what I do

what I do

Sunday, June 30, 2013

YES everything is going to be okay in the end

Two years ago I wrote a post about Brittany Barringer. She had just been diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. Aware of the battle she was going to be faced with in the months (and years it turned out) to come, she clung to the glory and all the promises of the God she so strongly believed in and proclaimed, "YES everything is going to be okay in the end - He promised!" You can read the full beginning of her story here but in a nutshell, just before her cancer diagnosis she had an experience that changed her forever:
In an instant I had the faith to believe in all the promises of God.  Something changed inside me. I found myself saying, "yes", "yes", "yes" to everything He was offering me. Yes, to His light on dark days. Yes, to sunshine in the midst of that rain! Yes, I believe, I believe, I believe in everything He has promised even when I don't see those things playing out in my life right now.

I drove home with that YES on my lips and new light burning brightly from behind my eyes.  Everything seemed a little better.  I didn't understand how that happened or why that happened but I understood I needed to recieve it fully.   

"YES" was her answer to everything God was offering her (blessings and hardships) and when she received her diagnosis a short time later, everything made sense to her. Her unwavering YES inspired her husband to construct a huge 4' x 4' YES which hung in front of their house as a Holy witness.

Last week Brittany passed from this life on earth as we know it and began a new life in eternity. For over two years she did everything she could to beat the cancer and in spite of all the physical and emotional pain she suffered as she fought the battle of her life she continued to be an inspiration to others through her life, her faith and through her blog on Caring Bridge. Her faith did not waver. Her love for the Lord grew stronger. She continued to say, YES."

As a friend of mine who knew her personally said, she walked the faithful walk before and during the cancer - but not because of the cancer. She was a passionate Christ follower before the cancer and in spite of all her own suffering she continued to be a blessing and encourager to others. "She was a walking testimony for Jesus Christ - for all to see and hear. A good and faithful servant" is what was written on the final blog post on Caring Bridge which announced her passing. She was truly an inspiration to everyone who came into her path.

I can't imagine the loss her family and friends are feeling right now. But I know they must feel a tremendous comfort knowing the peace that Brittany experienced because of her faith and her assurance that she will one day see her loved ones "on the other side." She will be greatly missed.

"Let not your hearts be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." 

 - John 14:1-2 
Images via

Friday, June 28, 2013

Staying cool

It is supposed to be a scorcher this weekend here in Southern California. We live close to the ocean but even here it is predicted to be hot.

I am thankful that a couple of weeks ago I picked up a new market umbrella to help shade our courtyard. 

The view from my office

It helps shade our living room from the hot morning sun and also helps my office stay cooler. I found the umbrella at Costco, and at less than $120 it was well priced. But what sold me was that it was made with Sunbrella fabric. That will help keep the nice color longer and it should hold up well for many years. 

I hope wherever you are the weather is bearable ... 

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

My work habits

One of the benefits of working from home is that I don't even need to get dressed to start working ...

I have a nice size office but when I really want to spread out I use my dining room table.

It makes it really convenient to have breakfast and work at the same time. I don't feel right if I am not doing at least two things at once!

I am getting ready for a new client's presentation this morning and then I am going to meet a friend for lunch. Sometimes being my own boss is not such a bad thing :D 

Hope you are having a great day!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Could you use a prep kitchen?

I played hooky yesterday and a friend and I went to walk around a few model homes in the Huntington Beach area just for fun. I love looking at model homes. They are always so pulled together with everything new and coordinating. I especially love looking at the bedrooms because since it is not "real life" they are always so perfect with no clutter or messes anywhere - crisp white bedding with just the right amount of pillows (with the mandatory chop). I always get a few new ideas too.

Top 3 images via

I can be brutal when I am walking through, picking the different ideas apart (it is always easy to be critical, isn't it?) but most of the time I am super impressed. Yesterday, there was one house that I could have just moved right in to. It was the kitchen that sold me. 

I would have changed the counters and the backsplash (Carrara marble for sure) but otherwise this kitchen was perfection (it looked much better than in my photos).

I really loved the clear canisters too!

Did you notice the single burner cook top? Yes, this is just the PREP KITCHEN! 

On one side of the kitchen it had a beautiful glass front cabinet for storage, and plenty of counter space ... but when I first saw it I thought, "nice but kind of small"... until I saw this:

A full-sized kitchen right around the corner.

I have seen older homes with butler pantries and kitchens but this was a new one for me in a new home.  At first I was not sure about the idea, but the more I started thinking about the possibilities I could not get it out of my mind.  

And don't get me wrong ... I love my new kitchen. But it made me start to think. Maybe I should turn my dining room into a prep kitchen. Apparently another new trend is eliminating the formal dining room!

What do you think? Would you like to have a separate prep kitchen?

Monday, June 10, 2013

A New Outlet In Town

While I was away on my road trip I got some texts from a friend telling me we had a new store in town. She sent me some photos from her visit and said, "U r going 2 go crazy here at RH outlet."

I had no idea that Restoration Hardware was putting in an outlet here in Long Beach. It is located at The Pike and is the first of other outlets that are being planned. Today I finally had a chance to go down and see what all the fuss was about. 

They have a huge selection of furniture and accessories ranging from bathroom vanities, dining tables and chairs, sofas and even outdoor furniture. The prices range from 30 - 50% off regular prices with some special discounts added to that. Today all furniture was an additional 20% off.

I was not disappointed. I have been wanting to go to the Restoration Hardware Outlet in Camarillo (it has been years since I have been) for some time now and just have not had a chance so this was just perfect. 

Some of the furniture is sold "as is" and some have subtle flaws. Others, like the bedding, for example are just discontinued items. The prices are good but you need to choose wisely as all sales are final.

