Thursday, August 07, 2014

under construction

After nine years (with a couple breaks here and there in the midst of childbearing/raising) of this beautiful blog being my home I've decided to move to a new location... I hope you'll stay with me as I dig in deeper to all the wonderful things I am passionate about.  Connecting with people, creating beauty in this world (through diys, cooking, and learning new things) and yes, even coffee! What can I say? I'm passionate about coffee!

I'll be debuting on my nine year anniversary!

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

chalkboards make me happy

I am horribly obsessed with chalkboard paint.  I would like to paint everything in my home with chalkboard and then write myself funny little sayings, inspirational quotes, to-do lists, recipes, so on and so forth.
So it's not crazy that I would show you a simple way that I am incorporating different types of chalkboards into my life. :)

I took a frame (complete with backing and glass not shown here) from a thrift store. I believe it was $5 or so.  I took off the backing and took out the glass.  The glass I tossed in the trash but you could save it for other DIY projects.
I did not.
I have a problem with saving DIY projects for rainy days that never get finished during rainy days.  So bye bye glass! I need to focus on one task at a time (even though I have about forty projects half finished in the garage... gulp!).
Anyway, I painted the backing with chalkboard paint.  It was super easy and quick.  Took me about an hour to do and that's only cause I followed the directions to wait between coats. 

 Another thing I love as much as chalkboards is yarn.  Yarn makes my little diy world go round. Yay for yarns endless possibilities.

 Using my yarn and a glue gun I started to wrap the crap out of my frame.  I like my yarn sporadically wrapped and bunched in certain places... so this is not a perfectionists wrap job.

I also, just glued in areas where I felt needed glueing.  There was no rhyme or reason to my wrapping and glueing.
After it was wrapped the background/cardboard-turned-chalkboard wouldn't fit in the frame because of the yarn.  So I hot glued the backing onto the frame/yarn.  It was perfect.

 What do you think?
Pretty cute huh?

I might add flowers or different colored pieces during the different seasons.  Plus, at some point when I am inspired I will change my generic greeting... I figured "don't even think of ringing my doorbell and waking my baby or I will murder you" wouldn't be as welcoming as "welcome friends".  And since I'm exhausted generic will have to do for now.

What about you? Are you jumping on the chalkboard craze train? What have you created today?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Numbers nine, nineteen, and twenty-nine

Continuing my journey of thankfulness this week...

09: garden bounty (this week we feasted on carrots, lettuce and beets... coming soon tomatoes, more carrots, more beets, and onions)
19: living in a place where people gather (we've been lucky to have friends in and out our door as they travel to Colorado for other reasons! We love having guests!)
29: window seat for reading, people watching, weather watching and praying.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

small steps

I recently finished a book that has stayed with me.  Has that ever happened to you? I can count on my two hands the combined total of talks and books that have so deeply stayed with me and in quiet moments of my day (the rare occasion of those begs for my brain to start running wild! Oh my! It's my turn to listen to my thoughts... how exciting!) I find myself thinking on the talks I heard and books I've read.  There aren't many that come to mind during those quiet moments (when I've locked myself in the bathroom).

The book (to get back to point) is called Restless.  It's a book about finding purpose and significance right where you are in life.  It. Is. Fantastic.  I'll admit, when I saw the book and had it in my hands I was a little skeptical.  Sorry Jennie Allen but it's true.  I wondered if she would give me the five steps to finding purpose or seven habits significant people have.  Worse, I was worried that I would feel my heart stirred by this book but be super overwhelmed with life.  I wondered if this was a terrible time to start reading a book about finding your purpose when I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with two wild and crazy toddlers running around the house with chocolate on their hands and underwear on their heads (it's happened. They call themselves "superman"... I have nooooo idea).

But I started it, took my time with my bestie Kelli and finished it post-Love Bug's arrival.

And. It. Was. Life. Changing.

