Sunday, August 23, 2009

Weekend Project

Want a work-out? Forget about using an electric sander and sand that piece of furniture down yourself! I did a lot of sanding this past weekend. I have to say it was pretty intense, considering how hot and humid it was. But I had so much fun!

I spend a lot of time in front of the computer for work, so the slight exhaustion I felt after completing these two little projects was actually nice! The first piece of furniture I made-over is at the bottom, it's the white bookshelf. I didn't get a chance to take a before photo and I almost forgot to take an after picture. The after picture was taken at the last minute, in my poorly lit kitchen, so I cropped-out the yellow-tinted background :P. The paint color I used is called white cotton. I put on 2 heavy coats of primer and 2 coats of paint. Other than the sanding, rolling on the primer took quite awhile. I think I primed it too much? Not sure.

The second piece of furniture that received a quick weekend make-over is the abandoned 2 drawer end table pictured directly below. I found it next to someone's trash can last year when I was taking a walk, so I picked it up and carried it home. It was too cute to throw away because it had potential. I was initially thinking about painting it white, until I saw what it looked like after a bit of sanding. It was even cuter than I thought it'd be and the wood smelled so nice! I didn't add a drop of paint or primer to the wood after sanding it down; instead, I focused on roughing up a few of the edges to give it a rustic look. I then replaced the ugly metal knobs/handles on each drawer with two vintage spools (I used two because each drawer has two ugly holes where the old knobs would be).




This primer is awesome!:
Bookshelf after (before it was a not-so-pretty light brown particle board color):

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Are you a planner? I sure am. Boy, do I love to have control over every little detail of my life. Mostly because my life has always been a bit of a roller coaster; lots of moving around, lots of unexpected surprises, etc. So I like to think, and this is a flawed way of thinking, that if I plan something just right, things will work out. I know God sympathetically shakes his head back and forth when I do this, but I also know he has a loving heart and understands my obvious insecurities and fears.

These days, in spite of a situation that I don't really have much control over, he's giving me peace. Maybe I should say that he's using this particular situation to mold me into a person who trusts him and can receive peace, as a result. So why don't I cut to the chase, what's the situation?

I guess I've been giving in to societal norms; Is this what people talk about openly? I ask. I feel like I'm hiding a part of myself in doing so. It shouldn't make me feel uneasy; it's not like it's some kind of behavior I can modify or even an issue that has a quick-fix. In fact, it's just a condition, a very common one that many women are diagnosed with. I should not be ashamed to discuss it. Funny thing is, in having to preface the issue so much I'm revealing that it does, in fact, make me insecure, even now. I'm still a bit hesitant to share this so openly, as you can see. But the big loud-mouth in me is ashamed for being such a dull coward; I want to keep it real.

About 8 years ago, I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). I'm what they call a thin cyster. Nope, it isn't supposed to be spelled sister and you probably know this if you've just googled PCOS :). Basically, my ovaries produce cysts instead of the monthly golden egg. Why does this happen? This Thursday I found out, thanks to a great reproductive endocrinologist, that one of my hormone levels (LH) is 3-4 times higher than it should be, and this leads to cysts, irregularity, anovulation (infertility)... and acne, and a host of other fun conditions, but these are the only ones I've dealt with.

I don't know why that LH hormone is so high, and neither do the docs. In fact, they don't really know what causes PCOS... yet. I'm not banking on my docs finding a cure any time soon, so when it comes to having a kiddo, my options are a bit limited. Remember all that planning? I've recently thrown all my plans out the window. Instead of making plans, I'm praying for grace, peace and wisdom on a daily basis.

My options are IVF and an interesting procedure/surgery called ovarian drilling (or ovarian diathermy). The first? Not sure I'm a fan. Don't know if I like the idea of freezing some of my babies in a test tube, donating the spares to science, or reducing. The second? To be honest, the name totally freaked me out. The idea of my ovaries undergoing electrocution doesn't exactly sound fun to me. I also googled it and freaked out when I read the potential risks (early menopause, scarring etc.).

