Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring Charm

Here's a quick and easy spring project for you... I found this link on A Holy Experience (Thank you, Ann, yet again!) and decided to try making these beautiful butterflies with my own special twist.  I used old Martha Stewart magazines (they are chock full of interesting colors and textures), but instead of pipe cleaners I used some jewelry wire to make them a bit more sophisticated. Check out the first link for a tutorial on how to make these delicate decorations.  
They look lovely hanging from the bamboo window shades and my pot rack. 

There's nothing better than ushering in the (long awaited!) season with some simple charm

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Love Note Story

A day after I started dating Brian, I received my first love letter.  He has always had a way with words.  It was long, beautiful, heartfelt and Christ-filled.   This first letter was written to me as I napped beside him in a van full of noisy teenagers on the way back from a mission trip to the sticks of Tennessee.  We were a young 17, but it was here we realized that we never wanted to part.

Throughout the 5 long years of dating, we wrote each other at least once a week (we lived 5 minutes apart from each other).  They were long hand written notes;  and love, hopes and dreams filled each page to the brim.  Even though we'd surely see each other that night, we'd continue to lick postage stamps and send them on their way to the other side of town.

I guess  we just couldn't believe how much our hearts and beings seemed to fit together so perfectly, how God has chosen for us such a wonderful match.  We loved to write about it.  And read about it.  (We will often open the pages of those letters on an anniversary and smile as we remember those early feelings of young love and infatuation.)

When Brian asked me to marry him,  along with my ring, he gave me two handmade boxes.  Mail boxes.  He made them with scraps of wood and hand picked sea glass.  With a wood burning tool, he etched "Beloved Wife" and "Dear Husband" and our initials.  It was a perfect summation of our early love and a wonderful symbol for acts of love to come.  Promises were made to keep writing throughout our lives together.

* * *

The mailboxes now sit on our respective bedside tables. A mite dusty, but well-used.  Beside them, a stack of paper and a pen.

There have been times in our marriage when life overwhelms us and these notes become more sparse.  We quickly pass each other through the rooms in our house, busy with things we must do and things we must think about.  But, a little "I love you" and a quick passing kiss in the hallway, just doesn't do for us.  

We always come back.   We come back to the paper and the pen.  We sit long and carefully craft the words with which we can try to express our hearts.  And we scratch those words of love and longing again and again.

Through these careful, slow, thought-out,  unexpected, love notes, left secretly in dusty mailboxes, we are harkened back to early love.  The words, the romance, the intentionality. But we are not only remembering "the good old days".  We are slowly and consistently building up a love that is maturing and becoming sweeter and more strong every day.  Written word by written word.

Why not try writing to someone you love this week? Whether it be your husband, friends, or kids, there aren't many things in life that are more cherished and meaningful than heart-felt words of love and encouragement. I have the boxes of letters to prove it! 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Blessings and Praise - March 29, 2010

holy experience

...Every blessing You pour out I'll turn back to praise When the darkness closes in, Lord Still I will say Blessed be the name of the Lord Blessed be Your name Blessed be the name of the Lord Blessed be Your glorious name
-Matt Redman

Turning His blessings back to praise...

341. answered prayers
342. worries overcame
343. change
344. small group night
345. spring lists
346. ideas and inspiration
347. students overcoming big obstacles and completing state tests
348. a productive work week
349. consistent journaling in the early morning
350. lists of truths in the making
351. bedside mailboxes and secret notes
352. unexpected times of fellowship
353. roller skating field trip
354. an entire day of sewing with Mom
355. 3 newly sewn Easter skirts
356. more and more green peeking through the dirt
357. Brian. Brian. Brian.
358. Lenten reminders
359.  the beatitudes 
360. a couple days of relative relief for my Dad

* * *

Endless thanks for those praying for my Dad.  This begins his 3rd week (out of 7) of chemo and radiation.  Side effects haven't been too severe yet and he is in good spirits. Will you continue praying with us?

(He's living this out in front of all who are near him:)

Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Lord, blessed be Your name

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

Quick and Slow

"Talkativeness is the throne of vainglory, on which it loves to show itself and make a display. Talkativeness is a sign of ignorance, a door to slander, a guide to jesting, a servant of falsehood, the ruin of godly conviction, a creator and summoner of hopelessness, a precursor of sleep. the dissipation of recollection, the abolition of watchfulness, the cooling of zeal, the darkening of prayer."
~St. John Climacus

In our small group from church, we've been studying the book of James. 

be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. 

Even after we finally finished dissecting the first chapter, these life-giving words kept pulsing through my head. 

be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. 

This has been my mantra meditation over the past couple of weeks (can Jesus followers have mantras?).

be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. 

and guess what?  These living words have changed me. 

How often I forget the power of the Word...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Beginning Loveliness in Sea Kettle Studios

As of late, green and lively and spring-filled landscapes are being painted in Sea Kettle Studios.  

We've only just blocked out large areas with base colors, but couldn't these unfinished, undefined canvases be works of art already? 

We usually only see the end result in a work of art, but the process is beautiful too. So simple and messy and immediate.  Each stage of a painting, each layer reveals a different type of loveliness. 

Here are some beginning lovelinesses for you to enjoy:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Easter Garden

This week I was inspired by the warm weather, the need to dig my hands in the dirt and this post by Ann @Holy Experience.

Brian and I made our own Easter Garden with a shallow and wide pot, some small plants, a rock for a tomb, some pebbles for a path and some sticks for a cross.  It sits smack-dab in the middle of our kitchen, a constant reminder of the season.