Don't get me wrong, there is nothing different about my life... I still have said crazy toddlers that usually do have something sticky and staining on their hands while having underwear/t-shirts/pants/socks/whateverelsetheycanfind on their bodies where "normal" people don't usually place them.  I am knee high in toys as I write this (didn't we just clean this room?) and I smell a little bit like old milk and dirty diapers (I swear I've showered).  So nothing on the outside of my life, the life you can see when you look at me, has changed.

But inside my heart, something has awoken and been stirred.  A small kindled flame perhaps but it's there.

As a dreamer I am ready to pounce on whatever God wants me to do. I am ready to board a plane, serve in a village where I am fed bugs and learn from people whose lives are so completely opposite of mine. I am ready to get my hands in dirty.

But God has been good to show me that there may come a time for that.  But for today I must be faithful in what I've been given while still keeping my head up and eyes open for opportunities around me.

Small steps. Not giant leaps but small, minuscule even, steps towards the Greater and the Bigger in life.  You don't have to cross an ocean to see there are needs around you.  I forget that sometimes.

My small steps have included researching new ways to get involved with the world from my home.  Learning about Noonday Collection a company that uses fashion and design to create economic opportunity for the vulnerable.  Imagine making purchases you already make and knowing you're making a difference.

Small steps that led me to International Justice Mission where I can learn more about the world's condition and how to pray and get involved from my chair where I nurse my sweet baby.  It's crazy exciting to think small steps can lead my heart around my community, around my state, around my nation and even the world where I can make a difference.

Small steps that have encouraged me to read more books about real people living in real situations that are different and scarier than my situation.  Yes, I know I am proving my naivety but pray for me. I am learning.

Small steps that have led me to a new study on Justice by She Reads Truth.  Today's reading by IJM founder and president Gary A. Haugen said, "And even when the darkness seems pitch black, there are ways that the smallest light can begin to change everything."

I wanna be that small light. Even the smallest light can still shine into darkness...

And I am reminded that small steps are better than no steps.  Small steps may be slow and invisible to those around me but to me and to those in my "every day" the small steps are everything.

I'm curious... have you read any books that have stayed with you? Or made any small steps recently? 

Whatever steps you are making, know that being faithful to those small steps could change the world someday!

**My humble descriptions of the books, study and organizations above are in no way a complete portrayal of any of them.  I included links and can provide as much information on any of them if you're curious.  I encourage you to explore deeper into any and all of the described above.**

Thursday, July 24, 2014

a beginning

Some time ago, I read a book by Ann Voskamp (wrote about it here, here and here) and it changed my life. Changed me so much I got a tattoo to forever remember the heart behind the book.

In a very small nutshell, Voskamp's book is about finding joy in the everyday life (the mundane, if I may call it that) by giving thanks for things in the (mundane) every day.  Seeing piles of laundry as a gift and reminder of loved ones having enough to wear, for example.*  I started counting my thousand gifts but somehow in the midst of babies, life, moving, babies becoming toddlers becoming big girls and another baby I have lost count of my gifts.

So I am beginning anew with fresh eyes to find joy among newborn life and still feeling a bit new in my community... life moments that can lead to self-pity or loneliness, I am choosing to find joy in the midst of my (mundane) life. Wanna join me? Leave a comment with the things you are thankful for today... I guarantee your life will be changed.

01: new curtains billowing in the baby's room
02: voxer and the technology to keep in touch with long distance besties
03: korean leftovers from an amazing cook and friend
04: thick rain showers that kept my garden going when I wasn't able to
05: sweet cries from the nursery that remind me of how precious life is

*Find Ann's book here...
**Join the challenge here...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

raining on Taylor Swift's parade

In Taylor Swift's song, "Love Story" she talks about two people getting married and sings, "you'll never have to be alone".  News flash!  Marriage does not cure you of loneliness!

People, loneliness will always be a part of life!

