Posted by: mahlbrandt | May 26, 2009

6 Weeks x 2 Cocker Spaniels =


(Compared to just 1 cocker spaniel:)

2x the Love

2x the excitement to see us when we get home

2.5x the dog food (The $43 bag I just bought better last 2 months…)

8x the dog hair on the floor

4x the energy and activity level

3x the dog hair on the furniture, bed spread and clothes

3x the accidents to clean up on the floor

2x the cuddles

2x the walks

2x the fun playing in the yard

10x the barking (Lucy never barked)

2x the ear & tear duct cleaning

2x the wet paw and wet ear wiping on rainy mornings

2x the foot warmers

I’m adapting. We’re adapting. Coco is settling in. We’re getting used to the new rhythm. I still have some mixed feelings – the rough playing gets annoying, the barking get old, the accidents are getting less and less, the shedding hasn’t decreased much. But Coco is very sweet and easy to love.

Posted by: mahlbrandt | May 23, 2009

Be careful what you ask Him for

Psalm 103:8
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love.

When I started memorizing that verse last month, I thought – wow! wouldn’t it be great to be like that? So that’s been my heart cry for weeks now. The timing couldn’t have been better. And He knew it. As I pleaded with the Lord to help me be more compassionate, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love; He’s given me ample opportunities to practice.

Since the beginning of May we’ve opened up our home to our friends (who are rehabing a house) for a second season. The first season: 3 months from mid-December through mid-March was very challenging for me. It was more painful that I had anticipated to willingly offer up a portion of our home and then to feel like we’ve been striped of certain freedoms, taken advantage of in some ways and had personal boundaries crossed.

Don’t get me wrong – we love our friends dearly and we’re so blessed to even have a room and a bathroom we can offer them. I’m just saying it’s harder than I thought it would be. When you tell someone to “Make yourself at home” you need to be prepared for them to start treating your home like it’s theirs. It can be difficult not to feel intruded upon – and yet we offered, we were generous, we welcomed them in – so why feel so defensive?

Can anyone relate? Is it just me? I know God is using this experience to teach me so much about COMPASSION, GRACE, PATIENCE and ABOUNDING LOVE. More than once I’ve had to stop and take a deep breathe and whisper to myself “compassionate…gracious…slow to anger…abounding in love.” I’m so thankful for a God that is so good, so faithful, so loving, so patient with me.

Be careful what you ask Him for. 😉

Posted by: mahlbrandt | May 22, 2009

3653 Lovely Days

10 Years Ago today, on May 22, 1999, Jason and I went on our first date.

It was a double date with our friends Matt and Lindsay (unbeknownst to Matt). Jason was 16 and the only one of us old enough to drive. He picked me up and like a proper teenage boy, he came in and made conversation with my parents for a few minutes. Have I mentioned I was 14? Yeah. So then we picked up Lindsay and then Matt. We went to the mall for a few minutes and then to see She’s All That at the Dollar Theater (showing movies several months after the regular theater). The song at the end “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer, was very special to me. I was already a Sixpence fan and earlier that month Jason had played that song at a youth group event with our friend Rachel. After the movie we went to Burger King for a late snack and then we all headed over to Emily’s house — another friend from our youth group.

Jason wrote a song for me once. Back around the time we started dating. It’s called “Lovely Day” and the chorus (which is all I can remember) says “Lovely day, I get to see your face again.”

Thank you for 3653 Lovely Days!


Posted by: mahlbrandt | May 21, 2009

I couldn’t resist…

If you know me well, you know that I can’t resist entering contests and sending out for free stuff online. I never will contests for anything I enter (and I try for almost all of them on!) but it couldn’t hurt to try.

Check out these sweet cargo bikes from Madsen Cycles!

Madsen Cycles Cargo Bikes

Posted by: mahlbrandt | May 21, 2009

List #112: Yard Sale Treasures

As promised, I have pictures to share of the vintage treasures Jason and I scored at Saturdays TN52 Yard Sale extravaganza.

