Winter Wonderings

The Gossamer GirlA myriad of nebulous emotions have been flowing through my veins  this season. Tonight it seems like some of the thoughts might finally coalesce in to words, and just maybe I can wring them out through my fingertips. Never have I been in a place where I was more unsure of how I am or what I want while simultaneously being so certain of who I am.

These years of testing have strengthened me in ways beyond my former self’s comprehension. The Lord has taken much, but has replaced it all and more with Himself. I’m still learning what this means, this sorrowful trading up. I had a life that I loved, that I labored to build, and it has been burned to the ground. It is no little thing.The Gossamer GirlI often dwell on the great forest fires… sometimes they’re intentionally set to make the land more fertile. Am I not more precious than a plot of earth? Assurance of this continually comes from my Abba. Little glimpses of the work He’s doing in me shine out like a light through a dusty pane of glass. I’m thankful that He’s the one orchestrating my death and rebirth. I’ve seen enough to trust Him with the scalpel in His hand. With tears in my eyes, I’ve decided to patiently lay here while He finishes cutting away all that needs to be removed. The Gossamer GirlSo much has been taken, but I’m always amazed at the new, little sparks of hope that keep appearing in my life. My job at the library is wonderful, I’m planting a church in my hometown with some of the loveliest people I’ve known, and my kids grow more and more into themselves every day. A whole new life is being reborn from the ashes, and slowly I can see more of the picture hovering just beyond the established glow.The Gossamer GirlAdvent is a season of waiting. We wait with expectant longing for the promised babe. I identify so deeply with this, my soul groans under the weight of that desire. Yet, this season was not a calm one. There was no time to wait as we rushed from one activity to another. I started working outside the home, Grayson turned four, Christmas came and went, and my heart stayed the same. Growth is laborious, and who has time to toil within when there is so much outward work to do? Single motherhood is hard, I do not know how to live within this juxtaposition yet. The Gossamer GirlIt is not like before, where our days were filled with crafts and cuddles… Quantity has been stollen from me and all I’m left to salvage is quality. I hope. I pray they are able to look back fondly on their childhoods. Do they see the world burning around them or are they happily oblivious, their faces buried in my chest as I try to shield their eyes from the smoke. I’m not okay, but are they?The Gossamer GirlMy favorite quote has become Charles Spurgeon’s “I have learned to kiss the wave that slams me into the Rock of Ages.” And I have. My old life is gone, but I am joyful about what is to come. I am late to Epiphany, but I am expectantly waiting now. Waiting with an open heart and working hands to see what my Lord does as He reveals more and more of Himself to me.

New hopes and desires are beginning to take root in me. I will be traveling to Belize this summer with a mission team from my church. New friendships are blooming and filling the cobweb-woven corners of my mind with color and life. I’m working towards building a life that I love again. This time, I’ve decided to lay a foundation on solid rock, for all other ground is sinking sand.

Indian Summer

The Gossamer GirlSummer stayed with us longer than she normally does, but has now left town in a rush. Well in to early November we were enjoying sunny days in the high seventies. My heat-seeking self thought it was glorious. The fall crisp is nice, but in reality it just heralds in the biting winter winds which I abhor.

