Monday, August 22, 2011

I've been missing for a while...

...because I am 


...but in a good way.  =)

I LOVE teaching so far.

My kids are awesome, my colleagues are awesome... 
I mean let's be honest... it doesn't get much better than getting paid to sing and teach others to sing all day!

Love my job.

(Remind me of that later when I'm on here stressed out and freaking out, k?  Thanks.) 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

101 in 1001 Update

*~*~* Day 206 of 1001 *~*~*

A list of things I've completed since my last update:

5. Read a classic novel
June 26, 2011
I enjoyed every minute of this brilliant novel.  Though reading the book usually causes one to look down on the movie in most cases, this was just the opposite.  I loved reading Austen's expansions on characters which weren't elaborated on in the movie.  It helped me better understand some moments on screen that had always baffled me.  Loved it.

12. Start my career
July 1, 2011
On July 1st I was officially hired as the new choral director at a local high school.  I am pumped and feeling incredibly blessed.  Excited and anxious all at the same time.  School starts in less than a week, ahhh!  =)
PS, I already had my first performance with the chamber choir at the Royal's game a few weeks ago, they did awesome!

23. Meet Regularly with my accountability partner
Summer 2011
Pictured above is my lovely accountability partner, Britney, with her awesome hubby, Travis.  Brit and I have been accountability partners for a few years now and at times have met more regularly than others.  This past year has been rather irregular so when summer started we made a goal to make weekly meetings together a priority.  It has been great and we have grown a lot!  Also in this post you will see updates about my week 100% make-up free and a new 'Godly wife' book I'm working through... both of these have been/are being ventured through with the lovely Britney.  =)

27. Go a full week 100% make-up free
July 23, 2011
Mentioned above, my accountability partner, Britney, and I recently challenged each other to one week 100% make-up free.  You can read more about what I learned that week in my full post here.

42. Plan a surprise for Mark
June 27, 2011
Talented photographer and beloved friend, Kristin Smetona, helped me create a one-of-a-kind birthday gift for my husband with a boudoir photo session.  Yes, this is personal and yes, I'm sharing this in blogland.  Why?  Because I believe this is a wonderful gift for any woman to give to her husband and I love what Kristin has to say on the matter... if you want to hear more about that, ask.  =)  Click here to check out Smetona Photo.

101. Make strawberry jam
June 21, 2011
Our freezer is now stocked with this deliciousness.  

A list of things in progress since my last update:

24. Complete 5 crafts in my "Whit's Projects" folder
"Whit Projects" craft #3 = Baby Burp Cloths

56. Do the mending I've neglected
This was a large pile, okay folks?  But I sat down in one day and tackled everything except the jeans which I need to purchase patches for -- yay me!  =)

79. Read 3 new 'Godly wife' books
The Power of a Praying Wife is the first 'Godly wife' book I am tackling.  Together with my accountability partner, Britney, I am examining my own heart while committing to intentional prayer for my husband.  Highly recommended book!  =)

81. Do 5 random acts of kindness
Okay, well I feel a little weird sharing my random acts of kindness because that almost feels like bragging... so I'm just going to leave it at I took an opportunity to help a stranger I met while running errands... I think it may have blessed me more than him.  And that was #1 of 5.

Click here to check out the original "101 in 1001" post.  
I'll be updating it with completion dates and links to update posts {such as this one} as I go.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

fresh face, fresh perspective

About a week ago, my lovely accountability partner, Britney, and I decided to embark on a week long challenge.

We decided to go one week 100% make-up free.

We've talked on and off about doing a challenge like this for a few years now but never had the "time" {which actually means never had the guts}.  ;)

The motivation?

To reveal idols.  
Idols which have been built by insecurities many women today struggle with.  Insecurities resulting from finding our identity in beauty as the world has defined it, not in the truth of beauty as God defines it.

We anticipated it wouldn't be easy and were anxious as our "start"day grew nearer to discover what God would reveal in each of our hearts.

First of all, I have to tell you something funny... we rescheduled two or three times.  The cause?  Events that we just couldn't NOT wear make-up to!  Hysterical, right?  We fully realize {then and now} how completely this contradicts the entire purpose of this make-up free week.

Okay, so skip ahead.

What did I experience?

It's interesting actually.  I realized that going about life make-upless didn't effect me the way I thought it would.  I thought I would spend the week demolishing my idols of pride and vanity and that wasn't exactly the way it played out.

More often than not, I didn't notice much different that week.  
No one treated me different or even seemed to notice the difference {Isn't it funny how we can become so focused on ourselves that we assume everyone around us will notice how great we do or don't look?}  and I didn't feel as insecure as I thought I would {I must honestly note that as a zit-prone kinda gal, I was thankful I happened to be having a "clear skin" week}.

What was different?
I did notice when I looked in the mirror, and when I noticed, my thoughts weren't often positive.
I found that a few different days that week I tended to take on an attitude of, "Well I'm not wearing make-up, I'll just throw my hair in a ponytail and wear some comfy clothes."  That was an interesting realization for me.  It was as if I'd made a decision on those days that without make-up, it wasn't worth making myself presentable any other way... interesting.

What I learned?

Make-up isn't as much a part of my identity as I thought it was.  However, it is still enough a part of it that it needs to be kept in check.  No, I don't believe wearing make-up and wanting to look attractive and presentable is wrong.  I also don't believe any woman, myself included, should have to be wearing make-up in order to feel attractive and presentable.  

