Project Life app

I have been waiting and waiting for this app to go live!

At the very least I can use this as a practice visual before actually scrapbooking it ‘live’…

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There are so many great things about this app, but the most exciting to me is the ability to sew together two 2×3 pictures to print off as one 4×6.

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So excited for this app!!!

Treasure Hunting

I love doing a little thrift store shopping wherever we are. While we were in Salina I found a couple of good finds…

A silver jewelry box. It’s nice to have a smaller one rather than getting into my big one for the everyday stuff. This thing weighs a ton!

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I will feel very old world, reaching into my bag and pulling out this silver compact case to freshen up my lipstick. I believe there is an ‘M’ engraved on the top. I’m pretending it stands for ‘Mother’. The inside has a small latch that lifts for extra powder (?) The mirror is in rough shape, but I love this find!

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Then something completely different: this metal Bake box will hold my washi tape for now but I can envision this being a gift of baked goods someday. I love finding things like this to include in gift giving later on.

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Lastly, I spotted this long, green frame in a pile of pictures. I originally envisioned the frame for some future project. Then I loved the cross-stitching on linen. I could choke the person who colored in the flowers and the bee with markers – eegads! – but will figure out a way to cover it or get around it. What a great addition to a sunny kitchen or…again, a potential future gift to a dear friend.

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Thrifting always fills me up when I find a few treasures amid all the other rubbish (aka: crap!)

Happy hunting!!

Desire

Many times over the years, I have used this blog to ‘download’ my thoughts after a Sunday sermon. After nodding and smiling and quick exchanges of pleasantries, Scott and I left church on Sunday, walked to our car, commented on the great weather outside, got into the car and drove away.

“Well, THAT was a tough sermon”, was all I could capsulize at the immediate moment.

“He did a great job, but yeah, after awhile I wanted to yell, ‘Okay, OKAY, I GET it‘ “, Scott remarked.

You know the sermon. The one that is graciously presented but contains a message that is very close to home for the majority of the congregation. THAT was our sermon on Sunday.

Our pastor, Tim Keel, has begun a new sermon series on sexuality. So you’d think that would be a fun series, right?! On Sunday, he discussed desire. There were many themes I have heard or thought through before, but there were angles that I needed to hear again.

Irony: Our desires are innate and unchangeable and yet how many billions of dollars are spent on changing and manipulating our desires?

Desire is always stronger than satisfaction. That phrase is something I need tatooed on my forehead. I am a dreamer. A planner. A strategizer. A future-planning addict. As a result, I always (always) have a strong line of desire going through my head at all times. Whether it’s blog planning, art projects, family event planning…BIG ideas. I have a strong desire to see things done to the absolute best and in the most unique way possible. A good friend of mine, Monica, and I have often discussed the downfalls of living with high expectations. That can be another way of saying ‘desire’. I desire for this event to turn out at THIS level. My satisfaction with it, however, will always fall just short of that. Desire is always stronger than satisfaction.

A simple phrase that, if I would embrace, could save me a great deal of mental exhaustion.

However, when we cannot satisfy our desire (which we’ve now learned we cannot), we compulsively try harder at it. If food cannot satisfy our desire, we compulsively eat more. When any form of entertainment cannot satisfy our desire, we watch more tv, go to more movies, play more video games. We don’t feel the sense of complete satisfaction, so we do.it.more. (Greta uncomfortably shifts in her pew.)

(Philippians 3:17-19)
We are fixated on earthly things thus that desire then becomes our shame.
How many times have you been in that vicious cycle?! I want. I shouldn’t. But I do. Now I feel badly about it. (rinse. repeat.) When we give our desires permission to control us, we are not in control of them. We have to develop ways in which to train them. This is where our spiritual lives step in. Name the desire. Expose it. Identify it. Then identify a strategy to re-train it. This can be your form of worship. As a response to any desire (sexuality, food, gluttony, greed, shopping, wanting), we initially feel a need inside us (“I want…”) and then we go and get it to satisfy the need. The secret, however, is to develop a pause between the restlessness and the response. We have messianic expectations – feeling as if we can quench the desire by doing ‘a’ or ‘b’. And yet when we choose to find the root cause of the “I want…” we can better know what it is we need to turn over to God. A good example for me is that when I am under a big deadline for work…the date is approaching…I’m feeling the pressure of it, I tend to start a c.o.m.p.l.e.t.e.l.y new and bigger project to avoid the restlessness I feel about the initial project’s deadline. I’m not solving the pressure of the uproaching deadline, I’m merely masking the restlessness with the adrenaline and excitement of the second project.

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Desire does not equal Wrong. Sin is a legitimate desire being met in an illegitimate way. Starting a new project is not a sin. What’s wrong is that I am allowing my desire (to avoid the deadline) to control me instead of taking control of it myself. Or more aptly, going to God and simply saying, “I’m overwhelmed. I’m in over my head. Help me figure out the best plan to work my way out of this feeling of ‘not enough’ and move into a place where I am confidently completing the project at hand.” I need to learn to stay present long enough in the pain until I find out the source of the discomfort. Our restlessness gives us a great source of energy, but it also keeps us from a peaceful heart and mind. This is where the Pause is of such great importance. I feel restless. Therefore, let me stay here for awhile to figure out where that restlessness is coming from. THEN I can take steps to master the real problem – not mask its pain with avoidance and distraction.

