Stand up and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise. You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth, and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You gave life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you. (Nehemiah 9: 5-6)
Last fall I decided to move my home office from the back of the house to a spare bedroom in the front of the house. It was no easy task considering the spare bedroom had actually become the junk room over the course of many years. As each of the four children moved out, items were left behind. I’m guilty of adding to the accumulation of stuff. It truly was the catch-all room for 15 years.
It took me weeks to get up the courage to start the clean-out process. I would open the door, see the boxes of stuff piled to the ceiling, and close the door again. I finally started taking it one box at a time until I could see the floor again. I lost track of how many trips I made to the goodwill store, and I rented a dumpster to make it easier to get rid of the items that weren’t salvageable.
I learned a valuable lesson – Never hoard items you are not going to use. Not only does it take up space in your home, but it also takes a lot of time to clean out the junk later. Since the major clean out, I’ve been diligent about getting rid of stuff I no longer need. I will never have another “junk” room.
I enlisted the help of my brother to tear up the old worn carpet. The room had black curtains and brown paneling. I started to second guess my decision to move my office. I wondered if there was any hope for the dismal brown walls, ceiling, and ugly wood floor that was under the carpet.
I wanted my office space to be light and bright but not too harsh. I wanted the room to feel relaxed and serene. I love the cottage decorating style, so I went with it.
I didn’t want to spend a ton of money, so I painted over the paneling instead of having dry wall installed. I figured the lines in the paneling and the ceiling would add to the cottage look I was aiming for.
It took me a week to decide on a paint color. I chose Life’s a Peach (Behr brand) for the walls. It was exactly what I was looking for. Not too beige, not too pink or peachy, but somewhere in between. I chose Cottage White (Behr) for the ceiling. I also used Cottage White to paint over the brown wooden bookcases from my old office.
I purchased Pergo laminate flooring in Coastal Pine for the floor. Choosing the accent pieces was the fun part. I found a vintage bulletin board, wooden signs, and a shelf at Hobby Lobby and a weathered picture frame at Kmart, which was a perfect fit for the pictures of my grandchildren.
I am very pleased with the finished project, and I enjoy working in my new office each day. It was a lot of hard work, but the end result was worth the effort.
My favorite part of the office is the small table and chair in the corner. I refer to it as my “time-out” corner. When I’m busy working during the day, the small table and chair is a visual reminder to be still and know God. It’s the place I keep my Bible, hymnal, journal, and tea set. It’s my place of rest. It’s the place I can take a break, enjoy a cup of tea, read, or pray.
Here’s a few pictures of the rest of the room. I found this gray weathered accent table at Wayfair online. It was the easiest thing I’ve ever put together.
I love my electric fireplace heater. It keeps my office toasty and warm.
Last but not least, my painted bookcases. Painting was much cheaper than replacing the bookcases, even though it was messy and took more coats of paint than I expected.
I hope you enjoyed the tour of my cottage-style home office. Every day I thank God for blessing me with work I can do at home and for giving me a relaxing home office to work in. There’s nothing like the comforts of home!
Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5: 20)
Ode To February
Winter’s breath harsh and shrill,
blankets the woods with a blustery chill.
As snow-cloaked trees dance to and fro,
branches laden with heavy snow.
And moonlight dances on a February night,
sprinkling the woods with snowy light.
Outside my window I see once more,
winter’s attire serene and pure.
Warmer-than-normal temperatures, rain, and overcast skies have been the typical weather pattern this winter. A few light snows brightened up the dreary scenery, but they melted within a few hours.
I miss seeing the beauty of sunlight falling over the snow-covered mountain landscape. And while I don’t mind the winter being warmer, I long to see the woods dressed in a dazzling display of ice-frosted trees. I miss how the snow illuminates dark and dreary nights. I miss the quietness that falls over the mountainside when the ground is blanketed with snow.
It’s hard to see any beauty when everything appears so drab. However, I have noticed an abundance of cardinals this year. Their red plumage stands out against the barren landscape. It’s impossible not to notice them sprinkled throughout the brown trees and brush.
Seeing how much the colorful cardinals stand out makes me think about how we, as Christians, are supposed to represent the light of Christ in a dark world. Do we stand out boldly like the cardinals or do we simply blend in with the darkness?
So often I blend in, especially when my personal environment isn’t very bright, and I’m going through difficult situations. I tend to grumble and complain like everyone else. I think thoughts I shouldn’t. I allow discouragement to obscure my vision of the beautiful things surrounding me each day.
It can be difficult to see anything good during the dark seasons in life, but there’s always beauty if we look for it. Focusing only on the dreary stuff can make it impossible to see things in a positive light. When we begin to look for the beauty in life, regardless of our circumstances, it will help us get through those seasons when life doesn’t make sense.
A few of the lovely things I’ve experienced in my life recently are:
- A grandchild’s sweet smile and tiny hand grasping mine.
- A rainbow after a winter storm.
- The warmth of a cup of tea in my hand on a chilly morning.
- A powerful sermon at church.
- The deer in my backyard
- The birds at my feeders.
- A moonlit sky.
- An unexpected letter from an old friend.
- The pleasure of reading a book I can’t put down.
- The smell of homemade soup simmering on the stove.
- Laughing with by best friend over something only the two of us would understand.
Just as the cardinals add brightness to the dull-looking mountain landscape, a positive and joyful attitude will make us stand out as the light of Christ in a dark and troubled world. A joyful and gracious spirit is contagious and can inspire others to seek the beautiful things in life.
Are you standing out or blending in with the darkness? What can you do today to stand out and shine as the light of Christ?