I love makeovers.

I watch shows about makeovers. I enjoy stories and photo albums that track makeovers. I join my husband in buying old Chevy trucks so we can strategize how to design makeovers on wheels. And when I have the money and time to do a makeover in our home it just may be my most favorite thing! (I share a photo journey down below of a recent renovation in our home, so keep reading!)

There’s just something about taking something that is in disarray and drab or outdated and neglected, and actively transforming it into a glorious display! If only I could embrace this sense of adventure when it comes to my thought life. I forget that the thoughts I think are movable, they are not concrete. I can take them in and move them out! I can sit on them or rip them to shreds. I can build with them or reject them. So the good news is I have power in my thought life. The tough news is that it will take my intentional choice to use it.

Ya’ll, we can give our thoughts a makeover!

So before I get to the home part of our week, let me deal with the area of my soul that has had me up all hours of the night this week: stress and worry.

Nothing robs me of rest faster (whether the inner life kind or the sleeping through the night kind) than stress and worry. When stress and worry pin me down and choke my joy, rather than give in to their threats I am learning how to actually look them straight in the eye and rearrange them to tell me a different story.

To start this “new story” process we are going back to Barb Raveling’s excellent line of questioning for these tricky kinds of situations. I introduced you to her last week, and I’m going to use her helpful line of questions on the topic of Worry this week.

The goal: rearrange your thoughts so they create a cozier space for your soul!

So worry, here we go:

  1. What are you worried about? Be specific.
  2. What are the odds that your worry will take place?
  3. What do you hope will happen? Be specific.
    1. Why do you want that to happen?
    2. Do you think God wants that to happen? Why or why not?
  4. Are God’s priorities different than your priorities in this situation? If so, how are they different?
  5. Can you control or influence this situation? If so, what could you do?
    1. Yes: Do you think God wants you to do that? Why or why not?
    2. No: If not, have you accepted the fact that you can’t control it?
  6. Are you willing to trust God for a situation you can’t control?
  7. Is God worthy of your trust? Why or why not?
  8. What do you think God wants to do for you (and/or your loved ones) in this situation? (See the insecurity Bible verses and Romans 5:3-5 for ideas.)
  9. How can you love God and others best in this situation?
  10. Is there anything you need to accept?
  11. What can you thank God for in this situation?

That #11 is a stress-kicker. A hope-sweller. A fear-stomper. A worry-choker. Giving thanks for who God is and all He has done and is doing and promises to do for us in the midst of unresolved problems is such a powerful choice. I don’t make it often, I’m not going to pretend I do. But when I do choose to practice gratitude intentionally I’m surprised by how transformative it is for my soul.

So I pray you and I together practice this light and airy way of thinking that takes worry apart and creates space for our souls to give thanks.

Now for the home part. Spring cleaning in this space isn’t too hard since the space is still pretty new to us. This space has quickly become our rest-center, the place we retreat to daily to do our finest resting!

A little over a year ago we had one of those rare opportunities to do a major renovation right here in our home. We had been saving our money for a dream that didn’t pan out and in our grief we found solace in the creative enterprise of renovating a wasteland space in our home into a sanctuary!

Our basement had been a concrete catch-all — a home for spiders, dust bunnies and a sundry of unnecessary items. The only redeeming  purpose it served for our family was to store our Christmas trees, hunting equipment and was where we inflated the bouncy house for our daughter on cold or rainy days. Add some of Mommy’s Zumba music and a boring frigid Tuesday morning in the scary basement magically became “Club Toddler” for all who visited!

And just in case you think I’m exaggerating, check out our basement “before”:

Seems ordinary enough, creepy but not overwhelming, right? Well…

 

I think we were preparing for an epic shortage of toilet paper. And there’s more…

 

Grizz said the dog art classed the place up a bit. I guess when you figure this next scene was around the corner, the dog art did work pretty hard…

 

I can’t even. Photo credit to myself because no one serious would ever take this picture.

 

Then there’s this angle and you just want to host the biggest bonfire the county has ever seen so you can just start over. It took a lot of sweat and not a few bandaids to get the space all cleared out…that’s the way though. The hardest part of the journey is unloading what you don’t want or need anymore so you can create space for what you most want and need!

The renovation felt overwhelming at first. With so much mess it was hard to know where to begin and it was easy to get discouraged by the size of it all. I’m sure you’ve felt this way in your home, and in your soul at times too. But you have to start somewhere, and always we plant small. So we set out and took a picture – in our hunting gear…who knows why.

 

From start to finish it took almost 6 months with some weather delays, but the hard work and investment was worth every second of hammering and drill buzz.

In with the new…

Being a beach-raised girl, I wanted a predominantly coastal vibe. I wanted to feel like we were retreating to the ocean when we came downstairs, and like we were in the main house bright and open versus in a basement. To capture all the brightness I wanted, I went with a high white wainscoting and as much white trim and paint as I could get away with. And since we sit on a hay farm with fresh deer meat in the freezer thanks to Grizz, I wanted to incorporate our rustic roots as well. This was the first space I really had the liberty to create from scratch with Grizz, so paying attention to our lives and our story was important to me, and I think you’ll see little ways it comes out throughout the space. We also made the entire space handicap accessible (unless you come down the stairs) since everywhere else in the home involves stairs. It’s wonderful to have a space where everyone in the family — no matter their physical needs — is able to come together! And if you choose to use the stairs, isn’t this a much lovelier welcoming!?

