Friday, August 30, 2013

camp crafts - a crochet rope rug for Kimmie

I was able to do quite a bit of crafting on our camping trip. With so many willing and able hands to entertain Levi, I figured I'd take advantage of some time when MY hands were relatively free. 

After crocheting that little rug with old sheets last year (seen HERE), I had the idea that I could probably crochet a rug in a similar way with rope.  A quick google search and I found out that other people had the same idea and even posted some patterns for me (bless their hearts!). I went to the only little convenience store near our camp and found thick cotton clothesline that looked perfect for the project.  500 ft of it later, I had myself a rug. The woman at the counter definitely gave me the side eye as I kept coming back in 2 or 3 times for more rope.

My first rope rug was given to my sister Kimmie for her birthday, along with some of my black and white nautical-themed photographs to hang in her new apartment at school. I love how this project turned out and I'm thinking one or two of these might be perfect for my bedroom... 

(I used THIS pattern - although I must admit that I didn't the right sized hook or rope, so needed to tweak quite a bit of this so that it lay flat.)
Today Kimmie is heading off to start her last semester of college. We'll miss her like crazy...but we're thankful it's Pennsylvania and not, say, Rwanda or Thailand. :)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

deck make-over

The little deck on the top of the steps to the second floor has never been used in any capacity other than that very thing- getting to the second floor.  There's always been a planter or two, but other than that, it was wasted space.  

A few weeks ago, I decided to see if our small patio set would fit up on the deck.  We rarely used it where it was, so there was no hurt in trying it out somewhere else.  Surprisingly enough, it fit perfectly and we instantly had what felt like a new "room" to enjoy.  

I bought a cheap (but gorgeous!) outdoor woven mat to make it a little more home-y and filled the old flower boxes.  A candle lantern and houseplant on the table and we were set. 

I've also been wanting to add a screen door for a while now and when I starting researching prices, I realized that you could get an unfinished wooden one for a measly $20 at Home Depot. SO worth it. Now we can leave the door open and let in the breeze. It also gives Levi the ability to go in and out and I can monitor him from the kitchen if he wants to play outside on the deck. 

With the Sea Kettle being a relatively cozy little house, it's been fun to take advantage of some new space and have a new place to read, eat meals and least until winter sets in!

Monday, August 26, 2013

be glad!

"This is the day that the Lord has made, 
let us rejoice and be glad in it!"
Psalm 118:24

Thankful this week, for...

- the excitement and promise of a new school year
- an inspiring work retreat and the holy vocation of tranformational Christian education
- Trader Joes treats
- quiet naptimes
- morning walks
- more birthday treats; especially my favorite candy bars and a gift certificate for a foot massage from the BFF
- cool, temperate days
- flourishing window/patio boxes
- dinners with siblings
- hand-knits in the mail
- Salem East potluck and our new intergenerational community small group
- a sermon inspired by Brother Lawrence - his life and prayers: "We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed."
- staff clambake, good friends and energetic kiddos
- a fun time hanging out with Brian's Aunt Lisa, Uncle Dave and cousin Alex; a nice walk downtown, lunch and ice cream, and fun and thoughtful gifts for Levi's birthday picked out by Alex. 
(Hi, Alex!)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Family Camping Trip 2013 - Sebago Lake, Maine

"Live in the sunshine, 
swim in the sea, 
drink the wild air"
'til next year, Sebago!

Monday, August 19, 2013

these days

these days, I'm -

- unpacking from a fabulous week in the woods and washing dirt and "campfire" out of piles of clothes
- sorting through 1,000+ family camping pictures (and hoping a blog post or two will be ready this week!)
- going to the occasional teaching training, classroom set-up, student orientation day at work
- making art class materials lists and putting finishing touches on curriculum and syllabi 
- trying my darndest to complete the last few things on my summer list
- thinking about potty training
- relishing a new-ish resolution to be an earlier morning riser
- reading another round of Piper and Galatians 
- crocheting rope rugs and making doily bunting for our bedroom 
- answering cute little "whyyyyyyy?"s
- knitting up bunches of baby cuddle sacks
- preparing for a new tenant
- finishing a summer-long house organizing spree
- thankful for a quick visit from one of my Yemen girls
- enjoying birthday celebrations
- making the most of the last days of summer and thankful for such a full and happy one

Sunday, August 11, 2013

ta-ta for now!

This afternoon we're heading up north for our annual family camping trip 2013.  Every year I treasure these long and lazy last days of summer, enjoying the Maine woods and the beautiful Sebago Lake with my nearest and dearest.

Looking forward to a week of- 
tent sleeping, 
sunshine soaking, 
lake swimming, 
fire roasting, 
technology unplugging
gift knitting, 
en plein aire painting,
 sand playing, 
book reading, 
s'more eating,
game playing, 
outdoor exploring, 
(and even 29th birthday celebrating!). 