After my doctor appointment this past Monday (before receiving the test results), I came home feeling defeated. What am I going to do? Was the question of the day. The doc says I'm resistant to Clomid (a fertility pill that didn't work for me), and now my options are pretty limited. Yuck, I don't like surgery. Blah, IVF?! I let myself freak out for a little while, then reality stepped in and slapped me silly: All things are possible with God.

So I said: God, I don't know what to do. Give me your wisdom so that I can make the right decision. I know I'm scared about the surgery, but I also know that your perfect love casts out fear. So if I'm meant to undergo that funky procedure, replace the fear with peace.

What happens?

When the nurse later calls on Wednesday to tell me the bad news, she finishes the call with: You're in the hands of a great doctor, she's really going to help you out. Let it be known, before the nurse said that, I was thinking about ditching that great doctor. Part of me was mad at her (the doc) for limiting my options, I thought maybe she could do more. Who cares if she's a Harvard Med school graduate and a director at the top gynecology hospital in the world... and has 20 years of experience, on top of that? That, my friends, was cynical and peace-lacking Sophie talking.

God uses people to talk to us. He also answers prayer. I don't know if God is going to take this thorn from my side, but I do know that he will give me strength and peace I need to make it through any situation, if I ask for it. I've been doing a lot of asking and even thanking. Thanking? Yes. This is a situation that God can use, it's a blessing in disguise. I'm ready for anything, with him. I have to admit, I was scared out of my mind at the thought of ovarian electrocution (that's not the medical name for it, but it sounds kinda exciting saying that :P). But ever since that phone call (and ever since I've been talking to God more about it instead of coming up with more things to worry about), I have a new sense of peace when I think about undergoing the procedure.

That procedure sounds enticing because, right now, with this funky hormonal imbalance, I have about a 40% chance of suffering a miscarriage. That is, if I can even get pregnant. (After the procedure, my risk goes down to about 12% and there's about an 85-90% chance that I'll produce my own eggs without further medical intervention.) Not only that, but IVF is risky for many reasons. One of those reasons is: fertility shots. Because I'm small and young, the doctor thinks I'll over-respond and produce too many eggs. (She even mentioned octuplets; I told her my life is exciting enough without a reality show, thank you very much. :P) With the shots, I risk developing ovarian-hyperstimulation syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition which can be exacerbated by my size.

Nothing is written in stone just yet. I'm also taking the proactive approach by starting a 5 day/week exercise routine, eating a little better, and signing up for acupuncture. Those things can improve the situation and help me feel better, in general. My main source of strength? The only certainty I have: this did not happen by accident, it is a part of God's plan, and he'll work it all out if I'm willing give him the go-ahead by relying on his strength and perfect love.

This is what it's all about, after all:
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. Romans 8:18-21

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Beggar

I'm usually the beggar instead of the giver; asking God for more with an ungrateful heart instead of offering what I already have, the little that can be used. I'm still learning that it's when I've given myself over to him, weaknesses and all, that I can receive the greatest blessing.

What good of me is there to give?
A failed attempt to change or
the change, in my pocket?
A few quarters and pennies?
I have more than that.

My head knows what it means to bow
but, truly, only in fear;
reverence is a place I have not arrived at.
Trust is weakened with my plans.

look up only to ask
and other times
forget WHO is there.
don't always say thank you
Usually ask why?

...I, I, I instead of

You will give
When I have given
More than I have offered or sacrificed.

I've lived my life in alphabetical order:
Me comes before You.
But You ask me to break the rules of convention,
Open my heart to only you and
an intervention


holiness replaces all the holes
and fills me with
Then I will have enough
It will be your

Friday, August 14, 2009

Love without talking

A facebook friend of mine just commented on this, had to watch it. So cute :).

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Fun Finds: Places to shop in Houston, TX and cute sites to visit online

If you ever find yourself in Houston, Texas, be sure to visit Texas Junk Co. You'll find an assortment of random and original treasures, from cowboy boots to frames and embroidered tea towels. I stopped by yesterday and found all of these photographed items. Texas Junk Company is the place to go if you love experiencing the joy of finding a good deal after really searching for it, as in literally getting your hands dirty. Think grandma's garage -- dust, rust and all :).