The reality is, we all are naturally geared to live out all of our desires at max level. Society = the restraint of our desires to live in a civil society. We have all learned to wrangle our extreme desires out of deference to other people. How do we learn to control those excess desires? That’s where spirituality sets in. It helps us to shape and discipline and train our innate desires – and if not, we allow them to rule our lives.

As Christians, we are living in a place that is naturally going to cause restlessness. We are in the interim place between the Resurrection and the Return. Our citizenship is in heaven. How many times have I heard that truth in my life?!?! But never have I so strongly identified with it! Scott and I are living between our parents’ homes when we are in Kansas City, and living out of hotels 2-3 weeks a month when we are traveling for work. All of our stuff (the things I have carefully collected over the years out of love) are boxed away in storage units. We do not have a place called home. We are living in the interim, and it is frustrating and often times sad that we do not have a place that we can fully exhale, put our feet up and feel as if ‘We’re home.’ On a much broader scale, Christians are living in that same temporal home. We are nomads, walking this earth, but awaiting our future home of permanence in Heaven with our Creator. That tension will never be fulfilled, this side of heaven.

What legitimate desire do you have that is being illegitimately realized? Is it causing stress? Restlessness? Shame? These are the questions I have been living with these past few days. I am learning to develop the Pause. Finding the root of the restlessness will ultimately bring me Peace.

Thank you, Tim, for so beautifully stomping across my toes on Sunday morning…

Around Here | Ten Random Things List

This is the part of the trip that is a little rough. On the Friday of our last day, we have to check out of the hotel by noon or 2pm, in some cases. So this means that Scott comes home at lunch, we pack up the car, and then he takes me somewhere to ‘hang out’ until he gets done with teaching at 5pm. Basically this means that I feel a bit like a 7th grader, waiting for their parent to come pick them up from school.

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I’ve read the Weekend USA Today, cover to cover…
Finished reading the articles I marked in Vanity Fair I wanted to complete…
I am happily people-watching various groups of people, passing through the hotel (different than the hotel where we stayed, but where Scott’s class is being held in the conference room). I can’t help but immediately make up stories (assumptions?) about each hotel guest’s lives…
I’ve had a Snickers bar and am consuming gallons of cold water…
I’ve read blogs and now…I’m talking to you.

I hope your weekend promises to be a good one. We are ready to be going back to Kansas City for three weeks. Scott is teaching a class there and it will be good to be back around people we know and love. And by the time those three weeks are up, we will be anxious to get back on the road to Omaha again for another class.

Here are some things that have been on my mind this week…

1. Can I completely replace my morning can of Coke with a warm chai tea for the fall and winter months? Man I love that carbonated burn. But I need to get away from it and all it’s doing to my body. This would be the 37,598th time I’ve tried to break free from that morning ritual.

2. With all the talk about the new Apple devices coming out, I realize I rarely use my laptop anymore. I wonder if others are in the same boat.

3. I am thinking of starting a new section on my blog that would revolve around changing vignettes. I am in a BIG-time DIY mood (like, it’s overwhelming! I have so many projects in mind) and am thinking about using my in-law’s barn for some project work. I’m wondering if this would serve two purposes: a) it would help me work out my decorating withdrawal I’ve been going through since moving all our home belongings into storage and b) might help give you some ideas about how to accomplish some relatively easy do-it-yourself projects as well as ways to use them in your home. It would be a bigger project than just using spaces in my own home, but it also sounds like a fun challenge. I’m still pondering that idea…

4. (not unrelated to the above item) I am craving torn jeans, paint-covered denim shirts and my Colorado cowboy hat as a daily wardrobe staple.

5. I am enormously blessed to be married to someone who might be the biggest dork in the world to some, but makes me laugh – hard – from that deep down place. My daughter says she knows when she’s said something funny because I laugh ‘your deep laugh‘. -ha! Not many people make me laugh from that spot in my soul. But man oh man am I thankful for those that do! Scott and I had way too much fun last night in our hotel elevator, taking pictures of him lying on the floor, half in and half out of the elevator as I dragged him out. It was wrong, and stupid and we laughed a lot about all of the “Ooooo, we should do this…” – “No wait!, we should do THIS…” ideas we were blowing through. We had a lot more fun setting up the scenario than actually executing it. Although, that was pretty fun too! It’s on Facebook in all of it’s dorky glory.

6. I haven’t been able to move much beyond the overwhelmed, nightly prayer of, “God…dude!, I just don’t know what to say. This bible journaling thing…it’s just so…so…right. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!” (for you Anne Lamott fans, you know that’s one of the three essential prayers: thank you, thank you, thank you – just after help me, help me, help me and right before wow, wow, wow!) This ever-growing group of creative women of faith has been such a bolster to my devotions. Every morning I look forward to what God will say to me today – and what art supplies I will be drawn to in the aftermath.