1. Olive green vinyl Samsonite suitcase. I’ve been using it as a computer briefcase all week! ($1, bartered from $2)


I love this retro color. It’s the same color as the walls in my office! See?

2. Glass air-tight canister set labeled for FLOUR, SUGAR and COFFEE. ($2, marked $3)


3. Ceramic gold-colored pitcher—exact match to our green set! ($1, bartered from $2)


The green pitcher makes a great vase so I was thrilled to find another! Also, see the cute African Violet hubby got me as an anniversary gift? I’ll try not to kill this one.

4. Side table. Not sure where we’re going to use this. I love the shape and for $5 I couldn’t pass it up. Most likely it will be painted and the handles replaced. It has quite a few nicks and scratches on it but I’ve seen Jason work magic on old wood tables with steel wool and Murphy’s Oil Soap! (Before & After)


Posted by: mahlbrandt | May 20, 2009

From the other side of the ocean

I came across a new blog today through flickr, called Kitschen Pink (clever!). My favorite part is the writer’s British syntax.


Here’s how I describe what Jason and I do (from my etsy shop profile):

“Martina and her husband Jason live in an atomic ranch in East Nashville, a hip neighborhood right across the river from downtown Nashville, TN. When the two are not digging through piles of junk at thrift stores and estate sales looking for MCM treasures, Martina can be found in front of her Mac creating beautiful designs and Jason can be found with his guitar in hand writing songs and playing music.”

Here’s what her profile says:

“Hello! I live in rural mid-Norfolk with my handsome husband and our beautiful boy aged 7. I love rummaging at charity shops, field sales and jumbles. I collect all sorts of textiles and crockery – I’m just too fickle to specify a particular type for any length of time! If it’s colourful and makes me smile, I collect it!”

I’m pretty sure “digging through piles of junk at thrift stores and estate sales” means the same thing as “rummaging at charity shops, field sales and jumble”. Fun!

My favorite blog post is about her retro candy (sweetie) swap with an American. Check it out. I went to Michael’s last night at bought a bag of Mary Janes!

Posted by: mahlbrandt | May 18, 2009

List #111: Much to Be Thankful For

I realize my “lists” have been lacking creativity lately. I apologize. It has more to do with busyness than lack of ideas. And an inner battle of resistance. But that’s another story for another day.

I had an absolutely wonderful weekend and in reflecting this morning, I realize I have SO MUCH to be thankful for! Here are some highlights:

• Thursday night surprise party for my brother-in-law Dan. He’s been more than just a brother-in-law to me, he’s been a great friend for 10 years and it was fun to help Ginger do something really special for him. Dan is a huge fan of The Office and Thursday also happened to be the finale. Ginger went all out with a wonderful theme-party complete with themed food, Dundies and Office Olympics. Here are some pictures:


• Friday evening I got together with Laura to plan a baby shower for our friend Renata. It’s in 3 weeks and I can’t wait. Best of all – Renata and Sean are back from Brazil TODAY and are in Nashville for 3 weeks. Can’t wait to see her!!

• Dinner at Cinco de Mayo with Jeremy and Leila. (Do I say this every weekend?) Despite my push to try somewhere new and several suggestions we still ended up at Nashville’s #1 Mexican restaurant. Never a disappointment. Afterward, we went to Dairy Queen (Bobby’s Dairy Dip was closed). Seriously – I hadn’t been to DQ in 6 years. They didn’t empty out the soft serve into a “poop cup” before serving it so Jason got the soggy cone. 😦

TN 52 Yard Sale Extravagganza on (wet) Saturday morning with Jason’s mom. Jason and I scored some great deals on a few vintage pieces – an end table, a canister set, a suitcase (for computer bag), a pitcher… Photos Tk later this week. I promise!

