Happy Birthday frazzled JOY!!

Wow, has it really been a year since I started blogging??  I have to say that when I was first introduced to the blogging world, I had no idea what it was all about or how big it was!!  My friend Jennifer was telling me about a project she saw on a blog she liked to read – Thrifty Decor Chick.  It sounded cool, so I thought I would check it out.  I was instantly hooked!!  I soon found a couple of other design blogs that I enjoyed reading, but I didn’t subscribe to any – I know there are many of you out there.  J  Then Jennifer started her own blog.  I loved reading and seeing every project she did online because she is really talented!!  Then came pinterest and I was again sparked to take back up my passion for crafts, home improvement, DIY, and decorating.  After a while I decided that if all these others could do it maybe I could too.  I talked to my hubby about it several times, and he just kept saying, “yes, you should do it!”  Have I mentioned how awesome he is and how supportive?  Well, ya then he decided he wanted to blog too (he really is an excellent writer) – wait, what?  That was gonna be mine thing!!  So, I dove in head first, and started my random blogging, having no idea what I was doing – seriously no idea.  I learned as I went and am still learning!!  I also continued to find blogs through other blogs that I enjoyed reading.  While I love my decorating, DIY blogs, I have found that my taste has changed a little bit.  I am drawn to those who are so brave to share their stories of life – the hard things that we are all dealing with.  I am also drawn to those who aren’t afraid to share their faith – because really what’s faith if you’re not willing to share it. 
You may have noticed that I have a variety of things that I post about here.  I still love sharing my DIY faves, but honestly sometimes there are life things on my mind and my heart.  These posts have two purposes – one is to clear my mind – writing does that for me, the other is to encourage –whoever The Lord might have reading that might need a word of “you’re not the only one” that day.  I know that reading other peoples’ stories makes me feel better some days –  it’s just nice to know that you are not alone in the day to day frazzledness of life, and it makes me feel a little less insane.
As I sat in church on Sunday morning I was challenged about sharing my faith – and God brought this blog to my mind.  I realized that although I have mentioned my faith here there I had never really shared my story, my testimony.  So, I took some time and wrote out my journey to Jesus.  Also, I have created a tab with this story for future reference and a tab for more information about The Man I call Jesus and Savior.  Please feel free to email me any questions you may have.  Thanks for reading along and commenting and following and sharing.  I think the blog world is so interesting – all the cyber friends floating around out there J.  So much fun really!!
So, my story.  I did not grow up going to church with my family.  My only exposure to church was through going to church with friends.  The most frequent being a friend I met in first grade.  Every year she invited me to attend vacation bible school at her church.  I eagerly attended for many reasons.  She was a good friend, I am an only child so summer got boring and monotonous quickly, and I really enjoyed the time spent there.  From there I became involved in Wednesday night youth activities when I got old enough for that.  That too was fun.  That didn’t really last for too long, because in high school our relationship changed – our friend groups changed.  But, the seed was planted.  I knew God, and I believed he was a strong force in my life.  I was a miserable teenager – unhappy a lot.  Whether warranted, that’s how I remember myself.  I had hanging on my bedroom wall two crosses – which I think I found at garage sales – I would often sit in front of them and “pray”.  I didn’t really know who I was praying to, but I knew it made me feel better.  As I look back I know God was taking care of me even then.  Fast forward to college.  I met a boy.  The night we met we talked for hours, I went upstairs and told my roommate “I’m going to marry him” she thought I was crazy.  He was a church going boy, and he asked me to go to church with him, and honestly I jumped at the chance J.  That summer we attended his home church together.  One afternoon we were out driving around and he asked me if I knew Jesus.  I said “no”.  I knew by now who Jesus was but nothing more.  He shared Christ with me right there in his truck.  The next Sunday I walked the aisle at that small town Baptist church and gave my heart and life to Jesus.  I asked him to save me from my sins, and be the boss of my life.  Best decision I ever made!!  Two years later we were married in that church J.  Ha!  Told ya!
Jesus is a present figure in my life every day.  I could share endless stories of how our life events could only make sense because of God’s hand.  Many stories of monetary blessings that came at just the right time.  But I have to say the biggest thing is the peace and joy that he brings me every day.  Really as my blog title eludes, in the midst of my frazzled life I still have joy.  That joy can only come from The Lord.  See, there’s a difference between happiness and joy.  Happiness is dependent on our circumstances.  Joy only comes from The Lord.  Our knowledge that He is in control and that no matter how bad things seem at the time, in the end He has the victory!!  You see when Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead He defeated the devil and the hold he has on God’s people.  My trust in God and the big picture allows me to retain my joy each and every day. 

