Book Rack Upcycle: The Final Steps

The Challenges:

For such a simple project, I have to say that I have been a bit frustrated. The rebuild was quite easy and everything came together quite nicely, but I am still not completely happy with the wheels and its mobility. I have mounted the wheels in several different places, trying to find a placement that provides enough stability and allows the cabinet to move easily in and out of the narrow channel between the fridge and the stove. I have run into issues with both:

  1. Stability – the cabinet is quite tall and narrow, so even without wheels, stability is an issue.
  2. Wheel Mobility – this has been impacted by two variables:
  • one being that the wheels tend to spin when you slide/turn the unit and it seems like they need to remain lined-up nicely in order to work properly.
  • the second issue is the baseboard and quarter-round on the wall. I suspected this might be an issue all along and am pretty certain that removing it will solve most of my challenges. My husband said “No.” Every once in a while he doesn’t quite buy into my plans and removing the quarter-round seems to be something he takes issue with. Oh well, I am on spring break this week (YAY!!) and he isn’t, so we’ll see what happens when he goes to work. This may sound a bit cheeky, but I know from experience that he usually agrees with me when all is said and done.  For now I have left it as is, but at the very least I will be removing it to see if it makes a difference to the mobility.

The Next Steps:

As far as the stability goes, it really isn’t that much of an issue, but I had planned on adding some extra hooks in the very narrow space behind the pull-out rack. In most instances, you would only be pulling the rack partially out to get what you need and the fridge and wall would provide plenty of support for it to stand. However, if I want to add the extra hooks behind the cabinet, I would need to pull it out completely in order to gain access to the items behind. I was thinking of storing my cooling racks behind there because they are light weight for hooks and are too bulky for my cupboards. The downside of this is that I use them quite often, so I might be better placing items that are rarely used behind there. I am really not sure how this will all work out, but for now, I am waiting for a few touch-ups to dry and will then be ready for the final steps.

  • Cleaning and reorganizing my current cupboards in order to use my new storage rack in the most effective way possible.
  • Chalkboard art – I am really not sure what I am going to do yet, but I wanted to try some kind of chalk board art on the vertical face of the cabinet.

I’ll keep you posted.

PS If you are interested in checking out the previous posts on this project, here are the links for the first and second post.

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Book Display Upcycle #2: Pull-out Spice Rack

Book Display Shelf

Here is a “before” shot of the book display rack.

You may remember the book rack upcycle I did a few weeks back. I used an old book display rack and converted it into a pull-out pantry style shelf that sits between my fridge and the wall. It works really well and I am happy to say that the chalkboard art has stood up extremely well – in fact, better than I would have ever expected. Not a single image has been smudged and I have yet to touch-up anything. I can’t honestly say if this is because of the hair spray I top coated it with or if it is just because I only move it in and out using the handle.  Either way, it works well and I really do love it. However, when I was making it I knew that the empty space above the pull-out shelf would bug me. It just looks like something is missing. So, I decided that I would use the other half of the display rack and convert it into a spice rack.

Empty Space Beside the Fridge

Here you can see the empty space above the pull-out cabinet that I upcycled into a pantry.

Pull-out Spice Rack:

I began by taking the second panel of the book rack completely apart and then had to spend quite a bit of time thinking about how this would work. My plan was to create a spice rack using the existing wood from the display rack. The depth of the space would accommodate the full 24″ of shelving, but in order for it to fit between the cupboard support board and the wall, I would need to make the shelves narrower. I thought this seemed like a super easy project as the modifications were quite minimal. The issue was that there seemed to be lots of little details to think about: the thickness of the pegboard backing, whether to trim the back or front of the shelves, how to keep the little lip so the spice bottles won’t fall off, how far apart to make the shelves, how to make the cut shelves fit in the grooves they previously sat in, etc. I must say, I found it a bit hard to consider all of the details that perhaps wouldn’t even be considerations in a “new build”, but had to be accounted for because it was an upcycle. I got the boards cut and prepared to a point, but then had to ask my husband to help. The one and only tool that I’m not allowed to use is the table saw. I’m not exactly sure why, but Tim doesn’t feel that it’s very safe and at times I can be a bit careless. So, on Saturday I finally pinned him down and got the help I needed to do the final cuts. The new shelf is about 17″ high and 24″ long and should fit perfectly in the space, once the drawer runners are added. The front face of the shelf was not cut down as I wanted it to match the size of the bottom pull-out shelf. They won’t line-up perfectly because the bottom one is more centered in the space and the spice rack will end up sittng closer to the wall than the fridge. Keeping it the original 4″ width will also help to keep the contents of the rack somewhat hidden, as opposed to a more open look.