Watching the seasons change this year has been very metaphorical for me as my own life has morphed along with it. I went from a married, SAHM, Air Force spouse to a divorced, working, single mom. It has been rough. My path is rocky, yet I can with confidence also point out the beauty in it. God has gone before me every step of the way, and that inspires awe within me to walk in His wake. The Gossamer GirlTragedy has bred dependence upon my Abba. It’s funny, but I wouldn’t give up this intimacy even for the chance to go back in time and save my “perfect family.” This broken place is where my Father has me, and He has so much to teach me here, as long as I keep leaning in to the hurt and letting Him heal me. The Gossamer GirlLast week He gave us this most glorious day to enjoy! The light was a brilliant golden glow creating bokeh magic in every photo. Rainbows found their way on to my film, and giggles melded with the sound of crunching leaves to fill the air with music. I’m trying to acknowledge each little joy as a good gift from Him. I talk a lot about how the Lord has blessed me with suffering, but He also gives us days like this to spend time together in the park, and from Him, it’s all good. The Gossamer GirlThe past six months as the details of the divorce have been ironing themselves out, I haven’t written much. I always find it harder to put pen to paper in the midst of living the story. I still am I suppose, but I do feel more settled now having taken care of some of the major life reconstruction that needed to happen. I scored an awesome job that I’m very excited about… more details to come on that after things are more official. The Gossamer GirlWe’ve landed on our feet, God has given me the means to provide for my kids, both financially and relationally. He holds us in His hands. We’re surrounded by the most amazing community that I am humbled to be a part of. Men and women who challenge me to love harder, think deeper and act truer in the Spirit. This is the life that I want to build for my kids, wrapped up in the love of so many others through bonds of faith and friendship. We make our own families, and mine is not traditional, but it’s beautiful too. The Gossamer GirlI don’t really know what I’m doing in this single motherhood journey… I doubt I’d know much more of what I was doing were circumstances different. Our past has certainly left scars upon each of us. All I can do is keep pointing the kids and myself to Jesus. This isn’t how it was supposed to be, yet it’s where we are, and there are reasons to dance as well as weep.The Gossamer GirlThe Creator is so beautiful that way, intermingling joy and sorrow; displaying His tender compassion for our fragile frames and yet graciously giving us whatever will draw us to closer to Himself, all within the same breath. God is not for divorce, but he is using mine. Someday, in some way, this story will be redeemed, and I cannot wait to live out that ending, whatever it may look like.The Gossamer Girl

Come on In

The Gossamer GirlThing #847 that I love about my house is the entryway nook. I love that I can throw my purse and the kid’s backpacks, all of our shoes and coats over here when we walk in and not have to hunt from them later when it’s time to go. It’s a small space, but it’s perfectly functional for the three of us. I added the shoe rack last weekend after seeing this one, and now it’s serving us even better as it doubles the amount of shoes I can leave upstairs before being forced to tidy them up!The Gossamer GirlIt was a really easy project, I just measured the width of the space and then played around at the hardware store with plumbing parts until I had built two rods of the right length. Once home with them, I washed them thoroughly to remove the stickers and grease, if you don’t do this the paint won’t adhere very well. Then I gave them a coat of gold spray paint and attached them to the wall.The Gossamer GirlI’m all about that industrial look, so the plumbing parts really caught my eye! It’s important to measure how far apart you’d like the rods to be so that the shoes you want to fit will. Gray’s are a bit to small to fit on top, so he gets the bottom row.

I’m planning to make an embroidery hoop to hang above the hooks, another one of those projects that will happen whenever I get around to it, but for now our entry is functional and adorable and that’s all this busy mama needs!

My Classy, Eclectic Kitchen

The Gossamer GirlIt’s not often you’ll see classic and eclectic in the same sentence, but as I surveyed my kitchen, those were truly the best style descriptors I could come up with! My house was built in 1941, so I wanted to return some of the vintage charm to the place, it was also a goal of mine to make the main fixtures like tile and cabinetry fairly classic in order to easily be able to change things in the future if the mood ever struck. The Gossamer GirlThis is what I started with… as you can see, I could only go up! The good thing about not having fancy stuff it that you’re more open to taking risks, so I rolled my sleeves up and got creative! The wood paneling on the walls was removed and the flooring was replaced prior to moving in. We were able to roll some basic renovations in to the purchase price of our home, so it was nice not having to tackle that personally.The Gossamer GirlI chose a topaz acacia solid hardwood and had it laid in the living room, hallway, kitchen, and down the stairs to the basement. I love how much more fluid the place feels. Instead of each room feeling choppy with five different types of flooring in the house, it’s now a lot more cohesive.

