Sunday, August 21, 2011

New blog!

Hi friends (for those few of you still out there!)

After much prodding from various people in my life, I started a new blog for my crafty projects, quilts, bags, etc.

Go check it out and let me know what you think!

I'll still keep this one up, but it will be more of a documentation of my life and thoughts and not necessarily crafty stuff. I love doing the sewing and creating though, so the other one is probably going to be updated on a more regular basis.

So if you want to know what's going on in my life, keep reading here.

If you want to know what I've been busy making, go there.

There will be some overlap and maybe one day I'll combine them.

For now, I have 2 blogs.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Beauty Through the Storm

"Ansel Adams once took a photograph he titled 'Jeffrey Pine, Sentinel Dome.' It is beautiful. He stood where he did, he saw what he saw, and he was able to catch it, fitting it into a small frame with only two dimensions and nothing but blends of black and white. The sky is there, the rock, the Jeffrey Pine.

"The tree grows on the left, but it is gnarled, bending even now, spreading across the picture in its struggle against the wind. Its muscled branches are frozen in their strain, unquivering; its roots claw into stone, matching granite strength. There is a mountain watching from the distance, wondering who will win. The tree has fought for this life, fought in this permanent unretreating retreat.

"The wind will win in the end, but this uncomplaining tree is noble. I see no bitterness, no resentment. We may forget, but this tree knows that the world is spinning, and it has hung on to the globe through decades. I see pride in those roots, gratitude where the light sits.

"Could we improve this picture? How can we make it not better but best? Remove the tension and the contrast. Remove the black. All of it. Remove the struggle and the inevitable end.

"Leave the white. Only white. And now it is perfect. Perfectly blank."

- Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl by N.D. Wilson, pages 84-85

I came across this passage as I was reading today. And it struck me. Made me stop and think. I long for beauty in my life, for my life to be seen as beautiful and pleasing to the Lord.

But so often, I reject and run away from that which will make me more beautiful. The Lord uses the storms and winds and struggles in my life to make me stronger and more beautiful. To create a depth and richness in me and my relationship with Him that is impossible to get in any other way.

Yet I run away. I pray that they would disappear. That life would be simple and easy to understand.

And, often, God says, "No." Life is not simple. It is not easy to understand. Real life includes trials and struggles and uncertainty and heartache and loss.

All that He requires is that I cling to Him through it all. That I don't let go through any of the storms in my life.

Because it is there that I will find true beauty. Rich and deep and lasting beauty. That only He could create through the storm.

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

- James 1:2-4, English Standard Version

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My feelings about blogging and some recent projects

I've more or less decided that I really don't like blogging. Granted, it's a good way to chronicle my life but I'm not nearly consistent enough to really take advantage of that aspect.

Maybe if my life were more interesting...

Seriously. No one wants to read about my boring life. No one. Not even my mom.

I'm not deleting this thing because one day my life may get more exciting and I may have things I want to share. And blogger tells me that I have 9 subscribers.

Which is about 8 more than I thought. Don't want to let you all down. {{Side note... who are you?}}

So that's how I feel about blogging. Want to see something more exciting? I've completed 2 projects in the past week, both for my room.

First, I repainted my mom's old desk. She gave me permission to paint it, but I never told her what color I wanted to use. Because I was afraid she would take away her permission if I told her. The original desk was a light honey stain and the knobs where big wooden knobs that matched the desk.

The color's called Caribbean Holiday. It's bright and I love it. I replaced the old knobs with ones from Cost Plus. $4.99 for 2 knobs and if you're a member of their rewards program they send you a $10 gift certificate for your birthday. So the knobs were free. Happy Birthday to me!

The second project was using an old embroidery hoop that my grandma gave me. It's a big one (nearly 24" across!) and I wanted to do something fun with it.

I made essentially a small rag quilt and stretched it over the hoop. Hammered a couple nails in the wall and hung it up. Since the front of the hoop is about an inch and a half from the wall, it works quite well to stick pins in it and use as a sort of bulletin board.

So there you go, my every other month update.

Hopefully there will be something more exciting to report on in another 2 months!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Hiding Place

A year or so ago, my mom gave me the book The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom.

I fully intended to read it, but it somehow got stuck in my need to read pile. Other books that I borrowed (and thus had to give back) took priority.

Then I got distracted and didn't read as much as I wanted.

And The Hiding Place is still in the need to read pile.

So imagine my excitement when I opened my monthly e-mail from Christian Audio and discovered that the free download of the month for April is The Hiding Place.