We got the boards cut and nailed the shelf together. I used the original top and bottom pieces from the rack and one of the shelves, but had to insert a second shelf in between so that the final spice rack would have a total of three shelves. My plan is to move all of my small spice bottles to this rack. It should be large enough to fit them all, so I will have some additional drawer space in the kitchen and perhaps some room on my pull-out rack as well. We filled all of the holes with wood filler and let it dry over night. I am out of time and weekend, so this is how it will stay until I can get back to it.

The next step is to sand and prime the shelf, so that it will be ready for painting. I can’t wait to get it mounted and see how it works!

Upcycled Book Display Rack Update

Well, I survived my marathon schedule for parent teacher conferences last week and even made it through the weekend without getting sick. Usually, I am so exhausted that I end up getting sick right after. I am still tired from the busy week, but managed to spend a bit of time on my new kitchen storage rack. I primed and painted it over the weekend and am hoping to complete the finishing touches early this week, if I’m not too bagged after work.

Book Display Rack:

In the first post, I shared how I planned to re-make and repurpose an old book display rack for kitchen storage. I had to cut it down in width in order to make it fit into the space between the fridge and wall. This made for extra work, but I was determined to make this work. After cutting it down and re-building it, I filled the holes and sanded the repairs.

Over the weekend, I got it painted. This was a bit of a process as I didn’t have much energy and opted for two colours. Whenever you use more than one colour, you are essentially doubling the work. First, I had to give it a light sand to scuff up the original finish.  I then primed it and had to let the paint dry thoroughly, as I didn’t want to peel the primer when I taped off my colour lines. I then had to paint my first colour and wait for the paint to dry between coats before moving on to my second colour. One colour would have been much easier, but of course, I had a vision for how I wanted the finished shelf to look. I can’t say that yellow and black were exactly what I had in mind, but I didn’t really want to go with white and the only colour I had on hand that would work was yellow. I am all about trying to use up paint I have on hand, so I decided to go for it. The black chalkboard paint is on the outside edge only. I was thinking I might try to label it in some way…not quite sure yet. If you check out the background, you can see the state of my unfinished basement. This has been on a “to do” list for quite some time, but its not my list!!! Ugh.

The paint is still drying, but my next steps will be to add supports across each shelf. The original supports were plastic covered wires. They worked fine, but I was wanting a bit more of an industrial look. I picked up these pieces of metal strapping for a couple of bucks each and will bend the ends and screw them from the inside. I contemplated distressing the finished cabinet, but have decided to leave it for now and see how I like it. I also need to find a pull handle…not exactly sure what I want yet.

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Upcycled Book Display Rack

Custom Kitchen Storage

I am beyond excited about this project! I have had this project on my “Someday List” for years.  I originally saw this idea on a handyman website. It was basically a custom-built shelving unit for kitchen storage. I am not sure if is the same site where I first found the idea, but this the same concept.  I loved the idea, but my building skills are still quite limited and my husband is not fond of the “make work” projects that I suggest for him. So, I “shelved” the project hoping that someday I would develop the skills to build one for my kitchen.  As soon as I got this free book rack loaded in my car, I got that twinkle in my eye and knew exactly what this would become. I remember driving home with only one thing on my mind….will it fit??

Upcycled Book Display Rack:

Original Book RackHere’s a picture of the original book rack. Each panel is about 4″ deep and 2 feet wide, but I only have two of the original four panels. Lucky for me, one panel fits almost perfectly in the space between my fridge and the wall.  I say almost because the bank of cupboards that sit over the fridge have pieces of wood that extend down to the floor on either side of the fridge (they look like supports, but are perhaps there to give it more of a finished look than actually serve a purpose). The result is that the 2 foot width will not fit. In order to use the rack, I had to cut it down to 16″. At first, I was really ticked about this and although I am still not happy about the extra work and lost storage space, I did manage to figure out a little something that made it a little less disappointing.  I will share this in the final reveal as well, as I haven’t got it all figured out yet.

