Sunday, November 22, 2015

Project Red Sink: THE BIG REVEAL!!!

Do you remember, back in July, when I posted the pictures of the condo my family bought? The house required a lot of work, but I said that it would be nothing like a Property Brothers renovation.  Well... that probably still is the case, but it definitely felt like one!!!

Now, it is with great pride, pleasure, happiness, and excitement that I present to you the final remodeling pictures.  It's not perfect, but this cozy abode has certainly come a LOOONG way from where it was! As a refresher, check out the "before" pictures.

The Bathroom:

I absolutely adore this bathroom.  Before, the walls boasted an offensive shade of paint, and the floors looked like the faux wood paneling on old station wagons.  Now, there are new floor tiles, the walls have a fresh shade of light blue paint, and the shower... oh the shower.  It's white, and shiny, and clean, and gorgeous.  AND this is the warmest room in the house, so it's easier to get ready for school and work.

There's actually another bathroom in the master bedroom — my room.  I actually don't use it because there is no heater vent.  Additionally, there is a huge skylight in the ceiling, so you can imagine how cold it gets in that little room.  Icicles hang from the faucets, and liquid shampoo is now a block. Obviously, I'm exaggerating, but it's TOO cold in there!

In the beginning of the school year, both of the bathrooms were being completely gutted at the same time.  That meant... I had no shower or toilet.  So, I became quite familiar with the clean bathrooms in Provo and Orem.  The Chevron across the street has a surprisingly clean bathroom, and the toilet seat liners are remarkably thick.  That brought much comfort to me.  After about a week of toilet hopping, the bathrooms were finally finished, and I thanked God vigorously.

The Bedrooms:

This condo has three bedrooms.  Mine is the first, the one with the blue polka-dot bedspread.  A lot of people have really classy bedding.  My bedding is so juvenile and so perfect for little children.  Thus, it is perfect for me.  The other two pictures are the guest bedroom.  It's the biggest bedroom in the house, and whenever my parents have errands or meetings up north, they occupy this room.  The third bedroom is not shone here.  It's currently a storage room!

These bedrooms took a while to finish.  First, we painted the rooms using a paint called "Cotton Sheets."  The paint really is pretty.  It's more of a creamy, off-white.  The pictures don't do justice because of the lighting.  The carpet is new, too.  Before, there was some laminate and a wretched bluish-purple carpet.  That's right... bluish-purple.

The Hallway & Entryway:

The Kitchen: 

The kitchen and the living room are my favorite parts of the house.  The kitchen was certainly the biggest transformation.  All of the cabinets were painted white, and they got new hardware.  There is so much storage space, which is fantastic.  And the counters were crafted by angels.  Forever, we debated on the material for the countertops.  We looked at laminate seriously, but they were very expensive, so why not splurge and go for the real deal? The countertops are granite, and they are gorgeous.  That blasted, disgusting, red, cast-iron sink is history, and it was replaced with a stainless steel sink.  The gas stovetop is new, too.  I feel like a dummy trying to make it work... I just hear clicks five billion times and turn the knob like crazy before I see the flame erupt.  Master kitchen for an incompetent chef, right?

The Living Room:
That sad little tree.  I love it so much.

I spend most of my time in the living room.  This room was fun to decorate.  If you can't tell already, I love pops of color.  I'm not really a fan of the whole neutral decor style because all I see are different variations of brown.  My favorite colors are navy blue and golden yellow, so I planned accordingly.  All of the walls were painted, but I especially love the wall with the pictures.  I was worried about the shiplap.  I was afraid they looked dated, but now, they serve as a focal point for the room.  The built-ins with my tiny t.v. are really convenient, too.

Oh, and you might be thinking, "Psshh. Those books are just for show." Not so, my friends! I read them all in a matter of weeks, and I'm running out of space for them.
So there you have it.  This is my house.  And I love it SO much.  You might also be thinking, "Psshh. It will never stay that clean."  Super duper not so, my friends! One of the glories of living alone is that I can keep it clean.  And cleanliness is godliness.  So in this aspect, I think I'm pretty godly.  Some of my friends have suggested, "You should have a house-warming party!" I smile, and I appreciate the thought, but any type of party requires people in my house.  And food on the floor and rug.  And crumbs and spills on the counters.  And objects that are misplaced.  Yes, I'm a Scrooge, but I'm a clean one.

For the final huzzah, I considered it important to share my post-renovation portrait, modeled after the Property Brothers.  In their professional photographs, they always look so candidly robust and chipper.  Mine is more of a joke... and embarrassingly staged with an empty coffee mug, but I secretly adore it.

Love, Bekki

Saturday, November 7, 2015

It's Okay to Have Questions.

Some week it has been, huh? Social media has certainly exploded, especially with the Church's recent statement regarding policies for same-sex families.  The past couple of days have made me very sad and disappointed, but not for the reason you might suspect.

In this last dispensation, big things are happening.  For me, these things are complex, and I think about them intensely.  I truly wrestle with the Lord to try and understand why things are the way they are and why things happen the way they do.  Perhaps, this is merely indicative of a mere 21-year-old's budding testimony.  Or maybe, it proves that I truly have the mind of an English major who questions everything, even a description of a rock in some book.

My point is this — it's okay to have questions, and I am positively certain that I'm not the only one who has questions.  And yet, I am so disappointed to find members of the Church flaunting the news as if it's a victory conquest.  I see things like, "We're finally setting people in their place!" or "Amen to the Church whipping out the big guns!"

I saw these comments, and the tears rolled down my face.  Maybe some will think that I just don't have a testimony, but I think that we are estranging those who have questions.  We are isolating those who are struggling with doubt. When people see the hasty responses of members on Facebook, they feel alone, and they do not feel safe to talk to us.  And isn't that heart-breaking?

