Monday, March 21, 2011

He's no Jesus Jr., but he will do!

Today isn't an anniversary of any kind. It's not Aaron's birthday. I have no reason to blog about marriage and my Man today .... no reason expect for the fact that I love him. A lot.

I know, you just had to pause to throw up a little, didn't you? Well, too bad! It's just the truth!

I had the radio on the other day, and overheard the DJ (they are still called DJ's, aren't they?) say that the best piece of marriage advice his wife had heard was to remember that she wasn't marrying Jesus Jr. In other words ladies: our husbands are pure-bred sinners, unlike Jesus (but just like us!). I must admit to chuckling, no, full on laughing at this quote. How true it is.

It got me thinking about some of the best marriage advice one-liners I've taken to heart.

1) "Your husband doesn't need another Holy Spirit - he needs a wife."  Let's be honest ladies, how many times do we think we know better than our husbands? In our infinite knowledge (HA!), we try to "convict" them at the deepest levels of their souls. The problem is this: we aren't the Holy Spirit! Thus our voice of "conviction" actually translates as NAGGING. That doesn't do a marriage good. Just be his wife. Pray for the Spirit to guide him. He'll do better than you can anyway.

2) "Your spouse is created in the image of God."  This is a biblical truth that most certainly should effect our relationships. Sadly, more often than not, we fail to see God's image reflected in our spouse. We see it in ourselves, and often expect our Spouse to have the same image. Thank God that who I am as a woman does not in its entirety reflect His image. Nobody would follow him were that the case. The moments we can cling to this truth, and thank God for our spouse and the ways they are different from us and how they reflect the image of God, are moments to be sought after indeed. It's what makes our differences work FOR us, instead of AGAINST us. And besides, who wouldn't want to see a bigger picture of who God is? I know I do !

3) This last one I don't have a quote for, because I can't find my book. It came from Dan Allender's book, The Intimate Mystery. (As did the second quote.) He references marriage as being the largest way to gain a taste of Heaven AND a taste of Hell. Sound too harsh? Well it's true. Marriage is where we will feel our highest highs and our lowest lows. We will feel the pain we never want to feel (hell) and experience joys that are far beyond anything we deserve (heaven). I'm thankful to be in a marriage that is far outweighed by glimpses of heaven than of hell .... but remember, I am not married to Jesus Jr., and I am no Holy Spirit. Let's strive to be that taste of Heaven for our spouse today.

So there you have it. I'm certainly no expert. Were it not for Aaron, our marriage would be miserable. I'm hard to live with, I complain a lot, I don't offer love and respect freely, I didn't take a shower today (and am wearing sweats), and the list goes on. Aaron has his faults too .... but he's got a whole lot of strengths as well! Guys, if you ever want some tips on how to love your wife better, let me know - I'll fill you in on some of the top winners!

So today, on the first day of Spring, just an ordinary day with a sick kid at home, one kid in time-out, laundry coming out my ears, an empty pantry, and a dog longing to go for a run .... there's one thing I just keep thinking about: I am deeply in love with Mr. Aaron. Yup. I am.

What are some of your best one-liners to navigate this road called marriage?

(Hey Aaron, if you are reading this, I just spent $500 online for some new clothes ... you're good with that, right?!?!?!)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

You know you want a hat like this!

Recently I put up a status update on Facebook asking for giveaway ideas for our adoption blog. One of my friends offered up a hat that she had made. It was such a sweet gesture. The only problem was that as soon as I saw the adorable creation, I knew right away that I would be forced to rig my own giveaway so that Aaron would win. I just had to have it! Such a perfect little accessory for my adorable little Ethiopian. So she sent it to me instead. Yippeee !!! I won !

She does personalized gifts if you like what you see! But her Etsy Shop has some fantastic finds already created! Over at her other shop, I'm thinking about asking for this one in a 6T for Malachi's new sister !