Go check it out! And while you're there, take a gander at the entire website. There's a ton of great free downloads available.

Now that I have the (free) audiobook, I may actually get through this book and hear what I've heard is an amazing story!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Adventures at Peet's

Tomorrow morning I start a new Bible study at church. Who cares if they're on Lesson 16? I'll be jumping into Ephesians 5 with them. Combine that with the Friday night group I've been going to that has also been in Ephesians and I joined in Chapter 6, I'm expecting to be an expert at the last 2 chapters of Ephesians. The first 4? I'm sure they're excellent. I'll get around to studying them one of these days.

To prepare for study tomorrow, I decided to go to Peet's. I'm much more efficient away from home.

So I packed up my Bible (kind of necessary for Bible Study),
put my computer in it's case (the lesson is online in the form of a Word document, I decided to type out my answers instead of writing them down),
threw on my amazing green trench coat (that I absolutely love),
grabbed my yellow purse,
and headed out!

Got to Peet's, ordered my latte, found out about free coffee sampling on Thursday (YUM!), found a table and sat down, ready to get started.

As I pulled out my laptop, the woman at the table next to me looked over and asked, "Are you a quilter?"

Why, yes, I am! Apparently my computer case had given me away. She was just learning how to sew so we chatted for a couple minutes about sewing and then I started my study.

About half and hour later, I heard, "Is that a Bible?"

Why, yes, it is! Apparently she had been watching me had determined that the combination of my green trench coat, my yellow purse, my pink and brown handmade laptop cover, and my Bible made me, in her words, "seem like an interesting person." We talked about church and Bible studies and living in Clayton for a bit. Eventually I went back to studying.

When she gathered her things to leave a few minutes later, she stopped on the way out, said it was nice chatting with me, and asked me to pray for her pastor, who is currently in the hospital. She explained a bit of the situation to me, I told her I'd pray, and she left.

I was thinking about this brief conversation as she left.

The items that I had decided to wear and bring to my trip to Peet's told this woman something about me.

I was doing Bible study so I needed my Bible.

I would be typing out my lesson, so I needed my computer and when I take my computer out in public, I carry it in the case I made.

It was cold so I needed a coat and I wanted to wear my green one.

I'm a girl, I need a purse, and I'm currently using my yellow one.

These seemingly inconsequential decisions grabbed the attention of the woman at the next table, led her to conclude that I was an interesting person, and prompted her to strike up a conversation with me.

Which got me thinking. What do I clothe myself with everyday? Beyond the clothes and purses. What do I bring along with me when I go out? Beyond my Bible and laptop.

Do I clothe myself with grace and humility and patience? Probably not as much as I should. Do I bring along a bad attitude and grudges and self centeredness? Probably more than I should.

Do I think about the fact that people are watching? Rarely.

My Bible study today focused on Ephesians 5:8-11. Verse 8 says "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light." (NKJV)

Is the way I live my life reflecting the light that I have in the Lord? When people look at my life, do they see something attractive, something that makes them say, "She seems interesting. I want to know more." Or do they just see another person, no different from the rest of the world?

I pray that when people look at me, they see an interesting person, but one who is interesting because of the light of Christ shining through me, not because of the color of my jacket or laptop cover.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Moving In, Throwing Out

I've been at my parent's house for about 3 weeks now. It's been good. Getting a chance to relax and refocus, reconnect with old friends, and hang out with my parents on a regular basis.

One of the first things I had to tackle was moving back into and getting settled in my old room. In order to do that, I had to move a lot of stuff out. Things that had accumulated over the years and, since I haven't lived here, I haven't had to deal with. Think Goodwill and garbage. Lots of stuff that, as I looked at it, I thought, "Really? I kept this? Why?" Things that I held onto thinking that one day, I might, maybe, possibly, get around to doing something with. I gave up on those ideas and tossed a lot of stuff. It felt great and now there's room in my room for stuff I actually want to have and use. And I can find it without wading through a lot of useless junk.

Ahhhh.... big sigh of relief!!

Just for fun, I thought I'd share some of the amazing finds my room yielded.

Books. Lots and lots of books. Now, I'm a book fan. But old textbooks from general ed classes, The Babysitter's Club, and books I used for my senior project in high school. Not so useful now.

Ah, Discman. Or portable CD players, whatever you want to call them. You got replaced long ago by my collection of Apple products (iPod nano, iPod touch, iPhone). Apparently I have a problem collecting portable audio devices.

