Monday, January 29, 2018

Guest Room

         Our guest room  is all set up and ready for visitors.

       We were able to keep the original hardwoods on the second floor. They look wonderful after some sanding and staining.  The brass bed was a gift from a friend who was moving away and  the rug is from Home Goods. 

         I made the two back bed pillows and the bed skirt.  The white bed quilt and shams are from Target.  The afghan is a homemade gift from my sister. I call it my Shocker afghan since it is Wichita State University colors.

         The dresser was a gift from my in-laws when we first got married.  They originally got it from Goodwill many years ago, so I know it is an antique.  I painted it yellow with Annie Sloan paint and it looks lovely in this gray, yellow and white bedroom.

       A second closet was added on the left side of the window to match the one on the right creating a cute space just waiting for a relaxing chair to be put there.

         My writing and sewing desk when the room is available.  This desk was also painted with Annie Sloan paint.
        A relaxing bedroom just waiting for company. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A Simple Tip to Help You Reach Your New Year's Resolution

       If you've set goals or resolutions for the year ahead or don't even think about doing this because you have always failed, try this approach instead.

 Set a new habit.

       Yes, set a goal, but keep it in the back of your mind. Instead think about the first step you need to take to reach that goal.  Make your first priority to add a habit to help you reach your goal. If you keep at this new habit, overtime you will see your goal within reach and not a distance fuzzy thing you can't quite see or completely forgot about. Goals don't just happen because we write them down. It's okay to do that, but that is just the first step.

       It's like setting up a board game and putting your player at the starting line. The finish, the goal, is on the other side of the board. If you don't roll the dice and take the first step and then keep moving your player across the board, step by step, you never win the game! It's just a dream. You can just sit and look at the board and hope, but your player will never move without some action on your part. 


       And what if you can too. Write those words at the top of a page and then list the things you want to believe you could accomplish in 2018. Dream a little. Write them all down.

       Then pick one, maybe two from your list and think about what habits you need to change in order to accomplish them.

For example, I wrote:

What if I can . . . . 
 become a better photographer.(GOAL)

        Well, of course I can. But if I want it to happen in the next year and not just someday, I need to change a habit in my life. I could take a photography course, get a good book to study, buy a video course, practice taking pictures every day, take my camera with me everywhere I go, etc.

        I decided to watch videos from a great photography instructor I found on YouTube OR practice what he is teaching me daily. (HABIT)

       Will I become a better photographer? I already have just in the dozen videos I've already watched. I don't have a set date that I will reach my goal. I am just making small daily steps towards it.

    My life is too full.  I don't have time.

       I know, I know.  That might be true, but if you really want to grow, change, reach a goal, maybe there are other habits that you can take out of your life or combine with other activities.   I sometimes watch my photography videos while I'm eating lunch or walking on the treadmill. I love to watch TV in the evenings to relax, but I know I could watch less. Are there any habits you can let go of to give you time for a new one?

Can you give just 15 minutes
   a day  to a new habit?

       I bet you can. You have habits you do daily without thinking about them, like brushing your teeth, buckling your seatbelt, or shaving. You don't forget them. They are habits. They have become a necessary part of your life. You wouldn't consider going to work without doing them. In the same way, if you have a health issue and need physical therapy, you wouldn't just say I don't have time. You would make time!

       Habit [habit] noun - an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed  until it has become almost involuntary.  

Do the first things first. 

       If you make your new habit a priority, I guarantee you will reach your goal. If you make it a nice thing to do if you have time or if you're not tired, you most likely won't. 

CEO –  Chief Encouragement Officer

        We all need encouragement when the road gets hard.  Become a Chief Encouragement Officer for someone in your life who is working towards a goal and find one for yourself. Telling someone else your goal and the new habit you will start to get you there can be a great motivator.  Maybe deadlines really energize you. Set one and tell your CEO what it is and ask them to check in on your progress. Do the same for someone else. 

