Ramblings of a Congested Perfectionist…

Anytime I have gotten sick in the last 5 years it has been a direct result of me pushing myself at an unsustainable pace.  It’s my bodies way of say “hey, we can’t keep this up.” I then spend the time of recovery evaluating what needs to change to keep the sick, run, sick, run cycle from repeating itself.  This is exactly where I have found myself this week.  Laying on the couch, blowing my nose, popping Advil and evaluating my pace of life.

It’s interesting because usually I can tell when I need to slow down and pull back.  I can tell because I feel tired all the time and nothing is rejuvenating.  But this time it crept up on me.  I even did my due diligence and went to the doctor within less than 24 hours of the first sign of a sore throat.  Alas, after multiple tests I got the wonderful news that a virus was camping out in my nasal passages and I needed to “rest and wait it out.”  Awesome.  I totally have time to do that.  (*sarcasm*)  But in all honesty it’s always good for me to see that life can go on without me.  It knocks my self-importance down a couple notches.  Sure, my house is a WRECK and I’m basically dreading next week.  But in the grand scheme of things, it small potatoes (as my dad always says).

I think this is a big part of letting go of being a perfectionist.  Realizing that my abilities are not a means to an end.  My house will be clean again, other people will cover basic tasks.  It’s ok to not make a big deal out of small things.  It’s even better to recognize the difference between big and small things.  I think that’s a big part of recovery as well… knowing when something can fall through the cracks and it be ok.

It helps tremendously that I have a super laid back husband that is always urging me to evaluate “what is the worst that could happen?”  What is the worst thing that could happen if all the water bottle labels aren’t facing the same direction?  What if the house doesn’t get vacuumed every X amount of days?  Learning to let these things go is healthy.  Learning not to obsess about the small things will help me in the long run.

I think perfectionists do have their place.  I think having a keen eye for detail is different than obsessing over things being perfect.  That’s the difference.  I know that I am taking perfectionism too far if details become more important than people.  I should always be more aware of those around me than the piece of trash sitting in the corner of the room.  I’m not saying I won’t pick up that piece of trash, I’m just saying that I shouldn’t stop a conversation in order to pick up that piece of trash.  Does that make sense?

Anyway, I’m rambling.  It’s a cold medicine type of ramble and for that I apologize.  The moral of this story, I need to slow down in lots of ways.  I need to not wear myself down so much that my immune system laughs at me.  I need to slow down and be intentional about relationships rather than accomplishing tasks.  I’ll get there.  It’s a process.

Jewels in the Mud…

IMG_2392

In my world, Sundays are crazy.  I run around like a crazy person for 8 hours.  I get sweaty, I lift a lot of heavy things, I deal with a lot of paperwork.  I get done and am completely drained.  Like, “can’t feel my legs after I sit for 20 minutes” kind of drained.  I battle with my perfectionism, my natural traits of seriously rude bossiness, and I pull out of the parking lot reflecting on at least 50 things I could and should have handled differently.  Sundays are hard for me in a myriad of ways.  Mainly because after a Sunday, I am really hard on myself.  My exhaustion during the day causes me to be less like Christ than I anticipate.  It’s difficult for me to find myself in places where I am made aware of how hopelessly human I am.  Sundays are those days for me.

But then there are moments like jewels in the midst of mud where I realize that the work is worth it.   I hear deeply personal stories of families broken by divorce and watching God restore them.  I see the people finding community among each other; sharing their triumphs and trials of the week.  I watch people laugh together, drink coffee together.  I watch people cry on each other’s shoulders.  I see people in tight huddles with heads bowed aching for Christ and helping one another find Him.  I can stop and look around the room and see the “why”.  The people are the “why.”  Each individual story of how they found us is the “why.”

Every week as we drive to church, I pray “God, show me that it’s worth it today.” Every week, my husband and I share our “worth it” moment.  It always moves me to tears.  God’s beauty in the midst of my sloppiness.  That in the midst of my hustle, people are finding love.  That God will take the time to show me the jewels in the midst of the mud.  It makes the “why” so entirely worth it.  It makes waking up completely sore and downing protein drinks every Monday worth it.  I’m grateful for this season.   I’m grateful that I serve an awesome, loving, gracious God who will take people out of their way to find the lost sheep.  I’m grateful for the “mud”; that God is willing to look past my humanness and use me to help the jewels find Him.

