat panels that covered the peninsula cabinetry. It is a small investment for a big impact upgrade.

ALSO, we decided to preserve the existing hardware which was brass colored.  I spray painted all the hardware with a metallic spray paint:

Another BEFORE picture:

And AFTER:

 

Thanks for joining us for another kitchen makeover!

Right now I am working on a full house redesign and update which I will share with you here on the blog when it’s done! (Think red/yellows and formal style turned into grey/tan/cream with black accents modern farmhouse!)

xoxo,

Amy

Also, it’s ULTIMATE BUNDLES TIME! This week Ultimate Bundles is rolling out their latest package –FIVE DAYS of bundles:

PARENTING ~DECLUTTERING~FITNESS AND HEATH~HERBS AND EO’S~HEALTHY LIVING

Bundles are basically a whole grouping of resources on individual topics pulled together for an online download just for you.  I love these because they are so full of ideas and answers to problems we all face!  Check it out if you want:

ALL ACCESS BUNDLE PASS

Have a great week 🙂

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MERRY CHRISTMAS!

(this post contains affiliate links)

By now my guess is you have most of your Christmas decorations unpacked and beautifully displayed around your house, but maybe this year you are still wanting to add a new look in a couple of areas and are not quite sure how to accomplish that.

I wanted to give you some ideas in this blog and make it EASY to copy!  I am including links at the bottom so you can just order and create this exact look, HOWEVER Amazon changes its supply often, or you may not be able to get it by Christmas.  So order for next year’s table setting OR search around and see if you can find something similar online or in stores and use these pictures as examples.

IDEA #1  KITCHEN TABLE CENTERPIECE

This whole look is from Amazon and is the perfect Christmas ensemble.  I started with the tray which is a distressed mirrored glass bordered by rustic wood.  Round trays look good on both round and square tables.

Then I added the pine tree in a pot.  The pot was a little deep so I crumpled up some paper to lift the tree up.  The deer figurine is small but beautiful, and could really go anywhere in the house, but I loved it right here.

I found this “Merry and Bright” wood sign which is small enough to perfectly fit on this tray, and then added the gold pinecone (which I love!) and tapered candle.  To pull it all together I cut some branches off a pine tree in our yard and circled them around the bottom (you can use any kind of pine branches).

 

IDEA #2:  DINING ROOM TABLE

Sometimes bringing a centerpiece together is a matter of collecting things you love.  This setting has a mix of old and new, gold and candlelight, farmhouse and traditional, with a few pine needles from the backyard.   And it all works!

These rope gold candlesticks bookend the decor and add a hint of traditional and formal.

And more gold pinecones..

(Note: Amazon recently changed their supply–this particular one is not available but I’ve included a link to a similar set)

 

I found this white deer at Lowes–they have great Christmas decorations this year!

And, from Magnolia Market…the salt and pepper shaker. 

A great table runner creates the foundation for any table setting.  The one if found has a warm, natural, creamy look.  I love it.

 

 

One more look:

I have listed below the links to find most of these items so you can create these looks if you want.  MERRY CHRISTMAS!

xoxo,

Amy

Links:

Round Mirrored Wood Tray

Gold Rope Candlesticks

Gold Pinecone Holders

Magnolia Market Salt and Pepper Shaker

White Deer with Wreath on Neck

Small White Deer Figurine

Small Pine Tree

Merry and Bright Wood Sign
DII Cotton Everyday Machine Washable Chindi Rag Table Runner, 14 X 72″, Natural

 

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Hello!  Welcome to another kitchen makeover!

In September I completed a kitchen cabinet painting project for my next door neighbor (who is awesome!).  Brooke is naturally gifted at decorating and pulling ideas together, but she invited me in on her project to paint her cabinets and to be a sounding board for her kitchen vision.  Here are the befores and afters!

BROOKE’S PROJECT LIST:

White Cabinets

New Countertops

New Lighting

Level Island to One Flat Surface

Leveling the island is a great function move.  It allows flow of conversation and                      connection between the family room and kitchen.  Lowering the bar also creates                    more visual space, making the rooms feel bigger and more open.

Didn’t she do a great job?!  As we were discussing the design for these areas, we wanted to bring in wood tones wherever possible to warm up the “cool” grey walls and white cabinets.  Brooke bought this great wood and iron shelving unit (to the left of the fireplace) which she did an amazing job decorating.

The quartzite countertops are beautiful, and the lighting she picked added warmth and a rustic touch.

I painted the cabinets my new favorite cabinet color, Banner White by SW….and, selfishly I got to spend some afternoons getting to know my neighbor better which is always the best part of my job!

Here’s one more before and after:

Have a great day and remember to take a deep breath and rest in the holiness of this season.

XOXO,

~Amy

Oh, almost forgot–I created this new free e-book!  Check it out!

 

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