I was concerned that the hat wouldn't fit over Malachi's 'fro. But it fits great with room to grow (the 'fro of course)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Decorating Decisions - I need help!

My friend Laura, the ever so talented decorator, took me shopping yesterday to her favorite cheap budget conscious home store. It was great fun! Only I've been left with a dilemma of choosing one piece of artwork. I don't know what actually qualifies something as artwork, I just know if I like it or not. And really, for years (and by years, I mean my entire grown up life), I've had one lonely piece of artwork hanging in my home. So I must admit that I'm a very intimidated to make such a decision. In my indecisiveness, it of course made the most sense to me to come here and get your help. What do you think? Tree's or .... um, whatever the other one is called...

Option 1: I will call it Fall Forest :) Yes, I realize it isn't centered. But that's where there was a nail already.
Close up of "Fall Forest"
Option #2: I will call it "For the sake of color" :) This one is actually 4 squares (in 2 boxes). So use your imagination and place them accordingly on my wall outside of the box in one big square with wall color separating each individual square.
Close Up of "For the sake of Color"

This picture was thrown in to show the pretty pillows that we found on our shopping trip. Aaron thinks the orange, excuse me - rust pillow looks like a Muppet. What does he know.

Cast your votes soon! I have 30 days to decide. :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Noah and the Flood

Aaron walked into our room a couple months back and used the following sentence to awaken me.

"Jody, can you get up? I need your help moving the fridge. It flooded."

That's what you want to hear at 6:00 am. (Cough, cough ... fine. 8:00 am.) I walked out, saw the rows of warped floor boards and just started to laugh. We've had a slew of problems with the house in the last year or two, and somehow I didn't have any mad left in me. It was just funny.

Before you know it, I'm on the phone with the insurance company. I have my own special preferred client line with Allstate, so it didn't take long to get through. Sure enough, they were going to cover the damage. Only I think that when they looked up our file, it probably has written in 72 point, bold, all caps font at the top of our chart - JUST GIVE THEM THE MONEY TO DO IT THEMSELVES! SHE'S CRAZY!!! So, after answering some questions, they told us what amount we had to work with, and let us figure it all out.

As it turned out, one of the guys coming to bid out the job attends our church, so that was cool. His bid won. His name is Noah. Fitting, since it was a flood that struck! (Oh, I'm sorry, Allstate informed me that it is "water damage" NOT a "flood". But whatever.) If you ever need your floors re-done, he's your guy! He did a magnificent job!

The work took less than a week. We were actually at the house when he started the demo. What took Aaron and CO 4 days to lay, Noah shredded in under an hour. Sigh. It was fun seeing the progression throughout the week. I must admit, though, I was pretty nervous. We had espresso floors that we laid when we had natural cabinets. That was pre-fire. After the fire, we put in dark cabinets with our dark floors. I went back and forth on if we should stick with dark floors, or go with light for the contrast. I finally voted light (actually everyone on Facebook voted light), but I couldn't find one that I loved. Noah recommended a 3rd Grade Maple made by WD Flooring. He assured me it wouldn't be as shocking as a full on blond floor. This type of maple flooring has a lot of wood grain that ranges in shades anywhere between blond, browns and even some black throughout. I never saw a finished sample, but loved the photo. So we went with it! Of course, since the floors were getting ripped up, I seized the opportunity to paint without drop clothes. (I never liked the color I picked after the fire. So now seemed like a good time to make the change. Let's hope I was better at picking floor colors than I have become at picking wall colors.)