Steps to Transformation:

  1. First, I had to take the whole thing apart. It was primarily held together with screws and a few nails, so I didn’t have to fuss with glue and that made the dismantling that much easier.
  2. I was able to keep both sides in tact, but I had to cut all of the horizontal pieces and the peg board back down to 16″.  I was able to do this easily on the mitre saw, with the exception of the peg board back. My husband kindly helped me out by cutting it on the table saw.
  3. The plastic covered wire cords extending across the books were just attached with hook screws and were easily removed as well.
  4. The ends of the horizontal shelves actually fit into grooves in the sides. The problem was that the shelves did not have a straight cut end. The front couple of inches were straight, but the back part was curved. This meant I had to trace the curve and cut it with the skill saw. I did fine with this, but the curves did not match the original cuts perfectly.  For the most part it’s not noticeable, as the end of the board and my cut is hidden in the groove of the side board. There is a slight gap if you look closely, but it will never really be seen once it’s in use.
  5. The other tricky part was positioning the wheels so that the shelf would slide in and out easily while providing the stability needed for it to stand freely when not between the fridge and the wall. I am actually still playing with this and may end up buying 1.5″ flat ball casters as suggested by the poster of the above cabinet.
  6. Everything is put back together, holes filled and ready for paint.

I can’t wait to get back to it and finish this project off, but the weekend is over and I have a super busy week ahead with Parent Teacher Conferences. Hopefully I won’t be too bagged after a heavy week and can finish it up next weekend. Stay tuned….

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Wall Mounted Spice Rack Reveal

Yay! I finally got my spice rack finished. I am super pleased with it. The first pull-out shelf we built works great, but the empty space above was annoying me. Tim has been on holidays the past couple of weeks, so he ended up helping me more than usual and we finally got the spice rack painted and mounted. It was so great having him home. I could get really used to that!

Wall Mounted Spice Rack:

I picked-up full extension drawer slides for around $23 at Home Depot. Tim mounted them on the back of the spice rack and on the back wall. The shelf tucks in the space perfectly and the two shelves line up really nicely. Both units were made from two panels of the original book rack. The cost was next to nothing for the entire project. If I’m not forgetting anything, I think we paid around $6 for chalkboard spray paint, about $6 for the metal strapping, $7 for the handle on the bottom and $23 for the drawer slides. We had all of the other materials on hand. So, even if I missed something I am guessing this project cost us well under $50 and totally transformed our kitchen. It is so much more organized. I was able to empty the top spice drawer and move my tea towels and dish cloths into it. The smaller drawer that they used to reside in is now for odds and ends like the remote for the fan, a tape measure, shoe horn, etc. These “gadgets” use to be in another drawer along with my foil, cellophane, parchment paper and Ziplocks. Everything is just so much tidier. Loving it!!

Coffee Themed Bookmark

Paint ChipsPaint chip projects are all over the web and like so many others, I absolutely love the cool things that are being made with them. I have wanted to do something with paint chips for a long time, but have never really gotten around to committing to anything quite yet. I guess a part of me is a little uncomfortable with going and taking an entire stash of paint chips. I know they are free for the taking, but it still makes me feel uncomfortable. For this project I did select a few panels as I was on a very specific mission. I don’t know my children’s teacher very well, but I do know she likes coffee. For Valentine’s Day, I wanted to make her a little coffee themed goody bag. I thought that a coffee themed bookmark would be a cool idea and then I could finally say I have done a paint chip project.

Coffee Themed Bookmark

I went to the paint store and found a small selection of colours that actually have “coffee terminology” in their title. I was able to find the following:  light mocha, cappuccino, café mocha, and espresso. Of course, they weren’t on the same panel, so I had to cut three of the squares out and cover the existing squares on the “espresso” panel. I then double mounted the paint chip card on white card stock, followed by brown on the base. I found some coffee clip art online and just printed the little coffee logo off on my computer and then cut it out with my circle cutter. For the reverse side, I found this cute little poem type verse on-line called Coffeeology.* I basically just retyped the words on my computer using various fonts to create the final look. When typing, I created a text box that worked with the long and narrow dimensions of the bookmark.  Finally, I punched a hole in the top and added an eyelet to prevent the paper from tearing. I added a ribbon and a little wire with beads at the end (both were salvaged from the Christmas Crackers handed out at Christmas dinner). I also added a little button to the Coffeeology side of the bookmark.

