Thursday, July 24, 2014

Why Everyone Needs a Front Porch

This week I gave our front porch a good scrub down. As I was moving things and cleaning, my mind kept drifting to how much I love this little porch. When we bought our house I couldn't have cared if there was a porch or not, especially this porch. When we bought the house it was in poor shape- old windows, CARPET, and dusty red bricks-basically the previous owners had been using it as a storage space and it did nothing for the house. 

So, we made some changes. We got new windows, tore up the carpet and painted the floor, painted the bricks white, laid down an indoor/outdoor rug and re-painted some old wicker furniture. We also inherited a hutch from friends who were getting rid of it. In the 4 years we've lived here Ive been able to decorate the front porch for each season. So it looks cute, but I had no idea how practical a screened in front porch would be! Here are some reasons I love it:

1. Friends can drop off anything and it stays dry/hidden from street view. Probably at least once a week I have someone dropping something off or picking something off. It saves me time and is so convenient for retiring things to others and getting things back.

This table is the usual drop off table where people can leave things!

2. Strangers don't come to the actual door, just the porch door. This feels like less of an invasion than if I had to just open my actual door into our living room when random people come knocking. Also, the porch door can be locked for extra safety.

Actual door that leads into our living room-no strangers get this far because its inside the porch!

3. No messy shoes! Shoes come off on the porch and stay there!

4. It's a great green house for the Spring time. This year Nathan and I saved around $200 by planting our flowers from seeds. We used the porch as a green room and it was the perfect temperature with the sunlight to grow things.

The "seasonal" hutch that gets a makeover every  new season!

5. Its just so darn welcoming! I love having this entry way to welcome people. It just feels inviting and cozy.

Great light and sitting space for reading or chatting

So there are a few reasons why everyone needs a front porch. Not really, but I certainly won't buy another house without one. I love, love, love my porch! What are your favorite parts of your house?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Sacred Psalms

For about the last month or so its been on my heart to read a psalm a day. But, to start at the back and work my way to the front. This kind of prayer has been really fruitful because 1) Its not very time consuming 2) I can remember it throughout the day/week and go back to it often 3) I've been going back and forth between The New American Bible and The Message (which as I understand is NOT an actual translation of the Bible, but one man's rewritten, prayerful interpretation of it?).  All of these things have lead to a lot of spiritual peace and breakthrough in what was a dry spell. So I thought I'd randomly post here some of the favorites Im getting out of God's Word.

Psalm 139:11-12

New American Bible
If I say, "Surely darkness shall hide me, and night shall be my light-
Darkness is not dark for you, 
and night shines as the day.
Darkness and light are but one"

The Message
Then I said to myself, "Oh, He even sees me in the dark!
At night I'm immersed in the light!"
It's a fact-darkness isn't dark to you,
night and day, darkness and light, they're all the same to you.

I love these lines and when I read them I was brought back to a time in my life when things were so dark. In fact these verses led me to create a whole retreat around them based on darkness and finding God in the darkness, or rather letting Him find you. So today if you are feeling the darkness, know that God is there, He is near. Darkness is not dark to Him, the one who has conquered all things.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Weekend trip to St. Louis

This past weekend we headed South to St. Louis with my parents for a quiet, low key weekend away. It was awesome! I think the main thing that made it so great was that we did not plan a lot of things. Instead we swam at the hotel pool and did Grant's Farm on Saturday and The City Museum on Sunday. We had never been to either and I was super impressed by both of them.

Grant's Farm was very easy to get to and the only cost was $12 per vehicle to park.You then enter the park and get right on a tram that takes you through an outdoor wildlife preserve where the animals literally come right up to the train! Abigail got to see cows, deer, bison and peacocks up close. Then the train stops and you get off at a small zoo area. Here we walked around and got to bottle feed goats, see elephants and lamas and ride the carousal. Oh and Grant's Farm is run by Aniherser Bush  so free beer samples are scattered throughout-another perk. It was just big enough, but not too big. We saw everything and were out of there within 2 hours.

The City Museum was another highlight. It was the craziest museum I've ever been to. There are no maps and enough to do to keep any age entertained. There were underground caverns to explore, roof top climbing and our favorite-the Toddler Town. Abigail was able to ride in a train, climb through a ball pit and do arts and crafts. The entry cost $12 a person and Abigail was free. I think it was totally worth it because you could spend all day there. Nathan is already planning a daddy-daughter trip back with her when she's old enough to really climb things.

Eating the best fried chicken in St. Louis at a restaurant called Hodaks!

Overall the weekend was so much fun! Did I mention we stayed at my favorite, the Drury Inn? My favorite hotel because of the complimentary breakfast AND 5 o clock snack time? I love this place because every night between 5-7 they put out hot food and snacks that are complimentary along with two alcoholic beverages per adult. Its so nice with a toddler in tow not to have to worry about snacks! There is also always popcorn in the lobby along with fountain soda-the best!

Already looking forward to going back sometime and doing it all again! Now its time to rest up before our next trip in two weeks-North Dakota!