        Don't beat yourself up if you miss a day or two.  Everyone has bad days and sometimes weeks.  Just get back up and start again.       

        And while we're at it, don't think you are being selfish giving yourself time for your new habit.   Doing something you enjoy or makes you a healthier, more confident person, isn't selfish.  It refreshes your spirit  helping you give to others even better.  

                         Celebrate Your Progress! 

       Look back and see how much you've grown, changed or accomplished in one month.   The power of the same habit done over and over is life changing.  You don't have  to roll the dice and take whatever you get.  You get to choose a goal, start a new habit, and move toward the finish line step by step.  

        I'd love to hear what your goal and habit is for 2018. Let's be CEO's for each other. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Gift of Presence

The best gift you can give this Christmas.

       Out of the many Christmases you've had in your lifetime, chances are if you've spent one alone, it is a Christmas you'll never forget. 

       The only Christmas I've spent alone was right out of a Hallmark move, in the most beautiful spot you could imagine - the mountains of Colorado.  We had met family members there to have a skiing, sleigh riding kind of Christmas.  Everything was wonderful until they all headed for the slopes on Christmas Day and with a simple door slam, I was alone.  I was the only one who didn't ski anymore due to a back injury years earlier.  The previous days alone hadn't bothered me, but I hadn't planned ahead for my Christmas day alone.  We can talk to ourselves and say it's just another day, but in our hearts we long for family or friends.

        I decided to take a snowy walk down the hill to the touristy town thinking I could at least peak in store windows.  To my surprise, many of the stores were open, and even though I was alone, I had something to do.  I watched families slosh by in their snow boots and winter gear and wondered if they noticed that I was alone.

        It's easy to feel lonely even in a crowd and it's also hard for groups of people to know you are alone.  Either way it hurts.

        What can you do now to help yourself or someone else if you anticipate Christmas day will be spent alone?   How can we spread love and joy to others we know will be alone?

        I know you don't need another thing to do this season, but just take a few minutes to think about who you know that might be alone this Christmas.  Maybe it's you.  Who could you invite over that might be spending it alone too?  Is there a church service you could attend together, or  place to volunteer serving a Christmas meal?  The point is to do something.  Don't sit home and feel sorry for yourself.  And if you can't get out, make a phone call or two to friends and family.  Think back over the past year and write down what you're thankful for or maybe set a few goals for the year ahead. 

        If you have family or friends to spend Christmas with, you are truly blessed, even if Uncle Bob drives you crazy.  Think about who you could invite over to join your group.  Buy them a small gift.  Make them feel part of your family for a day.

        My Christmas day alone was only for a few hours, not the entire day, but still it opened my eyes to the pain people experience on this day.

       And if for some reason you end up being alone this Christmas, let the words from Isaiah 43:1 remind you of his presence.

      "I will be with you . . . you are precious in my sight." 

       You are never alone.  Isn't this exactly what Christmas is about?  The gift of His presence.  Emmanuel . . . God is with us!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Farmhouse Laundry Room

         A barn door is the entrance to my country laundry room,  which is only fitting since I have what looks like chicken coop shelves inside.  It is not only beautiful but useful to close off noise and write on!

       I call these my chicken coop cubbies.  Maybe I should put a stuffed toy hen up there to make it look official.  
I found a craftsman at our local antique marketplace (Paramount - for you local Wichitonians) who made these and the countertop cubby below it.

       The washer/dryer had to be placed on a shelf because we needed headspace for the stairs  to the basement below them.  We were able to add a huge pull out drawer on the right side and used the old shiplap from the original kitchen to face the front.  

My cat, Minnie, modeling the wood drawer. 

      The window in the laundry room was originally for another room, but it worked out perfectly here to add in bright light for this small space.  

             And  some artwork for the final touches.

Artwork and metal hooks also purchased at Paramount!

