Today

I had a quiet day of solitude, bluegrass music, hymns, hot coffee, and laundry. Between loads, here’s what I did: Reworked these shelves to include just a few decorative touches.Did some serious online shopping to prep for future guests (and switching slowly to more faux flowers for a little less maintenance in this life)Took in Brother’s girl, Remmington, for the week. Played with things that have been in storage since we moved.The rug is only gone because of the extra pet around here and my desire for easy clean up.Washed the soap dishes I hoard (I’m too ashamed to show you how much hand and bar soap I have).This.
Thanking the Lord for the blessing of peaceful days. For bills to pay and work to be done. And for the beauty to be found right here without ever leaving the comforts of home. 

The Start of Something Beautiful: Women’s D Group Binder

Our church is focusing heavily on discipleship, and I couldn’t be more thankful for this!

I wanted to share a few materials I created to keep my little group (and my silly self) organized. I first want to tell you that, though I love my church, I am not an official representative of it, and don’t feel I have any authority to represent it publicly, so I’ve included a million links in this post to more “official” sources.

Second, I want to share the D Group materials I created tonight based on materials from our church. What’s a D group, you ask? Well, I’m so glad you did.

The process goes something like this:

We individually read the F260 reading plan. Our pastor and his wife designed is as a Biblical overview that can be completed in 260 days. You can read right along with us here.

Then, each week, Pastor Robby chooses one scripture reading from the week and preaches an expository sermon based on that passage. If you want to know what that fancy-pants word means, you can click here. To watch one of our messages, you can click here.

We have Life Groups that meet each week. These are sort of like Sunday school classes, and we keep rebranding them. I am giggling as I type (for the record, I like all of these names). Through the years I’ve been at LHBC, they’ve been “connect” groups, “small” groups, and “life” groups. We’re flexible people, y’all. But, just because the name changes, it doesn’t change the heart of Life Group! You can read about life groups here.

We’ve gotten to enjoy being in the same Life Group with a few of the same people for about 8 years now. This means that, when I show up, I am known and loved! When I’m away, people check in on me. When I’m having a hard time, these are the friends I can text or call any time. And we actually like each other enough that we hang out, call, text, Facebook stalk, and pray for each other (even on days besides Sunday, hence the name Life Group).

Fair warning. This was not automatic. It took time, trust, patience, and many years of loving each other well to build our little community. I hope it continues to grow! Also, only kindness intended, but if you hate absolutely every life group you’ve walked into, it’s time to take a good, hard look in the mirror (Are you giving as much grace as you’d like to receive? Or are you just judging everyone harshly, sensitively being “offended” about every little thing, and generally being a bit egocentric? If so, I guarantee you won’t find the right group for you… I know this because I have foolishly done all of these things). 

Life Groups are mixed gender and up to about 30 people. If they grow too much bigger than that, you start to walk in and feel anonymous again, defeating the purpose. So, at that point, our church encourages groups to multiply (not divide) into two different groups.

Life Groups engage in open-ended discussion based on the sermon. Everyone is encouraged to contribute, and we always end the discussion with applications and real-life takeaways.

From those Life Groups form real, authentic relationships. After praying (for months) and talking with our college pastor, a group of girls were highlighted to me who were growing already in their relationship with the Lord, who consistently attended and served in our church, and who were eager to learn more. I approached them and invited them to be a part of a Discipleship Group (D-Group)

D Groups are much different than Life Groups. D Groups are intentionally closed, small, single-gender groups. This means I get to walk closely alongside those few, precious girls. We get to go through The Word together, pray together, enjoy accountability, pray together, share insights, memorize scripture together, and so much more! You can read about D Groups here. Then you can get information about the books we chose here.

So, in summary, we have a large-group sermon/message with teaching and worship on Sundays where everyone is welcome, small classes called Life Groups where we talk about that week’s message and where everyone is welcome, D Groups with single genders that are itty bitty and exclusive so people can be totally transparent and grow deeply, and one-on-one time with the Lord (which I call “quiet time” but which you may have heard called “devotionial”) which consists of daily praying and reading  His word (and, for me, includes worship).

img_4326
Poor girls.

The girls in our group have totally different schedules, from full-time students with part-time jobs to a recently-graduated night shift nurse! We are using an app called “Group Me” to keep in touch during the week. With it, I can send the girls videos (like one today of me fumbling through my scripture recitation), reminders to keep up with their reading, encouragement, and even photos of daily journal entries. So cool! Best of all, they can mute me (Haaaaaaa! Sorry, Ladies.)!

But, as much as they probably will want to throw their phones across the room and kill me after I bombard them with messages (on the daily), how cool is it that we can touch base all week (without everyone’s phone going off all the time)?

I was blessed to be mentored by a couple of incredible women during college and my first year of teaching. My walk with the Lord, my marriage, my professional life, my home, and my heart itself all grew so much from those times (more than I can say in a tiny little blog post). So I’m so grateful to be able to do the same! However imperfect I may be (which is VERY, in case you were wondering) and however much I don’t know (which is a LOT), I get to rely on The One who IS perfect and all-knowing!