*Coffeeology is all over the web and therefore I don’t know who the original source or author is. I tried to research it, but came up empty. There is a coffee shop called Coffeeology in North Carolina, but I can’t seem to connect the two. So just to be very clear, I did not write this, but would love to give credit to the author, so if you know something I don’t, please let me know and I will update this post.

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Repurposing Christmas Crackers

Christmas crackersChristmas crackers

I am not sure if your family purchases Christmas Crackers for the holiday season or not, but my sister in-law always has a cracker for everyone at our family Christmas dinner. It is a tradition. I am not sure where she purchases them, but I think she might get them at Costco. They are always quite elegant looking and the prizes are pretty good. This year we got a key chain, an egg timer, a set of mini dominos and a heart pendant necklace. Aside from the fun and the prizes, I also have a tradition of my own. For me the prize is much more about the packaging than the actual contents of the cracker. I always collect all of the little embellishments and take them home for use in other projects. I thought I would share a couple of repurposing ideas for those cute little cracker decorations.

Repurposing Christmas Crackers:

Here are a few shots of some of my salvaged loot from the past three years. You can see that some of the piles are already quite depleted.

Each end of the cracker is usually tied with one or two pieces of ribbon. A wire with little balls on it is twisted around to make a pretty little decoration. The ribbon pieces are quite small and their uses are definitely limited, but I absolutely love those fancy little wires.

  1. I have used the small ribbons and wires to add a bit of extra charm to small gifts in much the same way as they are used on the original crackers.
  2. The wires and bows can also be used to add some pizzaz to a scrapbooking layout.Christmas cracker upcycle

It may be too late, but if you have some crackers hanging around that still haven’t been used or maybe you are saving them for New Year’s, don’t forget to gather all those odds and ends and add them to your stash for future use.

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Creative Memories: Scrapbooking for the Busy Mom

Our Kodak Camera When I was a child, there was very little extra money and although we had a camera similar to the one in the photo, we often didn’t have film on hand or money to process the pictures that were taken. As I grew up, I found that I had a very poor memory of my childhood.  There were (and still are) countless times when we are engaged in conversation about the past and I literally have no recollection of the event.  I really don’t know why this is or if perhaps it is even normal, but I have always felt that my long-term memory was not as good as my peers.  As a young adult, my parents moved from our family home in the “country” to the city. Of course this meant doing a lot of sorting and purging.  My mom was by know means a hoarder, but we always had one room that was stacked with boxes of “stuff”.  We lived in a heritage home and the basement was not suitable for storage and so for us, one of the bedrooms became the “dumping” ground.  I hated that room and perhaps that is what shaped me into the organized person that I am today.  Sometimes, I think we grow-up reflecting on our parents and upbringing and making specific decisions about how we are going to do certain things different or “better”.  Such was the case for me when it came to organization and specifically family photos.  When my parents were preparing to move, I found a bag full of old “film” in one of the boxes. I took the film in to a processing lab, but all of the film was damaged and we were unable to have it processed and printed.  I am not sure if my lack of childhood memories is due to the absence of pictures or not, but I certainly feel that a photo captures a moment and provides an anchor that helps to engrave that memory in our hearts and minds.  My parents loved me very much, of that I am certain, but I can honestly say that my memories are random and vague at best.  I remember only one birthday.  I don’t know how old I was (maybe 12 or 14?) and my only memory is of the cake because it looked so pretty with strawberries carefully sliced on the top of it.  I remember coming downstairs late at night one December evening and catching my mom with fabric spread out on the floor making what would later become the quilt I got for Christmas that year.  I remember the one doll I got when I was quite small and a clock radio cassette player I received as a young teen.  I am grateful for the few photos that I do have, but regret the absence of “proof” from my childhood.  I can’t imagine that I didn’t have a birthday party, and yet remember none.

So, you can see why for me scrapbooking is more than a hobby, it is something that I deem essential and am passionate about.  I want to take those memories and create anchors on which my own children can track the milestones of their lives.

Setting Up a Manageable System for Scrapbooking Your Family Memories

I am not perfect, but definitely have the attitude that if you are going to do something, do it with excellence or why bother.  So, when I was embarking on this new hobby  a few years after Eden was born, I knew that I would need to have a plan in order for me to stay on top of my “scrapbooking” projects.  Here is what I do, to keep it fun and less overwhelming.