Our dining table broke, so we picked the Standard Furniture Hudson Extension Dining Table to replace our old one. I like the industrial look, and that the legs are set wide enough to accommodate a bench, even without a leaf. The chairs and pew bench were thrifted, vintage finds that I covered in green chalk paint. At first brush stroke I was kind of terrified of the color, but I really like it now! For more on the chalkboard wall, see this post.The Gossamer GirlI am obsessed with the Barcelona Blue paint color and knew I had to use it somewhere in my house. I’m not entirely sure it belongs in my kitchen, but it’s workin’ for now! The blue walls and green chairs are fun, plus it makes the flowers on the wall really pop!

The oak cabinets got a facelift with four coats of paint and some new hardware! I have never painted cabinetry before, so it was eye opening as to how much work is involved, however, I’m definitely glad I did it. I love my kitchen oh so much more than before!The Gossamer Girl The old 70’s tile backsplash was ripped out and I installed a subway tile wall and open shelving in its place. The shelves are from Ikea, the dishes are by Gorham (these are not the exact ones I have, they seem to have been discontinued, but these are very close). I also painted the countertops using a faux marbling or granite kit, which you can read about here.The Gossamer GirlThe little coffee nook might just be my favorite thing! I wasn’t a huge fan of the cabinetry layout with this awkward little guy back here, but I’ve made good use of him! The framed print is a digital download from Etsy and it’s no coincidence that this particular one hangs above the Keurig!The Gossamer GirlThe cream fridge that came with the house was in perfect working order, so I saw no sense in replacing it. I gave it a facelift with some black chalkboard paint I had leftover from painting the accent wall. I’m not sure if I’ll draw all over it or let the kids get their graffiti on yet. Time will tell.

The fluorescent lights also got a coat of the same black paint, so technically I could draw all over them as well… again, time will tell.The Gossamer GirlThis wall was done by using gift wrap as wallpaper which you can read about here. I really love this print and my view, and the adorable scrabble tiles I picked up while antiquing at the Brass Armadillo one afternoon.

So far everything is working out really well, I have designated prep and cooking areas and the general flow seems to work for our family. The kids have their own cabinet so they can get cups when they need them and help set the table for meals. It’s really quick to prepare coffee in the morning while simultaneously pouring breakfast cereal, so I’m going to call this renovation a win not only in terms of aesthetic, but for functionality as well.  I love it, and it’s done, may I never have to pick up another paintbrush again!

DIY Carrera Marble Countertops

The Gossamer GirlFrom the photo above, you wouldn’t think my countertops were in too bad of condition, but upon closer inspection you would start to notice the chipped spots, the discoloration, the burn marks and scratches. If you’re anything like me, you’d want to rip them off then and there and redo the counters in gorgeous, grey marble. And I would have, that was the original plan, but then circumstances changed and I decided to hold off a big renovation and instead look for ways to repurpose what I already had.

Reusing outdated and damaged kitchen equipment is certainly the harder option. It took massive amounts of time to paint everything, but it was also MUCH cheaper and allowed me to take risks and customize in ways I wouldn’t have if I had chose to purchase new fixtures. When you don’t have much to lose, it’s a lot easier to take the plunge on something that may or may not pan out.

That’s how I felt about my countertops, so with a lot of naive optimism, I purchased the Giani Granite White Diamond Paint Kit for Countertops, White from Amazon. The kit comes with a DVD to watch and there are a multitude of youtube videos showing different techniques for this paint kit. It can look like either marble or granite depending on the method you use, so looking through some examples and decided what you want is important before you begin.

The first thing I did, was to sand down any scratches in the counter, and putty in any chips. Then use painters tape to protect your sink and cabinetry before you begin. The Gossamer GirlEach can of the Giani paint is labeled clearly, so it’s really easy to follow the directions. Step one is to prime the counters using the black. You only need to do one coat, and it will not look perfect, and that’s okay.The Gossamer GirlMy friend, Angela, stopped by one night to help me get started, having two sets of hands really helped the process along!