I wanted to help the girls, who are living VERY busy lives, stay on track and organized. So, like any (former) teacher, I created a binder with a little too much glee.

The content of each item is straight from our church publications, but I made things a little… Girly. Because, to me, that is worthy. That’s right. Fancy-shmancy notetakers, pretty fonts, and doodled embellishments excite me, and I can’t lie about that.

I’m giving each girl a binder with a pretty cover, a copy of the covenant they’ll sign, a copy of the scripture we are memorizing (the girls voted to learn the ENTIRE book of Philippians; go big or go home, amiright?) a reminder about the daily disciplines, and a weekly notetaker to help them remember how to pray for our group after all the inevitable gab is done.

These are not meant to form a legalistic checklist for the girls. However, they are meant to help wandering minds (like mine) stay focused and encouraged.

Click on each item to download it yourself. Feel free to print and reproduce the items for your own D group.

D Group Binder Cover.png

Click on the above image to save the Binder Cover

D Group Covenant.pngClick here for a PDF version of the D Group Covenant: d-group-covenant. I took this right from our church, but modified it a little just because of the scriptures I personally wanted to read with my ladies as we read each item.
D Group Weekly Note Taker.pngClick here for the Weekly Note taker: d-group-weekly-note-taker

The above resource is only expected to be used as it is useful. Not every area has to be filled in each week.

HEAR Journal.pngClick here for a daily H.E.A.R. journal: hear-journal

 

Daily Disciplines of a Disciple.pngClick the above image to save a copy of the Daily Discplines of a Disciple IMG_4331.JPG

I hope this is useful to someone. If this blesses even one lady, it was worth frantically typing at nearly 4 in the morning. 🙂

Warmly,

Lindsey

 

Painting the Door with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Like all poor bloggers, I forgot to take a before picture. But it was BAD. The white paint was chipping off our fiber glass door in large, hard, sharp, flaky chunks.

I had been dreaming of replacing our door with a wood-and-glass entry like this: 
From farmhousetouches.com

I’m always a fan of natural wood and traditional, simple style. I’m also a big fan of natural light. Since this side of the room faces North to a covered porch, an extra window would do us good! 

However, Mr. S (wisely) has insisted that we need to protect our privacy, and that our typical, tract home neighborhood isn’t the ideal setting for a view straight through to our home.

Also, this kind of door is a real budget buster. They’re expensive! 

So I decided to go with a classic black door. 

Source: Pinterest, uploaded by another user

While I haven’t gotten around to the outside, I really felt our interior needed the contrast most of all. 

I knew I didn’t want a true black, but more of a charcoal color. 

Then, a sweet neighbor gave me her left over Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Graphite as a surprise!

I wasted no time and got my door knocked out the next morning (my birthday). It took two coats to get all-over coverage, but three to get every last stubborn corner.

 This image has only chalk paint, and you can see the door is lovely and dark, and also matte (one of my favorite qualities of chalk paint). 

As great as it looked, I knew it would get some serious wear and tear, so I needed to protect this finish to make it more durable. 

I considered using Annie Sloan clear wax, but because this door gets intensely hot from exposure to our swampy Tennessee summers, I knew I needed to go a different route. 

I chose General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat in the Flat formula from Then & Again Home Marketplace, the store where I work. 

I already had used this product to reseal my kitchen table and loved it. 


Even though I was carefully to use long strokes, the top coat dried and gave the appearance of short, choppy strokes. 

I poked around online and found that the chalk paint probably is absorbing the product unevenly before it dries, resulting in this spotty look. 

However, the great news is that this unsightly layer acted as a barrier for the next two. 

Here it is after two coats. A huge improvement! The imperfections you can see are actually present in the door itself, not a result of the finishes I chose. 

The topcoat dried pretty rapidly in my house, whose thermostat I set right at 70 degrees. I turned on the overhead fan after each application, and the process flew by. 

And finished! Such a huge improvement from chippy, flaking paint, way cheaper than a new door, and some much-needed masculine contrast in this space! 

Early Fall

Fall is our favorite season.

This year, it’s far too hot this September, and Mr. S is away, but rather than pouting, I figured I’d just make believe. 
My first batch of dried limelights turned out beautifully! Next year, I hope to have plenty to share with friends. I adore them beside white pumpkins.I found this sweet orange plaid throw at Michaels while grabbing fabric for a client. I used a gift card to grab two of those sweet pumpkin pillows from Pottery Barn. I went a little crazy and even grabbed some curtains at World Market with a bit of turquoise, burnt orange, and brown in them. 
Same orange pillows as last year. I made them out of Target kitchen fabric (can’t remember now if it was a tablecloth or dish towel) when I couldn’t found an orange plaid I liked. Grabbed the gray throw from Pottery Barn, too.