I'm sorry to rain on your parade but getting married, moving in with someone, and possibly physically duct taping yourself to someone is not going to cure your loneliness. Believe me, I have considered duct taping myself to Hubs because as a double whammy "quality time" and "physical touch" person that seems to be one of the best solutions to keeping my love tank filled.  Lordy, just thinking about that makes me laugh out loud. Hubs would die in two days. He would be so overstimulated. Like a plant that has been overwatered my Hubs would shrivel and die.

Loneliness is part of why I am restarting my blog.  Not my own personal loneliness but because I read my friend's facebook status the other day and she was lamenting how lonely motherhood can be.  Agreed.

But I was lonely before I was a mother.  I was surrounded by people all the time and I still felt lonely!  So why are we as human beings so lonely? If we have friends, family and people around us why are we still aching in our hearts for someone to reach out and love us?

Loneliness is a great push for us to not only search for something deeper but to also share with those around us more deeply.  I believe everyone is on a journey in life and that involves spirituality.  Loneliness is a disconnect in our spirits.  Even in my marriage, Hubs who knows me best, cannot know me fully.  So there is this disconnect, a gap in the spirit.

You can also be physically lonely.  I was often times lonely when I lived in Japan because I felt that language kept me from fully sharing who I am.  My jokes wouldn't translate, my background is different from theirs and values would be miscommunicated.  Now that was not often the case and that's the worst scenario of my time there.

So now in Colorado why do I still find myself lonely where language no longer is a barrier?  I believe it has to do with more than being a stay at home mom.  I think my loneliness also has to do with the fact that its hard to share who I am.  I'm waiting for someone to show me their cards before I place my bet.

Here's another news flash, that's not going to happen in real life.  Hubs has told me, "To have good friends, you have to be a good friend" and I would totally agree.

I'll be honest, I don't think there is any 100% cure to loneliness because I think loneliness (should) drive us to vulnerability and other people.  We were made to live in communities and I am not talking online communities.  I like my blog. It serves a need I have to write. I like facebook.  I get to photostalk all y'all!  But these venues are not real communities.  We still need to physically get outside, away from our iphones, computers and look people in the face and talk to their faces. And let them argue, disagree, spur us on and love us just as we are.

It's hard to pursue people in love when we just want them to pursue us in love. We want to sit back and let the sun rays of love warm us like we're on a beach somewhere.  And for some of us, that happens.  But even for those who are lucky to be pursued in love, you have to respond and return that love. You can't just lie there and soak it all in or it will eventually disappear!

For most of us, we have to pursue first.  We have to write the text or make the call... but in the end, sitting across from a friend, sharing life and a bit of ourselves too, isn't it worth it in the end?

Monday, July 21, 2014

What is she thinking?

I have gone back and forth (and back and forth) deciding between picking up this ol' blog and leaving it lie.

Writing and words are such a part of who I am.  While I am at home by myself with my kids I write in my head. I write posts and tell stories about what is happening and life lessons I am learning.

I'm afraid to pick up this blog again because I want it to be more than just stories about poopie diapers, tantrums and potty training.  I am not going to lie, I want to be more than those things too.  I want to be hip concerts, microbrews and late nights out with friends. I want to write about things that will make you say, "Wow!"

But in reality, I am not those things. I am late night feedings, sore hips and microwaved leftovers...

I am realizing though... that a lot more people in my life are the latter.

So here I am... hoping to connect friends old and new through the internet and physically together with real life.  This is where I can come and be myself and know that I am okay with who I am.  So I hope we can all connect on my blog, talking, debating and sharing. While I feel okay with who I am, this is a place where you will always be welcomed to be who you are.  In the words of Mark Darcy "I like you very much. Just the way you are."

So despite the fact that I am a tired but blessed mummy (I feel like I should use British here now that I've referenced Bridget Jones) I have decided to pick up this ol' blog, blow off the dust and share with you in hopes that my (un)fabulous stories of poopies and microwaves will inspire not only other mothers but anyone in life to live fabulously wherever they are in life.

So "what is she thinking, is she crazy restarting her blog?" I guess the answer to that is... we shall see!