I can't help but think that Heavenly Father cries with those who are heart-broken and struggling to accept the Church's statement.  He, more than anybody, knows what is right, but He also knows that it's hard, and our Church leaders know this, too.  So for us... I don't think it's our job or privilege to parade around and declare that we are right.  Instead, I think our leaders and, more importantly, God expects us to reach out lovingly to people who are struggling.  They are our brothers and sisters, so why are we treating them otherwise?

When people have questions, we help them.  We listen to them.  We love them.  We encourage them to ask God in faith.  And when we encounter people who have doubts, and their hearts are hardened, we help them.  We listen to them.  We love them.  We encourage them to ask God in faith.  Regardless of where we are in our testimonies, our faith, and our progression before the Lord, we love each other, and we leave the judging to our Savior.  People need to feel safe to talk to us, which means we need to be extremely careful about what we post on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other sites.

And so, to my friends who assuredly have stronger testimonies than I, please be loving.  Be careful about what you say.  And if somebody approaches you with a question, say a prayer that the Spirit will guide your words and your heart.

And to my friends with questions, please know that it's safe to come to me.  I will not even pretend to know the answers, but my ears work just fine, and I know how to listen.  I'm learning, and wrestling, and growing, and praying... right alongside you!

Love, Bekki


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

October Joy.

I think joy is a powerful word that is used carelessly.  For example, there is nothing joyful about an Almond Joy.  Coconut is gross.  This past month has been busy, challenging, but joyful, which is what I will write about! I used to think that my blog was just for me, but now, I'm realizing that my blog reaches a lot more people than I thought.  I want my writing to make you laugh, to make you ponder, to make you hopeful, and to help you see that life is beautiful.

~ I've been going home a lot over the weekends.  I love being with my family, and they make my transition to Provo-strange-people-life easier.  When I first moved to Ephraim, I didn't really like it.  I thought it was too small, and I felt uncomfortable when random people talked to me.  But now, I love it.  Whenever I go home, I detach myself from the craziness of school and work.  I can drive and only worry about one traffic light in town.  I can talk to neighbors and friends who make me feel so grown-up.  I can play with my dogs who hunt the mice in the garden.  I can buy wilted scallions at the grocery store.  Going home brings me joy.


I love this photo.  When my family was driving to the pumpkin farm, we saw this rainbow.  This picture pretty much articulates my life philosophy — sometimes, life is stormy, and dark, and grim.  But there is always hope! And there are always small evidences of God's love for us.

~ When my family is happy, I feel joy.  A couple weeks ago, I received this glorious text message from my dad:

 God bless America, indeed! I like the truck, too.  It's white, it's not too bulky, and my dad looks so much more rugged when he drives this truck instead of the minivan.  But... my dad could drive a barbie jeep and still be a manly man.  For years and years and years, my dad has always talked about a truck and a tractor.  Whenever we were in parking lots, he would drift towards a dark blue tacoma.  I've made it a goal in my life to give my dad one of these dream items.  Now that he has the truck, that leaves me with a tractor!  So.... does anybody have a tractor I can have for $100?

~ I'm understanding more and more that we experience opposition so that we can better comprehend joy.  In the middle of the month, I switched medications because I've been experiencing some unfortunate side effects.  I'm pretty sure I have the bladder of a 90-year-old woman — my kidneys are now probably the size of kidney beans, and my liver could look like a deflated balloon.  It can be really dangerous to switch psychiatric medications, especially mood-stabilizing ones (cue the montage of my life, just one year ago!).  This experience was not as severe, but still difficult.  I felt pretty bad for weeks and was a weepy mess.  I cried in the bathrooms at school, so people probably thought I was passing a stone or something.  After weeks of hell, I went back on the original drug. And now, I feel soooo much better, and feeling better than I did before makes me joyful.

This experience has taught me many things.  First, water-proof mascara is an absolute God-send.  Second, sometimes I keep on fooling myself into thinking that I'm the master of control, and "I've got this whole emotional disorder thing down!"  I imagine Heavenly Father lovingly smiles when I think this, and He humbles me with every challenging experience.  I handle my trials just about as gracefully as a paraplegic gymnast, but I'm learning, and I'm still my awkward-weird-goofy-beautiful self.  And third, I am so lucky to have the greatest family ever.  My dad called me all the time to talk, and he just listened to me blubber incoherently.  And then, my mom would send me the sweetest text messages, reminding me that I'm awesome.  I am constantly reminded of how blessed I am to have my family.  Heavenly Father probably gladly handed me off to my parents when He couldn't handle me any longer.  I hope I bring as much joy to my parents like they do for me!

No need to tell me that life is hard.  I feel like I have the statement branded on my soul.  Sometimes, I wake up in the morning feeling hopeless — I don't want to go to school or work, I don't want to see people, and I don't want to leave my bed.  But I've made it a goal for myself to see gentle works of grace — evidences that God's love is real, and it can be found in everything... even the air we breathe.  So try looking for those works of grace.  It's really made a difference for me.

Last thing, I promise.  I told my mom and dad a story about something that happened to me on Halloween.  It's another Bekki-shut-your-dang-mouth story that doesn't particularly bring me joy, but maybe you'll get a good kick out of it!

On Friday, I was walking to the graduate instructor offices when I saw a man with an elaborate cane and a limp.  He was wearing a tweed coat, a graphic tee, baggy jeans, and sneakers.  Excellent Dr. House costume, right? I try to complement people as often as I can, so I said to him, "You have the best Dr. House costume I have ever seen."  But instead of a smile, I saw a frown that was so sinister that even Clint Eastwood would be jealous.  Obviously, the man was not wearing a costume, and his limp was a real limp from a real injury from a real accident.

The moral of the story? I will never compliment people ever again.

Love, Bekki