Steps 2-20 are all about sponging on different colors and layers of paint. Cut up the included round sponge in to fourths, then pour a little bit of paint on to a disposable plate and begin sponging. It’s important to only use the textured sides of the sponge, never “wipe,” and always blot in a random pattern. The Gossamer GirlMy layers went something like this: black primer, pearl mica, white limestone x2, paint in some marble veins (using the black primer), white limestone, paint more veins, white limestone, paint veins once more, white limestone, top coat x3.

It took a week or so to get all of the layers on. It’s possible to get it done in a single day, I just ran out of the white limestone and ended up ordering two more cans than what was originally in the kit (I also never touched the inca gold that came with the kit). By the time my second wave of supplies arrived, I was very ready to finish up and get my kitchen functional again!The Gossamer GirlOnce all of the mineral paints have been applied, you’ll need to do 2-3 coats of the included polyurethane in order to protect your hard work and give the counters a shiny finish. After you’ve done that the kit recommends not setting any appliances on the countertops for 14 days! That was a little crazy, we only made it 10, but there haven’t been any repercussions from rushing it so I’m going to say it’s okay!

Some tips I discovered:

  • Find a picture of a piece of marble or granite you want to copy. Marble comes in all different variations, sometimes very dark and veiny, other times quite light. Pick one to emulate and you’ll feel a lot more confident!
  • Make sure to sponge the paint all the way in to the corners and backsplash. Many of the example photos I’ve seen online look really good until you look at the edge where the backsplash meets the counters and it becomes pretty obvious that they’re fake.
  • Use a small paintbrush to flick some dots of the black paint when you’re nearing the end of your layers. I did it just before my final coat of white limestone and it adds a very realistic effect.
  • This paint is very difficult to remove from skin/hair/nails/clothes… wear gloves and be neat! I learned the hard way.

 

How to Use Wrapping Paper as Wallpaper

The Gossamer GirlMy kitchen is done! Hallelujah, I thought this day would never come! Before I throw the entire reveal up here, I wanted to do a few mini-posts about a couple of the interesting little projects that went in to achieving my dream. First up on the blog, using wrapping paper as wallpaper.

Some of you may be thinking, why would you want to even do that?! While it’s true that wrapping paper is less durable, it’s also less expensive, easier to remove, and comes in a much wider selection!

For me, I chose Rifle Paper Co.’s, Rosa print gift wrap I looked through their selection of actual wallpapers and found their rolls to be almost double what I needed and quadruple what I wanted to spend! I also just prefer the slight color variation of the gift wrap vs the Rosa wallpaper.

So it was settled, I was going to go through with this crazy plan, I ordered five rolls (3 sheets each) of the gift wrap, purchased some wallpaper adhesive and matte polyurethane from my hardware store and got to work!The Gossamer GirlBecause the pattern I chose did not extend off of the sheet, I chose to remove an inch and a half from the perimeter of each sheet. I used a quilting rotary knife in order to get straight cuts (but honestly the pattern is so busy you can’t tell the difference). If it is possible I recommend picking either a busy pattern or working to match up the print as closely as possible between sheets in order for a more professional look.

Once the edging was removed, I cut the paper to fit around window moldings and such on the wall, and then soaked the thing in wallpaper paste. It’s very important to chose a thick, quality paper or it will tear. Thoroughly wetting the paper is also necessary as it prevents wrinkles that will occur if some spots are drier than others.

Next, stick the paper to the wall and use a credit card to smooth out any wrinkles. You can get it completely wrinkle free! Continue to cover your wall in this fashion, try not to trim the wet paper too much as it will tear. Wait until it’s dry and then take an exacto knife to the edges to clean it all up.