1. I have one 12″ X 12″ scrapbook for each of my children and both follow the exact same format:

  • A title page consisting of  the birth announcement
  • One two page NEWBORN lay-out (both pages when the book is open) This highlights their birth and our time in the hospital, really just the first few days of life.  It also includes a few pregnancy photos.
  • One two page layout of 0 to 6 months.
  • One two page layout of 7 to 12 months.
  • One two page layout of their FIRST BIRTHDAY party.
  • One two page layout of them as a ONE year old.
  • One two page layout of their SECOND BIRTHDAY party.
  • One two page layout of them as a TWO year old.

This process will continue until they are 18.  There are no “events” captured in these books.  I reserve it for single snapshots of the milestones, people who are important to them (pictures of them with mom, dad, brother/sister, cousins, aunts, grandparents, special friends, etc.) as well as important events and FIRSTS.  So for example, it may contain only one photo of Christmas from that specific year or one photo from a piano recital.  The concept of the ONE year lay-outs is to highlight what was important to them at that time in their lives.  What I love about this set-up is that I really only have two lay-outs to do per child per year.  Four lay-outs that I must commit to in order to stay on top of their books. This helps me to stay motivated and creative without it becoming a daunting task on my “to do” list.

Side note: Make sure you journal.  Journaling may seem like it is not important, but in order to truly capture the moment it is important to write a little about it.  When I look through my older layouts, I can see that I kept journaling to a minimum. I often just included titles and dates on my photos, but over time, I saw the value and began to write more.  I sometimes type my journal entries, but often print them myself.  Having lost my mom, I know how much a sample of her writing on an old recipe means to me.  Including your own writing is like signing it “made with love, by my own hands just for you”. I just really feel that journaling is important and needs to be included.

2. I have created one 12″ X 12″ album that is solely for Christmas.  I have a title page at the front of the book and then do one two page lay-out per year.  I love this book because it captures the people most important in our lives and shows how everyone has grown and changed over the course of a year.  Again, one lay-out per year is very manageable for me.

3. When the kids started school, I also began a school album.  I actually have both kids in the same album.  Basically, I do a two page lay-out for every grade they are in.  The photos include field trips, their teachers, concerts, assembly performances, awards, etc.  I am not sure if I will continue this after grade 6 or not.  I may just restrict it to memories from their elementary school days.  This adds two more lay-outs to the list, making it a total of SEVEN lay-outs that I am absolutely committed to staying on top of.  Luckily, the kids’ birthdays are six months apart, so it isn’t too difficult for me to pull this off.

Sample School Album Layout

This is a sample layout from the kid’s School Album.

4. In addition to the above, I do have a few other albums that I putter at. I consider them “extras” and do them just for fun.

  • Special Events album – I have only one album that I use to capture entire events.  For me, this is just too much to commit to. I have a list of lay-outs that I think would be fun to do ~ some day.  I don’t worry about these and only do them when I feel inspired.
  • School Album – I think I figured out that I have now taught well over 700 children in my years as a teacher.  A few years ago, I pulled together a very simple album with my staff and class pictures from over the years.  This is pretty easy to keep current as there are very few photos to add and the embellishments are kept very simple.
Sample Event Layout

This is a sample from my special events album. This layout features Eden’s First Lemonade Stand!

I know so many scrapbookers that try to do it all!  They try to scrapbook every thing. This just doesn’t work for me. I am too busy and too much of a perfectionist.  I would constantly feel like I was behind and this would totally block my creativity and remove the fun.  I really enjoy scrapbooking, but never want it to become so overwhelming that I resent it or the time that it requires.  My best advice is keep it simple and manageable.  One more tip ~ don’t scrapbook family vacations.  We are so fortunately that we can drag our photos into photo books and order very professional looking photo books with a few clicks of the mouse.  For family vacations or big events, go with the online photo book option.  I love that I can journal right in the book and have the whole trip captured within a few hours.  The books are generally well made and you can even order multiple copies, if so desired.

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Magazine Rack Upcycle

I found this vintage magazine rack/side table on Kijiji for $15 and thought it might work for a piano bench.  We have a very old piano and when we bought it there was no stool or bench to go with it. I had hoped to find something to match, but it just wasn’t happening, so I decided to go for a completely different look.  At the time both kids were taking piano lessons, so I thought that the slots on both ends would serve as great storage for their piano books.

Original Magazine Rack/Side Table

original magazine rack

The original piece had been painted with a pebbled finish, so I had to strip the entire table.

stripped table

stripped tableThe stripped piece was not in great shape and it would have been way too much work to restore it for a stained finish.  I gave it a thorough sanding in preparation for paint.