Dear Parents At Disney World…

IMG_0772

My husband and I are HUGE Disney fans.  We got engaged at Disney World, we have gone every year since, and within 4 days of officially being Florida residents we excitedly bought our Disney World Annual Passes.  We love the magic, the wonder, the rides, the fun, and the food.  Every aspect of Disney is inspiring to us and we love our time dilly-dellying around the parks.

But since becoming Annual Passholders and getting the opportunity to take the parks at a slower pace, there is one outstanding issue with Disney World.  Parents.  You thought I was going to say kids, didn’t you.  Nope, the parents are the problems here.  So here are my tips for parents at Disney.

Dear Parents at Disney World…

Please Don’t Skip Nap time!!

I am so tired of watching warn out toddlers being pulled by the arm to meet Cinderella and looking at mom with a death grip saying “We spent so much money, you are going to go!”  Do you really think that a picture of your puffy-eyed screaming toddler with Cinderella is the memory that you want around?  Do you think maybe your kid is going to remember it as a “mommy-made-me” moment than meeting the fair princess?

Believe me, I get the expense part of Disney World.  My parents were pastors and if it hadn’t been for my gracious Grandparents, I probably wouldn’t have been able to experience Disney until I was in my 20s.  But trying to do it all, see it all, be it all is just going to keep everyone (including you) from truly enjoying the trip.  Even when it is just me and my husband, we took nap breaks because it can all be so tiring.  Don’t skip nap time!

Please Know Your Kids Limitations.

My baby sister (baby meaning 16) loves Disney with all her heart.  But she also shuts down in heat.  Her fair skin makes her bake instantaneously and she gets hot in 80 degree weather.  So even though she loves Disney, going to Disney in June is not going to be the best thing for her.  It’s going to keep her from getting the most from the trip.  What I would encourage you to do is assess what your child’s limitations are.  Do they get scared of Santa? Maybe don’t do meet and greets with characters.  Do they get hot easily?  Go in October or January – March (November and December are too busy.  Don’t bother.)  Does your 4 year old get tired of walking just around the mall?  Rent a stroller.  Know the limitations and don’t try to push them.  It’s too much money for you to spend to not get the most out of it.

Please Know the Rides Height Requirements.

I’m so glad I have figured this one out before I have kids.  There are so many rides that I love because I have great memories on them.  I can just imagine talking these rides up to my kids only to arrive at Disney to find out they aren’t tall enough to ride on it.  I have seen this happen over and over again (particularly on Splash Mountain).  Parents outside the ride are trying to console a devastated child.  All of the rides have height requirements posted online.  I highly recommend looking these over and measuring your kids before you start telling them how fun something is going to be.

Please Have Fun!

I am convinced that the families making the best memories are the ones who are letting loose and having fun together.  One of my favorite memories of my first trip to Disney was sitting in the Polynesian for breakfast and my dad and uncle singing along to every song.  I watch several families who are making similar silly memories as they dance together in Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor or sing along with Anna and Elsa.  Those parents look like they are enjoying the trip that they planned and budgeted for as much as the kids are enjoying it.  I think that’s what Walt intended; fun family time.

So parents, I know you’re doing a lot to get your kids to Disney.  I know that there will be meltdowns that are out of your control.  I know that you are doing a great job 365 days a year at being a parent.  Just don’t push the envelope.  Let it be fun for the whole family!

The “No Resolutions” Post…

Can’t we all just have New Years Resolutions that involve Netflix marathons and eating more burritos?  Cause I could totally jump on that resolution train since in the 3 days of  2015 that’s basically all I’ve done.  I mean, what do you expect?  Friends is on Netflix now!

Happy  2015 guys!

Happy 2015 guys!

Anyway, I have never been a “resolution” person.  Like many of you out there, I have made resolutions that have fallen by the wayside before February.  I think resolutions have a place in the lives of determined, well put together people who are really good at self-discipline.  I am not that person.  So every year I make goals.  I do think this is different because the goals that I make are long-term.  I mean, those determined well put together people probably get to December 31st after a year of accomplishing their resolution and think “I should keep doing this!”  But, again, I know myself.  If by some miracle I did get to December 31st I would probably be more likely to be like “Yay!  I did it! Now I’ll eat all the cake!” and everything I worked for goes away.