One trick I discovered, was that because I used sheets instead of rolls of paper, it looked kind of funny whenever four different corners would meet up. To alleviate this, I cut out a flower design from a new piece of paper, and adhered it over the corners, making it harder to trace the break lines. From a distance you really cannot even tell it’s not a solid sheet of wallpaper!The Gossamer GirlOnce the paper is dry (about 8 hours) trim up the edges and around any windows or electrical outlets. Then apply a layer of matte polyurethane. This part is a little scary as wrinkles start to form and you’re freaking out that all of your hard work is ruined… they will subside, don’t worry! This clear coat gives the paper a bit of protection from water, dirt and ripping which most people will find necessary. As I installed my paper around my sink, it was especially important to me that it be waterproof. The Gossamer GirlNow that I’ve gotten all of my kitchen projects done and can see how everything jives together, I am truly in love! It’s soo “me” and I am head over heels to spend my days cooking for Aurora & Gray, and washing mountains of sippy cups in my pretty, floral kitchen!

 

 

Hallway Hymns

The Gossamer GirlI have been hard at work renovating the kitchen this month, so many changes needed to happen all for about zero dollars. When you’ve got no money, it’s going to cost you time! It has actually been a sweet time of reflection and working through life, however. I think best when my hands are working at a monotonous task. So, here’s a sneak peek of the dining room, and a few snapshots of the hallway which is now done!

I’m obsessed with the old hymns, particularly if the lyrics have been preserved, but the music is updated. Perhaps it was the time in my life when I learned them, during college at RUF, I’m not sure, but they speak to me. Weighty words and folk-y rhythms will always have my heart!

The song I wrote out on the chalk wall behind the dining table is The Sands of Time Are Sinking, I think it’s my favorite. I like the more abstract nature of the imagery, how the author shares the gospel through poetry.

O I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved’s mine!
He brings a poor vile sinner into His “house of wine.”
I stand upon His merit—I know no other stand,
Not even where glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.

The Bride eyes not her garment, but her dear Bridegroom’s face;
I will not gaze at glory but on my King of grace.
Not at the crown He giveth but on His pierced hand;
The Lamb is all the glory of Immanuel’s land.

Living in this present moment where my marriage is ending, I like to dwell on the eternal significance of it all. The Church is the bride of Christ, and all earthly partnerships are just foretellings of the pairing that will one day culminate when Jesus returns. I can see how it would be easy to become bitter towards love and marriage after experiencing what I have, however, looking forward to the true Union evokes such a longing in me that I can’t help but celebrate the imperfect sacrament we have now if only for what it foreshadows. The Gossamer GirlOur hallway is really narrow with all of the closets on one side of it, so I didn’t want to hang  too much on the walls, I did however, want to decorate it. I found this create-a-banner kit on Amazon and strung together a line from another favorite hymn of mine, Come Thou FountThe Gossamer GirlThe canvases the kids painted hang in the hall, along with an extra chair and a file organizer I use to keep track of our important papers. The Gossamer GirlDown at the other end of the hallway is a large nook that I filled with a seaman’s trunk my dad let me borrow. He bought it 20 some odd years ago and it has been sitting in his garage most of that time, so it’s in rough shape, but I appreciate its weathered character. I use it as a hope chest and have the kids baby things tucked away inside.

The pictures above I’m working on updating, It’s amazing how much babes grow in just a few years. I don’t know what to do with the ones of Jon… it’s hard to look at our history on the wall every day. Perhaps I’ll fill the frames with new photos of Aurora, Grayson and I, and begin envisioning the new family that I am fighting to create for them.

Blur & Bloom

The Gossamer GirlLike a wild flower; she spent her days, allowing herself to grow, not many knew of her struggle, but eventually all, knew of her light.” -Nikki Rowe

Oh how I want those words to be true. Once again it feels like I’m in survival mode as I tackle single motherhood, a kitchen renovation, finding employment, and separating an old life. It’s hard not to say to myself that ‘I’ll work on that when things settle down.’

I suppose it all happens in small steps, little everyday moments where we make the choice to act or speak in love when to do otherwise would be easier. I want to be a little wildflower, God keeps giving sun and rain without me asking, my only response to His goodness should be growth.The Gossamer GirlI’ve been trying to process everything that’s happened, and it’s hard when it doesn’t make logistical sense. I suppose it doesn’t need to, my marriage is being taken away, yet I have have hope that God will replace it with something better. Himself. The Gossamer GirlAnd so, I’ll rest in that promise. Nothing is ever taken away without something better being given.