I’m going to get spiritual here for a moment, bear with me. I wanted natural wood weaved throughout the basement, and I wanted it “old rugged cross” wood. I don’t know how else to explain it but I wanted it to remind me of the cross when I walked on it or leaned against it, so our friends/workers hammered it hard for hours (usually during my daughter’s nap time). The rich texture of scratches and dents and chipped edges not only offer resistance from slipping, they just help us remember our story and the real-life story of how once God became man – lived, bled, died and rose again. My sin and shame was carried away on an old rugged cross, I’ll never run out of days and ways to say thank you.

 

This was taken before we had the wall art up but you can see Grizz’ pride and joy – a secret passage through a bookshelf wall! I won’t tell you all that is inside but it’s a manly man’s dream.

 

We knocked out the old garage door and filled the room with light! The transom windows really go the extra mile in making the basement feel more like the beach – which helps this Florida native feel right at home. Photo credit: FB | Instagram @kadeesapproach

 

I cannot resist buying something with my favorite word in it: lovely! These sweet pillows are just as cute set out as artwork as they are to pile up on for a night of Netflix in the guest room. You can find other cute pillows like this at Altar’d State.

 

Diffusing essential oils (favorites: Thieves in the kitchen; Peppermint in the bathroom and Lavender in the bedroom) is essentially the quickest way to slow my racing thoughts and help me take deeper breaths!

 

All 3 of us in our family share physical touch as our top love language, so texture is a big deal for us! And maybe it’s the “bear” in us but faux fur is our go to for instant cozy! Faux fur pillows, blankets, rugs, slippers, you name it — if you can faux fur it we are your customers. Photo credit: @kadeesapproach

 

Barn doors serve so many purposes in our lives. For one, we live on a hay farm so they were here before we were. Second, they are great space savers! We lose no space in our room when they are opened and they force us to keep our walls from becoming overly cluttered. I could paint this shade of bluish mint on everything, it reminds me of where I grew up on the coast of Destin, Florida.

 

I chose Grizzle Gray from Sherwin-Williams for two reasons: (1) to honor my husband Grizz – it just felt right; and, (2) to offset the high white wainscoting and serve as an anchor in the basement without being too demanding. I love the way whites and natural woods get all the attention when placed up against it!

 

I’m a words-lover so it’s easy to fill my spaces with words, but I’m picky. The Word is pretty hard to beat, and with my need to renew my mind every 10 minutes, having as much of God’s Word displayed before our eyes is both beautiful and strategically helpful! What better way to create a space to rest than to set up reminders to remember God is with us!

 

I get asked where I get my home decor from, but it’s a bit of a hodge podge. Sometimes I find items in Hobby Lobby or chain stores, but anymore for our home I like having local artists I know customize signs for us that mean something and tell our story. Amelia’s Woodshed is one example, as is Between You and Me Signs.

 

Remember the sign people I love supporting! Here is another one, Lindsey Letters – just love, love, love.

 

Another rest-inducing tip: place a few of the BEST most life-giving reads in your space. Not too many that you start to feel choked, but a few that just the cover itself reminds you of such beautiful truth you begin to remember who you are and who God is again. I change them out but these 3 here currently are: Maria Goff’s “Love Lives Here”, John & Stasi Eldredge’s “Captivating” and Sally Clarkson’s “Own Your Life”. Consider this my high recommendation of all 3 reads.

 

And then there is the key ingredient: whimsy! At least for me, a touch of humor goes a long way in reminding me not to take myself too seriously…and I need this reminder in every space I want to actually rest in! For beautiful touches of whimsy may I recommend Sugarboo & Co.! First of all, Rebecca is a self-proclaimed “Dealer in Whimsy” and she is right-on. Second, they cannot get any lovelier if they tried. Third, one of Rebecca’s writings is quoted with her generous permission in my book and I’m so delighted I cannot thank her enough. I’m pretty certain you’ll find something you’ll want from her…I have a growing list.

 

Stone is all around us in this part of the country, a quarry is a stone’s throw away in fact, so I love having stone feature in our home to remind us that we belong right here. What is characteristic of your region?

 

Soon after launching this blog a sweet friend hand-cut and painted this for me. It’s part of our mission: plant small. root deep. bear life. Needless to say – I cried. When someone supports your dreams it just may be the kindest gift. When was the last time you supported someone’s dreams? Thanks again sweet Sarah!

 

In line with telling our story in our home, these boots were worn at some point by Grizz growing up! I love how tiny yet manly they are and can almost see him kicking up dirt keeping after the horses, bless him.

 

Like I said, more faux fur and words that remind us to pay attention to our lives. (p.s. this is another Altar’d State pillow and another picture by @kadeesapproach!)

 

Custom art – it makes me smile! We had this made to highlight our main plot points for our story: we met in Nashville, met our daughter in Knoxville and met our home filled with places to rest together here in the foothills…

So that’s some of our REST-oration journey, now what about yours? Whether it’s texture, smells, words, memorabilia, family furniture, favorite books, lighting, secret passage ways or handicap accessible showers (I didn’t even get to our farmhouse bathroom with a refurbished record player for a sink!)…you can create a space that reminds you to rest, reminds you to trust God, reminds you of who you are and who God is right now with a few rearrangements.

And while you’re at it, consider rearranging those worries too. Make room for more #11 in your day and find rest much easier to come by in any space.