If I needed a dining table, I would have picked this up in a second!

They get new items in every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. 
I stayed away getting into too much trouble but did pick up a beautiful gold lampshade for $4.36 (including tax!). 

 If you are local, you should check it out! Give me a call and I will go down there with you :D

Sunday, June 9, 2013

New York, New York

Yesterday evening my daughter who recently graduated from college (the one who I went on the road trip with), flew off to New York to spend the summer back East - another new adventure for her.

She took what she could stuff into her backpack; it would have to last her for months. Goodbyes are always hard ... but airport goodbyes are the worst for me. She had an interesting commute once she arrived at JFK that required a shuttle, the subway, a bus and a van. She is a great traveller but for a parent - it is still nerve wracking. Seriously, I tried to get her a town car and she refused. I told her I would pay for a cab and she laughed at me.

After we dropped her off, my husband and I drove over to the Hollywood Bowl to see Andrea Bocelli in concert. One of the highlights of the night for us was when He sang, The Prayer, accompanied by the writer of the song, David Foster. My husband said, "This is for our daughter tonight."

I pray you'll be our eyes, and watch us where we go
And help us to be wise in times when we don't know
Let this be our prayer, when we lose our way
Lead us to the place, guide us with your grace
To a place where we'll be safe

I pray we'll find your light, and hold it in our hearts
When stars go out each night, 
Remind us where you are
Let this be our prayer, when shadows fill our day
Help us find a place, guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we'll be safe

A world where pain and sorrow will be ended
And every heart that's broken will be mended
and we'll remember we are all God's children
Reaching out to touch you
Reaching to the sky

We ask that life be kind, and watch us from above
We hope each soul will find another soul to love
Let this be our prayer, just like every child

We needs to find a place, guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we'll be safe
Needs to find a place, guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we'll be safe

(Carol Bayer Sager and David Foster)

It is a good prayer for all of us I think.  One that we should pray often. 

Just before Andrea he sang his final song, he sang another song that felt perfect for our evening, "New York, New York." 

"He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day."

Psalm 91:4-5 

Thursday, June 6, 2013


On our first day in Chicago, we stopped in at a Target downtown to pick up a pillow for me for the road. I need a good pillow for my neck and knowing we were going to be staying in some crummy vintage motels I figured I had better bring my own.

I shop at Target all the time, but there is something about being in a new Target that lures me in to all the good stuff they have. This Target had several floors and it seemed they had many more things than the Targets where I live. It was hard to buy one pillow and leave honestly.

I shop at Target for some of my household essentials and it is just not very nice of them to carry so many cute things that tempt me ...

Rue magazine just posted these photos along with an article showing how a few bloggers (yeah bloggers) have decorated using Target's new Threshold line. They have many fun (and most importantly, affordable) things to spruce up a room.

It makes me want to run up there right now!

all images via Rue Magazine

Monday, June 3, 2013

We're Not In Kansas Anymore!

The view from our hotel room in Barstow this morning - bet you wish you were here!
Today is our last day. We have around 100 miles to go. My husband is going to meet us in Santa Monica where the Route ends at Ocean. He is worried he doesn't have time to clean the house and go to church. I laugh. It is a two hour drive from Barstow to Los Angeles. But you know how this goes by now, right? It will take us about 7 hours I figure. We are driving on all side streets. To Santa Monica. From Barstow. It can take an hour or more just to get across town in Los Angeles. We get up early to get on the road by 8.

When we were in Chicago we stopped by a Trader Joe's and picked up snacks for the road. We are down to about a fourth of a package of Wasabi flavored almonds (I will never eat one of these again), a few dried green beans, some of Griffin's cinnamon kitten cookies, and some cashews. None of which sounds good in any way. And there is a small amount of kettle corn left from Oatman. That is what we eat.

It is really discouraging to see the Route here in California. It is dirty and the road sprinkled with litter. It disgusts me. We are driving through some of the roughest areas in Southern California. San Bernardino is the largest county in the nation and I watch enough news to know that it is not Kansas.

We drive through cities I have never been to but have heard of. Devore. Rialto. Fontana. I know there are some things to see here (or that is what the book says) but we are focused on getting home. We keep driving.

Once we get to Rancho Cucamonga it starts to clean up a bit. Here you can see the cities have tried to keep the spirit of Route 66 alive but there is little evidence of yesteryear here. The road is wide and there are a lot of cars. Traffic. We are back. It does not feel good.

We stop in Claremont, an idyllic college town, for lunch. We walk through a lovely farmers market and then settle in at a sandwich and juice shop. We are in heaven. We order veggie sandwiches and chips. This is the best lunch we have had in two weeks we declare! We pass through Monrovia and Pasadena - amazingly we have come all this way from Rialto on one road. We arrive in Los Angeles around 2:45 and my sister texts me, "Welcome back!" We still have to get all the way across town to the ocean. This is going to be a while I let her know. I predict it will take us until 4:00 PM. 

We need a restroom. The only place I can find is a Fat Burger. We go inside and the sign says, Restrooms For Patrons Only. Geez. We do what we have to do. We order a root beer float and fries. The cashier asks me if I want skinny fries or fat fries. I tell her fat fries. Really?

We arrive at the ocean at 4:00 sharp. It has taken us 7 hours and 45 minutes. Plus nine days. We have driven over 3,400 miles. Which amazes me considering the Route is only 2,278 miles long.

We did it. It was more fun then I could have ever imagined! A trip of a lifetime.
Now back to work!!!

P.S. The rest of the trip is published now if you missed it ... I wasn't able to post them on the road for some reason - check out "older posts" or click on the label: Route 66 ... and thanks for following along on our fun adventure :D