WFMW: What You Can Do With One Gallon of Paint


If you follow me on Instagram, you know what’s coming.

I’ve been itching to paint and distress my boring brown kitchen cabinets since we moved in last August. And by itching to paint, I really mean, paying someone else to do it. I’m still recovering from post-kitchen-cabinet-painting from nearly 10 years ago. It’s a real thing. After several too-high estimates, I finally found a recommended painter in-between jobs to do it for a fourth of the price if I would supply the paint.

Here’s how he did it:

  1. Lightly sand the cabinets, wipe them down.
  2. Prime them. The painter had me buy Cover Stain Primer from Home Depot. $18 This is oil-based, so you’ll need to open the windows.
  3. Paint two coats of Sherwin Williams All Surface Oil Based Enamel (it comes in white and black). Also, stinky stuff.

Before (lighting is from two different times in the day):



photo copy 3

I don’t even know if black cabinets are still “in.” But that’s OK, I really don’t care! I love the warmth they bring to my builder beige walls and tile. We are still hoping to distress them with sandpaper.

I noticed how much of the black paint was left and I asked the painter if he would mind painting my boring white mantle black. He said yes (for $25 bucks!) and lightly sanded it and applied two coats of paint.




[I flipped our family missions statement pallet around and rearranged my Give Thanks Sign Set from Dayspring I had elsewhere for a fall mantel]


It’s amazing what one gallon will do. I still have 1/4 can left. My house better watch out.

It works for me!

Good Stuff to Give

There are only 63 days until Christmas.

I don’t mean to alarm you, friends, BUT YOU NEED TO GET BUSY.

The older I get, the faster time flies.

This year, don’t just give stuff, give back.

Give life:

I know just the place :)


New Mercy House 2014 Calendars:



New Stretchy Paper Bead Bracelets:


New Unique Paper Bead Statement Necklaces:

Necklace Grid


New Christmas Greeting Cards:


New Trio Paper Bead Necklace:


Visit The Mercy Shop. Use coupon code: BEAUTY4ASHES to get FREE SHIPPING on orders of $25 or more.

And now, it’s nearly 62 days until Christmas.

See what I mean?

How I Ended Up Buying a Fire Escape Ladder

This is sitting on my stairs right now.


It arrived in the mail the other day and my family has been laughing at me for ordering it.

Here’s how that happened:

I’m in that stage of life where about every 8 weeks I have to make a hair care decision.

I have gray hair induced by either starting a non-profit or my teen daughter’s closet. I’m not sure, both stress me out.

And yet, I’m thankful to have hair. #1000giftsbaby

I was contemplating my first world problem, trying to decide if I was brave enough to attempt home hair color again. The last time I bought the wrong color and had to have my husband repair it. Yes, that is a statement I never thought I’d type. And by repair, I mean I bought a different color to cover up the accident and made my husband put on the plastic gloves. We nearly ended up in marriage counseling and I had really highlighted hair.

My husband must have sniffed out my thought process because he insisted I go to a professional.

While I sat in her chair of ministry and let her bless my hair follicles (anyone else love a good head massage?), she worked her magic and all my hair was brown again. I casually mentioned how tired I was of blow drying my hair straight. My arms: they are lazy. What is it with all my real problems? She said, well, you have a lot of natural curl, why don’t I throw in a few layers and you can start wearing it curly. I have been wanting to grow my hair out to pony tail length anyway and thought WHY NOT. Clearly, I live on the edge.

So in a matter of two hours, I went back to my natural hair color and walked out with curly hair.

And when I walked into my house, my little girl burst into tears, my teen daughter’s mouth gaped and my son said, “Is this a joke?”

Nothing like your kids to snap you right out of a hair care induced high.

A week later I was shopping at my beloved Target and I was deep in thought reading the back of hair product bottles for curly hair. Who knew there were so many products? I was going for soft waves not stiff wet ones. So, you know, important stuff.

My back was to my cart and I never saw the pony-tailed guy dressed in black walk right behind me and take my wallet out of my purse.

It’s hard to pay for your FUNKY CURLS without a wallet.

I called my husband and retraced my steps. Long story short (aren’t you glad?), we watched the video surveillance tape of me being pickpocketed. I hope he enjoyed the three bucks and book of stamps. (It ended up being a nightmare because I had my kids Social Security cards in my wallet. Y’all don’t do that, okay? Learn from me. We know have Lifelock to protect their identity from being stolen because we’re nice parent’s like that.)

After we filed a police report, canceled credit cards, and spent two hours on the phone, we were exhausted. Seriously, it was a bad day and you hear all this stuff about identity theft and when it happens to you, it makes you feel violated and unsure about the world you live in. My hubby returned to work and when my kids got home, I filled them in on my day. My son wanted to know what the robber looked like. I had him at surveillance video.

“He wore all black and had a long blonde greasy pony tail,” I said.

“I think it’s my percussion teacher!” my son yelled. Oh, brother. “No, son, it’s not your teacher, although he should wash his hair more often.

That night I realized I never did get my hair care product so I opened up my computer to head to Amazon, but got distracted by a news story on my home page. It was a sad story about a family dying in a house fire because the mom couldn’t get to her kids upstairs. Just the kind of thing you want to read about after your wallet’s been stolen and your kids sleep upstairs.

And that’s how I ended up with a fire escape ladder.

Y’all can totally follow my train of thought.


Signs You Might Be a Mom

I cleaned out my big blue purse this week. You know since it was taking me 9.2 minutes to find my keys in the sea of stuff. Plus, I thought I was imagining an odor coming from the bag. Besides all my junk, I pulled out a progress report, a Pictionary Card Game, a smashed granola bar, two hair bows, a battery,  a plastic lizard, a small screwdriver and behold, two of my son’s dirty socks.

