Tuesday, September 29, 2009

On Tour in the Skies

This morning, I was taking a walk around a lake in my community. A cool front is moving through today, and the clouds in the sky were amazing...huge grey waves fanning out across the sky like a sea scallop. It was beautiful, and I couldn't help but thank God for calling to me through His artwork in the sky.

I came home to have some breakfast, and I sat down to read my Bible. This is the Psalm I read today:

God's glory is on tour in the skies,
God-craft on exhibit across the horizon.
Madame Day holds classes every morning.
Professor Night lectures each evening.

Their words aren't heard,
their voices aren't recorded,
But their silence fills the earth:
unspoken truth is spoken everywhere.

~Psalm 19:1-4

Isn't David's poetry wonderful? Madame Day's morning lecture was just amazing today. It is awesome to see God in concert as He goes on tour in the skies!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Yes, it really smells that good.

This is my new favorite scent from Bath and Body Works:

The back of the bottle describes the scent of Moonlight Path as "an opulent floral bouquet that captures the essence of moonlit strolls in lush gardens", which pretty much sounds like "blah-blah-blah" to me. I can't find the floral in it at all. It is a clean, fresh scent that is subtle and not too heavy. Here's what I think: It smells like the top of a baby's head just after bathtime. It is wonderful, and I'll be buying this for as long as B&B Works keeps it in stock.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Don't Stop Believing: Glee

Have you seen the first two episodes of Glee yet? If not, let this trailer whet your appetite for what is quickly becoming my new favorite show on television! (You can catch it on Fox tonight.)

This show is amazing: quirky, campy and poignant all at once! So poignant, in fact, that the pilot episode made me all teary-eyed! What's not to love about a show that has amazing musical numbers, hilarious character actors, and a dreamy straight man playing the new director of the glee club?! This show is well-written, beautifully shot, and flawlessly acted. I was hooked by the first musical number, and I don't see myself missing a single episode of this show.

Sadly, "Christians" are portrayed as the hypocritical and arrogant antagonists in this show. I write it in quotations because these characters behave in a way that would offend most of the Christians I know. I realize that stereotypes exist for a reason, but it saddens me to see these stereotypes playing out for the next generation of Christian kids to have to overcome. (These characters are, after all, high school kids.) While the idea of a high school chastity club called the "Christ Crusaders" is certainly a hilarious one, I just can't totally embrace it with open arms, even though the show is a comedy. Certainly, we can all laugh at the idea that any high school would have a chastity club, but the virtue of chastity is a noble one, and it is treated with utter disregard and disrespect in this show. Yes, I know it's a comedy, but it's still a cheap shot.

That was an unexpected tangent, I know. Like I said, I love this show, but everything on television is broadcasting certain ideologies right into our homes, and if we don't stop and think about them, we tend to ingest them hook, line and sinker.

That being said, I will continue to watch the show. (See? Not all Christians boycott something just because it doesn't reflect their world view!) It's hard not to come running back for more of a show (and here's where the good ideology comes through) with the message that doing what you're passionate about in life matters--in your career, in your hobbies, in your after school activities.

I finished watching the pilot episode with the awesome reminder not to ever stop believing in the beauty of my dreams.

And not only do they talk about it on Glee, they SING about it, too!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Necktie Valances with a Side of Cowboy Boots

If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know that I continue to document my home office in photos, as I continue to add to it. Because the rest of my house is more traditional with neutral colors, I wanted to have one room in the house with bright colors and a more contemporary look to it.

We have bright red cabinetry and a sunflower yellow sofa, so I've been wanting to create a window treatment that would unify the bold colors going on in the room. I had an idea to create two valances out of neckties, and for the past few days, I've been crafting to my heart's content!
First, I had to figure out how in the world I would hang something like this. I decided that a wide frame drapery rod would be best. So I mounted those on the wall first.
Then I had to figure out how I would connect my cornice board to the rod. Since the cornice board/box I created was really light weight I opted for this 2" wide sticky back velcro:
I applied the hard half of the velcro strips to the curtain rod:
This is the cornice board/box my mom and I created out of foam board. One long piece to go across the front and two short pieces to go around the sides. The good people at Office Max cut it for us! The foam board didn't come quite long enough to form the entire length of the long piece, so we had to put two pieces together end to end and wrapped duct tape around it. That worked fine!
To attach the short side pieces, we could only tape on one side to create a hinge effect:

The fuzzy half of the velcro strips are then applied to the board.

Then it was time to start gluing. This project requires lots-o-hot glue...nearly an entire bag of glue sticks!
First I glued the ties to the front of the board. Wide end of the ties on top. Skinny end underneath peeking through. (Caution: the hot glue on the foam board released some kind of chemical that probably wasn't too good to breathe.)

Then I turned the board over and hot glued the top ends to the board.

Then I was ready to hang the valance! All I had to do was line up the velcro on the board with the velcro on the curtain rod and it just stuck right to it! I stuck the long front part on first and then the hinged sides just flapped around and grabbed on!

I actually made this lamp a few years ago with some of my stepdad John's neckties (the skinny ends of the ties). Just a fun way to remember him. Four of his ties are in one of the valances, too. :) That's a picture of John and my mom. Aren't they cute?