“But Bekah! Once you start eating healthy, you won’t be able to stop! It’s so great to feel great…”

Blah blah blah whatever.  I’ve been there.  I ate soooo healthy and worked out sooo much for 6 months straight.  I felt great.  Lost weight.  And lost all motivation to continue the lifestyle.  So it’s totally possible to go back to cake, guys.

I’m getting off track, again.  So this post is my “No Resolution” goals.  This is a list that I want to work on this year and build upon every year for the rest of forever.

Goal #1:  Read 26 books.

You can see my running list of must read books here.  It’s already pretty full.  Why 26 you might ask?  It’s a book every other week.  It made sense.

Goal #2:  Cook more with other people.

I really enjoy my time in the kitchen.  I love to try new things and the sense of accomplishment I feel when I make something for the first time (like the great Indian food day of 2014) is incomparable and mildly weird.  You can find out the recipes I’m hoping to conquer this year here.  But I haven’t shared my food experiences with people (other than my wonderful husband) because I’m always scared of what will happen if something doesn’t work out.  I want to learn to be ok with a dish not being perfect the first time and still be willing to present it on a plate to others and know that they will still love me.  I’m a recovering perfectionist after all.  I think this is a good step.

Goal #3:  Set some career goals.

You can laugh, it’s ok.  Right now my “career” has looked like “Get a Masters diploma and hang on the wall*.”  There are lots of things I want to accomplish that actually use my Masters in Christian Ministries (gasp!)  I just think I need to outline it a bit and…just… figure it out.

Goal #4:  Write More.

I really enjoy writing.  Like, really really enjoy it.  So I decided that I am going to replace 3 hours of pointless web browsing with writing each week.  (Don’t judge me.  You know you do it to!)

Goal #5:  Eat more healthy food than unhealthy foods.

So, here’s the thing.  Before we moved to Florida, we ate really healthy and both had a workout routine.  Then we moved to the land of sunshine and palm trees and instantly began eating like we were on vacation.  And since I wasn’t following my healthy foods plan, I began to make all the foods that I missed all at once.  I went from lettuce wraps, fish tacos, and zucchini lasagna to jalepeno popper mac’n’cheese, enchilada casserole, and baked pasta.  And it shows.  Big time.  So My goal is to cut the unhealthy meals to once or twice a week and bump the healthy meals back up to the majority of the meals.

So that’s it.  These are my 2015 goals.  Nothing too pretentious.  If I’m totally being honest, most of these are things I would do anyway (like reading 26 books).  It’s just a matter of determination.

I think I’m going to check in on this with you guys every once in a while.  I’ll let you know my progress, or lack thereof, and we will work through this together.  Sound good?  Great!

Now tell me, what are some of your goals?  Are you one of those put-together people that has actual resolutions?  What books should I add to my list.

 

*if I’m being completely honest, 6 months later and I just got the diploma in a frame… which is currently laying on the office floor.

2014 Where Did You Go??

I swear it was just yesterday that I was reflecting on 2013 thinking “How in the world will 2014 live up to this?!”  In 2013, I quit my job, went to grad school, went on multiple trips, and caught up with friends I hadn’t seen in forever.  I loved 2013.  I was scared to see it go and yet now I see how perfectly my 2013 prepared me for my wonderful and completely different 2014.

I’m sitting on my couch curled up next to the Christmas tree (Yes it’s still up!  Don’t judge my choices!), watching “30 Rock” and drinking coffee (Yes at 10pm!  Again, don’t judge me!) and realizing how utterly weird, quirky, surprising, stretching and amazing 2014 has been.  To truly recap all the happenings, I decided to compile this list of 2,014 things that happened in 2014…

JUST KIDDING!!!!

Here is my list of things that are significant from this year, that I want to remember, or that just stick out.

1. I read 20 non-school books.

2. I earned my Master of Arts in Christian Ministries.

3.  I cultivated a deep and unmitigated hatred of sand!  That stuff is the herpes of the sea and I don’t care what you think, I despise the stuff.

