i hate august in atlanta

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These past few weeks have been really bad. This week alone has been very stressful at work! My parents are also visiting, which I love, but I feel like I haven’t been able to focus on them. We’re also trying to figure out Labor Day plans, and it’s not going as smoothly as I would like.

So, to catch you up! We got a dog named Zoey. She’s adorable, and it has been a pleasure to have her. We keep calling her “Jera”, and sometimes I catch myself so it becomes “Joey”. (And once, I referred to Jera as “Zera”. I’m all mixed up!) One thing I love about her is that she is doing okay as an off-leash dog for small distances, like taking her into the front yard to “do her business”. I have a feeling she will grow out of this, but it’s nice right now.

Zoey is a little too young to be all day in her crate while we’re at work. She can hold herself for about 4 hours during the daytime (she has been sleeping through the night okay). So the original plan was for me to bring her to work, put her in a cage in the unused basement of our office, and then I could slip down there every couple of hours. That worked fine for a little while before I noticed droppings around her cage. Turns out, we had rats and/or opossums visiting us. Because Zoey was in a cage, I didn’t want to put her down there with creatures who might bother her or scare her.

So the next plan was to leave her at home, and I would return at lunch to walk her. However, I chose the hottest week of the year to do this! Let me tell you, Atlanta is HOT in August, and the humidity is awful!! (Last I heard, we’d had 9 days over 100 degrees!) And walking 2 miles in the middle of the day, while trying to maintain a decent appearance for work, is NOT fun. I did the walk 2 days before I decided that I couldn’t do it anymore. I told Paul we needed to fix his car or buy a new one (yeah, remember how his car broke a few weeks er, months ago? it’s been just sitting ever since :-)).

Paul opted for the fixing-car route. We decided to fix it, drive it for a few weeks, and then sell it when the weather gets a bit cooler. On Monday, Paul took it into the shop and we got a new radiator and all that junk fixed! The good thing is we went ahead and fixed the “Check Engine” problem. That light has been going on and off the whole time I’ve had this car, and the mechanic told us it wasn’t anything major so we didn’t bother to fix it. However, if we’re going to sell it, I feel better about at least trying to fix all known problems. So, it’s happy now. No more light. And a new radiator.

Of course, we’ve had some rain come and cool down the temperature this week! We’ve only needed one fan at night!! (In addition to the air conditioner, of course, which we finally turned down from 82 to 78 to combat the heat.) That’s been nice. I think God makes August so hot in order to help us appreciate the fall even more. :-)



and you thought i forgot

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So remember this?

Well, tonight Paul and I FINALLY hung the stuff on the walls and I cleaned the living room, and decided to get some pictures! I hope you like the new look!

Here is a picture of my living room before I started (more pictures if you follow the link above):

I have been working on it off and on over the past 6 months. Here is the (almost) finished product (haha, I feel like this is Extreme Makeover: Home Edition!):

I started off with picking a color theme for the room – reds, browns, and blacks. I tried to focus on red and dark brown and tan, and work in the other colors as I came across them. For the most part, I was fairly successful! I got slipcovers for the couch and loveseat at Kohl’s, as well as the throw pillows on the couch. They were each around 40% off, so I was happy. The blanket on the back of the couch is one I had from Peru – it’s made of baby alpaca fur and it is soooo soft and incredibly warm! Very nice in the winter. I picked up the red blanket on the loveseat from Target. I had been admiring it for some time, and when I decided to pick it up I was delighted that it was on clearance! Too bad I wasn’t able to get the matching pillows. I think the colors work really well together.

My dear sister helped me paint – tan on the bottom and dark brown on the chair rail. I got the curtain material from Joann’s and Susan helped me sew them. (The curtain rods came from Ikea.) I am really happy with the curtains. They are striped red, with the parts in between translucent. So, they don’t block the light as much which is something I wanted.

One thing I read as I was looking at home decorating blogs for ideas was that when you have a long room or a hallway, you need something to visually block the way or it will just seem long and narrow. You can’t really tell from these pictures, but there is a hallway leading from the front door right into the living room. I turned the coffee table so it’s parallel to the loveseat, and that made all the difference in the world! It brought the living room much closer, and didn’t seem so skinny. Also, it’s easy to push the coffee table out of the way if we need the floor for anything.

The shelf above the loveseat came from Ikea. Paul and I went to downtown Atlanta a few months ago and I took pictures of letters that made up our last name. I printed each letter in black & white, and got frames for them. I am excited by how this project turned out! I’d like to retake some of the letters with my new camera and see if I can’t get them more clear, but for now this will do.

We got a laptop tray thingy from Ikea as well (love that store!). It’s proved itself very useful, as before the laptop was always kept on the couch. To the right of the couch is a temporary barrier we have set up to keep Zoey in the living room. It’s easier to watch her that way. :-) We’ll remove that when she’s housebroken. I am looking forward to that day!