If my purse was ever stolen, there would be NO DOUBT I was either a mom or the Unabomber.

Some signs you might be a mom (from me and mostly the best Facebook Community ever):
You double-knot everything you tie.

You find yourself humming “What would the fox say?” (I dare you not to look it up on Youtube).

You really want Repunzel to GET A HAIRCUT.

You ask your husband if he needs to go potty while you’re on a date.

You can discipline your kids with JUST A LOOK.

You count to 5 constantly (keeping track of all the kiddos).

You have wipes and Kleenex in every room/car/bag.You go to grab your wallet and you pull out a Baggie with a tooth!
You point out diggers/construction trucks/animals out loud even when you are on your own.
You might be a mom of boys if…you find a snake head in a bowl of water on the kitchen counter!You dish your husbands dinner, making sure nothing touches, and cut his chicken into bite-sized pieces.You read closed captions out loud…even when alone.

You can stop any argument or fight with the kids by just shouting, “wow pow pow pow pow pa pow!!” And then they all break into dance.

You go to a meeting and pull a cheerio out of your pocket with your business card.

You have a pair of Star Wars angry bird underwear in your purse.

You find miniature ninjas in the bottom of your coffee cup when you finally finish drinking it…

You are constantly humming kids songs and don’t even realize it.

All sorts of things come out of your washer/dryer that were hidden in your son’s pockets… coins, rocks, sticks!!!

When your husband has a little something on his face, you lick your finger and go to clean it without thinking twice about it.

You call random people you know by your kids name, especially when they are ticking you off.

You say “so help me” several times a day.

You have a Hello Kitty bandaid on your leg, and a Batman bandaid on your finger.

You find yourself uttering all of your mom’s sayings from your childhood…”give me strength” or “I hope your child whines half as much as you do one day”.

You send the kids outside to play so you could watch Mr. Rogers in peace and quiet.

The only money in your wallet is plastic play money.

You go to the bathroom with little eyes staring at you.

You find yourself enjoying the toy aisle to see what’s new when you’re supposed to be grocery shopping.

You unscrew the top of the sippy cup and drink.

You can snap your fingers and their heads snap to see who’s in trouble.

You use your own shirt as a Kleenex, mop, napkin, and pouch for carrying toys to the correct toy box.

You look at one of your children that is just like you and get scared of the future.

You realize that your mom was right about you having one just like you and then you laugh because she gets to babysit.

You find reasons to discipline your child with an early bedtime just so YOU can go to bed early, too!

You  accidentally called your husband “daddy” in public (probably more than once) when the kids weren’t with you.

You have baby wipes stashed in multiple places in your car and house…and you may have whipped them out to wipe tomato sauce off a colleague at lunch recently

You know you’re a mom when you drive hours, sit in freezing weather, and rearrange schedules just to watch your child play an hour of soccer.

Moms, have a great weekend!  You deserve it.

It’s All in Who You Know

It happened twice this month.

The people doing it didn’t know their choice not to include me, hurt.

I was left out as a general oversight or a purposeful decision.

Both cut the same.

It’s not the sort of grief that comes with loss or sorrow, it’s the quiet pain we women know so well. Exclusion.

It’s an old war wound in me that resurfaces when I least expect it. Usually when I think I’m a victor over the battle.

But, then there it is. Again.

It starts in the pit of my stomach and grows to become A Thing in my mind. After I’ve thought of every possible angle and excuse, it settles in my heart, like a big brick. And I lug that heavy burden around and see my life thru it’s lens. The feelings that come with being left out (of a group, event, party, initiative, community, you name it) have way more to do with me than anyone else.

I know this.

As I started digging around in my heart, I discovered something ugly. I saw beneath the layers –pride. I recognized it as a desire for my name to be KNOWN.

to be known

I don’t long to see my name in lights, I’m way too introverted for that, but I want people to read my blog, to buy my book coming out next year, to support Mercy House—all good things.  But it’s a slippery slope when you start out wanting to MAKE HIS NAME KNOWN and discover a longing for yours to be known, too.

When you write a blog, run a non-profit, or say yes to anything big, you often hear these four words: Who do you know?

They seem harmless enough, but when those 4 little words are said to me, this is what I hear: You are not enough.

I don’t have a list of power players or big names. I am small with a quiet voice in this noisy world. I am unknown and I remind myself I wasn’t even on The List or invited to The Event and the wound festers.

I confessed some of this to my husband one night. I told him how I should have been a part and asked why wouldn’t they include me? He said, “You don’t love speaking or crowds or traveling. Would you really have gone?”

I found my answer in my answer, “Well, probably not. But I just wanted to be invited. I wanted to be recognized.”

And there it is uncovered, ugly, staring me in the face: PRIDE.

I found my knees. I asked God to root out this desire to be known that only left me feeling unknown. I prayed, “search me and know me God. Forgive me.”

Because really, I don’t want to be known by the world. I don’t want them to see that I can use my words to hurt others. I don’t want them to know I tend to hold a grudge or lose my cool. I don’t really want my insecurity to define me. My husband and children know the real me. They’ve smelled my morning breath and seen my funky bed head.

And God whispers, “I know you.”

He sees when I sit, when I rise, when I make my bed in Hell, when I serve or give without telling the other hand what I’m doing. He knows me whether I want Him to or not.

He’s beckoning me out of the spotlight and into His light.

So, ask me who I know. The list is short. It’s not very impressive. It won’t land me on a panel of big names or a bestseller list.

But I know Him.

And even better He knows me.