This past week has reminded me that God’s good gifts are not always easy. They are often complicated, prickly things that must be held carefully with tender hands. They are often painful and beautiful at the same time. They are unknown. The best gifts God offers us are often the very gifts that have the potential to completely upend our stories, change the direction our lives were going. It hurts to change direction.“ -Micha BoyettThe Gossamer GirlLast week we spent an evening at Mahoney State Park with Jon’s parents. It was a sweet time of walking through flowers and across streams and eating dinner on the dock with geese. It reminded me of the need for “now.” This present moment is where my focus ought to be. The future is terrifying, the past is heart wrenching, but in the present I’m held in my Father’s hand and all I have to do is rest.The Gossamer GirlReally enjoying this song this week…

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.The Gossamer GirlIt’s a good reminder on the days when I feel broken, empty, defeated by the work of grieving an old life while simultaneously building a new one. I want to rest in how marvelous it is that God’s goodness is lavished all on me most of all on those days. The Gossamer GirlIt helps that there are two, bright little blessings surrounding me. They shower me in kisses, dirty laundry, cuddles and dishes, but most of all they cover me with childish love. Love that doesn’t remember how many times I shouted during the day, love that comes whether or not I gave them their favorite cereal for breakfast, love that shows me a glimpse of Christ. His love is constant and completely unmerited, and abiding here I’ll bloom again.

It Feels Like an Ending

The Gossamer Girl“Holes”

I know a man with nothing in his hands, nothing but a rolling stone
He told me about when his house burnt down, and he lost everything he owned
He lay asleep for six whole weeks, they were gonna ask his mother to choose
When he woke up with nothing he said I’ll tell you something
When you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose

Now I’ve got a hole in my pocket, a hole in my shirt, a whole lot of trouble, he said
But now the money is gone, life carries on and I miss it like a hole in the head

I know a woman with kids around her ankles and a baby on her lap
She said one day her husband went to get a paper and the *bleep* never came back
Mortgage to pay and four kids to raise, but keeping the wolf from the door
She said the wolf’s just a puppy and the door’s double locked so why you gotta worry me for

Now he left a in hole in my heart a hole in a promise a hole on the side of my bed
Oh now that he’s gone well life carries on and I miss him like a hole in the head

Well sometimes you can’t change and you can’t choose
And sometimes it seems you gain less than you lose

Now we’ve got holes in our hearts, yeah we’ve got holes in our lives
Where we’ve got holes, we’ve got holes but we carry on…

Music has been getting me through the past month. This Passenger song in particular has been on repeat since Jon left. I knew it was over the week before his email came. He grew distant once more, and despite his promises of forever it felt like an ending.

I used to wake up gasping for breath, fear in my belly, my anxious heart repeating, ‘this can’t be my life.’ I’d lay in bed trying to revert to my unconscious state, and then I’d roll out and frantically try to bail out the water from our sinking ship. He had a list in his head of things he wanted to change. It was mostly valid… mothering two toddlers, feeling isolated while living abroad, and postpartum depression had robbed him of the woman he married.

Once again, I had turned my back on pursuing holiness in my on-again-off-again relationship with God. Yet, I knew that in a situation this dire, He would be my only true help, and thus He led me back to  Himself. I sought help for the depression, began working out, reading Scripture again, and prioritizing Jon.

Unfortunately, it was to no avail. During the summer of 2014 he sent the kids and I home to Nebraska so that we’d have some “space.” Aurora, Grayson and I spent the summer visiting family and praying for reunification with Jon. I remember how hopeful I was, like anything was possible. I fasted for the first couple of months home, my prayers were grand, and  I didn’t tell hardly anyone about our situation because I wanted to be able to patch this up as neatly as possible and move on.

