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Guest Bedroom Update

This has been the SLOWEST DIY yet. Mainly because there’s no rush for this space. We’ve had a whopping total of 3 people stay over our house (in the 3 years we’ve been here) and they didn’t even stay in this room because I didn’t have queen sized sheets for this bed. ANYWAY. Here we are, like 400 days later, and I have sheets and a few days off from work. So we’re digging deep and making progress. In total this make over cost less than $200!

Here’s the room before:

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In case you missed it, 100% of our house was this color when we moved in. It’s like a putrid off white egg-shell. The camera and some natural light gave these walls the undeserved benefit of the doubt. First things first. PAINT. Holy Lord does some good Behr  paint go a long way. Pair that with a new hear board and we’re making some awesome progress. This paint color is Wheat Bread by Behr.

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Obviously I took this picture at the wrong time of day, but you can believe me when I tell you how much better it looks already. Also, that lampshade is a work in progress (one day it’ll be its own DIY, but that day is not today).

If you’re like me and you’re on a budget (which by the way is the #1 reason to DIY), you should accept all decor (and furniture) donations from family and friends. In ANY form. My awesome sister-in-law (Hi, Christina) bought two mirrors and they were both delivered damaged. She popped out the mirrors and gave me the frames. I’ve seen a ton of decor blogs that have gutless-frames spotlighting some beautiful and rustic farmhouse pieces. But I can’t bring myself to buy a brand new frame and toss the essence. So this was the perfect opportunity to try something new!

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The two antique keys (lets call it that because they’re super old) that I hung in the frame are from my great uncle’s house. They’re actually not as heavy as they look. They feel like they’re made of plastic, but they’re much more dense than the plastic we have today.

I did the same exact thing on the right sight of the bed. But I didn’t measure correctly *TEARS*. So I filled it with spackle, waited for it to dry, sanded the excess spackle off, and repainted. I always keep the excess gallons of paint after I paint a room, specifically for reasons like this! I keep the paint stacked in a corner in the basement. It doesn’t take up much room at all! By the way, take a look at that paint color!

Here’s the almost final result! I’m going to create a custom sign to fill the space over the headboard.

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In total, this update cost:

  • $60 for the headboard
  • $30 for paint
  • $100 for bedding

My Friend’s Kitchen Cabinet Update

One of my very best friends wanted to give her kitchen a complete overhaul and it was nothing short of spectacular! The kitchen was in excellent shape, so there was no reason to get new cabinets. They just needed a fresh look! Also, why pay thousands of dollars on new cabinets when you can do a DIY and spend some time with your awesome friend (me, duh)!

Here’s the kitchen before the reno:

The cabinets are a gorgeous solid wood. This is their natural color and it had a clear coat glaze on top to seal the wood. This is a great sized kitchen with A LOT of cabinets! (You’re going to be slated by the transformation!)

If you’re going to paint your cabinets, the first step is removing the hardware. My friend did that before these pictures were taken. Next, removing all of the cabinet faces from the wall.

Don’t worry about emptying the cabinets! There’s no reason to do that unless you’re going to paint the inside. Which is up to you, but might be more trouble than it’s worth!

After removing all of the cabinets and drawers, we took them outside and sanded them down. I used a 120 grit paper on my sander. A lower grade (harsher sand paper) might work faster, but it will not give you a smooth finish. We laughed and cried a little at how long this took us. My friend thought it would be an hour, I said, “no way, it’ll be more like 3 hours.” Well, it ended up taking us just over 5 hours to sand everything. That’s 10 man hours total. If you’re going to paint your cabinets, you’ll need to dig deep. Pro Tip: Do this DIY with someone you enjoy spending time with! It’ll go by faster 🙂

Here’s a before and after of a drawer face that I sanded. You can see the difference in the color of the wood once the glaze was removed. The surface was entirely smooth and almost ready to be painted!

Depending on what kind of hardware you choose, you might need to fill the holes. My friend decided to go with some new hardware and switched from a knob with one anchor,  to a drawer pull with two. You’ll need a flexible joint knife and wood filler to do this.

Take a dab of the wood filler and push it into the hole. The take the joint knife and smooth it out, just like if you were spackling a wall. Do this on both sides of the cabinet or drawer.

For the absolute best results, wait until it’s 100% dried. Then take a sander and lightly go over the filler until it’s flush with the cabinet. Tip: Close your eyes and run your finger over the area. If you can’t feel any dips, cracks, bubbles, or crust, you’re ready to paint!

The Finish-All Paint is available on Amazon and I have only excellent things to say about it. This was my first time using it and I literally could not believe how far 32 oz of this paint goes. For the entire kitchen we only used 3 of them. The paint goes on thin and smooth but is heavy enough that you only need two coats.

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At this point in the day it was pretty dark out. So we brought painting inside and set up a painting and drying station. The paint dries so quickly and does not smell, so it was manageable to work inside. Make sure you used a tarp or sheets to protect your furniture. We used my old bed sheets to cover a pool table.

The best way to paint cabinets is to paint inside the grooves first, then the panel, and finally the trim. Doing it this way will create clean and crisp brush strokes. If you paint the grooves last, the corner strokes will look sloppy.

Here you can see the difference between coats one and two, but coat one is super impressive, especially for white paint. White paint usually takes 3 or 4 coats to cover a dark surface color.

When the cabinet faces are drying, you’ll need to go back and paint the cabinet frames. Once everything is dry, you’ll need to seal the cabinets with a protective finish. My friend used General Finishes. This will protect against general wear and chipping. It will also create an easy to clean surface.

When you’re all done, you can add your hardware and hang the doors back up! I recommend using a hardware guide to expedite the process and more importantly, please your OCDs.

This difference is unbelievable! Those are the same floors! The same space! The same cabinets! The white is so brilliant, it makes it feel like a completely different room. You can basically do cartwheels in this kitchen now. I can’t explain it. But it’s glorious. Just look at it!

Special thanks to Jackie for trusting me to take apart your home, love you, friend!

 

Remove Rust with Coke

COKE DOES WHAT?! Yeah, that was my thought exactly. I’ve seen a bunch of these DIY-short-videos that tell you to pour Coke or ketchup on metal, then remove it for a glorious new look. I’m skeptical when it comes to that kind of stuff because I feel like those people are in it for the views. As it turns out, it’s dead on accurate. Which is a little scary. But take a look at this!

My parents offered me their old counter stools when they upgraded. How could I turn down 4 free stools and the chance to do a DIY? No brainer. These stools won’t sit at our dining room table on the regular. They’ll stay in the basement until we have a party and need the extra seating. But, they still needed some serious cleaning.

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I removed the 4 support bars/foot rests from the bottom of each stool. They look in decent shape from far away, but take a look at this close up…

All the corners were rusted out. These stools lived at the beach for years and the salt air did a number on these frames. I’m not sure if these were originally brass and the rust ate away the color, or if it was originally silver and the rust made it turn this weird yellow brass color. Either way, the surface felt like sand paper. Basically, the rust had rust on it and it was gross to touch.

I put the frame in the sink and wrapped paper towels around the entire thing. Then I took a can of Coke and poured generously over the paper towel.

If you have a large storage container you don’t mind getting really dirty, you could probably just pour a 2L bottle over what you need to clean, but this works just as well. Let it sit for about 10 or so mins. The Coke will begin to break down the rust.

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When you’re ready, remove the paper towels. Here’s what the corner looked like after it soaked in the Coke, but before I scrubbed it with a billow pad. I scrubbed this corner with the same amount of pressure I use to scrub my dirty dishes.

and the after….

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I could not believe this is the same metal frame! The Coke removed all the rust. There’s permanent discoloration from years and rust, but the large rust spots are gone! The surface is so smooth.

Here’s another before and after rust spot!

I’ll probably never drink Coke again, but I’ll definitely use it as a cleaning solvent!

How to Seal Coat a Driveway

This is step two of our driveway renovation project. If you haven’t filled your driveway cracks, you’ll need to do that first! These are the two least sexy projects we’ve done, but they were absolutely necessary to prepare for this winter!

Seal coating the driveway was considerably easier than filling the cracks. But waiting for everything to dry took FOREVER. Alright, not forever, it took about 3 days before we could drive on it. But in dog life, that’s 21 days.

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We started off by cleaning the driveway with this cleaner/degreaser, found at Home Depot. It hooked directly into the hose and was so easy to use! Screw it on, turn on the hose, and let it rip!

After the driveway has been thoroughly coated with the cleaner, you’ll need a large outdoor broom to scrub! Don’t kill yourself. Just scrub enough to see the white bubbles appear. When you’ve covered the driveway, you’ll need to rinse everything down with hose water.

First wait step! We did this on a cool, overcast day. So it took about 2-ish hours to dry.

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Here’s the sealer we chose. There’s a bunch of different options at Home Depot, but we went with the option that would best seal our very dilapidated driveway. We used two containers. Follow the instructions on the container to figure out how many square feet you’ll need.

My head DIY assistant poured a straight line of the sealer across the top of the driveway. Make sure you’re wearing DIY designated clothing. You will ABSOLUTELY get your shoes and clothes dirty. Do not wear a pair of shoes that you love, you’ll be sad.

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Squeegee time! This little guy is awesome. It was right next to the sealer at Home Depot. Basically, pretend like your cleaning car windows. Except the car window is huge and you’re standing on it. Brian was running back and forth from side to side on the driveway and pulling the sealer with him. There were some large blobs at the top where he first poured, so in this picture he’s pulling the extra down towards him.

Originally I was dipping the brush roller in the sealer tub and painting the sides of the driveway. We wanted to be a little more precise on the edges so we didn’t loose sealer in the grass and ultimately kill parts of our lawn. But it was going so slow. Brian had the genius idea to use a Chinese food container to scoop the sealer so I could pour it out as needed. He’s brilliant. And hot. Also, that’s my super serious DIY face that I apparently make for every second of every project I’m working on… according to my hot design assistant.

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I sealed about 16 inches in from the sides all the way down the driveway. You can already see the difference between the sealer and the asphalt disaster we were up against.

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Here’s the driveway after one coat. We waited another 24 hours and put on a second coat. Then waited 2 days before we drove on it. The weather was pretty cool when we did this and we wanted to make sure we got the best results possible.

Just to give you an idea of where we were when we started take a look at this before picture.

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Now take a look at this picture I snagged on my way to work. This was the morning after the second coat.

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Hello, gorgeous.

 

 

How to Fill Driveway Cracks

This was one of the most long overdue projects at our home. We’ve been talking about what a hot mess the driveway was for the last two and a half years. There were chunks of top coat missing from years neglect, 2 of which were admittedly our fault, and patches of grass.

I was almost half tempted to let it grow and see what the earth had in store for this asphalt disaster. But I figured it would be another 50 years of neglect and overgrowth before it actually looked balanced enough to photograph and I don’t have that kind of time. So we opted to fill in the cracks.

The first step to fill in the cracks is to remove the grass from them. I was actually surprised about the depth of the cracks once we removed the grass. I may or may not have role played God looking looking down at the Grand Canyon. “Thou shalt be a giant crack in the earth’s crust, illuminated by the light of surrounding casinos.”

After we revealed the canyons of cracks in our driveway, Brian edged the side. Why not clean it all up, right?

Then there was dirt everywhere, but no grass! So we rinsed it off.

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This will need time to dry before you start filling in the cracks. Next, you’ll need a bag of sand, which by the way will be ridiculously heavy. I don’t know if you knew this, but a 20 lb bag of sand weighs about the same as a small hippo. After 10 ft of holding the 20 lb bag and shuffling around the driveway, we took a ziplock back, filled it with sand, and cut out the corner. I highly recommend the ziplock bag strategy.

You don’t need to fill all the cracks with sand, but it’s recommended that you fill cracks larger than the size of your nail with sand before sealing with the crack sealing tar. The sand will keep the tar from settling deep in the cracks and cracking itself. It’s also more cost efficient to use sand than it is to fill everything with 100% tar.

Look at that stud hard at work. Ready to seal the cracks!

This blacktop crack filler is available at Home Depot. At first we started off with one small bottle, then we realized we were going to need stock in this stuff. For the second go-round, we went back to Home Depot and opted for the village sized bottle (which we used 100% of), which was only a couple dollars more than the hut sized bottle. When in doubt, always buy extra. Having to stop in the middle of your project is a major buzzkill and derails your momentum.

We poured the crack filler generously over the sand and used a flexible joint knife (the trowel-looking thing to smooth out drywall spackle) to flatten the crack filler, sealing it down. This part was the most fun. It also went the fastest. We moved quickly because this stuff cures in the blink of an eye.

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I’m not sure if it’s some chemical they intentionally put in there, like wet pink spackle, or if the sun changes it, but I almost had a heart attack when I saw the filler was brown. I though we would have been better off with the grass look, but thankfully it dried black.

It took a few hours to dry to the point of being tacky and about 24 hours to dry completely. But now our cracks are filled and we’re grass free!

Ready to seal coat your entire driveway? Check it out >

 

Black & White Photo Gallery

I celebrated my birthday this weekend with my spectacular husband and family. Brian gives the most thoughtful gifts, but he’s too excited to give them. I could only handle two days of, “You’re going to love your birthday gift,” before I couldn’t take it anymore. I needed to know what it was. So he went upstairs, got the gift, made me close my eyes, and when I opened them I saw……

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This is my absolute favorite picture of Duke and Duchess. Brian had it hand drawn by an artist! It’s gorgeous and even more beautiful in person. Here’s the original photo.

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Original Photo

I was so inspired by the classic black and white shades of the picture I knew I needed to give it a prominent place in our home. I decided to do a black and white photo gallery, which I nick-named “The Dog Wall”.

My rules for the wall were simple. 1. All pictures must be black and white. 2. At least one dog must be present in each picture. That’s it!

I started by scrolling through my albums and editing photos using my iPhone to change the image to black and white. Once I chose the pictures I printed at a Rite-Aid. I ordered 11 photos in different sizes. The total cost was $18.

Aside from the idea of having 12 pictures of our 3 dogs (of course Lady was included!) on the wall, the most exciting part of the project was the assortment of frames! My mom had a few old frames that were in a box in the attic. For the remaining frames, I went to Goodwill and picked out some extremely tired frames that needed a sexy new look! 6 frames cost $10 at Goodwill.

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I removed the glass and the backs from all of the frames in order to spray paint them. I did this in our basement because it was raining outside and I was too impatient to wait until it stopped. Our house smelled like paint for a few hours. So I’m probably not going to do that again. Most likely.

I went over the frames with two healthy coats of black spray paint. I could not contain myself while I was waiting for these to dry. I waited a full 24 hours before touching the frames to avoid having finger prints on the wood. But it was tough keeping my hands to myself!

Once they were completely dry, I put the glass back in and added the pictures!

Here’s the wall the pictures went on before they were up. My little helper wanted to be in the picture. I’m not kidding. She posed as soon as I took my phone out.

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Gallery walls can be tricky, especially when you have 12 different frames.  I recommend How to Hang Stuff, Like a Girl. I’m very visual and I need to plan out how the wall is going to look and make adjustments.

Here’s the finished look!

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It’s tough getting a picture of this wall because it’s in a hallway, but I crawled inside the coat closet across from the frames so you could see how it looks up close!

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We love our dogs!

Chili

There’s nothing like a full belly from a hearty bowl of chili. This is one of the easiest recipes I have and it goes such a long way. People typically only make soup when it’s cold out. You’re supposed to eat chili when it’s chilly, get it? 🙂 But this chili is good on burgers, nachos, hot dogs, literally everything. By popular request, I make this bad boy often.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large green peppers
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 29 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cans of tomato sauce
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 2 cans of black beans
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 2 tsp fajita seasoning
  • 4 cups corn
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 tsp sea salt

Dice and sauté the peppers and onion in a large cast-iron pan (if you don’t have cast-iron, any pan will do. But I strongly recommend a cast-iron). Start with the peppers. They usually take a little longer to caramelize than the onions. After they’ve gotten a good sweat on, I add a tsp of sugar and stir. It adds a nice sweetness and helps bring out the goldenness of the onions and char the peppers lightly.

In a large pot, add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste. Turn on medium to get the heat moving quickly. Pour the black beans into a large strainer and rinse well to remove the bean water. Add the beans to the pot with the tomatoes.

When the peppers and onions are finished, add them to the pot of beans and tomatoes. In the same pan as the peppers and onions, add the ground turkey. We love this Butterball Everyday turkey. Brian actually had no idea that I use turkey until I added this recipe to my Instagram stories. I think it tastes better than ground beef and it’s definitely leaner. I add a dash of fajita seasoning to add some flavor to the meat.

After it browns, add it to the pot.

This was not a part of my original recipe, but I have recently loved the bright pop of sweet corn in chili so I’ve been adding 4 cups to every pot of chili I make. You can use frozen or fresh corn.

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The seasonings are really what drives this baby home. Once all the ingredients are in the pot, add your chili powder, salt, and garlic.

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Partially cover on LOW heat, for 3 hours stirring occasionally. Then enjoy!

Pupsicles

If you can’t tell, we LOVE our dogs! This 4th of July we wanted them to have something delicious to help keep them cool. So we’ve made home made popsicles for them to enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Carrots
  • 1 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1 1/2 tsp Sodium Free Beef Bouillon
  • Hand full of dog food

Put water on high heat until it boils. While the water gets going finely chop 1/2 cup of carrots. When the water is ready, add the bouillon. Stir well so it dissolves completely. Then add the carrots. Bring the heat down to a nice simmer for 5 mins to slightly soften the carrots.

Take a hand full of whatever dog food you use and place 3 or 4 kibbles in each ice cube tray. This will add some nice crunch and a familiar flavor that your pup will most certainly enjoy!

