Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Pinteresting Bathroom

Nearly two years ago we repainted most of our upper level.  I loved the paint colors but got stuck on how to redecorate the bathroom.  So the walls remained bare.  Embarassingly, even the towel bar had nothing on it.

However, God has been pruning me in areas of life, including making my house a more inviting home.  I love my home.  Don't get me wrong.  Some rooms are exactly like I want them to be (with a few kid toys scattered across the floor).  But other spaces feel cold.  As a wife and mother, I want to create a space that is warm...where people want to be...and that has prompted a few summer projects. 

Lucky for you, I'm letting you in on them because I think it's fun to see how other people decorate and, more importantly, we can encourage one another to be better homemakers.

Lucky for me, since my decorating brain freeze pinterest came along.  It's most definitely helping me channel my inner Martha Stewart.

One of the first ideas I pinned was this one,

and, as you can see, I made that pin a reality.

I bought this beautiful bathroom set at Younkers on an awesome sale right after painting.

And I've long loved this plaque from my friend, Sara

And candle on my counter.

But the walls.....

I kept thinking about this pin and when the price of the wine/towel rack dropped by 50% on Amazon I knew that it was meant to be.  Happy birthday to me!

Doesn't it look awesome?!

That became the focus for me to coordinate around so I was super excited when I found this clock at Target. 

Also wrought iron, it pulls out all the colors from my shower curtain.  Adding to my joy, the price in store was $7 cheaper than online and I got the last one. Score!

I put it directly over the towel rack, which I decorated with monogrammed hand towels from Kohl's. 

(If you like them, they are a mere $4.99 this week and you can add coupons.)  I actually planned to write out the word LOVE with them but they were out of O and V so I went with the first initials of everyone in our family.  Now I'm thankful.  Looking at them reminds me how richly God has blessed me.

Together they look great

And all together it's amazing.

I find myself opening the door just to soak it in. 

So, now the bathroom is done.  Next up, the entryway!

Shared at Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Flower girls & a Wedding Chalk Full of Fun & Faith

Literally.  Wait until you see the pictures.

Last weekend our girls were flower girls

For Alex and Kaylee Oppold’s wedding.  This is a couple near and dear to our hearts.  My husband was Alex’s confirmation mentor years ago.  We witnessed their relationship grow and loved watching them serve God together.  So, it came as no surprise when they got engaged and we were elated when they asked Grace and Hannah to be their flower girls.

They’ve never been flower girls before but they knew they were in for a great gig when this special delivery arrived the day of rehearsal.

Girly bling is their love language.

Apparently it’s Kaylee’s too.  She wore this before changing into her dress

And check out these amazing wedding shoes.

They said “I do” in sparkles on the bottom.  Talk about giving “something blue” a whole new element of fun!
To pass time between the shirt delivery and “practice,” the girls made this lovely couple a craft candy card to give them at the groom’s dinner.

It read, “Alex and Kaylee, you two are a “DUO” made in heaven.  Now your love, represented with a "DOVE,” soars to new levels in married life.  You will forever be each other’s “BIT O HONEY” and our excitement to be a part of your special day goes to the “MILKY WAY” and back.  Lean in on God and He will give you “CHUCKLES” tomorrow and a “GOOD AND PLENTY” memories to cherish.  May your life play out like a “SYMPHONY.”  We love you to “PIECES,” Grace and Hannah”

We made up the message while walking through the candy aisle at Lewis and it took the remainder of the afternoon to create so we were in luck.

When we got home that night Grace thanked God during prayers for making Alex and Kaylee husband and wife.  Apparently they really wanted the official moment to arrive because they were up at 6:45am on the wedding day ready for the big moment. J

Their colors were gorgeous

And they had so many fun wedding ideas

Like this hanger Kaylee hung her dress on celebrating her new title

This foyer invitation/seating instruction

The ring bearer’s sign

And these chalkboard hearts they made for pictures.

I heart it all J
Speaking of pictures, they totally made me want to redo my own.  How much fun is this?!

However, in the midst of all the celebration, this reverant moment left me speechless.  I went to catch a picture of the way the unity sand looked to make sure it had the bride's approval and I walked in on Alex.

I paused for a long moment, struck by the man in front of me.  I’ve known Alex since he was a small child and here he was grown up, choosing to come before his Lord, steeped in prayer.
I pray for a man like this for my girls.

I put my arm around him and asked if we could pray together.  He said "yes" and we prayed over their day and the future.  My heart flip flopped and I rushed out of the sanctuary because the tears started freely flowing and I didn't want to look like a puffer fish before the ceremony even began. 
There is power in standing on The Rock.  There is assurance in a covenant relationship where two choose to love each day. There is joy in sharing life with another.