4.  I was asked by a random person in Target what kind of lipgloss I was wearing only for me to reply that I had just consumed a hashbrown from McDonald’s. (hashtag classy!)

5.  I conquered several recipes (pad thai, pasta bolognese, pot stickers, butter chicken, naan bread, pasta carbonara, and many others)

6.  I painted exactly 31 coats of paint, in 9 different rooms, while listening to 5 different audiobooks.

7.  We moved to Orlando

8. I became an annual passholder at Disney World!

9.  I learned how to rewire a garbage disposal.

10.  I walked out of my condo, onto the beach, and watched a rocket launch.

11.  I didn’t write a book.

12.  I did write enough grad school papers to equal a book though.

13.  The Chestnut Praline Latte at Starbucks changed my life.

14.  We sold our house by owner in less than 2 weeks.

15.  I watched and fell in love with the first 5 seasons of Doctor Who.  #nerdstatus

16.  The Buffalo Wild Wings spicy garlic mac and cheese was birthed within the depths of my kitchen.

17.  I realized that Brandon and I’s relationship more resembles Michael and Holly’s relationship from “the Office” rather than Jim and Pam.

18. I accepted that #17 was ok.

19.  I met the wonderful, amazing, Rock Star of a team that is the Victory Orlando Dream Team.

20. I discovered the Croque Glace’ at Epcot.  (It’s this thing.  It Changed my Life and my pant size.)

21. I found a love for writing for writing’s sake.

22.  I re-discovered my love for creating systems, and order, and helping people help others.

23.  My grandma went to be with Jesus.  We couldn’t be happier for her!

24.  We learned how to install an entire kitchen on our own.

25.  We decided not to ever install an entire kitchen again.

26.  I discovered Cookie Butter and it changed my life and my pant size.

27.  I learned how to get around most of Orlando without the help of Siri

28.  I got yelled at by Siri a lot (make. a. u-turn. will haunt my dreams for most of 2015)

29.  I saw a baby sea turtle and it was adorable.

30.  I drank 400+ cups of coffee.  Easily.  Possibly more. Because maybe you can measure a year in cups of coffee.

31. We fit all our belongings in a 7x7ft POD.

32.  I was super proud of #31.

33.  I learned that you should make your own opinions of people rather than take on your friends opinions of them.

34.  I developed an obsession with gel stain.

35. I realized that HGTV and Pinterest give you a very false sense of ability.

36.  I made Jabba the Snowman.

37.  I realized that it’s important to fight for who you are rather than let people push you into boxes of who you used to be.

38.  I ate more Thai-style Ramen than I care to fully admit.

39.  #38 will definitely happen in 2015.

40.  I wrote this blog post.

 

You did it.  I did it.  We all did it together.  2014 is nearing it’s end.  With all of it’s triumphs, embarrassments and discoveries we will leave it behind and move on.  I urge you to move on.  Leave the things of 2014 behind you.  Even the good things.  It’s time to focus on what 2015 has for us and not judge it by the measuring stick of 2014.  It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life, and I’m feelin’ good. (Buble’ anyone?)

What was your favorite part of 2014?  Did you have similarly embarrassing moments to my #4? Let me know in the comments!

Happy *almost* New Year!

 

 

I Hate Grocery Shopping!

I’m gunna be super real with you guys right now.  I have a profound and slightly unmerited hatred of grocery shopping.  It’s probably deeply rooted in my similar distain for all things inefficient, but that’s another blog for another time.  I have become a champion at putting off grocery shopping until the last possible minute.  In fact, let me be a bit transparent and let you in on the current status of my refrigerator…

Pathetic demonstration of grocery store loathing

Pathetic demonstration of grocery store loathing.

I know!  Pathetic right?  But what’s REALLY pathetic and somewhat of a personal trophy/ challenge/ an excuse to continue to put off grocery shopping is that I can still at this moment think of at least 3 more meals that I can get out of the few ingredients we have left.  Ten if I could convince my husband that salad is a meal.  But he follows closely to the Ron Swanson theory of “You just gave me the food that my food is supposed to eat.”

Now, what was I saying… oh yes, I was pointlessly going to rant about grocery shopping in hopes that I could get an “amen” from the peanut gallery. Or, if nothing else, put off my grocery shopping a smidge longer.

So, my official list of why I find grocery shopping to be the worst thing ever!