Towards the end of the summer, Jon was to join us in Nebraska for my brother’s wedding and then we would all go back to Germany together.  He did, and our reunion was bliss! We had been Skyping the past few months, writing, playing games online together, and now in person we could get back to being a family! Shortly after the wedding he informed me that he didn’t intend to take us back to Germany with him. He wasn’t ready.

Heartbroken, I watched him drive away, once again unsure of our future. He became delayed at the Baltimore International Airport for a month while awaiting a HOP home. During that time he lived on the airport floor and zipped back and forth from DC on a train. His letters were fierce, so angry. One sent such fear through me that I loaded the kids on the first plane I could get out of Omaha and we set off to meet him.

Three hours and $1500 later we arrived at the airport. I couldn’t find him anywhere, his German cell phone wasn’t functional, and so after sending the USO and a security guard on a search for him, we collapsed on a bench and slept for a couple of hours. In the morning I had an email waiting for me, he would not be seeing me. He was in DC and wanted us to just go home.

So we did…Another three hours and $1500 later we were back in Omaha. Life carried on. We went to a family reunion and Aurora did VBS. The last night of which a surprise visitor showed up at the church… it was Jon! Crying, elated, we hugged and kissed in the aptly named, cry room. He was here to take us home, this wasn’t a “trial” he assured me, he was all in. So, once again we left for Germany.

Each reunion was honeymoon-like, nothing seemed overtly wrong. We didn’t fight, we did life, and to me, it was all I wanted. One of my prayers throughout all of this was that God would keep my heart free from bitterness. That I wouldn’t harbor resentment against Jon for putting our family through this. I kept myself completely open to him…

Which is why it was shocking when he told me that he wanted to send the kids and I back home permanently, three days after we arrived back in Germany. Yet another bomb. And what was I to do, he was talking divorce and my only options were comply with the separation or face being served with paperwork and then sent home with our marriage officially ended.

So we prepared to head home once more. During that time Jon remained distant, sleeping at the office, only seeing the kids and I once a week to go get groceries together. It was a miserable existence. Our prison-like housing situation in Ohmbach, further complicating a complicated story.We were back in Nebraska once more for Thanksgiving. Our household goods and car on the way. For now we were staying with his parents, beyond that I had no plans.

Jon and I didn’t talk for over a month. I wrote him daily, pleading for him to change his heart, trying to direct him back to the Bible and the faith of his youth. He grew up as the son of a pastor and a Christian teacher, perhaps he was just talking the talk? I do not know, but his outgoing faith is what I fell in love with and I knew him rekindling that relationship was all that would save our marriage from its impending fate.

Eventually we began to speak again, Skyping and playing games, getting back towards something that resembled “normal.” He was distant, but after all that we had been through, I thought that closeness would return in time. I was committed to making this long distance relationship work.

And then, again, he began speaking of divorce. This time he had paperwork drawn up. He wanted me to take it down to the courthouse and submit it. I told him that I wouldn’t do anything with it until I had a friend from church who is a lawyer look it over. I later found out that it was that very line that struck him as odd. He didn’t understand why I wouldn’t trust his judgement in this… Didn’t I know that he was “looking out for me,” that he would be “fair.”

A week passed and he unexpectedly called, he changed his mind, he said. I’m not divorcing you, we’re buying a house, he informed me. The conversation was nearly as blunt as my paraphrase. I was speechless. Full of trepidation he would change his mind again, and hope that he wouldn’t we bought our first home together.

Our daily talks were exciting again. He was planning to visit in May and see the house I had chosen, and so we eagerly looked forward to our reunion.

His homecoming was exciting, passionate, and full of work! We joyfully approached unpacking and setting up our new home, together we worked, and played, and were a family.

