Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Finds from an antique mall...

So a couple of weekends ago, we went up to Julian for the weekend. On the way up we stopped at my favorite antique mall in Wynola.  Here are some of the finds... and you'll find which of them is my favorite thing (for those coming by from Claudia's place).

I needed more old books to replace the ones that I'd turned into journals (aka fresh journal making stock). I love the green cover, and the inside of the red cover will make for good backgrounds and cutting out words and such.

A cigar box -- not exactly replenishing my stock here (ahem), but she was so pretty on the cover and at such a good price, I just had to!

I have doilies up the wazoo: belonging to and made by my great-grandmother and Nanna, as well some owned by by grandmother (don't know if she made them or if my great-grandmother made them for her). I already own both designs below, in fact....

This was my find though, and my entry for Claudia's "A Favorite Thing" this week. It was on the floor, between two bookcases, and I'd spotted just the spine....

At one time a fan of Deanna Durbin started a scrapbook. I can't tell if the ripped pieces in the corners are because these papers were glued together or someone had covered up the Durbin scrapbooking, or had pulled out the previous pictures. Bit of a mystery.

It's huge, bigger than 12"x12", and in any case is going to become my next art journal. I'll use the remaining black pages and add other pages in. I think I'll just continue to hole punch rather than do a fancy binding.


My current art journal is just about busting open and I've still over two signatures to go in. So just hole-punching might help with the bulging out.


So that's my favorite thing for this week.

And how much did this haul cost me? Under $30. Which I think is pretty good!

(Linking up to Claudia's A Favorite Thing once the link goes live!)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Joy Dare Monday: A busy week ....

I've yet to learn to adjust to full-time work and where/when to write down gifts while working. (Also, I updated the 1000 Gifts app and it wants me to login/set up an account? When I have enough brain space I'll sit down and attempt to figure that one out.)

So there have been some gifts, I'm sure, that I've lost through not writing them down. Hopefully, will get a routine figured out this week.

412. morning quiet

413. good first day on job
414. chatting with older lady at bus stop
415. saying the wrong word (but it being okay)
416. sparrow filching crumbs

417. nephew knocking it out of the park on timpani playing "Undertow"
418. heavy perfume of jasmine
419. hummingbird drinking from fountain
420. Rabbi's chili
421. sore foot
422. 9 to 5 outfit

423. knowing folks are excited to have me here
424. afternoon chocolate cupcake
425. tiny dessert

426. visually luscious movie ("The Great Gatsby")
427. blooming ferm
428. ink-stained fingers
429. sort of clapping in time
430. inspired painting

Joining in Ann Voskamp's:

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Review of Eyes of the Heart

When Christine Valters-Paintner from Abbey of the Arts asked for volunteers for her blog tour, I signed up. I don’t do book reviews unless it’s something I just happen to have picked up and really really want to share with the world, but as I was halfway through one of her previous books, “The Artist’s Rule” I wanted to review “Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice”

I received a Kindle copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, which as I use Kindle on my iPhone probably wasn’t the best format. Perhaps because what I had was a review copy, there were some formatting issues throughout with the subtitles and quotes.

But I knew agreeing to review this book was the right idea when I read the section on “The Art of Beholding” in Chapter 1. One of my words for this year is “behold” (the other is “abide”). In this book, I learned about my word in a way that will reinvigorate my exploration of “behold”.

I am not much of a photographer, although recently I’ve started to take more than vacation snaps, via a resource that Christine also listed in this book, and also via Christine’s “The Artist’s Rule”. For me, it’s all about looking for God’s presence in this world, and where God is speaking to me right now. 

As Christine reveals in her book, with photography we shape our world to share who we are, what we believe and think. You see it every day on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Christine guides us to a different way: contemplative photography asks us to receive images instead of choosing images to take. Through this process, as well as later sitting with the photos, we catch a glimpse of God in our world. 

Christine leads us deeper into the various pieces of each photo: dark and light, cropping, color, and reflections. The chapter on shadows had every possible point of view in theology and philosophy and I found that to be a bit too much information. 

Given, this is a book meant to be walked through not raced through as I had to review in time for my slot. I certainly plan to re-read it again at a walking pace and follow long with the exercises that will build my understanding and my practice of a new contemplative way.

If you’ve read “The Artist’s Rule”, I can recommend the “Eyes of the Heart”. There’s hardly any overlap. It is more a development of what Christine has already written.

If you’re a photographer who is looking to explore the world around you, this is a great book.

If you’re a beginner photographer, you’ll still have to read another book on the techniques of photography if you want to go beyond “point and shoot”, but with “Eyes of the Heart” you’ll be seeing pictures in a whole new way.

(Note: the Amazon link is not an affiliate link, just one quick way to order the book!)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Joy Dare Monday: what a week!

It's been a week. As of this morning, I'm officially an employed person once more. Well, the job offer came in last week. I haven't the least idea how it's going to affect my blogging, but we're going to go with the flow and see what happens.

Here are the God-gifts for this past week:

384. fans
385. another second interview request
386. cream in the tomato sauce
387. soft fur
388. two job offers
389. I got the job! happy, happy!
390. badly limping dog
391. barely limping dog (phew!)
392. ants galore
393. three pelicans soaring (1 seagull, then nine pelicans, then 12!)
394. cake (for last day at volunteer place)
395. walk
396. singing
397. bath
398. blister bursting
399. dessert wine
400. taking turns chanting
401. catching up
402. gift
403. squalking stellar jay (who just wouldn't stay still)

404. perfumed roses

405. the promise of blackberrying
406. bubbles cascading down skin
407. best burger ever
408. candle
409. restless night
410. sketching before breakfast

411. new grocery shopping routine

Joining in Ann Voskamp's:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

so much beauty #1

Liz Lamoreux invited her readers to find 10 beautiful things this past weekend. An easy task because we had a weekend getaway to Julian (staying at Butterfield Bed & Breakfast, where we always stay, and eating at Jeremy's on the Hill).

I thought I'd start with a mirror reflection. Me seeking calm in a not-so-well-lit-after-all room.

They are mostly flowers -- but Ed's garden was just gorgeous. Beautiful things in no particular order:



morning sketch (took me almost an hour!)


didn't think of a photo until halfway through the second mocha profiterole and ice cream ...

blackberry flower





orange zest on breakfast plate


Also linking with and Laura's Playdates with God.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Joy Dare Monday #whateveritis :)

Yesterday, I posted a happy ending to something that had been bothering me this past week. You can read that post here, which also has a link to the post before which if you haven't read already you should if you want to make sense of the linked-to post.

Um, I'm sure I could've written that sentence better.

Here's the past week's gifts from God:

361. walking home in windy, wintry rain with no umbrella (ella ella)
362. a glimpse of sun
363. dust
364. conversation with a guy who's been living on the street for 20+ years. Nice fellow!
365. hanging out on Library Walk
366. wasting food :(
367. good chronological bible discussion
368. fluffy clouds
369. crisp cool
370. honest conversation
371. the challenge of leaning in
372. overnight succumbing to fears and unheard-of expectations
373. early morning quiet
374. cool breeze on a cloudless day
375. yellow daises
376. request for second interview
377. [redacted, will share when I can]
378. interrupted cuddle with "go poop!"
379. sitting on the back seat
380. reading in the memorial garden
381. late night painting
382. INcarnation

383. dog's face in front of car a/c

Joining in Ann Voskamp's:

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Brilliant! I Wasn't Expecting That!

A couple of days ago I posted about Mother's Day being a non-mother by choice. I shared the link on Facebook saying that the second title would be the one that's now the title of this post. A riff off the Christmas video from New Zealand.* I didn't expect that I would actually use it for a follow-up post. (Er, brilliant.)

I wrote in that previous post that my church is pretty inclusive - we refer to mother figures on Mother's Day. Due to that tradition as well as being chair of the worship committee, I was part of the planning for today. I arrived early to help out and do some last minute logistics. As occasionally happens, plans had changed.

Brilliant! I wasn't expecting that. 