Now that's what I call a vacation. God willing I'll be back next week with plenty of photos to show for it. :)

Wishing you all a happy week! 

Saturday, August 10, 2013


(I'm sorry non-cat people...but how could I not? The Sea Kettle kitty hasn't been featured on this blog in maybe..years?? He is still loved on and cuddled and slowly getting used to being chased around constantly by a little lad who adores him. And surprisingly enough, he REALLY enjoys hangin' in this cuddle sack I recently made for a friend (I decided I didn't like the colors). Dmitri has totally claimed this one as his own.)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Choo Choo, Levi's Two!

(thanks to Kimmie and Rachel for taking many of these's awfully nice to have so many great photographers around when you need them!)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


two years. can it be?
oh, the love and joy you bring to our family.. 
words cannot begin to describe it. 
I'm forever grateful that God chose me to be your mama. 

happy, happy birthday!

Monday, August 5, 2013

loving and delighting

May the Living God, who is the portion and rest of the saints, make these our carnal minds so spiritual, and our earthly hearts so heavenly, that loving him, and delighting in him, may be the work of our lives. 
- R. Baxter


- carving out more time to delight
- a willing spirit, weak flesh, a strong and faithful God
- 2nd birthday party planning fun
- Salem perks, like free reign of the beautiful Seven Gables grounds
- a 5:56 wake up call
- too many warm and beautiful walks and picnics to count
- patio time
- little outdoor upgrades
- a skype party with the Bjorks
- new school year excitement, fun and (hopefully) meaningful projects planned
- Christmas Tree Shop shoppers
- lots of bff time, a spontaneous farmer's market run and outdoor dinner, Levi and Elsie's adorable affection for each other
- slow summertime
- long and productive coffee shop afternoons
- Dinner and good chats with Lili
- an afternoon at the Gloucester sidewalk festival and a Rockport afternoon and old friend spottings
- when we have our quiet kind of quiet times together in the morning and he gets his Bible and points to the pages and mutters to himself about the things he knows about God..

Friday, August 2, 2013

real love

(beautiful post at A Holy Experience today. It had me in a messy state of tears. Thought I'd share some of it.. grab a kleenex.)

..real love is when you live the daily faithfulness of making whole decades of minutes tell the truth about the glorious gospel. 
 - Ann Voskamp

(more about them HERE)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

breath prayer cards

Technically, I think I learned my first "breath prayer" when I was 3 or 4 years old.  I remember being quite frightened of the dark, so my Mom taught me to recite the short scripture "When I am afraid, I will trust in you".  I remember saying those words to myself over and over again and feeling comforted by the fact that I could indeed trust in God when I felt afraid. In fact, I still say/pray those verses when I'm frightened or anxious, 25 years later.

I was formally introduced to this ancient spiritual discipline through Asbury Seminary's 2011 Lenten Reader, "Breathe".  I find visual reminders very helpful, so I decided to make some small
"breath prayer cards" to keep with me as I go about my day. These cards can usually be found in my purse, my back pocket or set up on the car dashboard. So far, 
I have found these prayers to be extremely helpful in keeping my heart and mind focused throughout the day.

I try to breath through the prayer at many quiet and in- between moments, but I've found them most helpful when I'm battling anxious or negative thoughts. Sometimes I have trouble finding words to pray (or I just get distracted) so having these short meaningful prayers on my mind and at my fingertips has been enormously helpful and encouraging. I highly recommend giving this a try (and I made it SUPER easy for you - see links below.)

My current breath prayers - 
 To make your own...
1. Gather black paper, collage papers (magazine, photos, scrapbook papers etc.), glue and scissors.
2. Cut black construction paper to the size of a baseball card. 
3. Use collage papers to create an interesting (and perhaps meaningful?) background for your prayer. I like to rip paper to give an interesting border.
4. Type, print and cut out your prayers.
5. Glue one prayer to each card. Divide the prayer into two parts (breath in and breath out)
6. You can either use the original card or you can photocopy it if you like that look or if you want to give them away (something I hope to do). I made my cards with the intention of photocopying them, so the colors I chose didn't matter as much.
7. Cut out your cards (if you photocopied them) and laminate or slip inside a sports card protector sleeve.  
8. Carry your prayer(s) around with you and practice "praying without ceasing".

Below are links to the list I put together from various sources (scripture, the Asbury Reader etc) as well as 2 picture files with scanned images of some of the cards I made. Feel free to download and print to your heart's content. 

(print cards on a full page on card stock or on regular printer paper if you have a laminator or protector sleeve. If you know me in real life, I have some extra sleeves and I'd be happy to share!)