1. I ALWAYS get the cart with a bad wheel.

Always.  No exception.  I have even gone so far as to take my cart for a test drive in little circles in the front of the store to make sure that I don’t have to use what little patience I do possess to maneuver what I would liken to pulling a stubborn pack-mule through a grocery store. But alas, it never works and half way through my trip I am wrestling with a wonky cart looking like I stepped out of a Vita-meata-vegamin commercial.  Pass!

2.  Everyone else in the store.

It may come as zero surprise to you that I go to the grocery store armed and ready with a pre-organized list of every ingredient that I need in order to make meals for the next week.  It keeps me from pulling into my driveway post-trip and thinking “Crap, I forgot butter!”  Because believe you me, I will ALWAYS forget the items that are not on my list. But everyone else in the store seems to not be similarly prepared.  They are wondering around aimlessly with similar cart issues to the one stated above and… good gracious I fight my inner desire to gently nudge people out of my way with my incapacitated cart.

3.  There is always at least one item on my list that is completely out of stock.

Sigh.  Next!

4. I always pick the wrong check out line.

How is it possible that it takes me longer to check out than it did to navigate the entire store with my detailed list and a stubborn pack-mule cart?  Like why is this a thing!  And how do I inevitably find the person who doesn’t know the produce code for onions?  Like, do other people not get onions all the time?  Isn’t this something that my cashier puts in a gazillion times a day, but still has to look it up?

Patience is obviously not my forte’ and as much as I am still working on not living with a false sense of rush, there are some things that I just don’t feel doing.  At.  All.  Why?  Because I know it will be an opportunity where I have to make a choice.  I have to choose whether or not I am going to be calm and act like a well-behaved adult (a Christian one at that).  Sometimes the choice is easy, and others I have to choose to swing a holy bat at my flesh and tell it to pipe down.  And for me, grocery shopping as minimal in the grand scheme of life as it may be, is one of those opportunities.

So, tell me.  What are some of your opportunities for overcoming the places where you experience impatience?  Or are you one of those people that is always patient and that your office printer always behaves?  Let me know, I’m looking for heroes here!

Note:  I am fully aware that this is a major first-world problem!  I am so entirely grateful that my hatred of the grocery store does not stem from my inability to afford groceries.  I am just writing to make a point that sometimes the things that seem to be frustrating are not insurmountable when it comes to our patience levels.  Ok.  Carry on.

But I Don’t Like Her…

via @rachelmphotography

via @rachelmphotography

Many moons ago I was working at a Teen Missions organization.  I was in the thoroughs of Spring Break missions planning when one of my friends/mentees asked to go out to coffee.  I gladly welcomed the break.  She was going to be going as a leader on one of the trips and she excitedly shared with me her heart for the kids that would be on her team.  Then she asked me, “Do you think you could make sure me and Jenny* (another leader going on the trip) are on different teams?  We just don’t really get along and I don’t want it to hinder the trip.”  Knowing that Jenny had a personality that came off kind of cold, I didn’t really think anything of it.  I went back to my office and made necessary notes in order to make sure the two were on different teams.  Not because my friend was being rude or using our friendship to get special treatment, but because I was always conscious of making sure that personalities put on the teams gelled in such a way that it wouldn’t create problems on the trip.  I made the notes and moved on.

A couple years later, I was out to lunch with the same friend when she said “By the way, I need to apologize for something.”  Confused, I answered with a hesitant “okaaaay.”  She went on to say “I want to apologize for asking you to put me and Jenny on different teams.  She is actually one of my best friends now!  I realize now that what I thought was her being rude is just her personality with people she doesn’t know very well!”  I was kind of surprised that she had taken remembered her request.  But took the lesson my friend learned and stuck it in my pocket for later.

How many times do we automatically judge whether or not we will like someone based on a one time, short interaction?  Or worse, how many times do we base our opinions of others on our friends opinions of them?  Girls do this ALL. THE.  TIME.  If our best friend doesn’t like you, we won’t like you.  It’s a gross, immature reality that I have been fighting against the last 6 months. (Also, if you have friendships where they expect you to hold their grundges for them, walk… no, run away from those friendships!  But that’s another blog for another time.)  I have been learning to form my own opinions of others and in that, making sure before I form an opinion that I am seeing people for who they really are… and how God sees them.

What does this mean?  I may have an encounter with someone that is less than pleasant.  Human Bekah says “they are a butt-faced miscreant and I don’t want to talk to them ever again.” (Note: Human Bekah isn’t very gracious.)  God’s lens of love says “they just lost their job and are having a hard time knowing their worth.  They need understanding, not to be pushed away.”  I’m not saying this is easy.  I’m not saying I do it 100% of the time.  But I can’t help but think, what if my friend had looked at Jenny through this lens early on?  Would she have realized that Jenny wasn’t cold and rude, but rather just didn’t open up easily to people she didn’t know?  Would their relationship be even stronger now if they had gotten to know each other on a missions team instead of years later?  What relationships am I missing out on by making quick decisions about people without really getting to know them?  I’m always surprised by the relationships that bless me the most.  They are always unexpected and I am always grateful I didn’t judge them on my first impressions.

So, my challenge to you (and mainly myself) is to see people through God’s love.  Make an effort to figure out why someone was rude, bitey or cold to you before you brush them off.  What are they really going through?  What is their real personality like?  I’m not saying it will always end up in a new friendship, but I can tell you that seeing people through God’s love will give you a new perspective on people.

 

*Name changed for the sake of putting things on the internet

 

Champion the Introverts!!!

photo (1)

I have spent a lot of time lately talking about how important people are.  Our Church likes to say “Everyone is a 10 at something” and I totally, wholeheartedly agree with this statement.  I am truly passionate about helping people find their “10.”  Every person is significant.  You are significant.  You have an important piece to bring to your world.  Without you something vital, special and beautiful would be missing.  I hope you read these words contained in this tiny corner of the internet and realize that you are so entirely valuable.

I think it’s easier for some to see their worth more than others.  I, as I have confessed many-a-times here, am an introvert through and through.  I spent way too much time watching others with louder voices and shiny talents and thought that my place was small.  My place in the midst of a busy, loud world was to sit quietly in the corner and mind my own business.  But something always stirred within me that it wasn’t enough.  Wasn’t enough.  So I began to try to mimic those with loud voices and shiny talents, but I became exhausted.  I was trying to be someone I wasn’t.  I wasn’t the loud voice.  I am still not the loud voice.  I’m not the life of a party and the thought kinda sends a shiver up my spine.  But I learned a valuable lesson, I still have a voice and I still have talents.  My voice is not loud, but it is strong and important.  My talents aren’t shiny, but they are valuable and needed.

I learned that the ability to lead is not fully dependent on my ability to command a crowd.  My ability to lead is dependent on my ability to spark initiative in an individual.  I do better when I can pour into people one-on-one and call out the gifts and abilities within them.  I had to learn that, that’s okay.  It’s okay to prefer to be in a group of 5 than a group of 50.  It doesn’t make me weird, it doesn’t make me ineffective.  It makes me, me!

Perhaps I’m wrong, but I think it is harder for us introverts to find our voice.  It’s hard to find our place when those with loud voices and shiny talents are championed over those of us who are powerful in the “behind the scenes” tasks.  Those people are vital, special and necessary too; but they would often be lost if it weren’t for the people who show up in the shadows and do the things no one else thinks to do.  You see, introverts are observant (or at least most of the ones I know are).  We see things others don’t because we spend so much time taking a step back, listening to conversations, and seeing what is left to be done.

It’s easy to desire to be someone else when you don’t fully realize the significance of your place.  So I want to take this moment and tell you that your place is significant.  You are valuable.  Your gifts are enough.  You are enough.  Don’t waste your time trying to be someone who you aren’t because the world so desperately needs someone like you.  If you are an extrovert, be you.  If you are an introvert, be you.  Use who you are to be a gift to others.  Pour your time into the things that make you come alive.  Realize that you are loved, you are valuable, you are enough.