Well, it wasn't exactly a surprise as the committee had just finished talking about planning ahead and yet allowing the Holy Spirit to move with last minute inspiration.

Chris preached (link to mp3) on how God makes covenants with households from Abraham through to entire households being baptized in the early church. Which means God has made a covenant then with those in the Upper Room with Jesus and thus with all the Church, and thus with this church.

Shortly after, at announcements, he suggested that given the sermon, he couldn't segregate us into two genders, and so as we're all one household: we're all each others brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, grandparents, grandchildren, everyone would get a flower today. He reminded us that the carnation is also a symbol of the INcarnation.

I wish I remembered the exact words he used... I found myself tearing up because I was included today.

Brilliant! I wasn't expecting that.

Members of vestry (the church's board) were invited to hand out the flowers while the choir (which i'm in) sang the offertory.

They ran out of carnations.

The one time I was really one hundred percent included, I didn't get a flower.

Brilliant. (Not.) I wasn't expecting that.

During communion, we finished all the scheduled pieces. Tom played piano with one hand while flipping through the hymnal with the other. He started playing "Soon and very soon we are going to see the King." We start singing.

And I realize the meaning of the lyrics: that I will one day see Christ.** What is the lack of a flower against knowing Christ will never abandon us? I felt that deeper wilder love.

Brilliant! I wasn't expecting that!

At the end of the service, the choir processed to the back of the church during the recessional hymn as we usually do. Revbecca announced that not everyone had received flowers, including the choir, and encouraged those who received flowers to go forth today and give them to someone else. She meant to people outside the church, I'm sure, as we (the choir) can't have been the only ones not to get a flower.

As the choir headed back to the front to collect our belongings, a parishioner handed me her carnation. Her kids handed over their carnations to others. It wasn't the only flower offered to me either. I am pretty sure that every choir member who wanted a carnation got one.

Because my church is a household of God and we live out our motto of "love. be loved." 

I felt loved today.

Brilliant! I wasn't expecting that. (But I should have.)

* Of course you want to watch the video again. Here it is:

** So I'm not sure if the song is actually about looking forward to dying and going to heaven, or looking forward to the second coming when the world will end, neither of which being exactly happy things, I just know I felt love.

PS. My mother-in-law received my carnation and my hubby's.

linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee's #TellHisStory

and Laura's Playdates with God.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

God's Love Stories

Another month is on us already? Where does the time go? This is a mix of stories of vulnerability, of self-care both beautiful and hard, and of caring (or not) for others.
  • Alise Writes beautifully of preparing herself for a very personal talk (and listen to the music at the end of her post too)
  • Wordgazer on silencing techniques
  • I recently started following artist Flora Bowley and as part of her 30 day Blog Affair, she shared these reminders about creating art.
  • and I always seem to share something from Liz Lamoreux. This is excellent to hang onto if you are in need of taking a breath. Or twenty.
  • I saw this amazing young man at an awards ceremony I was attending because my nephew was getting a reward. Watch the YouTube video to see how Javier Espinoza has transformed the pain of his young life to improve the lives of others.
  • Rev. Margaret Watson shared a heart-breaking letter she wrote to her representative. Please read it. She works on a reservation that is in desperate straits after sequestration. And yet we got an FAA amendment. What is wrong with this country's priorities? (sorry, but this one made me livid.) How is sequestration affecting your neck of the woods?
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Friday, May 10, 2013

What To Expect When You're Not Expecting

What to Expect When You're Not Expecting (and Never Will)

  1. awkward silence after they ask "how many kids do you have?" (Or other questions where children are assumed to exist in your household)
  2. swallowed tears after they ask "so when are you two having kids?"
  3. or swallowed anger or a sharp retort bursting out of your lips at the same question
  4. the rush of mooshiness (you know that's a word) on seeing a newborn and being glad that the emotion is no longer *really* bittersweet
  5. your pets will become as adored as if they were your flesh and blood children
  6. being able to travel whenever you want - at least until the pets come along...
  7. that one Sunday in the year that is super awkward because you chose to be childless.