An example – one day we came home from running some errands and there was water pouring down the driveway coming from the garage.  We opened the garage to see water spraying everywhere, coming from the hot water heater.  My hubby and I sat in the car and laughed out loud!!!  We then unloaded the car and proceeded to clean up the mess.  Joy!!  Were we happy that we had to repair the hot water heater, or clean up a water mess?  No, but in the grand scheme of things – joy!! 

I really could go on and on.  But not today.  J  Thanks for letting me tell my story, and if you made it this far – thanks for reading!!

Blessings to you and yours!!

Linking up with Kathy at Cornerstone Confessions here
250 Titus 2 Tuesday
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Transitions – you know, when you move from one stage of life to another – how do you handle them?  We really try our best to celebrate these times within our family.  However, I have to be honest and say I’m having a hard time finding the celebration spirit right now.  Because there are toooo many transitions going on at the same time.  It’s so overwhelming for me.  I want to be happy I want to enjoy these times, because they are precious and they are exciting.  But, for this momma heart, they are a little sad too.  I have been trying to fight the sadness, and anxiousness with extra prayer.  Because I want to celebrate!!  I mean these transitions are good and exciting!!

My biggen is going to be a senior, going to be 18 soon.  How is it possible that I am old enough to have an 18 year old son?  God is so good.  Talk of senior pictures, college applications, and such makes me want to run to my hiding place, but I am holding on tight to my trust in The Lord because I know He has a perfect plan for my boy.

My baby girl gets her driving permit tomorrow.  What!?  She is far more excited than I am.  Teaching kids to drive ranks right up there with potty training for me in the list of parenting duties I do not enjoy.  That’s why daddy is in charge of the practice driving!  🙂  (I mean after all, I did most of the potty training!!)

This kid is entering middle school – 6th grade.  Which for us also means entering the church youth group.  Middle school should be called miserable school, really do any of those kids learn anything amongst all those swirling hormones?? Youth group is such a turning point in their spiritual training because they begin to take the focus off themselves and they learn how to make their faith their own. Really an awesome thing, but he just seems like a little guy to me :).

As I was thinking through getting ready for school, printing supply lists and such, I realized this would be our last year of buying elementary school supplies. Wow, just wow.  This will be our 12th year at this elementary school, the same elementary school.  That alone is a blessing.  Even though many teachers and administration is gone, many are still there.  It’s been a good place for my kids :).

You know then there is me adjusting to being a full-time stay at home mom. The summer has not really been a good measure of what it will be like, since I am usually home during the summer. 

So, tell me, are you going through any transitions in your family?  How do you handle them?  Denial, stress, trying to be controlling, prayer?  It is always helpful to share with friends – because then we realize we are not alone!!

Blessings to you in whatever life stage you find yourself!!

Linking up with Kathy at Cornerstone Confessions here
250 Titus 2 Tuesday
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And the De-cluttering Continues

So after we tackled the garage, and rested for a few days just to recover, I decided to tackle another space that needed attention.  You see, what helps me stay on task when I am de-cluttering and organizing one space, is that when I decided something needs to be relocated, I just relocate it haphazardly trying to move on as quickly as possible {unless of course that space is already organized then I know where the thing is to go}.  I have mentioned that every corner of my home needs some TLC in the de-cluttering and organizing area so this is the only way I can stay focused and not get caught up doing a whole different project in the middle :).  So, long story short behind this lovely door in my entryway, 

there was this…

{insert horror movie-type scream here}

I don’t think I could have stuffed even one more thing in there – well maybe one more ;).  Anywho, as I have done with all the previous spaces, I cleaned EVERYTHING out.  Since we built our “mudroom” I have started using this closet more for storage of a variety of things.  As you can see – paperwork,

Office/School supplies,

Bags – remember I mentioned my obsession with them,

Of course coats and jackets not in use – I know the pile looks large but remember we are six people and it’s summer.

I also have some mementos in here because there is room…usually.  

