Friday, March 11, 2011

A Friday Aftenoon

It looks like spring today and it feels more like spring today.  We're even going to Spring Forward this weekend.  These brought some of the spring mood inside...

I decided for certain on Ash Wednesday what I wanted to focus on for the next 40 days.  While some of those thoughts are personal, I will share that I want to work on being fully present in each moment.  I desire to discipline my mind not to run unleashed through all of my concerns, to do lists, and ideas so much that I forget to engage in the beauty of each small moment.  I am so much more grateful and content when I live this way.

I was reminded of this as I took my camera and began snapping some photos today.  Plants and flowers always encourage me to be present in the moment, because I stop, crouch, lean forward, and focus carefully so as not to miss out on the artistry of each small detail masterfully designed by our Heavenly Father.  What would it be like if I engaged in this manner more often?  Would I notice more people in need?  Would I catch a smile more often from my family?  Would I spend more time in awe at the work of God's hands?  How many times have I missed something precious?

I hope that I will discover more about living into each moment so I don't lose out!  It's a challenge to change old habits and start new ones.  But I love it when something fresh and new is blooming.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Gifts from the Weekend

I returned yesterday from a refreshing weekend in Oak Brook.  I had my friendship tank filled to the brim with great conversations.  Some were funny, some were serious, some were revealing, and some were instructive.  I even got a good makeup tip (Bare Minerals, anyone?).   Both Saturday and Sunday mornings allowed for a walk on the area paths with a friend.  Yup, we bundled up and braced ourselves against the wind while we chatted non-stop about life (thanks to my sweet roommates for putting up with my early rising!).  That's what I love about spending time with women, especially my sisters in Christ this weekend.  It is so incredibly good in our current culture to see and actively experience TRUE beauty, which I observed in a community of women seeking and worshiping God with all of their hearts.

My life's journey over the last ten months has been pointing my heart and mind to the state of my soul.  God has used multiple tools to lead me to new places of healing and learning.  I have been striving daily (often minute-to-minute!) to train my thought patterns not to drown in the lethal cocktail of anxiety and insecurity, and to lean into scripture like never before for the only effective antidote.  This weekend was a resounding affirmation to these past months and my current efforts to live out the truths I am learning in fresh ways. 

One of the workshops I attended, taught by Susan Shadid, was called Liturgy Matters.  Not growing up in a liturgical setting and having little exposure to many of those traditions and their related history, I found it intriguing.  I am fascinated by the idea of following a rhythm of time that draws my mind to Christ throughout the year.  As a result, I have decided that for the first time I will participate in the Lenten season this year.  I will be attending an Ash Wednesday service this week and am now reflecting on how I personally will use these 40 days to contemplate Christ's sacrifice and what this means in my life (there is a helpful overview here).  I am eager to experience this Lenten season and wonder how it may impact Easter weekend, which often goes by with a nod and a prayer...topped with a loaded Easter buffet that leaves me stuffed and more interested in seeking a nap than in celebrating Christ's miraculous resurrection.

I am so grateful today for the gifts from this weekend.

           Blessings to you today as you trek through life.  May your soul know true beauty.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Soul Matters

The soul matters.  In a big way.

The last week we've had a lot going on at home.  In addition to busy schedules and long, unfinished task lists, my son was ill.  Several days were spent inside our little warm cocoon at home and we were both itching to get out.  As soon as we walked through the door and hit the sidewalk, he opened up his little arms wide to the world as if to say, "I'm back and I'm lovin' it!"  I know how he felt.  We even got to make a stop at his favorite park down the block to take a quick trip down the slide.

 This upcoming weekend is a women's retreat through our church called Soul Matters.  I'm staying with friends in a nice hotel and enjoying good teaching and personal time.  I'm leaving Friday and returning Sunday at lunch so I'll get a wonderful opportunity to enjoy some connecting with God, others, and myself.  I'm definitely bringing my running shoes along and hoping I can find a pretty trail in the area where the hotel is located.