There are many Christ-centered traditions for Advent and Christmas, and it's nice to find new ways to remember and celebrate Lent and Easter (you know, besides the Cadbury Creme Eggs..) :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

This Week's Blessings - March 22, 2010

holy experience

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” - JFK

I'm grateful today for-

318. A day of rest, much needed rejuvenation
319. Spring air
320. Many weekend walks
321. Slow and steady house cleaning
322. Forgiveness (and a gracious husband who lives by Christ's example rather than the world's). 
323. Steady and strong hands (and silent prayers)
324. Old friend get-togethers and big boys playing football.
325. Newly organized and purged craft room
326. A man taking his cockatiel for a walk
327. Another (more familiar) man trying to take his cat for a walk
328. Persistence
329. a new journal
330. a newly planted Easter garden
331. bed-side mailboxes
332. lazy home days
333. new revelations
334. crocuses
335. pocket reminders
336. fleece
337. plans
338. praying at 8, 12 and 4 with Lianna.
339. lighthouse path
340. through it all - He abides with me. 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

So, It's the First Day of Spring and The Weather's Been Nice

We've come out of hibernation.  

The Mr. and I took a nice long walk after school yesterday. And I was reminded again how much I love our old New England neighborhood - the ocean, the lighthouse, the tall ship, the beach, the common, the thin and close-together homes, the seafood, the shops. 

Speaking of spring, I can't stop thinking about my garden beds and how I'm going to make my long neglected backyard/patio into a green and whimsical retreat. More on that soon. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Last Minute St. Patty's Decorations

Piggy-backing on my other St. Patrick's Day post...

I just wanted to briefly share my last minute decorations for our little shin-dig.  

I was pinched for time so I had Brian run outside to get a budding branch for my tall green vase.  It was a beautiful branch, but a little sparse, so I dug up some green patterned paper went to work creating little paper clover ornaments. I punched holes and hung them on the branches with green yarn. 

This project only took about 15 minutes, but it added a festive flair to the party. You could easily modify this for any holiday. For example, I did something similar for Thanksgiving this year. 

Easy. Simple. Pretty. Cheap. 
Just the way we like it.  

I made some extra ornaments, so I tied a few to the potrack as well.

My Irish Eyes Were Smiling

We celebrated in style this year.  

At school...

...we wore gobs of green and sparkly tiaras...

...and we tried our darndest to catch a leprechaun with these nifty Leprechaun traps...

The pennies we left for bait disappeared, but alas, no Leprechaun!  We did find a cheeky note and lots of green and gold glitter left by the little guy. I'm convinced we'll catch one next year. ;)

The festivities continued at home....

Our small group from church came over and we dined on a delicious corned beef and cabbage feast. Homemade Irish soda bread, turnips, potatoes and Guinness completed the festive meal.

A jolly Irish time was had by all...

All of us. 
Check out everyone's kelly green attire.
And my sweet shamrock apron. 
And Brian's Irish cap.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Window Frosting

My friend Ariel just moved into an apartment with a big window in the shower. Not only is there a window in the shower, but there are also very nearby neighbors who could most definitely peek right through said window. We decided this was not OK. :)

Ariel had seen people use clear contact paper to create a frosted glass look, so we decided to use this concept to cover the window. This technique is perfect because it doesn't let people see in, but it still lets the sunshine through.  

This was a very cheap project - all you need is a roll of clear contact paper (about $3 a roll) and some scissors.  

I took my cue from her shower curtain and began to cut ivy and leaf shapes. I filled the rest of the glass in with leaf-shaped pieces. I created a stained-glass look by leaving small spaces in between the shapes. 

It took a few hours, but I think it was worth the time and effort.  I may try this technique on the windows in my little bathroom cabinet to cover the toiletries which are currently in plain view. I'll keep you posted...  

You can't really see the window in this picture, but I wanted to show you the shower curtain - my inspiration.

(I'm participating in DIY Day @ A Soft Place)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Thankfulness and Art to Comfort

holy experience

Continuing my list of thanks... and an update.

301. Having Christ in times of strife and sickness
302. Watching never-before-seen home videos with my family
303. McKenna birthday parties - they never change
304. Husband's worship songs played at church
305. Temperate days
306. Rain
307. Dinner with much older friends and a new family
308. Kimmie's laugh
309. An end in sight
310. time to create art
311. passing notes with Brian
312. old stories
313. finished project
314. lists of gratitude
315. lazy Sundays
316. baby smiles
317. promises

Dad Update and some art...

Many of you know that my Dad has recently been diagnosed with cancer (originating in his tonsil and spreading to 2 lymph nodes in his neck). So far, it looks like it is treatable and he begins the long hard road of radiation and chemo today - 5 days a week for a total of seven weeks.  Three treatments of Chemo will also be given within this time period. On Friday, a feeding tube was inserted in preparation for a time when he won't be able to eat during the treatments.   

My Dad has a verse that has given him comfort and hope during this time. It is Job 5: 18-19.

8 For he wounds, but he also binds up; 
       he injures, but his hands also heal.
19 From six calamities he will rescue you; 
       in seven no harm will befall you.

I created a painting of this verse for him to keep near as he goes through these painful months. I decided to do the painting in black in white to create a simple, stark image. I began by creating 7 vertical bands, each stands for a week of his treatment.  The bands go from black to white - sickness to healing.  The background image is a line drawing of a man's neck/chest with two healing hands on his shoulders.

Will you pray with us? Pray that his pain wouldn't be too great. Pray that he will find full healing by God's grace.