Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Blog Share: A Beautiful Mess

If you don't already follow this blog, do it. Projects, recipes, fashion, photography. They cover it all and they do it beautifully. It is the most inspiring blog I have ever stumbled upon.

A Beautiful Mess

Friday, January 11, 2013

Inspiration Board: Wood

I love wood. Seriously. Anything made out of wood will make me stop in my tracks and want it. Just look at all these beautiful things...

Clockwise from the top left:

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thoughtful Thursday: Women's Bodies

When I was at my 38 week pregnancy appointment last week, the nurse-midwife looked at me and said, "We can begin sweeping your membranes at 39 weeks if you want." This is basically the first step in artificially inducing labor. I just stared at her. Why was she even suggesting this? I have had a textbook perfect pregnancy. I am healthy. My baby is healthy. Why would this even be suggested? It is a completely unnecessary medical procedure. More importantly, suggesting it subtly attempts to undermine my ability to trust my body to deliver my baby at the right time. Her reasoning was that some women just get impatient. Well, yeah, I can't say that having a 15lb squirmy medicine ball where my stomach used to be is particularly easy, but isn't it more important to encourage me to believe that my body is capable of triggering labor at the correct time for me and my baby?

Women's bodies are in incredibly complicated. Think about how complicated the human body is in general, and then add to the fact that women's bodies are actually designed to replicate, build and sustain another human body. Our bodies are complicated. Because of this, I have often felt challenged by my body. Between hormones and reproductive cycles and pregnancy, sometimes I feel like I have no idea what is happening in my body or how to respond to it. It can be incredibly frustrating. Yet, as I have traveled through this pregnancy, it can also be incredibly encouraging. My body is amazing in its capabilities. Truly amazing.

Unfortunately, I feel like Western medicine has bought in to this strange idea that women's bodies are perpetually broken and in need of fixing. Our bodies are viewed either as objects of lust or confusing mysterious machines that never work quite right. And there is also an utter disregard for our emotions and minds and how they affect our bodies. Lots of people will joke about how women are more emotional than men, but why aren't our feelings even a factor when discussing our bodies with doctors?

I've had conversations with two friends today who said yes to an optional (though recommended) medical procedure not because they were comfortable with the procedure, but because the doctors approached them with horror stories of what might happen if they don't go through with it. Western medicine operates out of the fear of what may be rather than having any faith that maybe if we just give a body a little time, it might do just fine. And the utter disrespect of their emotions was infuriating. We cannot disconnect how we feel from how our bodies are doing. They are always connected.

A friend once said that Satan hates women especially because we have been given the gift of bringing life into the world. As I look around at the body image issues and physical issues by which so many of my friends have been plagued, I think this is true. Our bodies and the image of them have been attacked on so many levels. How many women truly believe that their bodies are beautiful, incredible works of art and mechanics? Because they are. They are valuable for a lot more than sex (which is the only value our society seems to place on them these days). Our bodies are miraculous. It is a great tragedy that we have lost all sight of this.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Blog Share - Vintage Revivals

I literally just found this blog today, and I love it! It's fantastic. Today's project was very inspiring to me since I see these bits of embroidery and lace and quilts all the time and wonder how to update them. Doesn't this re-framed crewel work look amazing?

Vintage Revivals

Monday, January 7, 2013

DIY Monday: Nightlight Artwork

I didn't really think I was going to be blogging again, but now that I am, I have some projects to share. Unfortunately, I do not have step-by-step photos of these projects because, well, I didn't know I would be blogging again!

First up is a nightlight for the baby's room. I found an idea on Pinterest that had no real instructions or anything, but I decided I could probably do it.


  • Canvas (I used a deep gallery canvas from Michael's)
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Sponge paintbrush (what are those things called?)
  • Small regular paintbrush
  • Christmas lights
  • Stickers
  • Staple gun
1) I spray painted the canvas with silver sparkles. I was doing stars and I wanted the stars to look pretty even when the nightlight was off.

2) Then, I covered the canvas in star stickers and star post-it notes. I used post-it notes because I couldn't find stickers as big as I wanted.

3) Then I painted over everything with a sponge brush and a bottle of regular acrylic paint. I used pretty much the entire bottle. I painted in waves and swirls so that the visible brush strokes would add to the pattern. This is more Van Gogh Starry Night than precision.

4) I waited for the paint to dry and then peeled off the stickers and post-it notes. The post-it notes worked okay, but not great. They stuck to the canvas pretty badly once the paint dried. I think I should have peeled them off while the paint was still wet, but I was afraid of the paint bleeding. The stickers actually didn't end up with clean edges either. Again, more Starry Night than precision.

5) I touched up the edges of the stars with a small paintbrush to cover up the stuck paper and some of the truly uneven edges.

6) I grabbed a staple gun and a string of white Christmas lights and stapled the lights in a zig zag pattern across the inside of the canvas. This is where having the deep gallery canvas helped a lot. There was plenty of room for the lights to sit without pushing the frame away from the wall.

7) I plugged it in and it worked! I love it so much! I will have to get a timer or remote for the outlet since I ended up hanging it behind the crib, but right now I just leave it on and enjoy it. :)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Psalm 150

Praise the Lord!

Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty firmament!

Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!

Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;
Praise Him with the lute and harp!
Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with clashing cymbals!

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Inspiration Board: Red, White & Blue Kitchen

As I have been focusing on personal style, I think I have settled into a theme for my kitchen. I have discovered recently that my taste could be classified as "farmhouse" style. I like things that are simple and look like they have been there for a long time. I love wood floors, beams, furniture, old fabrics, simple pottery and handmade items. Apparently this is often seen in farmhouses?!