When the soul gets a little weary from the daily trek of life, it's good to make sure that time with God is a priority.  Even if it can't be in the form of a weekend retreat, I find that quiet time to journal, read, and pray sharpens my vision and fills my tank for the next task at hand.  It's helpful for me to be in touch with those habits and activities that replenish my soul. First and foremost, I need...
Time with God.  This is all I need, I could stop the list here!  

There are other soul "thirst quenchers" that I can think of too.  This is not an exhaustive list, but a start:
  • Walking outdoors (surprise!)
  • Time having fun with family
  • Journaling
  • Crafting
  • Reading
  • An evening out with friends
  • A new decor or cooking magazine
  • Trips to the flea market
  • Going to the library
  • Trying a great new restaurant
  • Putting my feet up with a glass of wine and watching a good movie with my awesome husband
Make time for the things that speak to your soul, your soul matters!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

DIY Sunburst Mirror

There are certain design elements that I am drawn to every time I see them.  I love mirrors!  Not necessarily looking IN them, mind you, but I like the way they embellish a room.  In a couple of weeks I'm going to be doing another mirror project...well, I'm getting ahead of myself.  Most of the sunburst mirrors I have seen are quite pricey, so I decided to try one of my own.  I saw a few ideas out there which were great, like this...

Photo by Isabella & Max Rooms
and this...
Photo by Nesting Place
and this too.
Photo by Under the Table and Dreaming
I decided to head out to  Home Depot and use a little of the above inspiration and little of my own.  I like my version too!

  • Plumbing equipment from Home Depot (I'm sorry, I cannot tell you what they are, exactly.  I found them in the plumbing section with bins of similar equipment.  See pictures below.)
  • Round wooden clock base from Michaels
  • Craft mirror
  • Hot glue gun & glue sticks
  • Spray paint
  • Hardware to hang pictures
  • Craft paper (optional)
  • Mod Podge (optional)
  • Beads (optional)
  • Sandpaper
1.  Collect supplies.  Peel tags from plumbing pieces.

2.  Lay out the desired spacing around wooden circle.  For those who are more patient than I am, you may want to draw lines on the back of the wood circle to be exact!  I just "eyeballed" it.

3. Start gluing the copper plumbing pieces around the wood circle.  I started by placing two pieces across from each other.  Imagine a line going from 9 to 3 on an analog clock, and then two more pieces placed at 12 and 6.  These are your base pieces.  It is easier to fill in from these starting points.

Note:  Since the copper parts have a curve to them, it was necessary to elevate them on a pile of books while gluing.  I started with a stool but the books worked more effectively.  I also found that the curved shape of the pieces made it necessary for me to hold them securely in place for about 15-20 seconds before I let go.

4.  Once the pieces are glued on, you may choose to cover up the holes in the copper pieces with beads or another embellishment.  This is optional--I just preferred to add another detail to my design.  Using the hot glue gun again, I circled around each hole with glue and then placed the bead over the top of each hole.

5.  Now that the gluing is finished, the pieces can be painted.  My pictures don't show this, but I used dark grey spray paint first and then white on top.  I knew I would use sandpaper to distress the mirror, and I wanted a uniform base color of dark grey to peek through the white when sanding.

 6.  After the paint has completely dried, it's time to begin distressing! Take the sandpaper and sand as much as desired on the wood.  A VERY light rubbing across the copper pieces which are your "rays" (as well as the beads) will also result in an aging effect.

7.  (Optional step)  I took a piece of craft paper, traced it to fit the circle and cut it out.  I spread mod podge on the back of the paper so it would adhere to the back of the mirror.  It's not perfectly flat, but it gives a more finished appearance.

8.  Get a hammer and attach the picture hanging hardware.

Here is the finished project in my living room!


I'm linking up to Transformation Thursday at Shabby Chic Cottage.and Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest.