Summer project- Heirloom Four Poster Bed

Some projects are reserved for spring. Some for summer. Some for when we (I am) are ready.

This project was one that took me months to start.

I debated (mainly with myself) whether or not I should ever start this project.
THE PROJECT:  My childhood bed. 

It’s beautiful and belonged to my cousin before my parents bought it for me sometime in the 80’s.

I thought it would be a beautiful heirloom for our daughter, Trinity. I would need to convince her. Not that she totally controls what happens with her room decor, but she is a pretty strong personality and I would like her on board if I am going to take the leap and refinish and repaint the bed.  I also want her room to be a happy place for her, filled with memories and things she loves.

1st big challenge, besides convincing Trinity, which I thought I could do once I actually have the bed in my possession:
Get the bed from my parents’ home and move it to my house.
Seems simple enough, but we would also need to get rid of the mattresses. My SUV is full of carseats, so I would need to remove those, put the seats down and drive out to get the bed while the kids are occupied with something else.

Okay, so I made the leap yesterday…here is the before:

Four poster bed. Painted in soft yellow/cream with green accents

One of the biggest challenges for me in taking on a project like this, is that it is a multiple day project.  I like to start something and finish it right away. It’s one way I am sure I can get it done. But, I love chalk paint. (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint pictured below) In fact, when considering whether or not I would paint this bed for Trinity, I invested in 4 cans of chalk paint and worked on other projects. Our family room countertop. The large mirror above the fireplace. A table top of a living room side table. Two side tables in our bedroom. And, the wooden rocking chair my mom used to rock all of her babies. I’ve only used the colors “Old White” and “Paris Grey” so far. These are pretty small cans and a little paint really does go a long way. 
However, now that I’ve done several single day chalk paint projects, I wasn’t sure I could handle the details on this one or the fact that it would take a few days. Patience is a virtue. 
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White
But, I decided to jump in and get started. I rebuilt the bed, because I don’t really have the space in my garage to paint. And, having it stand up while painting, seemed to be a good solution. It is super easy to build and take down. (thank you to my mom’s neighbor for showing us how to do that!) It just has metals sides that fit in grooves of the headboard and footboard. 
So, here it is after applying the first coat. 
The second coat will provide additional coverage and then I will add some detail in a pink color (Antoinette) before sanding and waxing. 

A closer picture.

Trinity was ecstatic! So, yay for that blessing. Once the second coat dries and I add the little bit of pink parts, it will be time to lightly sand and then wax.

I will post more updates as we finish.

Until then…another July post is coming tomorrow as we continue 31 days of blogging in July! #elmomma31

My Miracle

Just by googling it, I found a couple of definitions that struck a chord with me. 

Miracle– a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency.   

     Miracle a highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment     
     that brings very welcome consequences.

Have you experienced a miracle?

In your own life or in the life of someone you know?

I believe that I have.

I experienced a miracle through music.

Let’s go back in time, about 30 years or so. To the time when I would take weekly piano lessons with Mrs. Wolff. She was a woman who taught piano lessons in her home. I believe she was already retired at the time as she had grown children and grandchildren. I started off around age 5 and she didn’t teach children that young, so I was in a lesson with another girl my age. I stuck with it through that time and eventually I took individual lessons. I don’t remember taking lessons through intermediate school (5th and 6th grade), but I believe I stayed with it through 4th grade. I have very vivid memories of my lessons. Sitting in her very beautiful, very pristine living room at the piano. I also remember my time after the lessons. The few minutes when my lesson was finished and another student had arrived for their lesson and I would wait for my mom to pick me up in the front yard. There was a huge pine tree surrounded by a flowerbed bordered by large wooden pieces on the ground. Hanging from the tree was a wooden sign that said “The Wolffs.” It was a magical place for a young imagination. I would walk carefully around the flowerbed, balancing myself on the wood border, traveling from land to land. Watching out for ‘The Wolffs” and going on a wonderful adventure. 

I remember my piano lesson experience as magical, but that is where my piano lessons ended and my life lessons picked up. 

As I grew up, I would often sit at the piano in my parents’ home and play familiar pieces I had learned in years past. Eventually, I no longer had a piano nearby, so I stopped playing. 