       And finally, here's something new we tried this Thanksgiving.  Instead of taking turns saying what we were thankful  for around the table, I put out a white pumpkin and some sharpies and let people write what they were thankful for.

       Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and/or friends.  I am thankful for you, my reader, who take the time out of your busy lives to stop at The Noah Farm.    

Monday, November 6, 2017

Friday Night Lights

         "Grab your camera, mom.  Let's go outside."  My  son, Alex, had been filming area farmers harvesting soybeans at night with his drone.  Now he wanted me to go out with him to the field right across the road  and take pictures with him of the farmers working well after sunset.

        So Friday night we sat in a soybean field in the dark taking pictures and I thought to myself, "So this is what country life is like on a Friday night."

        A few days later, a tractor, harvester and semi-trucks pulled up to start harvesting the soybean field right beside our house.   I had walked along the edge of the field earlier that week and thought to myself,  the farmers  waited too long to harvest this field.  It looked so dry.

         But I was wrong.  As I grabbed my camera to take a few shots of them harvesting the field, the farmer pulling the grain cart came down to talk and then invited me up to ride with him.  Of course, I said "yes!"

         Turns out the field was yielding more than the average return.  That's how much I know about farming. 

        I will treasure these memories of sitting in the field in the dark taking pictures with my son and seeing firsthand how crops are harvested.  They were a precious gift.  A present only given once for a short moment in life.   They are like a beautiful song in a musical,  a delicious meal at a restaurant you will never eat at again, or a beautiful sunrise.  We must be fully present to enjoy these gifts.   

        God's beauty is tucked within 
the ordinary. 
 He loves to give us
 love notes . . . 
  He interrupts our days with Himself. 
 We just need to see it and receive it.
                                 (paraphrased from "Unseen" by Sara Hagerty)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Autumn Harvest

         We are finally moved into our farm!  This morning I took my first country walk with our dog up the hill to see the baby cows.  The mothers were very protective and started walking away from us the moment they saw the dog.  

       These cows belong to my neighbor, Patti, who is also putting in a small vineyard and hopes to produce wine in a year or two.  

         You'll notice our trees are mostly green, just starting to turn yellow. 

        But I'm celebrating green right now, because I finally have grass!  Trust me, you don't appreciate grass until you only have dirt and mud around your house.

         Here are some before and after pictures.

Back yard

And front yard . . .

       We, I mean they (GKI Groundskeepers) put down a small amount of sod and seeded the rest and within a few weeks it was beautiful!

        If you were to come visit me, this is the road you would come down to my farmhouse.

       Because it's a dirt road, there is always dust flying when someone drives by or mud if it has rained.  Lately, semi-trucks have been driving down our road. . . a lot!  This is not normal, but something that happens at harvest time.  

       Because fields are all around us now, harvest time and dust are going to part of our new country life.  So . . . we decided to add these privet bushes to create a hedge to protect our house from the dust.

       The landscapers also put in plants on the south side of our house..... crepe myrtle, boxwoods and others whose names I can't  remember. 


       These short fuzzy-tailed prairie grasses were planted along the back deck.  I love these because they remind me of Kansas wheat.

        A tree was put in our Raindrop Garden that will give me beautiful fall colors and become the focal point. 

      The above picture is the view I see from my kitchen window.  Right now the field is planted with soybeans which have not been harvested yet.   There is a bridge over a river just past this field, (shown in the second picture above).

      One of the first things we noticed about living here in the country is the quiet.  It truly is peaceful and we love that.  The drive into town and the lack of stores conveniently five minutes away will take some getting used to and better planning.  

      Last Saturday we had to listen to our favorite college football team (Go Buckeyes!) on the radio because we don't have television yet.  It kinda felt like we were "The Walton's" sitting by the radio listening to the outside world.  So far we haven't yelled, "Goodnight, Jordan-boy", but  he wouldn't get that anyway. 

      Happy Autumn wherever you are!  We're still waiting for these beauties to show their colors.