Anyway, I am far from patriotic, but I love the look of a red, white, and blue kitchen. Vintage items fit. Antique items fit. Scandinavian items fit. I'm liking this look.

You can see  all the items and more on my Pinterest board.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Approaching Birth

Not surprisingly for a woman 37 weeks pregnant with her first baby, I have been rather obsessively thinking about labor recently. Our culture (i.e. television and movies) has done so much to fill the idea of labor with fear: it is portrayed as agonizing, overwhelming, sudden, dangerous. Even when addressed with humor, there really isn't much truth in any of it. And we live in a bizarre culture where no one is expected to have any experience of labor outside of their own children. How do we learn without experience? But I digress.

As I have been reading encouraging stories about the amazing creation that is a woman's body, I keep going back to a specific memory. WARNING: this is probably going to be way too much information and personal for some people, but it's a great story!

Since I started having my period as a kid, I have always had incredibly bad menstrual cramps. Really, really bad. I actually went on birth control for 8 years to control them. Then decided that I was going to learn more about my body and began seeing a naturopathic doctor who was helping me to balance my hormones with herbs and a progesterone supplement (I had a deficiency). As I was going through this process, I definitely didn't get it right every month and was sometimes suffering from extreme cramps again.

Well, my husband and I arrived at the Frankfurt airport on the final day of our honeymoon. We had been gone for over two weeks. I was tired and I wanted to go home so much. And then my cramps started. And they were bad. Really, really bad. But how I wanted to get on that plane, and I knew they might not let me if I was moaning and writhing all over the terminal. So I lay my head in my husband's lap and I focused on breathing and not being overwhelmed, as I talked to God about the pain. For hours I did this as David lovingly rubbed my back. I was miserable, but I was not overwhelmed. When they called us to board, I could barely stand, and I'm sure I must have been deathly pale. But I clung to David and I walked to the gate. We were (very slowly) shuffling down the walkway when I knew I was going to vomit from the pain and effort. I frantically swiped my boarding pass back from David and ran into the (thankfully!) nearby restroom. I couldn't make it to a stall, so I puked into the sink, which unfortunately had a drain cover. I remember staring into the clogged sink full of puke and just laughing. What was I supposed to do? I had to board my plane. The bathroom didn't even have paper towels! I rinsed the sink as much as possible, rinsed out my mouth, and was the last person to go through the gate to get on the plane where my poor brand new husband was anxiously staring and waiting for me. I just laughed. And laughed. And suddenly everything was okay. I was on the plane, my cramps began to ease, and I finally fell into a deep, exhausted sleep.

The thing about this story is that I see truth in it where I didn't before: I am strong. I am loved. That is the thought I take most into labor. I am strong, and I am loved. God has given women an amazing capacity for pain and love in the face of overwhelming circumstances. I am thankful that I have learned a little about this capacity in my own life. I pray every woman learns it in her life.

You are strong. You are loved.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My New Year Goal

I have thought for a while about a goal for the new year. So many things I could do! Last year, I listened to the Daily Audio Bible every day. I've thought about journaling every day or doing a 365 photo challenge. But really, the thing that has been on my heart a lot is my attachment to things. I love things. I love pretty things. I love old things. I love the potential in run-down things to be re-made into something beautiful. I love fabric. I love books. I love clearance items from Target. I love the million and one items I have inherited from my pack-rat family.

The truth is that things can simply weigh a person down. I have learned this more and more over the years, and yet I look around and realize I have too many things. I don't want to let go of them. I make excuses. They sit in cupboards and boxes and crawl spaces waiting for the day when their potential will be realized. But when is that day exactly?

Source: Uploaded by user via AK Sarah on Pinterest  

As my "nesting" has kicked in like crazy in these last weeks of pregnancy, I find myself pouring over pictures of houses on Houzz and Pinterest. And I suddenly realized something: there is absolutely nothing cohesive about my belongings. They are seriously all over the map in style, color, etc. I collect things because I like them, because they are pretty to me. But the reality is that I like a WIDE variety of stuff. And half of them sit in storage because they don't go with anything else I own. Seriously.

So, my goal this year (which works well considering we will be packing and moving!) is to develop a personal style and then cull out things that don't fit. I am going to have to develop a certain ruthlessness. I seriously started collecting stuff on eBay at 12. But my tastes and needs have changed a lot since then. And they are about to change again. It is time to stop playing and truly commit to the idea that less is often more.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21 NIV)

A New Year Begins

This year is full of new beginnings for me.

This year will bring a new lifestyle: my last day on the job is Friday! Then it will be stay-at-home mom life for me.

This year will bring a new baby: only 18 days until she is due to be born! I'm thrilled and terrified.

This year will bring a new home: I have lived in Alaska my entire life (excepting college in Virginia and England), but this year my Air Force husband will be getting orders for a new base. We won't know where until May and we'll be there by August!

It has been a while since I have consistently kept a blog. And I am making no promises to consistency now. But as I approach a year of intense transition in my life, I find myself wanting to document it in a way that I hope helps encourage others. There was a time in my life when change terrified me. I cried tears asking why things couldn't just stay the same. As He has taught me more and more about life and His own constant faithfulness, change has ceased to bring fear with it. I still struggle with worry sometimes. I wonder often what things will look like in a year. But I know God is faithful, and I trust that He will lead us where we need to be.

I don't want to commit myself to a certain style or frequency of post on here. It is more a place to document new life. Within that umbrella, I will probably post a rather eclectic assortment of things! I am imagining posts will include craft projects, thoughtful ponderings, pictures, scripture, etc. Whatever strikes my fancy, really!

I hope that it is a fruitful exercise in celebrating new life.