Our identity -- knowing we are beautiful inside and out -- should come from one place alone.  We should know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we are beautiful women, inside and out, because we are created by a beautiful and holy God.  David Crowder nailed this point on the head when he wrote, "He makes everything glorious.  He makes everything glorious, so what does that make me?"

Now, the hard part...
How do I move forward?

This is actually a really tough question right now.  When Britney and I met at the end of our make-up free week we discussed this rather extensively.  Neither of us are really sure, actually.  We both agree that considering what's been revealed in our own hearts, we don't want to just call it a goal met and move forward as if nothing has happened.  We also both agree that it's not wrong to wear make-up.  I think we've both decided {correct me if I'm wrong, Brit} that it's important to continually evaluate our motivations behind make-up.  We also want to re-evaluate how much make-up we wear and how often, because clearly, it didn't bother us a whole lot to let it go for a week, so maybe we don't need to be wearing it as much or as often... ?  

The bottom line is that we want to move forward in the confidence that we have been created beautiful inside and out by a God who loves us and we need to wear that confidence everyday with or without our make-up.


So there you have it, folks.
I would challenge any woman out there to try a week like this one... you may be surprised what a time of increased vulnerability gives the Lord opportunity to reveal in you!  I'm certain He's far from finished revealing things in me.

Oh, PS, this was #27 on the list, woo!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

DIY Baby Burp Cloths

I recently made a set of these cute little guys for my big sister, Jenna as well as my dear, dear friend, Britney.

These are a fun, simple and affordable gift for baby showers, baby arrival, or just because!

Birdseye Fabric
Quilt Binding
Matching Thread

I used a tutorial found on one of the blogs I follow, but I cannot find the link for the life of me now, so sorry.  But I will give a simplified run-down of what I did.

Now, I am a precise rule follower -- sometimes to the point of fault -- the first time I do anything, so at the end of this post I will also include a few points of things I will do differently next time.

1) Line up three layers of birdseye material, one on top of the other
2) You can probably cut two cloth widths from one stack... approximately 12 inches in width and 18 in length... adjust to your liking if you'd like them longer/shorter.
3) Run the long edges through the sewing machine, then turn the material inside-out / rightside-out... whatever you want to call it.
4) Cut and pin your choice of ribbon to line the inside third of the cloth -- stitch it in place then trim excess ribbon from edges.
5) Line top and bottom edges (the short ones) with quilt binding, pin in place then stitch and trim excess, carefully, as close to edge seam as possible.  Careful not to cut into the seam of your long edge.

Disclaimer: I am no seasoned seamstress... I just do it how it makes sense to me!  So if any of you reading this are going, "No, not that way!" I take no offense... if you know a better method then by all means!  =)


I think they're adorable and the mommies appeared to think so as well!  =)

Okay, now for the few things I would do differently...

1. One thing I did change after the first set was sewing the long edge and then flipping the fabric inside out.  The tutorial said to stitch then trim the excess with pinking sheers... I did that with the first set and it didn't go well -- frayed like crazy -- so I changed my method with the second set.  I believe it was a good call.

2. In the future, I would add some extra material to the middle section of these burp cloths.  Let's face it, we all know that's where the majority of the mess is usually aimed, and we could use some extra protection there.  ;)  I would have added it with the second set, but I didn't have enough material and had a deadline.

Alrighty folks, I think that's it! 
Let me know if you make some of these fun little guys yourself... I sure had a good time with them.

Now I must be off to see what our crazy pups won't stop barking at in the back yard... ;)
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Let's try this look for a while

I've been frustrated with the set up of our living room for a while now.
To be honest, I never have put much thought into it.
This is mainly because when we moved in, we didn't have much so things were placed in practical locations.
Then we moved to Texas and my mom moved her stuff into our house.
Then we moved back and moved our stuff back in with her stuff... 
...then we bought more stuff in anticipation of losing her stuff when she left.

Needless to say, we were crammed in like sardines at this point.

Then mom left and I quickly moved things to where I thought were the only reasonable places for them...
but it never felt right.

Today, I am proud to say, genius struck!

It hit me while observing a conversation in our living room which closer resembled onlookers at a tennis match rather than family having a nice chat.

So after most everyone had taken flight, I roped my mom into helping me shuffle a few things around and we went from this:

To this.

It's amazing what a few minor changes can do!

We switched the chair closest to the dining room with the bookcase in the corner by the coat closet and moved the couch and other chair toward the far windows a bit in order to create a more functional, conversational sitting area.  I'm also pleased as this has opened up space between the living room and dining room areas helping to create a more distinct separation between the two.

I'm not pleased with how "blocky" and "in-the-way" the bookshelf seems, but this won't be a problem for long as it is soon to be replaced with one of these beauties...

...which my incredible hubby is going to build for me.
Simple, airy, decorative... I am so excited.

The rug from the old pic was left from my mom.  She didn't really have a place for it and we didn't have anything else at the time so she left it with us to use until whenever.  

Well while grocery shopping at Aldi the other day, I found this 4x6 brown shag rug for $29.99!  It's not as big as we ultimately want but it was a steal of a price and one step closer to the large brown rug we would like to find eventually.  So in the end, a small price for an "in-between" rug that matches a little better and makes us a bit happier... plus, when we replace it, this smaller rug will be the perfect touch to help cozy up my new office at school!

Well, overall, I'm happy.
Little changes making big differences... to me anyway.

PS, while I was in the "rearranging mood" I decided to try a new look on the ol' blog.  I'm still workin' on a new header, but let me know what you think!