For those who prefer a cleaner environment (one that's nicely air conditioned, not dusty and big like Texas -- it is the biggest antique mall in the Lone Star State, after all) visit Market Place Antiques. You're basically paying for them to do the dusting, cleaning and hand-picking. They know what they're selling, so it isn't as easy to find a good deal. What's fun is coming across a sale! The market place is sectioned off into booths, each one operated by a different seller, which means you'll find anything and everything here. Need a 100 year old hand-carved bread box from France? They've got that. Looking for an old Charles Dickens book? They've got you covered there, too. They even have their own little diner, so the whole place smells like a dreamy meatloaf sandwich (dreamy if you like meatloaf sandwiches, that is :).

What if you want eye candy without having to leave the comfort of your own home? What if Texas is just too hot to visit? (It is! :P) Then stay home and check out these lovely sites!:
Nest Decorating (My favorite jewelry designer!)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Nothing fancy

It's late, but I feel like writing. Funny, sometimes I find that I actually think clearer when my eyes begin to get heavy.

I was just thinking about learning how to be. How to be? What does that mean? Read on...

When I first started college, I was always thinking about how to be. It seems that's the time we think about such things the most. I was excited because I was finally gonna get the chance to attend one school for four years! Growing up, I went to 13 different schools. Part of it was because I had a mom who liked to move from suburb to suburb (when we lived in Southern California), and the other part had to do with the fact that my step-dad was in the military. I always felt kind of like a little weed, to be honest. Despite being uprooted time and again, I always found a way to creep back up and not let the fact that I moved so much get the best of me. But, honestly, it was tough at times. I turned to writing and music for comfort. Yes, I was a dork and still am. It's something I actually like about myself now. It took awhile to get here.

The awkward phase definitely lasted a long time, mostly because I couldn't just be. Let's go back to the part where I talk about college. I remember the first week very well. My neighbor was locking her door the same time I was, so I decided to be friendly and start a conversation with her. We walked down the hall, got on the elevator together and then, before she got off the elevator, I suggested that we get breakfast some time. We eventually became friends, but she later told me that she thought I was a little weird because I was too friendly. I have to laugh when I think about it now, I think I was just overly excited. I wanted to hurry up and make friends because I'd finally be able to "keep them" for 4 years, and that was a long time for me.

But I have to admit, it was a bit out of character for me to be so bold. In high school I was somewhat introverted, at least to the outside world. I had my reasons, but I was stuck and it took me awhile to be able to move, emotionally speaking. I decided to be more outgoing in college, but it didn't last long. I eventually embraced the fact that I was more of an introvert than an extrovert. But to be honest, I now call myself an introverted extrovert. I really do enjoy being around people and talking, but I'm just hesitant to open up to certain folks. I had to learn how to read people at a young age because I didn't have time to make friends with those who weren't genuinely interested in a real friendship. I didn't learn that until after middle school, though.

Not worth keeping? What does that mean? I liked people who just were... themselves. Not trying. I admired them for that quality because it's what I didn't have. I couldn't just let go. Metaphorically speaking, I lived life with my shirt tucked in. I wanted to stop judging myself based on how I thought others viewed me. That's what kept me in my shell for so long, I was afraid of what people would think of me when I opened my mouth. What would they say if they found out that I actually liked to go to the library and borrow poetry books? What would they do if they found out that, instead of going out drinking, I was at home writing, painting or searching for another song to add to my never-ending playlist because I was music-obsessed (and why is that so bad anyway ;)?

I learned how to take a deep breath in college. I came to know God more and how that should define my worth more than an opinion or my own ideas. I found someone who loved me for me, someone who also went through a similar phase; he's now my husband :). Learning how to just be is not so hard, after all. The only thing standing in the way of myself and the feeling of acceptance is me, my own mind and negative thoughts. It's interesting, God says he is the great "I AM"; God defines ultimate peace. Learning how to be for us humans is an on-going process, we will never be God but we can strive to live the way he did. We can learn how to be in him because he already is, that's why he says "I [just] AM".

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