So, after two small bags for charity, two bags of trash, and simply putting things where they actually went, I ended up with this.

I’m super excited that I can now get to the things I will need soon as school gets back underway.  The crate holds extra school supplies, as does the bottom three drawers of the green tower o’ drawers.  The top four drawers of this tower I use to hold my kids schoolwork and awards I choose to keep throughout the school year.  

This project only took a couple of hours and will have cost only $10 once I buy another pack of file boxes for all these.  A welcome venture after the garage.  

I have to add that with each space organized I feel like a five pound weight is being lifted from me.  I have always loved organized spaces, but I never really thought it was that important.  But, now I really can see what a difference it can make.  Don’t just use the space around you, but rather make it work for you.  

Blessings and Happy Organizing!!

Linking up with Courtney at A Thoughtful Place here
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Camp and Kids

Summer camp.  Did you go to summer camp?  I never had the opportunity, but my hubby did.  Our kids have gone every since they were old enough, including a couple of mother/daughter and father/son weekends.  Camps and mission trips for kids are so awesome!!  My kids have such a great time with friends, creating memories and so much more.  But my favorite thing about sending my kids to camp is what it does for their growing spirit.  

Summer camp is a wonderful way for kids to gain confidence.  It gives them the opportunity to be independent in a safe, kid-friendly environment.  They are supervised, but not at the level they are at home.  They are required to take care of their own basic needs for a few days away from mom.  Before leaving for kids camp, our children’s minister always asks these questions:  “can you make your own bed?”, “can you take a shower by yourself”, “can you fix your own hair?”.
These are things they will have to do while at camp, and away from mom :). They will also need to make good choices when it comes to food and snacks.  Speaking of choices, they will be making a lot of these all by themselves.  Now, don’t panic.  It’s okay!!  I promise!!  Most likely, the sponsors that you entrusted your precious one with are not going to let them go too crazy, but they might let them do some things that they wouldn’t be able to do at home, and that’s ok, that’s what camp is for.

Let them go to camp if at all possible.  Letting them go says “I trust you”, “I know you can do it”, “You will be fine without mom and dad for a couple of days”, “You are big enough”.  For many mommies, it’s much harder for us to put them on the bus, then it is for them to get on the bus.  Take a chance – do it, you won’t regret it.

Also, if you are able, go with them.  Not because you want to follow them around and make sure their okay (they will hate that, trust me), but because you want to see what it’s all about.  Sharing this with them will create so many blessed memories.  

If you can’t go, but you can visit – visit.  Again, not necessarily to check up on them, but to experience a little part of what they are experiencing.  It will bless your heart.

As I am now the mother of older kiddos, I do occasionally get questions from moms of younger kiddos who are just starting the things I have done over and over :).  As our summer camps at church were ramping up, I had more than one momma say to me – “what are your tips for sending kids to camp?”.  I would say the same thing every time – let them pack themselves!!

No, I am not insane.  Many camps provide a list of what to bring.  If a list is available – let them have the list.  I started doing this early on, honestly for my own sanity.  My younger two were not alone in wanting to pack way to soon for camp, my older two did as well when they were younger (now they pack an hour before they have to leave).  Rather than argue with them or listen to the begging any longer, I said “fine, here’s the list, knock yourself out”.

For the first two or three years, I would recommend having them lay everything out (rather than putting it in the suitcase), and then you have a chance to go over the list with them and check for any missing items like underwear and socks – this was what my kids always seemed to forget to put it???  I haven’t checked my teenagers bags in years.  Have they forgotten things – yes many times, but you know what they survived, and they didn’t forget it the next time :).    My kids are now better packers than I am, and much quicker.

I know some of you are hyper-ventilating right now.  It will be fine.  Their outfits don’t have to match -it’s camp- nobody expects them to look cute.  It is such a small thing that I promise will give them so much confidence.  It’s a good time to teach them tips and tricks – for example my oldest never goes anywhere without packing a sweatshirt and a pair of jeans – because you just never know (even in the middle of July in Oklahoma :)).  In my opinion, there are so many kids out there who will have a hard time adjusting to life on their own, purely because us mommas have done everything for them.  Yes, I know we love to do it – but when are they going to learn if we don’t let them.  As my son approaches 18 and “adulthood”, I have begun to notice some of these hangups.  Some days I think “yes, he will be fine”, and then other days when he is acting helpless, I think “oh my goodness, he is never going to make it”.  I have a year, right?  🙂

And, just think, if we start letting them do things on their own, we will have all sorts of extra time to do whatever we want!!  🙂

Blessings to you!!  Have a wonderful weekend!!
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Tips and Tricks for Garage Organization

This should be the last post on our garage.  But, I thought you might want some details on a few spots. 