• Dinner Saturday night at the Rose Pepper with my mom and 2 aunts visiting from PA and CA. (not as good as Cinco.)
• After our second dose of Mexican in 24 hours, we walked across the street to Ugly Mugs for some hot drinks and live music courtesy of some guy playing guitar & singing (can’t remember his name but he was good! sounded like jon mclaughlin) and our friend Jeff playing percussion. Saw a bunch of Jason’s co-workers there so it was an especially fun time!
• Made potato salad and had some friends over for a visit. Passed out on the couch. (We didn’t get much sleep Friday night!)
• Sunday church was awesome as always. I am endlessly thankful for Pastor Lindell Cooley and Grace Church. I’ve grown so much spiritually in the past 2 years — more than I ever have an any typical church.
• Sunday afternoon graduation party cookout for Leila at Dan & Ginger’s house. Very fun afternoon full of dogs: L&J’s Maggie, D&J’s Marty, and our Coco and Lucy all got together for the first time; full of kids: I held the sweetest 7 mo. old little girl Latia for 30-40 minutes and helped 2 year old brainiac Max color with markers and helped/watched the 5 other kiddos play with the dogs without getting run over (not sure if this makes me want babies more or helps me be patient!); visited with some good friends—old and new! and of course, lots of yummy foods (including 2 cakes and a pie; one of which—an oreo cake—Lucy got a chunk of … twice! I can’t say I blame her. It was delicious!)
• And finally, passed out peacefully on the couch for the second day in a row, this time watching British version of The Office with Jase, L & J. At one point, after I had falled asleep Jason said, “One more?” As in, wanna watch one more episode? I must have been dreaming about the cookout because I thought it was Dan asking if I wanted one more hotdog … hahaha!
Posted by: mahlbrandt | May 14, 2009

May 14, 1999

10 Years ago these 2 kids danced for the first time at the “Christian Prom” (hosted by the local radio station) in Erie, Pennsylvania:


Sorry for the photo of my scrapbook page. My scanner is inaccessible at the moment. Also, the photos actually are that discolored. But…they’re the only photos I have from that day. I’m so glad my friend Julie was brave  (obnoxious?) enough to run up to Jason and snap that photo of him for me!

Posted by: mahlbrandt | May 11, 2009

This Terrifies Me

How could anyone be so obsessed with a president that they would plaster his image all over the interior walls of their home? How could someone idolize any ANY person to this extent? I’m sure you’ve seen the stickers, the hats, the shirts, the bags…  It scares me. It really does. He is not, nor will any man be, the savior of America or the world. I’ve only ever seen the image of a country’s leader plastered in so many places in communist dictatorships. Yet, in this country, it’s not forced. People are willingly worshiping and idolizing their president.


(From this blog.)

Posted by: mahlbrandt | May 6, 2009

House Renovation Pictures

(Not our house; our friends’ house)

Last night Jason and I were over at the house of our dear friends, current housemates, and soon-to-be-neighbors Leila and Jeremy. I painted a bathroom while Jason and Leila primed over the pink walls of “Kendra’s room.” After that Jason and Leila painted the den while I put shelves in the upper kitchen cabinets and Jeremy crawled around in the attic trying to wire some lights, almost got shocked and knocked the breaker off. Good times.

Because Amy requested kitchen pictures, I snapped a few with my crappy camera phone:


The kitchen cabinets are from IKEA: Nexus flat front doors/drawer fronts in black-brown stain. Very sexy. (They’ll have simple silver handles.) The bottom cabinets won’t be completed until after the wood floors are refinished next week. Countertops yet to be determined. The kitchen walls are a soft turquoise. From where I’m standing the former garage/now addition is behind me, the dining room is directly left, the living room is 10 o’clock and the den is directly on the other side of the kitchen (see Jason painting?).


Leila painting the den. Can you believe Jason and Leila painted the whole room with 1/2 gallon of paint left over from years ago? Porter paint is unbelievable! Fireplace to the left, half covered with a piece of cardboard, looking into the kitchen.

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