Okay, so before I show the pictures though, some have heard me talk of a decorator friend of mine who came over to help me out. I'm not one of those women that has an eye for placing this vase here, or that picture there, or using hard back books with no covers as a display. I'm also not known for the ability to use ever inch of square foot space in my home. This has been bothering me lately, as I need our house to grow so that we can fit more kids in it! Laura was so gracious in not laughing at my overstuffed furniture in my little room, or my one picture on a massive wall. Instead, she moved through my house re-arranging items and bulky furniture. We (and by "we", I mean Aaron and I, not Laura and I. She's good, but not crazy!) did purchase some new couches to provide more seating in our main area, but using about half the space. Brilliant! So some of the picture captions will address some of her work, lest you think I have a single thread of a decorating gene in my body. She and I aren't finished yet, there is more to come on the decorating front. She's going to go shopping with me! Poor thing, has no clue what she's getting herself into! (If you ever want a design eye to sweep through your home, I'll gladly pass on her info as well!)

Wanna see it????



New couches! There will be a rug and cedar chest there as well in 2 weeks when the floor is fully cured. Oh, the other cool thing about the floor curing ... Noah told me I can't clean the floors for two weeks. I tacked on no laundry, dusting or making beds as well. You can't be too careful with new floors, you know!
"Laura's Wall"
I never have done the cute picture grouping thing. Or at least I wouldn't have made it look cute. Laura re-did this entire wall for me. (The mirror and artwork were both in different places before her wand went flying.)

Noah added lots of detail work. This might be my favorite. Matching vents that are flush mounted with the floor. Makes cleaning so much easier! Now when I sweep, particles won't get stuck all around the vent. Nope, I can just sweep them right into the vent! Wait .... that's not what that's for? Oops.
A close up shot to show the wood grain. Perrrrtty!!!

Even Gunther got a new bed out of the deal. His claws were already scratching up my new fake leather couch. And no, I didn't purchase the warranty. They said it didn't cover against dog scratches. But it did cover against burns in case I dropped a candle on the couch. Um, that makes sense! I see how that is more likely than a dog jumping on my couch. Or maybe not likely is the point of warranties?!?!?!

And just when you think this blog post is over, you realize there are still more words. Sorry.

I want to turn serious for a minute. I have been praying for 2 miracles. If you don't know, Aaron and I are adopting another child from Ethiopia. (You can read more about that over here.) At times, we feel like the walls of our little ranch home are closing in on us. The home isn't really little, it actually has a lot of square footage. But as I've already  mentioned, I'm not good at using it. So I've prayed for either 1) The house to miraculously sell (and I say miraculously because it isn't on the market). Or 2) For God to make me content with the space we have, to give me the ability to make our space work for more little people, and to also make it feel bigger. I actually think the second of the two is a greater miracle.

I know it sounds silly, all I'm about to say: But God works in mysterious ways. Between fires and floods and good friends with a knack for decorating, He's answering #2! I cannot get over how much bigger our great room feels having lighter walls, lighter floors, different furniture, etc...... I feel like I can breath in my home again. And I can clearly see the square footage now available for more feet, more bottoms, more laughter, and more love. Not that square footage is necessary AT ALL for any of those things - but God knew it mattered to me. I love that. (Regardless of the square footage, my kids have a way of all crowding in the same 20 square feet surrounding me anyway, so I really don't know why this bothers me so much!) We would never have been able to have the money to make these changes to our home. Thank God for Allstate. We really are in good hands. (get it? ha! Allstate, God's hands, both, either .... hahaha. I crack myself up.)

Who says this isn't clean?

Today was a typical Monday morning at The Britton household. After a long weekend of playing, the kids rooms remind me a bit of a tornado once again. I call out my requests (orders) for the rooms to get cleaned before they leave for school. Not once, but five times, I ask the kids if they made their beds and cleaned their rooms. They all tell me yes. I believe them - again.

After they walk out the door, I go from room to room turning off all the lights. (Because I also seem to be the only one who knows where the light switch is. I'm sure I have my own father to thank for that.)

Here is the "clean" room I was assured of:

I think I've decided that it is probably easier for me to change the worlds standard of "clean" the my child's. (And I'm not even going to clean if for them today like I did last time.)

So next time you visit my home, if it looks like this - you need to be okay with it and praise me for my cleanliness. K? Thanks.