Upcyled Magazine Table

The height of the table worked perfectly for a piano bench.  I taped off a small rectangle on each side of the magazine rack and painted the interior of the rectangle with homemade black chalkboard paint. I then used some decorative molding to make a little picture type frame for each side of the unit and nailed it around the little chalkboard rectangle on each end of the unit. I then taped off the chalkboard (for protection) and primed and painted the rest of the piece white, including the frames around the chalkboard.  I cut an old piece of board into a rectangle that was slightly smaller than the existing top of the table.  I added a piece of three inch foam and some fabric that I bought specifically for this project.  I stretched the fabric over the top and sides and staple gunned the fabric to the bottom of the board, creating a smooth upolstered look.  I then screwed the completed seat onto the top of the existing table from the bottom and up into the wood base of the new seat.  We added a white wicker basket for extra storage, the kid’s names on either end of the new bench and their piano books into the corresponding slot.

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Modern Day Miracles: My Testimony

Some Back Story:

Although I grew up in a Christian home and always believed in God, it wasn’t until the last few years that my spiritual journey really began. I remember Oprah saying that turning 50 was a real game changer in her life. I think you reach a stage when you don’t have the energy or interest in doing things just to keep up appearances…you just become more authentic, accept who you are ….the good, the bad and the ugly. You simply become more unapologetically yourself. I have always been a super reflective person and spend most of my time inside my own head. However, for me this spiritual awakening was not so much about my age as my circumstances.

My Belief:

First and foremost, my underlying belief is this: God is a GOOD God all the time. He does not bring sickness, misfortune, bad luck or death. We live in a world in which bad things happen as a result of Adam & Eve’s decision in the garden. What I do believe is that when bad things happen and we are forced to walk through the storms in life, God can and will use these situations to draw us closer to him. He never brings on misfortune, but he is faithful to bring beauty from the pile of ashes we find ourselves in.

A Place of FEAR:

Our daughter went through a very tough time in grade 7 and 8. Without going into much detail, the circumstances got pretty bad and she was eventually diagnosed with severe depression and an anxiety disorder. She went from Principal’s Honor Roll for over 90% averages to scraping by with 51% in math and science courses. I share this only because when you see your child spiral, distance herself from you and the world in general, you begin to parent from a totally different place ~ FEAR! Fear of losing her, fear of failure, fear of doing/saying the wrong thing, fear of doing too much, fear of not doing enough, fear of being a bad parent, fear of the future, fear that she’ll never get better, fear of bad friend choices, fear of bad life choices, literally fear of everything. This is where I found myself.

I can’t actually explain the strain this put on me and my family. I read books on mental health and parenting. I listened to pod casts and took courses. I spent endless hours and dollars trying to figure it all out. As a mom, that’s what we do. We fix things. I was on a mission and when I’m on a mission, I really lock on. Some how in my mind, I was her only chance. I had to fight for her because she didn’t have the will or energy to fight for herself. It is the most horrible place to be as a parent.

What could possibly be worse than this? Doing anything and everything you can and literally getting no where. The harder I tried, the worse the situation got. She hated life and me even more. Everything I was doing was out of my deep unwavering love for her, but there came a point when my efforts seemed futile, our relationship was a disaster and the tension in our home was almost unbearable. In all honesty, there were times I felt like I didn’t have an ounce of stamina left, I had given everything I had to help this child I loved so much and my payoff was being hated and resented. I just wanted out. Walk. Away. I was completely at the end of myself.

Now, being a person of strong faith, I did my fair share of praying and begging during this time, but it really wasn’t until I was in a place of utter hopelessness that I truly surrendered the situation to God. I was desperate to find answers. I was just so weary and it was in this place of vulnerability that I was finally ready to hand it over to God. Our pastors had been teaching on what a true spiritual fast was all about. The ins and outs, the hows and whys…I knew in my spirit that I needed to fast for Eden and do nothing else but seek God through my fast and that is exactly what I did. I did a 3 day food fast, but more importantly than giving up the food, I committed my fasting time to seeking God. This was really something quite foreign to me and I honestly didn’t really know what I was doing so I surrendered that to him as well.