Also, just as a fun side note, I wanted to show you what I did with a belt and cowboy boots that my Dad gave me shortly before he died. Yep.... It's a side table! I loved the belt and boots, as my Dad was totally into the cowboy life, and he had the boots custom made for himself years ago. They're too big for me to wear, and it made me sad to see them just sitting in a closet, so I decided to have them made into a piece of furniture! My mom's neighbor is a wood worker, and he created the table to fit into the boots and still be able to have a level table top. Then I cut a piece of denim into a perfect circle, and voila! As you can tell, I'm a bit of a sentimental sap, but I love being able to remember these two special men by using some of the things that they left behind to brighten my today!

Friday, September 11, 2009


The anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 always gives me pause. I typically take part of my day to sit and watch news coverage of what happened that day, and I always find myself sitting still, very still in front of those images, remembering the terror of that day. Often, it makes me cry.

A couple years ago, I wrote a reflection of my own 9/11 experience.

My heart breaks for New Yorkers every year on 9/11, and I guess it breaks a little bit for me, too, as I was a New Yorker for 3 years in my twenties. Something terrible happened in my city. It happened two years after I left New York, but I still felt the horror of it all, as did all Americans, I suspect. It wasn't until September 11, 2003, two years after the attacks, that I was there in New York City again. I went to Ground Zero that day, and saw a big hole in the ground--a construction site. A big hole in the ground, where two proud towers once stood--the place where I used to go dancing with my friends at the very top, now gone. I saw people standing there reading aloud the biographies of those who died there two years before.

I walked to a pay phone to call one of my friends who I wasn't sure survived that day (thankfully, he did!). And as I began to leave him a voice message, I cried--messy "can't-get-ahold-of-myself" tears. Full grief, finally expressed. It was America's tragedy, and it was also mine.

That's what I've discovered as I've talked to New Yorkers since 9/11. Each person experienced that day in their own way. It was definitely a national tragedy, something we experienced together. At the same time, though, each one of us felt it uniquely.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Before I met you, my love life was...

a bit of a crap shoot. I honestly didn't really know for what or whom I was looking.

As much as I love my parents, I can't say that theirs was a marriage that I hoped my own would one day resemble. It was marked by disappointments, unfulfilled hopes and at the end...divorce. I love them both dearly, and I mean absolutely no disrespect. I'm only saying that when it came to knowing what a vibrant and healthy marriage looked like, I was at a bit of a loss in my dating life. I just did my best to figure it out as I went along--sort of a trial and error kind of thing. Breakups started to feel a little embarrassing. Sort of like, Am I missing something? Why do all of my relationships end in a breakup? Thankfully one of my friends reminded me that the only one that wouldn't end in a breakup would be the one I marry. That sounded sensible.

As I journeyed through my single/dating years, I learned some valuable things:

~There are some good men and not-so-good in this world, and at first glance, it can be hard to tell the difference.
~If someone cannot name their shortcomings specifically and they don't respect your "no", they are absolutely not worth a single second of your time.
~Falling in love is the most wonderful feeling, and the pain of a broken heart is the worst. But it is survivable and life goes on.

Eight years after my parents divorce, my mom met and married the single gentleman who lived right next door to her. Theirs was an amazing love story. It was so fun to see my mom having this wonderful romance and marriage during my adult years. It gave me an opportunity to see a thriving marriage up close and personal. It also (along with some of the life lessons I'd learned along the way) gave me a compass and a roadmap, if you will, for dating. Finally, I had a little clue of what I was looking for. I also wrote a list (at the behest of a good friend) of qualities I was looking for, so that I'd be able to recognize the man of my dreams when I met him!

Finally, I did meet you...and you are so much more than "the man of my dreams". You're my Brian, and my life with you is so rich, the "before I met you" part fades in comparison.

Friday, September 04, 2009

If this had not happened, we would have never met...

When you have met and married someone you love so deeply, it's hard to imagine that anything could have kept you apart. Yet so much happened to bring us together!

The internet was invented.
We both had personal computers.
Neil Clark Warren created eHarmony.
We both got on eHarmony when we did.
We matched on eHarmony and communicated with each other.
We talked on the phone and that went well.
Finally, a first date, and then a second and a third!

We marvel that we met through a matching program on the internet, and wonder if we would have ever found each other any other way. We did realize that in 1994, we were both at the same conference in Nashville, Tennessee, but never met each other. In fact, Brian was breaking up with a girl that weekend! What if we would have met those 12 years earlier? What if we had never met at all? Would we have ever met some other way? Only God knows.

The important thing, though, is that we did meet, and that we are together, at last.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Photo Shoot of Sir Samsalot!

Jilly and Sammy came over today. It was so good to spend the day together, since it had been awhile since we'd seen each other. (It's so nice that "awhile" means days/weeks and not months, like when we lived in California!) I've been taking a photography class, and decided to have a photo shoot with Sammy using a jury rigged seamless backdrop. These were my three favorites of him with his toy hammer (he LOVES Home Depot!).

These were my two favorite color images:

I'm falling more and more in love with photography every day! It's so funny to me that the things I've been naturally drawn to in life turn out to be things I love to do. I've been drawn to photography since I was a little girl. One of the first things I ever bought myself that I saved up money to buy was a little camera in elementary school. (I think it took 110 film and used disposable flash bulbs!) When I go to modern art museums, I tend to be drawn to the photography exhibits. I'm so glad I'm getting to learn and grow in this new craft as an adult. It's been very rewarding to pursue something I've been interested in for so long!