Friday, August 31, 2012

Another way to create 'Me' space

Before the Renovation of Fall 2010, I had other challenges in making a space that was a 'retreat' for me. Younger kids and a diagnosis of clinical depression were some of the markers that marked those days. During that time, I made what is still one of my favorite crafts to this day. If you look at my pictures from my blog the other day, you will still see it has a place of pride.

I took a bedstand table that was just too small for me to pile my lamp, books, journals, and coffee (!!) on AND a piece of wood that I had from another project.

Then I pulled out a folder of magazine cutouts and cards. (This is a sometimes folder. Sometimes I love cutting pictures and words up and storing them for 'I like that, I might use that' projects.)

Then I screwed the wood to the top of the bedside table. (This was a nice bedside table. My mother might have said 'Why would you ruin that nice bedside table?' But it wasn't working for me. Or anyone else in my house. So I made it work. I think this is an important lessson that I frequently need to remember.) I probably used drywall nails - we have an abundance of those. And I bet I only eye-balled the edges to see if they were even.

Then I used Modpodge to create a collage of beauty and inspiring words. I kept words that I most wanted to see where they would be least likely to be covered up (HOPE is right on the front edge). After I had everything in it's place, I went over the whole thing with another layer.

I did not seal this any further. If I had wanted a moisture seal, I would have used shellac. But I was too excited to use it. And I like the way that it has aged a little bit and picked up a bit of my morning coffee. And I have full permission to add layers and other phrases if there comes another day when I need to refresh it.

This is one of the few projects (probably the only one besides my kids) that continues to catch my eye and take my breath away after four or five years of making it.

So if you don't have a space that can be set apart separately, this is a great alternative. It could be a side-table, a lamp (OH can you imagine buying a cheap lamp and decorating the 'trunk' to suit your season? - or a lamp shade!), or a frame collage on the wall.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Getting Ready for School - or putting up shades in my bedroom

The Institution
This is our bedroom - a few months ago. It has been our 'newly renovated' bedroom since December 2010. Can you see that clean, crisp white finish? Yeah, that's not a testimony to our preference for modern decor. 

We've read the books and gone to marriage conferences. We know that we're supposed to put priority on 'our space'. We know better. But we still chose to live this way for almost two years. There were definitely some extenuating reasons for our choosing to live in a room that resembles certain special institutions featured in horror movies. 
The Fabric
The colors are wrong in this
picture, but you can see the

I finally hit a breaking point last winter and started talking colors with my favorite Aubuchon Hardware paint lady. She told me to find my window fabric first and then to choose colors. So the hunt was on. And I found some fabric that  I really like. 

Wall and Ceiling Paint
And I picked out paint for the walls, ceiling (thank you Matt Hankey for teaching me to color my ceilings) and woodwork. It has taken more time to move this project forward than a room has ever taken me. 

This week, I was very excited to finish the lined roman shades - and hang them up. I think I will add a valance across the top - maybe of the dark blue-green color that you see pops of on the shades. But I want it also to coordinate with a new quilt/comforter (our current winter quilt is the one that I made for us when Caleb was still a baby -  I love it, but it is showing it's age and it is time to say goodbye to it).

Almost Done
The blessing that has come out of this long process is that through a series of trying things out in a different way, I think we may finally have moved into our bedroom in a way that fits us and fits the space. We've had the bed in several places. What was originally an office for me is now a closet. And this spot in front of the windows is shaping up to be a really nice place for me to sit and read. 

With a space that invited me to rest and renew, I think I might be ready to get our homeschool year started. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I always hesitate to blog about what has happened during my 'quiet time' in the morning (or whenever it happens). When I was a worship leader in training I was taught to make sure you had time to worship personally - not just in preparation. This has followed me into other areas of my life - preaching, writing, even parenting. 

What happened this morning during quiet time was just so cool. So I'm going to share it. And trust that God will continue to teach me about the balance of personal worship and devotion and sharing it in public. 
(If you look carefully you'll notice the mug is coffee-deprived.
But it's my favorite so I wanted it in this picture.)

I had a terrible time settling down this morning. If it could distract me, it did distract. Ironic, since this morning was the first morning all week that the kids have been (mostly) respectful of my 'Mom is going to grab some quiet time. Please only interrupt in large bloody emergencies.'

As I sat down, I thought I was going to read Colossians - where I've been hanging out most of the last couple weeks. But upon exhale of a deep breath Psalm 57 popped into my head. So I went there. I read it. I read it again. (I'm sure you never experience the zone out after verse 3 and have to go back because your eyes might be reading but your heart is thinking about the car appt.) I read it again.