When Moustapha and I were married (nearly 12 years ago) we returned to Houston where both of our parents had pianos at the time. So, when visiting, I would sit and play songs I remembered and I began to play a new melody (one that would eventually become the song Radiant You)

When I began to sing again, and be part of the worship team at our church in Houston, songwriting became an essential part of my growth and life. This was 9 years ago or so.  I still wasn’t playing the piano regularly. When I was called as a worship leader at St. Andrew’s Pres, nearly 7 years ago, I began to write a ton and tinker around more on the piano with my original songs. I also started leading the Youth Praise Band at our church and I would accompany them on the piano in practice.  I would look at the chord charts and just play. Nothing “special” but I would get better week to week. 

Meanwhile, as I was writing more, singing more, playing more for fun, we finished and recorded the album Radiant You in Nashville. As a pianist, I wasn’t one. Really. I had an amazing pianist play piano on the record. His name is Tim Lauer and he is amazing! A wonder, really.  Back in Houston, the also uber talented, Jeremy Martin Weber was the pianist for our worship band. He was and is amazing. I think just hearing and watching him play and work every week, influenced this next chapter of my life. 

Jeremy and his family moved out of state sometime after Radiant You was released in late 2012. Before they moved, he left the worship band. So, we had a huge void to fill. It started slow for me. I would play piano on a few songs during worship, starting in the key of C. Eventually leading to me playing the entire service from the piano, while singing. So much so, that the church invested in a keyboard just before Advent season in 2013. This allowed me to be able to play with the band (right next to and with them) and be able to see the congregation while leading them in worship. By the time we felt called to join Church of the Apostles as Worship Pastor, I had been leading from the keyboard 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off for nearly a year. Up until this point, this was the most growth I experienced as a player and as a worship leader/pastor.  I believe the true “miracle” or “highly improvable event or development” has happened in this last 12 months. I now play in nearly every key. Mostly by ear and reading chord charts. I do believe that we become accomplished by hours and hours and hours of work and practice. I am doing that. And, I know God is honoring that time and devotion. And yet, there is still a miracle for me. It’s a personal miracle that allows me to provide for my family, to worship God with my gifts and talents, to be a worship pastor in a loving community that knows and seeks the Holy Spirit. I know that when God calls me to make another album, it will be a very different experience for me, as I am a much different musician than I was 3 years ago. I feel extremely blessed. Playing the keyboard and piano is a gift that the Lord keeps on giving me. I am so thankful for those lessons many years ago and the life lessons I am still receiving. I am thankful for memories. For something “sticking” with me all these years. 

I am thankful for my miracle.

We would love to have you join us for worship if you are ever in the Houston area on a Sunday. Worship services are at 10am. Visit Apostles online for more information. 

“My Miracle” is the 6th Blogpost in the Series #ElMomma31 Where El Momma blogs every day in the month of July. Follow the hashtag ElMomma31 for daily blogposts.

Why you should (n’t) REPLY ALL

As if you didn’t have enough people telling you what to do, here I am ready to teach you a little email etiquette.

 [Insert random venting here]

First of all, when receiving a group email, [meaning an email that was not just sent to you, but also to other emails in a group] think twice or perhaps three times before you reply all. [or, just never “reply all”]
Read the email completely before you reply all.
Think again before you reply all.
Does the email speak to whether or not you should reply all? If, it does speak to this and it specifically asks you to “not reply all”, do not reply all.
If, after reading, thinking and triple thinking, you determine that replying all is the best solution: think about what you say before you say it. And, 
Be nice.
Remember that the message you’re sending is not just going to the person that you’re writing it to, but it is going to all the emails in the group email. 
Are you irritated with the person who wrote the original message and will something that you reply back to them be a way of scolding them in front of the entire group? If the answer is yes, then change the tone in way in which you are writing your email.
Change your tone: It does not make you look good and it only hurts the other people to see that side of you. Emails are not people and do not have emotions. However, they can come across as insensitive, rude, and even mean if they are not thought through well.
Have fun out there. And remember what you put out there on the Internet, is out there on the Internet! 😉

Let Freedom Ring!

Happy Fourth of July, Y’ALL!
We hope you have a wonderful day. 
We hope you will enjoy celebrating with family and friends.
We hope you will be safe.
Don’t get too close to fireworks.
And, uber if you have anything to drink.
Enjoy the best freedoms that being American brings.
For our family, the best freedoms are the ones that allow us to be together. 
To be safe together.
To pray openly together.
To eat ribs and gluten free pizza together (because we can). 
To love each other. 
To be unique.
To be American.
Let Freedom Ring!