Monster glow light stick. I'm thinking it's from a Halloween care package my mom sent me. In college. Unopened. Lovely.

Foam floor tiles. I think these were used in my attic in college. I probably thought it would be a good way to add color to the floor. I'm pretty sure I got them at the dollar store, so no big financial investment, but they needed to go.

Awesome yard artwork. Picture frame and switchplate cover. You can't see it in the picture, but there was a sticker on it that showed this was from 1992. If I haven't done it yet, it's never going to happen.

Hunter Dan, American Sportsman. White elephant gift that you can read all about here. I decided that it was time for him to move on.

I know this is some kind of game, but I'm not quite sure what or how to play...

R2D2. On a leash. You can walk him and make him make noises. I'm not even a Star Wars fan.

Grass skirt. You know, from my hula-ing days.

A couple black purses I haven't used in years and that are faded and aren't really even black anymore. The smaller one's from Homecoming sophomore year, the only high school dance I ever went to. That's how cool I was in high school.

Halloween headband.

Old computer mice. 2 of them. That won't plug into any computer that we have.

Bible cover with inspirational verse and eagle embroidery. Not that this isn't useful, but I ditched the store-bought Bible covers in favor of my own creations in high school. I probably just felt weird about getting rid of something with a Bible verse, like it's a sin or something. But now, it's gone.
Foam stickers. Unopened. Though I think they were a gift, so at least I didn't buy them and then never open them. On the other hand, I just gave away someone's gift to me.

So that's a small sampling of what I got rid of. If any of this catches your eye, it's up for grabs at Goodwill. Though you better hurry. Treasures like these will go fast!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mary Poppins Had It Right

As a child (and still today), one of my favorite movies was (and still is) Mary Poppins. I never had a nanny, but if I did, I would have wanted one like Mary Poppins. Cleaning my room would be so much easier if I could snap everything into place. Taking medicine, I would imagine it was from one of her magic spoons. Chalk drawings on the sidewalk always remind me of Bert and make me wonder if I can jump into them. Smoke coming out of chimneys makes me wonder if I could walk up it to the sky. I’ve always wanted to try the one man band thing, though I think that would be a total disaster. I’ve thought about what it would be like to slide up a staircase railing and spent hours trying to figure out how to spell “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” I still don’t know… had to look that up.

Despite all the fun, there’s a serious side to Mary Poppins as well. Mary Poppins is exactly the nanny that Jane and Michael wanted and she loves them, but when they ask how long she will stay, she won’t commit to a timeframe, simply stating that she shall stay until the wind changes.

She never commits to a timeframe, knowing instead that when it comes her time to leave, she will leave.

I think this is the way that we, as Christians, should approach our lives. The Lord has a specific purpose for every second of our lives. And we don’t get to know what that purpose is. All we can do is simply follow, one step at a time. When it’s time for a change, He will let us know and we need to follow obediently. Which is much easier said than done. We need to approach life with the outlook that we shall stay until the wind changes. And then leave, so sooner and no later.

My wind is changing. God is changing it. As I’ve been evaluating and looking into my life recently, I’ve come to the realization that God is asking me to move. Not a little move from my apartment to my aunt’s house, like I did a couple months ago. A big move. 400 miles away. Next week, I’ll be loading up my car with whatever will fit, leaving the rest in my storage unit and moving north, to Clayton, where I grew up. Leaving the life that I’ve built and the friends I’ve made over the last few years of my life.

Why? I don’t know. Other than I believe that God has asked me to move. I don’t know what will happen once I get up there. I don’t know how long it will be before the Lord changes the wind again. It could be a week, a month, a year, never. But I’m okay with not knowing. I’ve come to understand that God doesn’t give us the whole plan, just the next step. So I’m taking it.

Eventually, the wind changed for Mary Poppins as well. Her work was done. The children ran off to fly a kite with their father without even saying goodbye, as her talking parrot umbrella points out. While saddened, Mary Poppins watches them run off and simply states that is as it should be.

After making my intentions “official” a few weeks ago, I’ve seen that life down here will indeed go on without me. My junior high girls will come to trust and confide in another female leader. Someone will step up and lead the Young Adults Girls’ Bible Study. Someone else will help with childcare at church when needed. God doesn’t need me for any of His work to happen. The ministries I have been involved in will go on and flourish without me. As sad as it is to write this, even think it, my prayer would be that I am not missed. That the Lord would fill the holes and seamlessly continue His ministry.

Simply because that is as it should be.