I ended up going with the fake plants, but no one has seemed to notice so far. I am glad, because the cats and dog are always getting into the plants and knocking them over. Can you imagine what a pain it would be if I had to clean up soil all the time??

There are a few things on the coffee table that I meant to remove. I had set them down instead of taking them out of the room and I didn’t even notice while I was taking pictures! The poster on the floor near the window is a Ansell Adams photograph. When we get a frame for it, we’ll hang it on the wall. That’s why I say the room is ALMOST done! I just knew if we waited until we got a frame, then I’d never get this post written.

This picture isn’t as interesting. I apologize for the mess in the hallway. :-) To the right is the corner with all the dog stuff. It seems to be all nice and neat. Normally, there are dog toys all over the living room. I put them all away for the picture – poor Zoey. :-) I moved the DVD/CD shelf over a bit to center it more with the wall, and I hung a candle and mirror thingy above it. I stuck the coat rack in the corner – it looks great there! The coat rack is more decorational than functional since it’s not by the door, but I like it. It’s more useful in the winter.

I was really excited about the entertainment center! I don’t like the bulkiness of some of the big one-piece units, but I wanted to clean up what was there. (I like things nice and neat.) I had the TV stand already, so I decided to get two bookcases from Ikea to put on either side for the stereo. They originally were white, so I had to spraypaint them black. I LOVE how it turned out! Exactly what I wanted – neater without being overwhelming. I also now have some space to display some special things. On the second shelf on the left is our wedding cake topper – the two cats. :-)

Like I mentioned before, we’re going to hang the Ansell Adams poster on the wall on the right. I’d like to get another similar poster for the left. I think it will look really nice! The TV stands make a nice barrier from the TV and the dog stuff. Also, they are easily accessible which is good because we use them all the time.

I am really happy with how it turned out! And I didn’t buy any new furniture. :-) (Except the bookcases.) We also redid our office, and I took before pictures for that. I’ll have to take some after pictures and then post them all. (Warning: the office is pretty boring. I didn’t do much decorating.) Next up: our bedroom. I plan to work on that throughout September. Note to self: take some before pictures!!


CoB: The Beauty of Change

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I didn’t get any submissions for the Carnival this week, so I decided to just put my post below. Next week’s topic is “The Beauty of Learning”, and hosted by Bethany at A Picturesque Life. Thanks for reading!

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This week I heard some sad news. The Wycliffe office here in Atlanta, where I lived for a year when I was a child, is closing. A piece of my heritage, lost. That made me sad.

My mom also told me how the Wycliffe office in Peru has moved to a new location. Wycliffe has been in Peru for over 60 years, and they are nearing the end of their work in Bible translation there! They are wrapping up and plan to leave Peru by 2010. This is exciting, but it’s also sad for me. I lived there for 9 years – the “constants” are no longer there. The office where my dad worked, the guest house where we lived on several occasions, the center in the jungle – all have been sold or turned over the government. The end of an era.

I know it’s silly to get attached to these types of things, but I do. I appreciate the constants that I had in my growing up years. Everything changed so often. In the States, we always came back to my grandparents’ house here in Atlanta. That was my “home” and it’s no longer owned by my grandparents. In Peru, my dad’s office was the constant, and that is now gone. Doesn’t anything stay the same these days?

There’s one line in the Casting Crowns song, “Praise You In The Storm” that really speaks to my heart:

“(Chorus) I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will life my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am

Every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm”

I remind myself that we serve an amazing God, a God who is here no matter what. A God who is unchanging when everything else in our life is in chaos. This earth and these material possessions are just temporary – we can rely on our God who is the one constant in our entire existance.

And for proof of this, just read the Bible. God remains the same from the beginning to the end, from the alpha to the omega.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.” Isaiah 40:8

“Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—the LORD, who remains faithful forever.” Psalm 146:5-6 (Psalm 146 is an amazing passage. Read the whole thing if you get the chance!)

My husband laughs at me because I am writing on the topic “The Beauty of Change” without actually presenting change in a positive light. Oh I could rattle off a list, exposure to other cultures, great experiences, yadda yadda. But in reality, my HEART is crying out for some stability, and my GOD is answering with His promises. To me, that is the beauty of change – that He doesn’t change! I hope that ministers to your hearts too.


reminder: CoB on Friday!!

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Be sure to write your posts on the Beauty of Change in order to email them to me tonight! I look forward to seeing a lot of people participate. :-)

As a refresher, the Carnival of Beauty is a chance for women to write on a specially selected topic allowing them to reflect on the beauty of Christ in the world around us. You can read more about it and the requirements here. If you’d like to participate this week, just publish a post on your blog and then send me a link to that post by Thursday night at midnight. Send an email to ashley @ twentysixcats.com.

Also, if you’re interested, consider joining the Google Group where you can get updates and announcements about the CoB.