Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Our 12' Table


A few years back now, Kevin and I hosted Thanksgiving for my dad and Kevin's sister (and her new boyfriend who became her husband and our brother). I really enjoyed planning for this, preparing the food, and having our family in our home. It brought me such joy that I decided in the future, we would be the host home for Thanksgiving. With that, a new dream to build a huge table to fit as many people as possible began. We saw a friend's long table not too long after which encouraged me. I wasn't certain our building experience would translate to furniture-making but we both decided to give it a go anyway.

I did a ton of online research about building outdoor tables. Reviewed all kinds of designs (learning that FAR too many people on Pinterest do not know the difference between herringbone and chevron). Then, carefully planned out a method of building with an AutoCAD plan, which I reviewed with a contractor co-worker (perks of being an interior designer). Soon it was time to go to Lowe's for the first time. We lost count on the number of times we went to Lowe's or Home Depot.

Online table diys I referenced:

This is not really a DIY post. I don't feel like an expert in table building and we made some mistakes that we didn't correct. I also didn't document really well. I did enjoy those of you who followed along with us on Instagram though! We also are not by-the-book project builders. We cut some corners and made some things up along the way. Mostly, we're here to show you the table, give you our learning lessons, and encourage you to go after a big project you want to do yourself!

Our Learning Lessons:
1. Wood glue and extra fasteners and time are worth it. We built the frame first and went with a fastener method we thought would be cheaper and faster than using a kreg-jig but when we went to turn it all over, it completely fell apart. We almost cried and we almost gave up but we stuck to it, went back to our original method, added more wood glue and gave it time.
2. 1x4s will work. So many of the articles I found online suggested 2x4s and it just seemed like a whole lot of weight, which I really worried about with our big table. So we swapped to 1x4s and they worked real well.
3. Deck stain and sealer. Most of the articles I read online suggested a stain and sealer method. When we went to the store, all of them were for indoor only, and required a good deal of dry time and a lot of extra elbow grease. Which, to be honest, we just were not up for after the many weekends it took to build the table. So we shopped the decking stains and read up on them. I wasn't entirely sure I would love the finish but it turned out beautiful. And, I'm confident this method will last longer outdoors.
4. Be patient with the timeline. I think ultimately this took about 4-5 weekends. We didn't do it all consecutively and we took each workday carefully. We chose, purposely, to not work morning to night when we worked on the table. We wanted to give ourselves grace and rest. I'm glad we did. It took longer but ultimately, was worth it.
5. Just go for it and don't worry about perfection. A super big lesson for my kinda-OCD self and designer problems. We also learned to be more patient with each other too. My designer thoughts and his math concepts don't always mix well in a frustrating moment but we worked through it. It's not a perfect table and we changed our method of build several times throughout the process but ultimately we're so glad we went for it.

I foresee so many shared meals here. I listened to a podcast with the author of The Turquoise Table a year or so ago and I'm encouraged to use this table for strangers as well as people in our tribe. I dream of Thanksgivings, birthdays, parties, showers, simple family meals, grilled meals, board games, pancake breakfasts, and so so much more at this table. I can't wait to see how God uses this table for His kingdom.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Here's What You Missed

Last I posted, we were celebrating being DEBT FREE and not sharing about how we were in the middle of a season of waiting. Probably, about three years ago, it became clear to us that one day we would move to Florida. And last year, it became clear that after we'd try to go about getting there by our own plan, it was time to just trust God and try another way. When we took those debt free pictures, we were waiting to find out if I would be taking a job in St. Pete, Florida and thus jump starting us on the move to Florida. And just a few weeks after that, I did! It was an emotional choice that had us celebrating and mourning. Oklahoma was a wonderful home to us and while we didn't have family there,  most of the time, our friends were very much a family to us. We miss them dearly to this day. We've been living in Florida for the last 8 months and it has been such a joy to be near family and enjoying the beach doesn't hurt either. We're still certainly still in transition here, getting to know our community, our church and finding our people but it is good. We are so thankful.