I would get the same opportunity to pray with Kaylee and my girls before the ceremony, and, oh, what a ceremony it was.  Truly worshipful, God’s Word filled the sanctuary and the fun Alex and Kaylee were having was made visual by their smiles, quiet conversations, and laughs they shared throughout the service.  They glowed.   
The girls rocked their role from beginning to end

They especially loved dancing down the aisle to “This Will Be an Everlasting Love” after the Mr. and Mrs. were pronounced.
Interestingly, the first thing we saw when arriving at the reception was an ice sculpture with their initials and wedding date

But I saw it as more than just initials.  Alex and Kaylee, you will be A-OK as a couple because you don’t live for each other.  You live for Christ.  And, as you draw your life from Him you are more fully able to love one another as He intended.  This silent strength will unite you, helping you successfully work through tough times and make shared joys sweeter.  Together you will be a witness to the glory of a life rooted in Christ and a living example of how personal strengths multiply when they're shared with the perfect mate. 

I wake up every day thankful for my man.  Married life really is the best.

Thank you for including Grace and Hannah in your special day.

It is one we will never forget.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Perfect Father's Day Cake for a Baseball Lover

Last night we went to a wedding.  Grace and Hannah were flower girls in a ceremony for a couple we truly adore (future post to come).  Afterwards, we celebrated the bride and groom in the same ballroom Charlie and I used nearly eleven years ago.

This morning when the girls came running into our room, waking us before we'd secretly hoped, I was awed by the way God has multiplied our love.  We've transitioned from a couple chooosing to dance through life together to a madly in love coaching unit spearheading Team Nesdahl.

I got ready and took the girls to the store in search of a last minute Father's Day cake.  We happened upon a plain baseball cupcake cake and knew it was perfect.

Because God hit a homerun when He made Charlie dad to our three precious girls.

Since we are Twins fans, Grace kindly asked the Hy-Vee cake decorator to write the caption we came up with (yay for creativity) in blue. 

And it turned out sweet! :)

Sometimes ideas on the fly are the best ones!

Often times as a coaching unit who tries to build a team filled with charater, integrity, and a deep love for the Lord all the while playing the game of life with joy, it requires time and presence.  As we do that, and Charlie works at the bank and I try to write, home cleanliness doesn't look exactly like I envisioned.

But in the words of the baseball great, Harmon Killebrew, "My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, 'You're tearing up the grass.' 'We're not raising grass,' Dad would reply. 'We're raising boys.'"

I'm so thankful for you, Charlie.  Everyday I look at your adorable face and the face of our three precious girls that can't get enough of you

And I'm reminded by your words that it isn't about the home detail but the Team Nesdahl investment that matters.  Thank you for being my perfect match and amazing father.  I'm honored to coach these children by your side.  You make me a better mother.  

We love you!

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I'm Over This Day..& It's Only 4pm!

Today’s been a rough day.  The kind where the kids are at each other, listening is lacking, and everyone’s patience is running thin.

When I woke up this morning I was going to be a great mother.  In my mind the day was going to happen like this: We were going to read books, color and have lunch.  Then we were taking a trip to Target (always a place of joy), Hobby Lobby for a pinterest inspired craft, and then an undisclosed location for some Father’s Day shopping.
But the day went like this.  The girls came in my room and immediately started in on competitive bickering over who “already knew” what the weather was going to be like. Seriously? We left for the kitchen and they colored. Praise God. The book reading can happen later. Small arguments continued to break out and one wrote on an item that wasn’t paper.  We needed a change of venue to say the least.  So, I presented this rosy picture of fun shopping and even offered a trip in to daddy’s work to say hello. 

It didn’t turn out so rosy. 
When we went into Hobby Lobby I explained that there were lots of breakables so please not to touch anything.  Somehow I still sounded like a broken record with the “please don’t touch that” to the point of frustration.  Then one of them put me over the edge and out of my mouth flew a slew of (reasonable) consequences and a quick exit from the store.

No fun times picking gifts.  Just one in a time out while I silently put away dishes, frustrated by the loss of the day I imagined.  Saddened by the lack of respect in the moment.  Embarrassed by my longing just to be by myself.
These children are a blessing.  I remember when we were longing with everything in us to have them.

The sound of a new text brought my attention to my phone.  As I picked it up, an image from my Instagram (@MelissaNesdahl) caught my attention.  Hannah was out on the deck blowing bubbles.  Something about the moment caught me and I snapped a photo

That I captioned “Hope Floats.” 

Where is the hope right now, Lord?  This is not the way that I want to spend my stay- at- home time with these growing children. 