My Experience with a Spiritual Fast:

Friday, I went to work as usual. Listen to a teaching (past sermon) from my church’s app (The Source Church). On the way home, I listened to another message and watched the Jets game with my husband. My search was set to begin on the Saturday. That morning I got up and said a short prayer asking God to show me how to help Eden, to open my eyes of understanding and guide me into truth. I then proceeded to read from my little devotional book that I used every day. However, what made this day different was that as I read my 5 minute devotional something in the words jumped out at me like never before. I really felt that the Holy Spirit was leading me. I decided to look up the scripture the devotion was referencing and what followed was the most amazing treasure hunt I’d ever been on. Through the words in the bible, God spoke to my spirit leading me from one place to another. Reminding me of things I’d previously read or watched and as I followed, I began to find answers and revelation. This process lasted throughout the weekend and well into the following week when I was finished my fast and back to work. I would turn on the radio (Sirius XM: The Message) or my Spotify playlist and the words in the song would confirm the overwhelming message that he had given me throughout the process, but each new “clue” strengthened the message and my understanding of what he was trying to tell me.

Let me tell you…I was in for a rude awakening! The message was so loud and clear. One of the first places he took me was to the love chapter 1 Corinthians 13. I knew this chapter well, but when I read it on this day I felt like I had been punched in the gut. Here is how it translated for me in that moment:

Without LOVE you are nothing. All your striving and good intentions are driving your daughter away. What YOU perceive as help, she receives as not measuring up. GOD’S MESSAGE WAS CLEAR. Her status and accomplishments do not and will never impact my love for her. Just like God loves us unconditionally, I knew I would LOVE her no matter what… if she passed or failed, became a doctor or worked at Walmart. It simply didn’t matter. All that mattered was that SHE KNEW she was LOVED and VALUED just as she was.

I had perceived all of my efforts to be acts of love and support, but they were really giving her the message that nothing she did was ever good enough. I didn’t trust her. Every time I “checked-in” or offered suggestions, it cut away at her spirit. OUCH! Needless to say I was brought to my knees, literally crippled by my new revelation and understanding. Everything I did, I did out of love and with the best intentions, but the way it was being received was giving the opposite message to my daughter. I don’t think I have ever wept as much as I did that week. I repented to God, my daughter, my family…I was just so off base. It sickened me to the core just knowing how deceived I’d been. My best intentions totally backfiring. How could I have missed the mark so badly? I remember one of the final messages I received from God during that week came through a random song I was listening to on the way to work. This is what God said to me:

I do not mess up. EVER. I have created her in my likeness and image. Who do you even think you are to try to fix MY MASTERPIECE?

I apologized to my daughter and asked for her forgiveness. Then I LOVED on her like never before. Right where she was at. The answer I so desperately sought through books, courses, videos, etc. was that simple: JUST LOVE HER. For the first time in over 3 years, I finally got it….She does not need to be fixed, she’s already perfect. NOT. BROKEN.

I was so convicted in my spirit. Talk about knocking me down a few pegs. It still brings tears to my eyes even though it was a year ago (last January) when we were still in the midst of this fiery battle with depression and anxiety. Let me tell you it almost tore our house down, but God’s grace is always enough. He was there the whole time, he just needed me to seek Him, His answers and His way. When I totally surrendered the situation to him and sought Him first….it was like the mountain moved. I could sense something change instantly in my daughter that day when I sobbed uncontrollably and apologized for all my mistakes in dealing with the situation.

We began to see positive changes almost instantly and by May she declared that she no longer had depression. By September she was off her medication and today is completely happy and fully healed. The healing and freedom was there the whole time. I truly believe that I was in the way. There was a time not much more than a year ago, that I really couldn’t see through the mess. I wanted to believe she would be well, but everything was hard. I share this today because GOD is in the business of making miracles happen. The trouble is that it is often based on our capacity to believe. We limit him with our own unbelief.

A Time to Give Thanks and Celebrate!

Yesterday, we celebrated Eden’s 18th birthday! She is a beautiful young woman both inside and out. She is compassionate, kind, generous and is going to accomplish great things in life. She was robbed of her adolescence and her life was sidetracked for almost 4 years, but we believe God has brought complete restoration for her. She has an awesome group of friends and is in a great school. She is engaged in all life has to offer and together we rejoice in this miracle. His promises are always Yes and Amen!

Seek first the kingdom of God and all things will be added unto you. My mantra….Trust the signature! For what he says is true.

Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart
And do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].

Proverbs 3:5-6 (AMP)