First, some general tips for organizing your garage.
#1 keep like things together – one of the most frustrating things about cleaning the garage was how things were all over the place.  For example I found paint supplies in several different locations – and when I got it altogether, there was a lot of it!!
#2 keep as much off the floor as you can
#3 plan spaces for things based on frequency of use and location of use

What works best for me to achieve #1 when organizing a space is to empty out the space.  Don’t try to move things around in the space – you will just end up moving things too much.  Empty everything out and make piles – use buckets if you have them, or just use the floor.  There is no real right or wrong categories for sorting – it just needs to make sense to you and your family.  
garage organization
To achieve #2 we added a couple of shelves to one side of the garage.  We inherited the large shelves that cover one whole side, but the other side was lacking, and we needed something simple and shallow to store homeowner type supplies.  
garage shelves
garage storage
I also purchased a simple wooden shoe rack for by the door for outside shoes – water shoes, fishing shoes, mowing shoes, you know the ones you never want in the house :).  
shoes in garage
We also utilized pegboard in two locations to hold tools – my hubbies tools and garden and yard tools. 
tool storage
garden storage
The pegboards got a coat of the blue paint we used on the shelves, just to spice them up a bit.  By this point we were on the home stretch, so I didn’t get too decorative with the paint, but I still like the pop of color :).
You can see the garden area got a shelf too, for all those sprays and liquids that you prefer to have up high – this is actually a laundry shelf hung upside down, but it was the perfect size.
shelf to hold bug spray and other chemicals
Also, hooks, nails, etc. are great to hang things you need easy access to – some frequently used tools, sports equipment, brooms, etc.  
garage storage and organization
To achieve #3 we took a. lot. of. time. thinking, planning, discussing the location of things.  Because as I said before, we had half-done this project several times, and I really hope to never do it again.  So, the things we rarely need access to – went on the top shelves, then we worked down from there.  Things that we wanted on hand went on hooks on the walls, or on the pegboards.  
As to my inspirations – for paint storage, I loved the idea of the mason jars and being able to SEE the color of paint, however glass and my family is not really a good idea, so I went to my standby plastic containers from walmart.  These will hold about 1/2 gallon of paint.  
leftover paint storage
I had a few cans that had around 1/4 gallon of paint, so I found some other plastic food storage containers with a screw on lid, and they worked great.  Two tubs for other paint supplies and this is what I ended up with :).
paint and paint supply storage
For homeowner type supplies – you know those random home repair items that you have because you had to fix something and you bought way more than you needed so you need somewhere to store it, because you will surely need it again. I again went with CLEAR tubs.  Even though I did label all of these, I still wanted clear tubs, so there was no confusion, and besides I just like the look of them.
storage tubs in garage
labeled tubs in garage
As for the cordless charging station…nothing was built, but we did attach a power strip to our work table and rigged up a “table” below for the chargers to sit on.  To be honest when we were going through tools we discovered that only one cordless item would still charge, so not too much to plug in at this time.
garage charging station
I feel very confident that this is going to make a huge difference in how we use this space.  I pulled my car in yesterday finally and there was plenty of room. We could honestly pull both our trucks in but we probably couldn’t open any doors :).  Just so nice to have space!!
Maybe you feel stuck right now by all the stuff that seems to be closing in on you.  In our culture today it seems stuff reigns supreme.  I mean seriously storage facilities are popping up everywhere.  Run out of room in your garage? – go rent one on someone else’s property.  What is the purpose of collecting stuff?  As my grandma used to say – “you can’t take it with you when you die”.  I like pretty things, and we all have our things that we must keep for fear we might need it someday – mine is bags.  About a year or so ago I got inspired to clean out our home and our lives of all the excess stuff.  When the stuff is piled up I feel overwhelmed and I just want to bury my head in the sand.  When things are clear and clean I feel relaxed.  How about you?  Do you like stuff or do you prefer space?
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