Shortly thereafter I went to get the offending child from time out.  I hugged her and told her that I forgave her.  I mentally wiped the slate clean.

We went upstairs and another thing rubs me the wrong way.  I realize that at this point everything is irking me and I need space.  So, I did what every overly exasperated mother has done at least once in her life: I put myself in a time out.
The girls started doing a puzzle and I went to my room.  I shut the door and lay on my bed.  Lord, bed time isn’t for a few hours and this has been a rough one.  Give me some hope.  I turn my head to see my Bible on the nightstand.  Obvious.  I decide that it’s probably better to open it than just stare at it so I open to 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from Christ.”

I came into the Lord’s presence only to be smacked in the face with the reality that God has shown me tremendous patience, forgiveness, and guidance for me to pass on.  Something was getting my normally well mannered girls out of sorts and they needed help.  Not me locking myself in my room.
My kids aren’t perfect.  I’m not a perfect parent.  But, we do have a Perfect Parent.

With this reality, I brought the Bible out to the living room and read it to the girls.  I asked them how I could help them to feel better so they can turn the listening ears up.
Hannah quickly responded “more rest.”

This is really a no brainer. 
Summer is amazing.  I’m loving our zoo and pool trips, playing in the back yard, park excursions, and the list goes on.  But, the sun is out longer and little eyes struggle to fall asleep in the light of day.  And, less sleep plus more physical exertion equals worn out attitudes.

I’m not at my best when I’m tired either.
Life circumstances will wear us thin.  Parenting is not for the faint of heart.  But, hope floats.  When we lift our eyes Heavenward, we are infused with possibility to live Kingdom wisdom in a fallen world.

And when this happens we appreciate the simple things we might otherwise be too irritated to notice
Like, “I made you this.”

The day is redeemed.
If your day hasn’t turned out like you wanted it to… if you haven’t been the parent you dreamed of being…if today feels like a bust… press on.  Look up.  It will make everything around you look different.

Reminder: Don't forget to enter my bible verse necklace giveaway by 5/20/13.  You can have your favorite verse made into a custom pendant

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Sunday, June 10, 2012


I don’t have a green thumb. Every time I walk into a green house I wish that I did. And, I’m trying to be better at it, but it takes constant care and unceasing awareness.

Recently the red lilies started to bloom. Awestruck by their beauty, I immediately ran out to take some pictures.

I love the lilies. They are without question my favorite flower decorating our landscape.

When I got married, I had one stargazer lily in the heart of my bouquet in remembrance of my amazing father. Years later when Charlie and I bought our home I happened upon an assortment of lily flowers in the Kmart parking lot for $3 each. Since I’m super cheap frugal, I bought one of every color available. And ten years later they all still bloom, bringing a smile to my lips.

Interestingly, I planted daisies nearby, another image of beauty and I love.

However, despite their loveliness it cannot be denied that they are, in fact, a weed.

And they spread. This year the daisies closed in on the lilies. They surrounded them. They grew over them. They squelched out perhaps the most arguably pretty flower in the garden.

I hemmed and hawed about it. I talked about how we needed to cut the daisies back. I did everything but go outside to cut them.

But I have an amazing husband. AMAZING husband.

One day while I was working on indoor chores he mowed the lawn. This is a task I do not do. I tried it once in middle school thinking it would double as a great tanning opportunity and my dad asked, “Who made the figure eights in the yard?” Ya. That sealed the deal. Mowing is not my gift and I’m good with that. :)

Anyhow, apparently he finished and started in on the garden. He pulled weeds and pruned back the bushes, flowers, and trees. Only I had no idea.

“Melissa, come here,” he excitedly yelled from the front door, “you have to see how this looks.”

Having absolutely no idea what he’d done, I went outside and looked, astonished by the striking sight. To be honest, I forgot how much beauty springs forth each summer…especially when it’s well pruned. There were more colors of lilies than I even recalled having. :)

I thanked Charlie for his amazing work – soaking it all in- and went back inside to finish laundry.

That night when I tried to go to sleep I couldn’t. My hubby’s great work was glued in my mind and wouldn’t let me rest.

Because it wasn’t just about flowers.

I couldn’t shake what happened in the garden because it was so true of my life. I let what “is” in my life naturally grow. It isn’t necessarily bad or wrong. The lilies spreading were what they were made to do. But they are prettier when they are shaped rather than growing wild. And, they free other beauty to grow when space for those gifts are crowded.

And the same is true of me.