How To Paint Ikea Cabinets…

Sure enough, my worst fears were realized.  I had hoped, wished, crossed my fingers that it wouldn’t happen but alas it did.  I had seen all the peoples on the internet say “Ikea Ramsjo white doors are PINK.” PINK!  Some people said “oh but it only depends on lighting” or “if your kitchen isn’t painted with red undertones you’ll be FINE.”  I began to look at zillions of pictures and sure enough, there was a pinky hue to the ramsjo doors.  I told my dear, sweet hubby about this dilemma concerning our newly ordered kitchen cabinet doors, but we both decided that we liked the overall look of the doors and that it would be okay to paint them.  *sighs*

So that’s precisely what we did.  Upon arrival, I quickly held one up to our newly installed Quartz countertop and realized that the pinky hue was quite evident and they would need to be painted.  After reading lots of tutorials that said many different things, here is the process and products that I used to paint our Ikea Ramsjo “white” cabinet doors white.

How to Paint Ikea Cabinets...

 

Products I used:

-Paint brushes (I used ones from the dollar store) = $1

-High density paint rollers (2 pack from Home Depot) =$2.67 (11% off using Raise Gift card)

-1 Gallon BIN Zinsser Primer -White (Home Depot) = $37.36 (11% off using Raise Gift Card, used about half)

-1 Gallon Sherwin-Williams Cashmere Flat Paint -White = $35.69 (30% off using a coupon in the mail, used about half)

-1 Qt General Finishes Polyurethane Satin Finish = I had this on hand, but it can be ordered here.(affiliate link)

Total for the project:  ~$76.72

Step 1: Prime.

First, I laid all of the door fronts on their front so that I could start by priming the back of the cabinet doors.  I found that the best way to get an even finish was to brush on the primer and then go over the brush strokes with the high density roller.  This eliminates the streaks.  Let dry for 4 hours.  Flip them over and repeat the process on the front.  I definitely think this is the primer to use for the project.  It sticks really well to doors (even though they aren’t “wood” doors).  It will also stick to everything else, so prepare accordingly.

Disclaimer:  I used the cardboard boxes that the doors came in to paint.  This worked well, HOWEVER, when I painted the sides the paint inevitably caused the doors to stick to the cardboard. 🙁 blah.  So, when you paint your cabinets, make sure that you use something to elevate the cabinets when you paint the sides.

I did two coats of primer.

This is the cabinet after two coats of primer...

This is the cabinet after two coats of primer…

UPDATE (8/24/2015) – I had to paint a piece of ramjo siding for some finishing touches the hubs is making to the kitchen.  I was lazy and decided to skip the primer step.  The paint peeled off in a week.  So… definitely 100% decided that Zinsser primer is an absolute must for this project!

Step 2: Paint

After the two coats of primer, we decided to paint the cupboards white.  The primer is kind of an off-white color.  I chose Sherwin-Williams Cashmere paint because it is self-leveling, meaning that it will help eliminate brush-strokes/roller marks.  I used the exact same painting process with the paint that I had with the Primer (Paint and then roll over the paint).

You can see here the color difference between the Paint (on the upper part) and the primer

You can see here the color difference between the Paint (on the upper part) and the primer

After a full coat of paint...

After a full coat of paint…

I didn’t find it necessary to do a second coat of paint, but you can definitely do that if you so desire/find necessary.

Step 3:  Poly   

This step I wasn’t sure was necessary until we put the hardware on the drawers and realized that we needed SOME kind of protection.  Now here’s the thing, we Really didn’t want the cabinets to be shiny. Something we didn’t like about the other Ikea door options is that they almost looked “plastic-y” because of the shine.  The internet was also very unhelpful in finding a solution.  So really, the reason that I decided to try the Poly is because I had some on hand and I knew that it worked.

To apply, I used a rubber glove and an old sock.  Yes, really.  Simply wipe the polyurethane on and you’re done.

Tips:  I let the paint dry for 24 hours before putting the poly layer on.  If you are painting your cabinets white, I highly recommend holding them in natural light to make sure that you got an even layer of poly on the door (I found it really hard to tell what areas I missed otherwise!)

You can tell there is a slight sheen to the door now...

You can tell there is a slight sheen to the door now…

I’m not gunna lie, it took me about a week to get the doors completely done because after each coat, I waited until the next day to do the next coat (even though Zinsser says it’s totally cool to go ahead and paint after a couple hours).  Overall, I’m pretty happy with the end product… especially since I was able to paint them all for less than $80 (even less if you consider I only used half of my paint and primer).  But I really wish Ikea would make a cabinet door that was true white… (please Ikea?  Please?!)