Yeah, you heard it right. Chose. 

I did try to get pregnant for a while, but when it got down to fertility drugs and the concept of triplets, well that's when I bailed. The concept of being responsible for one child terrified me. So three?

For a time I tried to get healthier to better my chances of getting pregnant naturally ...

We got older and the window started closing. We were content where we were, despite my occasional maternal urge.

Part of me was relieved: I was convinced I would make a terrible mother and didn't think I could handle it.

Once a year, I'm reminded of that series of decisions. Those decisions were the right ones and I am happy where I am now -- and to be honest, giving thanks that I don't have to figure out where money for college will come from.

But once a year, it feels like the world is telling me I made a bad decision, that I have epically failed my husband, our families, and even God.

Even at my church, where we bend over backwards to include mentors, teachers and mother figures on this Sunday -- and I thank God mothers aren't asked to stand -- it still feels weird to take a flower home unless it's going directly to my mother-in-law. 

I am not a failure. But I have to say, I'm getting pretty tired of being defined by what I do not have on this one day a year.

PS. My husband pointed out on reading this that it was a "we" decision not an "I". Isn't he awesome?

Tentatively linking up with Jennifer Fulwiler's:
7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

and linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee's #TellHisStory

Monday, May 6, 2013

Joy Dare: Sharing the Dare ....

I  have no pictures for the God-gifts discovered this week, but never fear, on Saturday my church had a high tea. I was hostess for a table (epic pictures here) and gave Joy Dare journals as gifts to my table-guests. I handmade all the journals shown (except one, because I miscounted during the process oops, so that person got bought journal from my stash of journals because I do have a thing for stationary, and this run on parenthesis has gone on for far too long).

Pictures of the handmade journals and their covers after the list. I used images from Ann Voskamp's Joy in A Box for the covers and for the pages inside.

Joining in Ann Voskamp's:

341. slow start
342. smiling strangers
343. new stretches
344. double-sided tape
345. "wooo woo-hoo" croon of dove nesting near bedroom window
346. almost making strawberry jam
347. sliced thumb
348. job interview request(s)
349. yellow butterfly flitting
350. cool breeze
351. choosing to watch my husband approach from quite a distance
352. pantyhose
353. [redacted]
354. aching glute from recent bowling
355. adding lace tablecloth (after finishing centerpiece. oops)
356. pesto mayonnaise
357. having a "dresser"
358. smooth skin
359. grey weather, spot of rain
360. online grocery shopping

Here are the pictures of the gift-journals:

detail of ribbon that encloses journal: handstitched
I hope my guests enjoy using them!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

High Tea ... Venice in Winter...

Venice in Winter was the theme I came up with for my table's design at my church's High Tea today.
hubby took this photo. He folded the napkins into bishop's hats too. Only fitting for a church tea!
Although -- folks didn't take too close a look at the images to recognize that they were Venetian buildings. Only one managed to see it straight off and she'd spent time there. (*sigh*)

I was telling my hubby I spent $30 on this (flowers and 4 napkins) -- but then I remembered that um, I bought the sea-blue lining and those clear beads on the table. So it's probably closer to $50. Much better than the year I bought plate chargers from Pottery Barn, that's for sure!

seafoam-colored trim found at Paper Tales. I was going to cut out the windows but realized
how much work that was going to be.
I made the gifts (handmade books decorated with Ann Voskamp's "Journal in a Box" images) with stuff from my stash. I'll show the covers of those in a later post.

yes, those are chandelier crystals (all though not all are glass) along with a few beads thrown in
The flowers were iris and daisies that had been sprayed with glitter glue. Glitter got everywhere and that just seemed very fitting.

how else to stop the wrinkles from upsetting cups? these glass stones sure came in handy
Yeah, so just look at the photos. I have nothing more to say! (Except that I forgot to take a picture of me all dressed up! Even I fit the theme (although it was more a Venice-in-high-summer outfit because it was warm today.))
glass glitter on name cards. Name on one side, Venetian sestiere on the other!

More photos in a later post of the gifts for each of my table guests.