I finally thought we were through with the half-life we had been living for the past 18 months. Surely a mortgage would be enough to cement his commitment. So, after visiting for a month, I sent him off on a plane back to work, and we planned his next trip. We could do this for a couple more years while he finished his tour in Germany, and then we’d be together, forever. I thought…

And then communication stopped again last month. I knew it was different this time. I felt it in my bones. He wouldn’t take my calls and I just knew. It felt like an ending. While in the past, there always seemed room for big prayers and grand gestures, this time I knew it was over. I started listening to “Holes” before his email ever graced my inbox.

It was a short letter, not entirely emotional yet not entirely rational. And when it came, I only felt that fear-bellied anxiety for a moment before heading out the door to church. It was Sunday and life carried on…The Gossamer GirlWe haven’t spoken in a non-text format since our e-mail “break-up.” I’m trying to keep the sarcasm at bay… it’s not helpful, and doesn’t aid me in loving well through and in spite of this. Yet, I fear it’s become a bit of a coping mechanism. It’s easier to jest about this trial that to be vulnerable with it. Yet, that is what I want.

I’ve lived a lot of lives in the past 28 years, but I know the one I want is seated at the feet of Jesus. This is the life that I have been called to… not the life I would have chosen, or even envisioned as possible for myself, yet it’s where I’m at. God has never led me astray, so I will keep following Him through this.

I can’t change Jon’s heart or his actions, and I don’t have to. My job in this is to keep my eyes fixed on my Father. I like the quote above, it’s based on Daniel 3, and it now resides in the frame that used to hold our wedding photo.

I do not question God’s goodness, I’ve seen His presence in my life too many times to doubt that He won’t also use this for His glory and my good. I don’t currently know the way through this, but I know my God, and that’s all that’s really necessary.

So for now, I’ll keep following Him down this path. I’ll hold the kid’s hands as we face the unknown together. I’m looking for employment, they’ll soon be starting kindergarten and preschool… It’s a whole new world for our little family, but not one without hope.

Vintage Window to Coffee Table

The Gossamer GirlMaking something with your own two hands is so rewarding. The whole process, from conception to completion really fulfills me. So, when I needed a coffee table, I knew that I wanted to come up with something crafty. And, when I found this vintage, leaded glass window at the Brass Armadillo I knew I had arrived.

The idea to build a shadowbox under the frame probably came from Pinterest, I can’t remember at this point, but as the window was a unique size, the entire project is custom. The Gossamer GirlMy dad helped me with the sawing and assembly, this was the first project we ever built together so that makes it pretty special in and of itself! We’re both working on renovating our houses at the moment, so it has been fun to go back and forth helping each other out with projects. One of these days we may get them all done…The Gossamer GirlI’m fairly handy, but I learned a few new things, such as the importance of pre drilling your nail holes to avoid splitting the wood. And that wood putty is pretty awesome for making corner cuts look like they fit together better than they do!

To build my table, I simple took the measurements of the window, cut a base the same size and sides that were 6″ high and framed the perimeter. Some hinges, table legs, and a handle later the frame was complete!The Gossamer GirlI painted it with a distressed ivory finishing kit. The window used to be white, but has plenty of chipped paint, so I didn’t want the base of the table to be quite so “perfect.” After painting, I assembled it all and used a matte coat of polyurethane to keep my window from chipping any further. The Gossamer GirlYou can see some of the details here, I stabilized the legs with some L brackets which are only noticeable if I point them out. My friend, Nathan, steered me in that direction after my wobbly table nearly fell over for the tenth time in an evening, and I think they work pretty well!The Gossamer GirlI decided to display some of my photography books, cameras and lenses. I like the pop of color from the Holga, and photography books are great conversation starters… Who doesn’t like HONY?!The Gossamer GirlI’m pretty in love with this piece, having something I designed and built in the middle of my living room is pretty empowering. Hopefully it stands the test of time and my kids and their kids can one day use it… I think about how cool it would be to receive a heirloom such as this and so I try to be that awesome grandma in the future.

Perhaps some day I’ll sit around this same table with a great-grandchild, sipping coffee and trading stories. Life happens around a coffee table, and I love that my life is unfolding around this one.