****Post addition****
After clicking "post", I got a comment alert from my last blog post . I cannot stop laughing at the irony of it. Here was the comment left by my sister:

I visited again today to see if you had different ads. Yeah, you did. There was one for clean rooms. Isn't that for like a hospital? So funny....and relevant!?! I can see it now:

"Our top story is a stay-at-home-mom who put a clean room in her home. It was the one room that where she could always find her sanity."

Maybe they are one to something - clean rooms for the home. Haha.

I'm with my sister - who wants to help me market clean rooms for the home??? LOVE IT!!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

You know you want to click on the link on the right. (Awkward!)

I recently did my first give away over on my other blog. It was so much fun that I decided to do one here. You'll have to wait until the end to see what it is though.

I've been toying with the idea of "monetizing" my blog lately. All that means is that I'm allowing GOOGLE to advertise on my blog. If you click on the ads, I get paid. (So everyone pause and click on every ad on the sidebar now. KIDDING!!! sort of.) The ads are randomly generated based on the content of my blog. So if I talk about cooking a lot, there will be cooking ads .... or something like that. So if you ever see random words stuck at the end of a post .... words like, financial planning, decorating, parenting, diet .... just ignore them. I'm trying to bring in the good ads. ;) I've had a few blog fans suggest I do this. I never have for various reasons, but I finally decided to give it a shot.

I love writing. I'm still not convinced about the ad thing, but I like the idea of it. Blogging is an outlet for me. I'd love to have content to actually write a book one day. The problem is I have no idea what I would write an entire book about. Unless maybe a children's book .... I could probably come up with 20 sentences and some drawings. So unless someone gives me a good topic, the book is a ways away.

Until then, I blog.

Now here's the thing. It is my understanding that there can be some serious paychecks involved for blogging, or there can just be some hobby money involved with blogging. I would welcome both. Here's my problem though. To get to either one of these paychecks, there is a serious need for me to "market" myself. That's where I've always gotten hung up. See, I don't think I have much to say that is worth people listening to. (Although I say it just the same, cuz I'm known for that.) I don't have a unique blog. I'm not telling anyone how to live on a budget, or decorate cute, how to cook, or dress well or anything that would draw someone specifically to my blog. So that's a problem. (I do have an idea or two that I think could be a unique blog. I just either need Aaron or Angie to sign up with me as co-writers.) But truly, my biggest hangup is attempting to advertise myself.

I wrestle with if advertising myself seems conceited. It's the same hang up I had when I did the giveaway. I don't think that about other people when I see themselves trying to gain readers, or giving things away - and yet I'm afraid people will think that of me. Not to mention, it might not even work. I could try and put myself out there as much as physically possible, and still only a handful of you would continue to read. I don't have a need to have a huge following. I don't feel like I deserve a huge following. And I certainly don't have the content worth a large following. So, there truly is no conceit behind me doing this. Just a girl pursuing what she loves. The good news is, regardless of what I do, or how I succeed or fail, I'm still okay. I'm still loved. And at the end of the day, I still open up my laptop and type away .... sharing whatever is on my mind, and having fun doing it, regardless of readers or no readers.

So after talking with my good friend Hulga, I mean, Angie, about it .... she and I both thought, why not??? (It is much easier for me to plug her blog than mine! So if you aren't already following her, you should be! Oh, and click on her ads when you visit. ha!) She told me that she's made a whopping $.01 since monetizing her blog a few weeks back. We laughed. This brings me to my giveaway....

See, I'm gonna go for it. I'm going to do this monetizing thing. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with this, you need to know that I don't choose the ads displayed. So you also need to know that I personally do not endorse the ads on my page.) So in my effort to take over the blogging world, leave a comment, link to my blog, and spread it on Twitter or Facebook. You will then have your name entered to win ..... drum roll please .....

The first penny I make from my blog. I know, it's over the top, but sometimes I just do things like that.

This is all so funny to me. And so I blog......