Living in My Reality

Love this family of ours.

Days like today remind me just how much.
Our second oldest was invited to a birthday party for one of his classmates.
The invitation included siblings.
So, when we found out that the DH had the day off, we headed to the beach.
It was an hour drive, door to door.
It’s not our first Texas beach trip, but the ELs still seemed pleasantly surprised at just how close we really are.
I won’t speak for my husband, but I am admittedly a beach snob. Southern California ruined me for our local Texas beaches. I love beautiful sand, beaches where there are no cars, and the sweet smell of the ocean. 
But, in spite of my snobbishness, we went and had a great time. 
Sometimes we have to let go of our preconceived notions about how we think things should be and live in the way they are. 
And, it may be quite different, but beautiful all the same. 

Escaping to the Lake…one of our best escapes yet.

I dedicate this post to last summer.

To dreams coming true.
To Dave Trout and Under the Radar for playing unknown music on the radio.
To Christiaan Snedeker and Dave Trout for imagining a retreat where artists (and their families) can come together, break bread together, worship together and enjoy great music under the stars.
To Under the Radar for inviting me and my entire family to Williams Bay, WI to participate in such an amazing retreat and experience.
To Chicago.
Less than 24 hours and you became one of my favorite cities I’ve ever had the pleasure to visit, even if it was only for a few moments.
To my family.
Making music is a dream come true.
Making music with you is everything I was made to do and more.
I love your support.
I love that you would pile in a minivan and head up north on an adventure with me so that I can connect with more musicians who love Christ and who just want to make art and music for the Kingdom.
And, to all of you who are lucky enough to be at Escape to the Lake 15 right now (#ETTL15) , savor every moment.
Love your families.
Love your new friends.
Love the Church. (the Church is with you there!)
Love God.
Love being close to nature and close with each other.
Have great conversations.
Have hard conversations.
Have conversations.
And, make some amazing music and art together for the Glory of the one who made you.
Be blessed, y’all.
Hope to see you at the next one.
-Rebekah Maddux El-Hakam
and the Els

Surviving the Storms. Think on This.

Over Memorial Day weekend, Texas was hit hard with storms. There were families literally swept away inside river homes in Wimberley. Precious lives lost. 
Many Houston families’ homes were flooded with inches to 2 feet of water. Neighbors and friends of ours were awakened to rising waters inside their homes and they are still out of their houses.
Only five days later we were hit with another storm with less rainfall, but more lightning and a funnel cloud. We lost shingles on our roof and our ceiling leaked in our bedroom. We had trees on our street ripped up.  The transformer in our backyard went crazy, sparking and sounding like it was blowing. It was minor compared to all that others were going through and are still going through.
But, nonetheless, it was traumatic for our kids.
I saw that last night.
Huddled up on the kitchen floor during yesterday’s thunder and lightning storm and flash flood warning.
We prayed.
And prayed.
And we made butterflies with our legs and pretended to fly while singing a newly made up song:

“fly little butterfly fly
fly little butterfly fly
with your wings up and down
up and down
up and down
fly little butterfly fly”

We sang.
And we giggled. 

But, something has changed. 
I know that my kids are anxious.
I don’t believe that they are naturally anxious beings.
I believe these particular circumstances all within a short period of time have made them anxious.
My job as a parent is to not leave them in that anxious place.
That place that will shape them into someone who is anxious with every lightning strike, every thunder roar, every rain storm or flood watch.
It is okay to be cautious. To be aware. To know where there are dangers and to avoid them.
But, in Philippians 4:4-9 God’s Word tells us:  
<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29430G" data-link="(G)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29431H" data-link="(H)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29432J" data-link="(J)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>but in everything by prayer and supplication <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29432K" data-link="(K)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29433L" data-link="(L)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>the peace of God, <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29433M" data-link="(M)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29435N" data-link="(N)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>received and heard and seen <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29435O" data-link="(O)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>in me—practice these things, and <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29435P" data-link="(P)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>the God of peace will be with you.”

I believe this to be true. 
So, as we were praying and flapping our butterfly leg-wings and making up silly songs, we were living out Philippians 4. 
Focusing on loveliness, goodness, truth…and God gave us His peace.