Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Master Gardener

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away and every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. John 15:1-2

The Lord laid this scripture on my heart this morning. This one is always a special one to me.  I guess it is one of my life verses.  Having studied horticulture, all of the scriptures where Christ uses agriculture to teach have become some of my favorites.  Several years ago, I was going through a particularly hard time.  As I read this scripture, I realized that areas of my life were being pruned by THE Master Gardener in order that I would bear more fruit. I would never fear being cut away completely from the Lord, as I am saved by His merciful grace.  As believers, we are tried and tested, pruned and shaped, so that we can grow more in His image and bring Him more glory.  Part of being a believer and living the life of a Christian with a loving relationship with our Father, we must bear fruit.

I'm just going to lay it out here.  Several years ago, God brought a friend into my life when I thought I needed one most. For her friendship, I was so very thankful.  Without going into the all of the details, God pruned our friendship.  I was devastated.  I had absolutely no idea what God was doing in my life.  Let's just say I played the victim - constantly wondering what I did wrong to end the friendship.  To this day, I still don't know what I did that was so horrible to her.  I guess that was the hardest part.  Accepting the fact that for whatever reason - she didn't like me anymore.  Wow.  That sounds so juvenile. Anyway, we just had shared so much over the course of three years.  It was just. so. painful.  Through much prayer and study, over much time, God revealed to me that during this friendship, I had turned my focus away from God. I had turned away just enough that I was no longer bearing enough fruit....juicy, plump fruit. As I read John 15, I realized that I was being pruned.  This area of my life was being taken The Master Gardener Himself.

There are several reasons why a plant needs to be pruned.

1.  Allow more light to get to the interior of the plant. WOW.  As Jesus is the LIGHT, I would say that pruning must be done so Jesus can change our hearts...our INTERIOR.  Also, many times light is blocked by the crowding of branches.  It's not that the branches are bad, or diseased. They are just in the way, blocking light from other branches, causing them to bear less fruit.  Do you have so many branches growing that they are blocking the Light of Christ from shining on each other?

2.  Pruning is important to remove those little vigorous shoots at the base and along the trunk of the fruit tree.  These are called "suckers."  They show up in the early growing season. Suckers are fast growers, stealing much needed energy and nutrients from the developing fruit.  They must be pruned away so that all of the energy of the plant goes toward developing that precious fruit.

We recently have attempted to save some deciduous magnolias from one of Brett's job sites.  The trees were going to be thrown away.  We brought them home and place them in a holding area for a while (actually a LONG while) until the final grade was done and we could put them in their new home on the farm.  During the move and the long wait, the trees underwent stress.  The dropped all their leaves, and we thought they were going to die. After lots of water and mild temps, they started to leaf out again, and then came the suckers. Once we planted the trees where they belonged, pruned the suckers, and gave them much needed water, they started to grow.

3.  Pruning must be done to remove diseased branches, branches with parasitic growth or insect pests. Diseased branches can quickly infect other branches causing a quick decline in the plant, less or no fruit, and ultimately it's demise.  Diseased and pest infected branches are usually easy to detect. Thank goodness.

4.  Pruning must also be done to remove branches that rub close together.  The constant rubbing can cause injury to the branches. This can weaken and wound them, making them susceptible to disease and insect attacks.  Are some of your branches rubbing too close together.  Is there enough room for you to grow and bear fruit?

I am constantly being pruned.  As believers, we all are.  Is your current pruning particularly painful?  Mine is.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

We're In...

I still can't believe it!!  We have officially been "moved in" the new house for almost two weeks!  There have been a few snags, but it is really feeling like home.  Today, our mattresses arrived, we had internet installed (along with TV service - gasp), and Mom and I moved more "junk" from the basement of the old house to the basement of the new house.  I literally walked out the back basement door with armloads of stuff and handed them to Mom through the window of the basement in the new house. Must. have. yard. sale.

So, tonight as I type this, I am on the internet AND watching - for the first time in almost three years.  Brett will be so happy to watch college football this fall!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cleaning Hardwood Floors

When we first started our building project, Brett and I were discussing how we (I) would tackle cleaning the hardwood floors. After researching the best products to clean the floors, we settled on Bona floor cleaner.  It gets great recommendations and is easy to use - just spray and mop.  Here's the thing...I have the WORST luck with spray bottles, and the idea of squeezing the sprayer over and over and over....well, I wasn't on board.  Then, Brett jokingly said we could get a "chemical" sprayer and put our cleaning solution in it to spray onto the floor.  For about a year now, I have had this idea floating around in my noggin.  Now, friends, it's time to clean floors and get ready to move in.  Last week, I purchased this one gallon sprayer

and the Bona floor cleaner concentrate from Amazon.  I have a dust/ floor mop with pads that you can change and wash.  Armed with my new cleaning arsenal, I was ready to try out the new tools this past weekend.  It works FANTASTIC.  I pump the sprayer until the pressure builds up.  I then point the wand and pull the trigger, spray a manageable area and mop.  Easy peasy!  The cleaner is also fantastic because it repels dust and foot prints.  Trust me.  We still have subcontractors coming in and working, and for some reason they just can't stay on the paper path. 