Just this past weekend we celebrated a decade of knowing each other. Pretty wild. Last June we celebrated 6 years of marriage. Being married is one of my favorite gifts the Lord has given. In our seventh year of marriage, we will celebrate four friends getting married, one of which is my sister!

Her fiance told us in January about his game plan to propose in Hawaii on the family vacation. He got the rest of the family together just before the trip and told them. So yes, we kept that secret for like 5 months. And on the last day of our trip, he popped the question and she was so surprised and delighted. It was such a JOY to be there in that moment. I'll cherish it forever.
My brother got engaged! We weren't there for it but he did it in a special spot in honor of his momma and we are so very excited for these two!

Well, there is a whole story to this and that will come but I had two rather major surgeries after an accident in Colorado, right after Thanksgiving, right before we moved to Florida. It was a wild season of life but God was so very present.

We're excited to share more about this. It's been a dream of mine to have a table big enough to fit my whole or Kevin's whole family at once. I also have dreamt about being the home for Thanksgivings for our families in the future. When we saw the home we're in currently, renting, we LOVED the back porch and knew that it was sure to be the home of the table we've been talking about. It was an epic trial and error game but we designed and built it together. A true labor of love that we have so enjoyed sharing with our people already.

And, I can't leave without a few other highlights:

(my best friends came to visit and we went to see T Swift, so you know, that was a MAJOR highlight)

Friday, October 13, 2017


I haven't opened Blogger to write in quite some time, actually over a year ago when I sliced my thumb. Update: surgery went well and I'm able to do nearly everything I was before. I'm still sorta numb and still can't easily bend my thumb but God healed me and gave doctors and surgeons incredible wisdom and talent to get me here! I'm amazed about how the body can heal.

Today, I'm here back on my little blog to share some news we've been eagerly awaiting the day to share! Many moments of tears, frustration and even anger led up to this day. Also, many moments of gratitude and praise led up to this day. God has walked us through this challenge through every feeling I went through. Admittedly, I've not always had the best attitude. I found myself fighting myself through waves of selfishness and a sense of entitlement over these last few years at times. There's been some serious ugly. But my husband held us strong through it. He drew us to prayer and reminded us of where God was leading us. He opened up scripture and he allowed me to work through my ugly. He reminded me of our early promise to God. From the moment we started talking about getting married, one thing God had definitely put into our hearts was to pay off our college debt. We wanted to create a new legacy of debt-free living in our lives and for our future family. We planned to live small in every way. With that attitude, people gifting us in unexplainable ways, surprises, working extra side jobs, Kevin working over time, and our family and friend's encouragement, prayers, and support, today we get to announce that by God's gift and work within us we are....

There are so many people to thank as they walked through this season with us. And there's so much more I want to write on this. But today, and really this whole weekend, we're celebrating!

I'll leave with this. My small group has been reading through Ephesians lately, and midway through Ephesians 2, God promises to prepare good plans for us to walk through. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do. Ephesians 2:10. Reading that passage makes me smile and fills my spirit with a sense of peace. I chose God and He's already prepared the way for me to do good things. But I realized, that these good works He prepares, they're not special "fun" or "gifts" for us to enjoy, necessarily although they very well may be fun and gifts. They are work that He's asking us to do. They're challenges that He's walking us through. Because these good works are not for our enjoyment as much as they are for God's glory! John 3:21 says that "anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to BE ACCOMPLISHED BY GOD." The scripture says it is accomplished BY GOD! We're not debt free and celebrating this momentous moment in our lives because of my or Kevin's works but because God accomplished them for us.God knew this challenge was coming and He prepared us every step of the way. Celebrating the end of this challenge is celebrating the accomplishments of God! And that's my favorite part of today. 

Thank you Lord, for walking us through every season of paying off our college debt over the last five years. Today, we celebrate YOU and what you've accomplished through us. We praise you God! You are good. You call on your children to do big things and you help us get there. Thank you for foriving my sin and for making me clean. Thank you for the millions of second chances you give us. Lord, today may you be honored. May the words that I speak and the thoughts that I meditate on today bring you praise. Praise You God for all your works are good! Amen

So many thanks to Saxon for our photos!
Find her website here: https://saxonsmithphotography.wordpress.com/blog/ 
And I super encourage you to go follow her instagram because her pictures are just amazing! 