As I read verse 2 this time, I realized I didn't really have a great understanding of the word "vindicate".
I cry out to God Most High,
    to God, who vindicates me

So I pulled out my kindle fire and went to The definition of the English word 'vindicate' includes:
  1. to clear, as from accusation
  2. justify
  3. uphold by argument or evidence
  4. to assert, maintain or defend against opposition
  5. to claim for one self or another
Because I know that English isn't the original language of Psalms, and because I'm not a Hebrew scholar, my next swipe at the word was to see what other versions chose to use as a word in this place. 
  • NASB - who accomplishes all things for me
  • AMP - who performs on my behalf and rewards me
  • CEB - who comes through for me
  • ESV - who fulfills his purpose for me
  • NCV - who does everything for me
I did look at the Hebrew as best I could, but I'm waiting for the Hebrew guy to get home to learn more so that I can not write something that I might need to retract later on. 

Plus, on their own, those 10 things are enough for me to chew on for awhile. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Ipod Sock

Finished this for my boy today.

We laugh about how often I knit something for him and he outgrows it before it gets into his possession. And he has kindly asked me to NOT make him home-made socks like I have made the girls and Marc.

We figured with this, we couldn't miss.

Pattern available on Ravelry:
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sunflowers Update

Got home from Boston today and was surprised by my first sunflower blossom! What a lovely treat to mark the end of our summer travelling!

Welcome, Sunflower!

The girls next to the tall plants. (The one that blossomed is
one of the shorter variety.)

Did I mention that it was raining pretty hard when I took these snaps?
The girls were such good sports about it. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

"I trust you."

As I walked away from my almost 13yo son, I realized those might be the most important words that I can be saying to him right now.

What I'm really saying to him is that I trust the hard work we have done for 12 years of being mom and son. What I'm really saying is that I trust God to surround him with love and truth when I'm not there. What I'm really saying is that I'm prepared to gently walk through the mess of any mistakes that he makes in his independent choices. What I'm really saying is that I'm proud of him and love him immensely.

He's a pretty terrific guy.
"Mom, please take this picture and get it over with."

Friday, August 10, 2012

I Love....

I love music. I have always loved music. I expect I will always love music.

Aside from church choirs and school performances, I never really saw a lot of LIVE music until I got married. And even then, it was a rare opportunity that would have us spend money on tickets and transportation to be around live music.

Fireflight on the
MountainTop Stage
at Soulfest
Things have changed, though. Last year (I think), my friend Megin made it a goal to get to a certain number of live performances (not just music). In the past couple years, my friend Matt, a great drummer, began playing in a couple bands. Three years ago, my son began playing trumpet. Last year, my oldest daughter began playing piano. Last year we began our annual pilgrimages to Soulfest.

I love, LOVE live music. I love supporting artists. I love watching them and listening to them play. I love artists in progress, not just in perfection. I love seeing music as people, not just itunes downloads.

The more time I spend around live music, the more I realize it wakes me up in the deepest of places. An entire bad day or bad week, will be turned around with a live performance.

I am becoming more and more aware of the things that bring me awake to who I am created to be. I am many years out of the baby/toddler years, but homeschooling seems to fill in all those hours that I once dreamed would be 'mine'. I'm learning again (and again and again) that they were never 'mine' to begin with. And as I release my tight grip (again and again) I find that God has given me places deep within myself that He uses especially to fill this vessel that regularly empties into the places and people He has put around me.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Soulfest 2012

(from Soulfest website banner)
 Our first year at Soulfest was last year. It takes place at Gunstock Mountain in NH each summer. This year was it's fifteenth anniversary. We've heard about it as long as it has existed, but have always had an excuse to not go.

We took our kids to Soulfest 2011 because we wanted to expand their view of the Body of Christ AND expose them to the super variety of music at an event like Soulfest. We wanted to support an important ministry in New England. 

Soulfest 2012 was the kids 'big Christmas present' - and, I think, the one they were most excited about. We have been counting down to our second Soulfest all year. We went this year because it is one of the best discipleship tools in our parenting tool-belt that we have. 

Soulfest is incredible. For so many reasons. 5 stages around the mountain, dozens of artists, representatives of different ministries, opportunities to learn or serve or give, places to pray and get prayer, thousands of people. 

Thousands of people. Young, Old, Boys, Girls, Dreadlocks, Tight Braids, Skirts, Shorts, Tattoos, Collared Shirts, Mosh Pits, Lawn Chairs, RV's, Tattered Tents, Broken Hearted, Encouraged, Afraid, Hopeful. All of us together. I can't think of a better picture to give my kids (and myself) of the Kindgom of God and the Body of Christ, here and now.

My Picture. I love the NH's
White Mountains.