7. (this falls under the ‘Help me, help me, help me’ essential prayer…) My face looks like a middle-aged, perimenopausal, 13-year-old boy who works at an over-heated pizza shop every day after school. Hormones suck!

8. Before getting together with our friends, Mark and Kristi, this week (we haven’t seen them for about a year), I texted Kristi to say: “I feel it is only ethical to tell you I am having a MAJOR existential hair crisis. What color? What length? What the what?!?! I would totally understand if you guys don’t want to be any part of it and need to cancel…” I will go back and forth with my hair choices until the day I die. Aren’t we supposed to find the perfect hairstyle and just stick with it the rest of our lives? I am so impatient with it – and am so easily bored with the style/color/length. Again, my daughter just rolls her eyes every time I say I think I will grow it out. She knows that I will never have the patience to do so. Ahhhhh, women!

9. The Craft House. Holy cow, what a fabulous idea. I wish I owned a big ol’ house out of town, and could gather women together to do different and exciting crafts together. That person is living my greatest dream. I hope to visit it someday. I have a friend there right now and I am suffering with big-time envy issues! Somewhere deep inside my rather feminist heart, I have a soft spot for Amish women, gathering together for quilting bees. In my mind, those two truths (feminism and homemaking) are not mutually exclusive.

10. I am in a perpetual good mood in the Fall. I am a walking, talking member of the Seasonal Affect Disorder club. Too hot: cranky. Too cold: inactive. Too rainy: depressed. But temperatures in the 60’s with high sun and changing landscape colors? I’m SO there! This season makes me want to do a million things in one day.

What projects are you working on?
Are you an Autumn lover too?
What’s your favorite Fall food???

Happy Weekend, my friends!!! May it be full of deep laughter, ‘Wow. Wow. Wow” prayers, and free of any hairstyle related issues.

Bible Journaling | Make Smooth Our Inward Spaces

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This morning I read the above thought and it reminded me of Ephesians 4:22-24

…in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.…

Since it is 55 degrees outside, it also reminded me of the process of autumn. Every year there is an explosion of color, followed by a dormant period of quiet, followed by the renewing blooms of spring. Our lives mirror this process. Are you in a renewal period? Or a dormant period of reflection? In each season of our lives, God promises to fill us with His peace. His grace. His forgiveness. His strength.

Make smooth our inward spaces. Strong and sturdy to hold You elegantly and full of grace.

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Technical stuff:
This was the first time I used scripture that was near a previous bible journaling project. It feels nice to see them side by side, although I certainly didn’t plan it that way.

I am really enjoying the use of COPIC markers for a splash of color on my pages. Yes, they bleed to the other side, but they also don’t completely cover up the words I’m doodling over – so they can still be read.

I’m going to be talking about it more in a couple of weeks, but give yourself permission to be imperfect. Bible Journaling is not about following a set of rules but about expressing your connection to the Word. Fly with that. Run with that! Doodle to your heart’s content.

I pray for you, today, that you find a place within that can be smoothed out like a highly varnished bowl to receive God’s direction and sustaining strength so that you may carry Him with you in an elegant fashion. Presenting Him to the world in the unique way that only you can.

Learning to Listen

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It’s so hard sometimes, no? I don’t know about you, but whomever it is that is doing the whispering in my heart is a bit schizophrenic in nature.

Sometimes it says, “Write, g…whether anyone is reading or not, just write.”
Other times it says, “You have nothing to write, find another project.”

“Learn handlettering. Perfect the process.”
“Handlettering? Seriously?? Meet Photoshop, man.”

“Watercolors.”
“Acrylics.”

“Sell.”
“Don’t sell.”

You get the idea: I have a multiple personality heart whisperer. Maybe I’ll call her Emma. (Mostly because I just saw an Emma Stone movie and I think my heart whisperer has kind of a snarky attitude with a rough, gutteral laugh.)

So mostly, I am learning to simply walk through doors that appear to be open. Sometimes they’re just cracked ajar a little, but I slowly push the creaky door open more and try to take a better look inside. The light is pretty dim and my eyes haven’t totally adjusted yet, but I’m curious, so I keep walking through the door a bit further.

God’s direction seems rather circuitous at times, doesn’t it? From our vantage point it’s hard to imagine that He is seeing our life’s purpose as a straight line from His angle. And yet, I keep bumping into people along the way that are kind enough to tell me that something I wrote hit a familiar cord with them or that I inspired them with a piece of art – and after gushing for a minute, after getting back home alone I look up and say, “So this is the door we’re going to work with right now, Lord? Alright, alright, alright.”

If you find yourself in a familiar place at this point in your life, keep searching. Keep listening. Keep looking for doors that may not be standing wide open exactly, but are only slightly ajar. Try it! It might be nothing, but it also might be an absolutely wonderful new venture for you. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t give up. If you’re confused, know that is a really good sign. It means you’re still trying to perfect the plan that was intended just for you. You’ll find it.

Keep listening to the whispers of your heart.

Oh and p.s.:
Emma just said this was a totally self-absorbed entry and I should definately NOT post it.

Hitting ‘post’ quickly while Emma’s back is turned…