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my heart. and my chairs.

I am in my 21st straight week of school.

I have mere days to go.

In my weariness in the last several weeks, I have seen the true colors of my heart seeping out.  Unjust anger.  Bitterness.  Complaining.  Gossip.  Complaining.  Whining.  Complaining (theme, anyone?).

It’s gross.  I find myself breathing very consistent prayers asking for both forgiveness and echoing thankfulness.  Thankfulness that I’m a work in progress and that I’m accepted right where I am at and am loved.  Jesus is good.  I’m so glad He’s God, and I’m not.  Oh, what a pickle we’d be in then.

I’m telling you all of this for a purpose.  You see, in the last few months blogposts here have been few and far between, and mostly about the dog.  I’ve drafted almost a dozen blogposts in the last month, but when I start typing the real state of my heart always comes through in the letters.  It’s not that I don’t want to be real with you.  But I don’t want to spread my junk on the walls of this internet house.  That’s not what it’s here for.  So, I here I’ve been living the spirit of Thumper from Bambi, “If you can’t say nothing nice, don’t say nothing at all”.

It’s just taken me a while to work up the courage to  tell you about {some} of my issues and why I’ve been absent.  Sure, my days have been full, but it’s my heart that has needed the silence.

With all that self-disclosure out of the way….

You may remember that Jared and I were taking finals on our anniversary.  It fell during the middle of the week and our schedules really didn’t work for us to get away, a habit that we’ve decided we want to cultivate for our anniversaries.  We plan to sneak off into the Southern Illinois wilderness for a backpacking trip somewhere in here, but we’re waiting for a few more weeks.

Not yet having a trip to celebrate our loooooooove we’ve adapted by having a couple small celebrations.  One of them involved giving each other gifts.  We didn’t gifts last year, but decided to this year.  I looked into the “traditional anniversary gifts” gig but that totally just didn’t seem like us.  Traditional?  Us?  Not exactly.

About a month ago, Jared and I were discussing the building projects he hoped to complete between the end of his semester and the start of his summer job.  I later heard him tell a friend about them, and instead of sounding excited as he usually does talking about building, he sounded stressed.  I think I may have even heard him refer to “Mary’s to-do list for me”.  I had promised myself a looooong time ago that among the things I want to be as a wife, a nagging woman with a lurking, unending, unreasonable to-do list is not one of them.  In my excitement for the completion of projects in a hairy semester (both analogously and literally.  Kobuk sheds a lot, if I’ve not mentioned it before:) I put unnecessary and unloving stress on Jared to make me stuff.

Have no fear.  Jared’s patient and forgiving.  And I’m learning.

But, this experience lead to the idea… what if I built something for Jared?  This might bless him, reduce his project load, and be fun!  After all, woodworking is kind of like sewing, but with fabric instead of wood.  I bet I can swing it.  Once my brain gets an idea, it can be difficult to dislodge it (I’m quite certain this is why we have the couch).

So without further ado, I give you my anniversary gift for Jared:

Uhhh… there’s a lot of stuff in the picture.  The chairs.  The chairs are the gift.

One of my sisters gave us awesome camping chairs last summer.  They were so awesome, we literally wore them out.  A few days before I started I had thrown Jared’s chair in the trash.  So, we were in need of some sort of outdoor furniture, as we really like being able to use our back patio space.

We both really love Adirondack chairs, for comfort and aesthetic appeal (and they’re named after a mountain range.  awesome).  They were on Jared’s list of projects, but they were pretty far down the list.

Once I was hooked on the idea of building Adirondack chairs (I had to build two, because if I only built one for Jared and not one for myself, then I would still be leaving him with a project, which would have defeated the purpose) I started doing research about different kits.  Adirondack chairs can be pretty pricey on retail so I thought a kit might be a good way to go, because then I would just have to assemble them.  I thought I had found a good deal on a kit, but the shipping was exorbitant.

At this point, the idea of building Adirondack chairs was stuck in my brain.  So, I decided I would build chairs from scratch because really that’s only adding like, two more steps.  Then, I decided I would build them from pallet wood.  Pallet wood=free.  Anniversary gift budget=small.  That’s only one more extra step, which is only like, three extra steps from a kit.

Realizing that this would be a multi-day, likely multi-week project, I began before Jared left for his canoe trip.  I merely told him I was building him a “contraption” which explained all my questions about tools and supplies before he left.

We had almost all the needed supplies, except for a jigsaw, which I borrowed from our small group leader (thanks again, Will!).  When I had the pallets disassembled, the pieces cut, the pieces sanded, and was prepared for assembly I called in reinforcements to help me assemble (mucho thanks Joe and Melissa)!

When we were done with assembly, the chairs looked like this:

Nothing like a little pallet wood variety to keep things interesting.

More sanding and some stain, and they were done!  (Baha, on the internet, I can make it sound easy.  In reality, it took me two or three more sessions to finish them completely.  Nothing like a drawn-out project.)

We love them!  They’re a great place to eat breakfast or enjoy the campfire.

Jared didn’t slack with his gift either… knowing my love for wool blankets, he got me this lovely Hudson’s Bay gem.

And that, my friends, is the story of how I hope to be blogging more regularly again and how the little-engine-that-could (uh, that’s me) built chairs.

Love made me do it.

I’m curious to see what love will have me do next year.

3 thoughts on “my heart. and my chairs.

  1. Incredible. You've got mad skills! Did you follow a plan? That would be the only hope for me!Kenny requested that I put a Kreg jig on our Sear's registry…when I asked him why, he said that he'd been browsing Ana-White plans that morning! I was so proud. Perhaps someday we can be as cool as you and Jared!


  2. Annie! Yesss, I totally followed plans. I used some free plans online from Lowe's, but also poured over plans from all over the internet. Ana-White has Adirondack plans, but the lines are a little more modern.I'm excited to see all of the things that you and Kenny make–I suspect they'll be spectacular! You don't need very many tools to do a lot with wood!


  3. UPDATE: Ken could not wait for a Kreg Jig and went to Lowe's without telling me and just bought one yesterday. He's also found an entertainment center plan that he was practically begging me that we had to do! I'm still flabbergasted!My dad made us Ana-White's farmhouse bed plan for a wedding gift, and we said we'd finish it (white, with a glaze to antique it) so we've been working on that recently… I'll prob blog about that once we're finished, but it is SO AWESOME. I'm thrilled. 🙂


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