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Emergency Room Visit and Life Since

I looked down and saw a small cut on my finger after a glass bowl of water snapped and broke in my right hand as I had begun to lift it from the base of the sink. Frustrated I walked to the paper towels to dab up some of the blood. Then I realized the vibrating sensation in my thumb was not just from the pressure of the bowl snapping back but, from the short glance I took, a gouge in my thumb.

Three weeks ago on a Tuesday night at our church, serving our college ministry by doing dishes, a glass bowl broke and cut deep into my thumb, severing a tendon and a nerve. The hours that followed the event were stressful for me. I've never experienced a severe injury before. I was flustered and super worried about the consequences. I remember sitting in the ER and singing in my mind worship songs, reminding me that God was with me and would be strong for me. The lyrics of Strong Tower by Kutless played over and over again.

You are my strong tower
A shelter over me
beautiful and mighty
Everlasting King
You are my strong tower
Fortress when I am weak

I recalled a blog I had once read, the author was in the hospital for a miscarriage and she wrote about how her husband and herself sang Ten Thousand Reasons by Matt Redman in the room. She chose to think about her mighty Savior and I really wanted, I really needed to do the same. When the ER Dr left the room, Kevin reminded me that God is our strength, he didn't know about the song I'd been singing in my head. All God.

The days following were a blur of pain, stress, and doctors, Ultimately, I ended up with a hand surgeon scheduled to do surgery on my hand early, really early, Wednesday morning of the following week. I'll be in recovery and then physical therapy for 12 weeks or so. I'm hoping I'll be able to write my name on Christmas gift tags!

I've been in prayer and have been turning to worship music more than ever, since I'm not able to journal well. God has definitely given me a spirit of peace about this whole thing, and that's not even one of the things I've prayed for! Don't get me wrong, I've had plenty of tears and several moments of fear but those have been fewer than I originally expected of myself. This s defitely one of the most difficult physical trials I've ever gone through. BUT, God's got this. I'm going to trust Him. After all, He's proven Himself faithful time and time again. The enemy will not win.The enemy may have stolen my dominant handwriting hand for a while but he won't win. Till I am fully recovered and healed,  I will practice my left handwriting and hope to get faster at typing with a single hand on the computer. I'll keep going. I'll keep trying. I'll keep pursuing God.

There's so much more I could share about the many blessings I've experienced since or the truth the Lord has shared with me, or the coincidences that are really God's specific organization and not coincidences at all, but I'll leave it here today and simply say thank you to all of you who have reached out, who have prayed, who have driven me to work/to the store/ to the dr, to those who have helped me take notes, who have sent flowers and have overall shown me, such love. Thank you. Thank you to my mom and future stepdad for flying here and taking such care of me and serving Kevin and I. And most of all thank you to my incredible husband who has been with me every step of the way, He has bathed me, dressed me, done my hair and cared for all my physical needs. He has cared for my emotions and spirit even more. Kevin Burns I love you forever and always and I'm thankful for the many real and practical ways you've loved me through this trial.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Sneak Peak

My sweet SIL is getting MARRIED this weekend! My, where oh where has time gone??? I posted about her fun wedding shower here but I'm super excited to share some sneak peaks of the wedding day, if I get a chance to. This will be the second wedding that Kevin and I have had the honor of both being in. Which is just really fun to do together. I've got a navy blue dress, he's got a navy blue tie and we're both itching for wedding day to watch that pretty lady walk the aisle!

In related news, Kevin and I have been working up a little project and decided to take our first stab at the idea with her wedding. I'm not yet ready to give you the full dibs on it but hopefully, I will someday soon!! Until then, you can catch what we've been up to on my instagram. We've been posting little graphics leading up to her wedding. Last night was totally different and I had such fun making it. We're five days (well yesterday, we were, today is FOUR!) out so here's a peak about what we've been up to:

4 days and we'll be pulling out our dance moves...

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