 

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Take the pot off the stove and strain the broth to separate from the carrots. I used a measuring cup, but you can use anything with a spout. This will make pouring the broth evenly into the ice cube tray effortless.

While the broth is cooling, take the carrots and add them evenly to each ice cube tray. I used a spoon to do this. You can also add a few ice cubes to the broth to cool it faster.

When the broth is cool, take the measuring cup and evenly pour into each tray.

When the tray is full put it in the freezer! Freeze completely before letting your fur babies enjoy these refreshing pupsicles!

 

 

Outdoor Couch Cushion

We try and do everything on a budget. We’re on a mission to redo this house with the tears of Abe Lincon. EVERY penny counts. Truth be told, our old neighbors in our apartment complex were throwing these couches away and Brian snagged them at the last second.

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Before

They are awesome. So awesome in fact, a brand new set retails for over $2,000. These cushions have seen better days. They started to smell like moldy fabric death and tear at the corners. I looked up the manufacturer to order replacement cushions and they were RIDICULOUS. Like $300 per cushion. We could have ordered a new love seat for what we would have paid for just the essence of the chair (any Friends fans out there?! “That’s right, I’m taking the essence!”) I tried finding replacement cushions from literally every single english speaking company that has a website. This couch is such a awkward length we had only one more option: DIY.

Here’s the alternative we came up with for about $80 (and an additional $80 for the top pillows I got from Target). Even at $160 all in, that was still a better option than the replacement cushions.

How all good DIY stories start out, once upon a Saturday we went to Home Depot. We got a large piece of plywood for $20. As always, because Home Depot is the best, they cut the wood to size for us (we measured before so we knew the dimensions).

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Then we went to Joanne Fabric and picked out some outdoor fabric for $11. If you subscribe to their text messages they’ll send you coupons. I had a 60% off fabric coupon. I go to Joanne Fabric maybe once a year, but their frequent text messages are totally worth it when you make an awesome score like this.

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Here’s the outdoor fabric we chose

ALWAYS do your research when getting materials for projects. We needed memory foam to complete this project and Joanne’s was selling 2 inch memory foam for $79. We found a larger 3 inch memory foam piece on Amazon for $50. So we opted to wait for the two day delivery to save $29 and get a better piece of padding. We’re so glad we did!

Here’s how it’s done:

Take the cushions and line them up on the plywood. With a pen or pencil, outline the cushions.

With a jigsaw, follow the outline you made cutting away the excess wood.

Don’t go crazy cutting. It’s better to go slow, see what fits and make adjustments. We shaped up the plywood multiple times to make sure that it fit exactly into the frame of the couch.

When you’re happy with the shape of the plywood, place it on top of the memory foam. Use a utility knife to cut along the shape of the plywood, using it as a template.

When you’re finished cutting out the memory foam, take the fabric and place it upside down on a flat surface. Then place the memory foam on the fabric and the plywood on top of the memory foam.

Using a stapler, pull the excess fabric up and staple it to the plywood. Work your way around the plywood stapling the fabric into place. Be sure to pull tightly in the corners and staple generously to keep the fabric in place.

Here’s the final product being enjoyed by The Royals! The blue pillows are from Target. I got all three of them for 15% off for a total of $80. Making the entire project total $180. I think it was pretty worth it!

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Duke is looking ROYALLY comfortable!
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Finished product!

Right on Time

We’re so excited about all the amazing advances that are happening at our home and in our lives. God has been exceedingly and abundantly good to us and we’re overwhelmed by His faithfulness.

We’re excited to announce after 5 years at Clemens Food Group Brian’s time there has come to an end. He has been extended an outstanding opportunity and accepted a position with Campbell’s Soup. I’m so proud of his leadership not only in our home, but at his place of employment.

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This vision is for a future time. 
It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place.    It will not be delayed. Habakkuk 2:3This transition took longer than we would have preferred, but we know that God’s promises are true. Waiting is not something we do easily, but we have lived in confidence and expectation that one day this vision would come to pass.

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God’s timing is always perfect and we know He always works things out together for our good! Brian is excited to start his new job with his new timepiece as a constant reminder that God is always on time.

If you like Brian’s watch you can enter to win a $100 credit for a Jord Wood Watch by clicking here. Everyone that enters will receive a $25 credit, but one person will take home the $100 prize!

Brian loves his new watch and receives compliments on its uniqueness wherever we go. It’s light weight and is made with excellent quality. Every watch comes in a beautiful wood protective case with a care package and instructions to care for your wood watch.

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Enter here to win $100 towards your own! Check out all the Jord styles, you’re sure to find something you’ll love!