So there you have it!  This is the process I used to paint my Ikea kitchen cabinets.  Let me know if this helped you out or if you have any of your own tips in the comments below!

To see a sneak peek of the whole kitchen, click here!

 

How To Be A Bad Church Member…

I have been to a slew of churches in my life. I have been a visitor, a staff member, I have gone to churches where my dad was on pastoral staff, I have been to mega churches and mega tiny churches and all of them had one big thing in common… people. Every church has attendees (I mean, hopefully or they aren’t really a church…) Some attendees are what I would assume pastors would consider “the best” attendees and with these characteristics in mind, I decided to make a list of how to be a bad church attendee in hopes that if you do any of the following, you will evaluate your life choices.

1. Bash the Pastor.

Didn’t agree `100% with the message that the pastor preached? By all means, go all around the church lobby after service and make sure that everyone knows that you are displeased. This is super helpful. Also, go around and tell all your friends who attend other churches how terrible your pastor is and how you’re “just not sure why you go to that church.”

Here’s the Fix:
If you don’t agree with the pastor; pray. Ask God if you are supposed to be at that church. If you feel like you are, ask God if there is something in YOUR heart that needs to change. Praying for and supporting your pastor is how to be a great attendee. If you cannot under any circumstances support the pastor, leave. It’s ok. It’s ok to go to a new church where you are able to engage the community and be fed the word of God.

2. Be Nothing But a Seat Warmer.

If you truly want to be a terrible church attendee, here is what you do: get to church 5 minutes after service starts and leave during the prayer at the end. Don’t talk to any of the other people at church, don’t make eye contact with the greeters on your way in, and when someone gets on stage to talk about how you can “get involved” in… well.. anything, quickly and immediately TUNE THEM OUT!

Here’s the Fix:
GET INVOLVED. The best way to feel like you are truly a part of the church community is to get involved. I have been on both sides of this coin. I have gone to some churches where I am so involved that I barely get to hear a sermon and some churches where I would quietly sneak in and out of the service so that no one would even know I was there. Believe me when I say that being involved is much MUCH more gratifying than just taking up a seat on Sundays.

I would also like to say that “getting involved” is more than being on praise and worship teams or teaching in children’s church. There are SO MANY ASPECTS of the church that are tailor made to what YOU have to bring to the community. Do you enjoy hospitality? Ask your pastor about hosting a Bible Study at your home or making coffee on Sunday mornings. Do you just really love meeting new people? Ask about being a greeter. Are you passionate about prayer? See if there is a prayer meeting before service that you could join. Or maybe you like to be a behind the scenes administrative type person. I promise, there is a place for you! The best way to get involved is to ASK. Know what you enjoy doing and ask about doing that thing. If your pastor turns you down, please let me know! Because I would bet that someone who is willing to volunteer will not be turned down and I’d be super interested in meeting a pastor who neglects the help!

3. Hide.

Don’t get to know anyone in the church, ever. Don’t tell them your name. Don’t shake their hand. Don’t let them into your life. Certainly don’t share your contact info, and definitely do not under any circumstances EVER let them know that you are struggling with ANYTHING. Ever.

Here’s the Fix:
The church is not a building, it’s the people in it. If you read the book of Acts, which shows the beginning of the Church in the Bible, it’s all about early Christians doing life together. They shared their needs, they shared their desires, they helped each other flourish and grow and become disciples and disciple makers. That is why the church today, as a community, is so important. It’s not meant to be a place where we are perfect. It’s not a place where we are meant to hide who we really are and what we are going through. It’s meant to be an opportunity to be broken; but rebuilt. A place where we can empty ourselves of the burdens of life and be filled with the hope of Christ. It’s meant to be a place of encouragement. Where we can tell other believers what we are going through so that when we are too weak to keep going, they can remind us that we can make it! Don’t go to church to hide who you are ashamed to be, go to church to become who God has already created you to be.

If you have identified with any of these bad characteristics… you’re in luck! You don’t have to continue to be a bad church member. You can support your pastor, get involved, and become a part of the community of believers that is the church. I can pretty much guarantee you won’t regret it!

What about you guys? What would you add to the list of being a bad church member? Am I the only one who has done these things??