God has been stirring my heart. Cut back the computer time, He says, to fully appreciate summer moments with your growing kids. Cut out the fright of the nearby swimming pool, He whispers, because you can handle it and the kids will have more fun than in the confines of a wading pool. Cut back the fear my writing wouldn’t get picked up in a different genre, He yells, and get to work (when those kiddos are asleep). Cut back some chaos, He wills, and replace it with daily She Reads Truth devo time and quiet Bible study.

And in the process I am reshaped. I’m made more beautiful. Stronger. I flourish in unimagined ways.

My husband continues to go out in the yard every day. I do too, but not nearly as diligent or aware as he. As he does I watch him, fully aware that this earthly scenario is in fact a picture of how God cares for me. He doesn’t hem and haw. He is fully present. Always. And, His pruning will help me thrive.

So I listen to the Master Gardener…and in the silence I know why I wish I had a green thumb.

God is there.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Gaming & Porn: Helping our Kids Fight “Drugs” of Today’s Youth

I was in elementary school when I first got the "smoking is bad for your health" lecture.  I fully remember my teacher showing us photos of a lung damaged by nicotine and contrasting it to the healthy lung free of toxins.  I vowed never to smoke – and never did – but heard the message reinforced over and over again.

Last week I was in the car with my girls tooling down the Interstate when the topic came up.  Someone’s parent smoked and what did that mean? Since I didn’t want them to rush back to their friend and say, “Your mom smokes and it’s bad and now she’s gonna die” but did want them to start understanding the sincerity of the decision, I simply said, “Smoking cigarettes is unhealthy and can make you very, very, very sick.  But, cigarettes are designed to make you want more.  When people first try it they don’t think they will do it all the time, but the stuff inside them makes them want them more and more.  They are good people that have made an unfortunate choice and it’s daddy and I’s prayer that you would never choose to try it.” 
Ironically, this cautionary word about addiction would pop up in a new way later in the media.  A CNN article entitled “The Demise of Guys” would compare the addictive nature to drugs to that of gaming and porn.  Two psychologists teamed up to release a book under the same title explaining both as “arousal addictions,” where the “attraction is in the novelty, the variety or the surprise factor of the content. Sameness is soon habituated; newness heightens excitement.” More is needed to satisfy the urge. More violence. Racier photos. More time perusing it.

As the investment grows on the clock so too does its impact.  The ability to reach goals is challenged.  The ability to communicate is altered.  The joy of having a healthy relationship is ruined.
In our newest book, Who’s In Your Social Network, Nathan shared,

“I became so concentrated on gaming that I lost focus on goals in life. Spending massive hours on gaming instead of college, I soon dropped out and many of life’s problems soon followed.  I couldn’t hold down a decent job, and I watched my life spiral downhill from there. I know that I am not alone in this addictive world.  I was playing instead of living real life.''

And, while the article and book are geared towards males, this isn’t solely a boy’s struggle.  Most definitely I will have to one day have discussions with my girls about the games they are choosing to play and what they choose to look at once Dora Saves the Snow Princess and Amy’s Donuts no longer cut it.  After all, it is Stacy who candidly shares in the book,

“Pictures and even videos! I was hooked. Pretty soon pornography wasn’t exciting enough, I had to move to chat rooms and actually writing my own story with an anonymous person on the other side of a screen name. The sex talk got more and more involved and soon they were sending me pictures of themselves having sex, and I reciprocated. It doesn’t take long for the “fake” stuff to become boring and not satisfying, I needed the real thing.”

For her that resulted in countless hookups that left her feeling empty as well as a herpes and HPV diagnosis that changed her life. STD related cancer would cause her to endure a hysterectomy before finishing college.  Not something I would ever wish for my girls.

The thing is these kids do not stand alone.  They were good kids that popped in a game without considering how much time they spent with it or, more importantly, the content they were exposed to.  Curiosity caused them to look at an image or maybe a pop up was even attached to an okay website that made them crave more.  And it happens to kids outside and inside the church.

Truth be told, I’m glad my kids are younger so I can talk with kids about it instead of having it be my home’s war.  But, I can already see how even decorating donuts or checking Draw Something draws them in and leaves them wanting more.  We chose to limit them to 30 minutes a day of technology, with some exception for educational apps/games.

However, this article reinforces the need to tailor age old warnings to (additional) common day addictions.  We need to explain how these activities cause isolation, are addicting, and warp relationships, which WILL impact them.  Communication is key to getting a joy, maintaining friendships, and finding a spouse.  And, integrity issues that cannot be separated from what we look at will influence the ability to have a Godly relationship.

So talk with your kids, show them the article, and if you need help or reinforcement, chapters five and six of our new book deal with these topics alone – words from their peers to help them strongly consider how what they put in affects the character they put out.  
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