Happy cleaning!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Fingers Crossed

Final inspection is scheduled for this week.  If we can get our CO, we will begin moving out the door, through the back yard and into the front door of the new house.  It will certainly be a process, but one I won't mind AT ALL. 

All of my crafty items have been packed up for a while now.  I craft vicariously through other crafters and their blogs, posts, and photos.  I thought I would share a project from before the craft room pack up.
4x4 card created using the August Key ingredients kit from Taylored Expressions.  The die cut is SU and the stamp is from Taylored Expressions.
This card was created using the September Key Ingredients kit from Taylored Expressions.  I used SU buttons for the centers of the flowers.  The stamps come from a clear flower set I picked up at Michael's.  I cannot remember the company, and well, it's packed up. :)

We'll be back to crafting soon!


Monday, April 09, 2012

Let's Talk Craft Room

Inspections for the new house should be happening the end of this week.  Oh, I am SO hoping that we can get our CO by this weekend.  I won't hold my breath, but it sure would be nice. This process has been a long one.  There is still so much work to do that cannot be done until the old house is moved.  It will just be so nice to be in the new place with new space.

If you know me at all, you know I am passionate about educating my children.  I also love to scrapbook, sew, and do anything crafty.  (I'm terrible at jewelry making - just for the record.)  That being said, I am super excited about our class room/ craft room.  It is essentially two rooms that are joined together.  One side is the classroom with storage for our homeschool curriculum and supplies.  The other side is our space to scrapbook and craft.

The cabinets are melamine white and the counter tops are actually the resin type that you find on science lab tops in schools.  It is heat and chemical resistant so that we can do our science experiments when the kids are ready for that. (It will work awesome for heat embossing, too.)

The wall color is Waterscape by Sherwin Williams.  It is such a creative color. 
This is a view as you walk into the class room.  The large window area will have a rug, bean bags, and comfy chairs for reading and playing games.

These are the class room cabinets.  I am loving all of the storage.  No more books stacked on the kitchen table. :)

This is a view of the craft room cabinets.  When you walk into the room and look to the left, this is what you see.  The craft room and class room have separate entrances on the hallway.

Here is a view from the doorway of the craft room.  Here you can see the opening to the left where the two rooms become one.  We are loving the sink.  It will be a great place to clean up after art projects.

This is a view of the reading area in the class room from the craft room.

This is the craft room.  An island comes out into the center of the room.  All of the counter tops are standard height so I can sit or stand to work.  You can see wire hanging down where the under cabinet task lighting will be installed.  The two sided workspace on the island combined with the workspace in the corner will allow my girls and I to work together without too much crowding....I hope. lol.  Oh, and the cabinet at the end of the island is custom made to hold hanging folders for 12X12 scrapbook papers. YAY!

Well, there you have it...When it's all filled up with our goodies, I'll post new pictures.  There is so much to do before then.  This will continue to be an exciting process.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

House Update

We are down to the last few things on the house before we can move in.  While we will not be completely finished, we are moving in so that we can move out of our current house.  Once we are completely out of the current house, we will have it moved.  Our sweet little house is moving to Bremen, Georgia to serve the ministry of No Longer Bound.  Please pray with us that this transition will be smooth for this ministry.  There are so many permits, rules, etc in moving a house, and Bremen is a far jaunt from here.

All of the following pictures were taken with my iPhone.  My light meter in my digital camera is not working - got to get that fixed!  Anyway, here are a few photos of what's been going on.

Keeping Room before paint

Keeping Room with paint
Keeping room doors to screened terrace

Entering Library
Built in desk in library.  To the right is a secret door bookcase.  Farther right is the fireplace.

Dining Room

Ceiling of Lodge Room (formal living room - no media)

Fireplace of lodge room
View of dining room from kitchen
A view of the house while turning the corner on the road where we live
Morning bar (coffee, juice, etc.)


Laundry - oh my!  What a mess.  All of the contractors use this room as a staging area.

John's room

Stairs to bonus

My desk nook near kitchen...not as bright in person. :)

Powder Room
Playroom upstairs

Playhouse and fire station built into playroom walls.  I will paint bricks on the fire station after we move in.

Art nook off of playroom
Master bedroom (main floor)
Beginning of kitchen cabinets

Front of house
Thanks for looking  - More updates to come!