Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pinterest Challenge: DIY Feed Sack Bulletin Board

Last weekend I got crafty and decided to take inspiration from Jones Design Company's coffee bag bulletin board - to make my own so that I could take part in the Pinterest Challenge from Young House Love and Bower Power.
Here's my inspiration pin:

And here's the materials I started with:
Corkboard Redo

This bulletin board has had a couple of different looks since I got in 2009. You can see it in my old apartment and in our previous townhouse.

The first step was to take the frame apart and rebuild it so it would fit in a smaller space in our kitchen. I measured the width and then prepared to rebuild. Once I had the pieces cut (I used a small handsaw), I re-glued the corners with Ecoglue. I left the resized frame out to dry overnight.

Corkboard Redo

The corners that I cut were not perfect, so on Sunday I spackled the holes. To add support, I used small tacks to attach cardboard corners to the back of the frame.

Corkboard Redo

I built the corkboard itself with a piece of cardboard and cork from Target (for about $6). I cut the cork to fit the cardboard. I originally bought the feed sack off of eBay for about $14; I was drawn to it because of the word Producer (I'm a web producer), and because it's from Minnesota (where I lived as a kiddo), and it to matches the colors we're working with in the kitchen. I laid the feedsack out to see how it would line up in the frame, and then cut it up the back so I could center the writing on the corkboard. To attach it to the board, I first pinned and then taped it down.
Corkboard Redo

Lastly, I painted the frame. It started as a bright white, and I initially thought a yellow might work. Yellow clashed with the feed sack so I pulled out some green paint that we'd gotten as part of a promo at Ace Hardware.
Corkboard Redo

And here's the finished product! I love how the frame color plays off the green in the feed sack. It's a fresh take on the Jones Company original, and isn't it funny that both of the sacks come from the Great Lakes?

Corkboard Redo

Monday, February 25, 2013

Lent: Defining the Promise

Over the past couple of weeks, we've been touring new day care centers for Zoom. At one, a Christian day care, I asked about their Bible study curriculum.

"We only teach the New Testament and Jesus, and not the Old Testament because it's not age appropriate."

I'll admit, I nearly cried. What you maybe don't know about me ... I went to Divinity School to study the Old Testament, and to get more of a perspective on the Ancient Near East. I love the early stories, I love the relationship of God and his people. I find Moses to be incredibly inspiring, because like so many men and women of the Old Testament, he was called by God, and was afraid, but stepped out in faith and became a leader, even though he questioned his initial calling. I can relate to this story, especially the early moment when Moses questions his authority and his calling, saying to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

And God said, “I will be with you." (Exodus 11 and 12)

 Moses came to understand B'rit, or the covenant with God. B'rit is God's Promise of having a relationship with His people. It's God's agreement that He will be with us, even when we're scared, even when we're not sure, abandoned, even when we're in the bottom of a pit and betrayed by family.

The Old Testament gives us living examples of people who persevered even in the face of challenges that were decidedly not "age appropriate," (Joseph, Ruth, Naomi, Dinah, Daniel, baby Moses) and in doing so we learn that regardless of our situation God will stay faithful. We find role models that inspire us, who we can relate to. And we find out that the big old loving promise started with God's people, in the Old Testament.

 It ripped out my heart that children would not be taught this. The beginning of the story. That God's promise is that old, as old as time, and it is timeless, unwavering. And God's promise continues, coming to life in the person of Jesus in the New Testament.

May each of you experience a bit of God's larger story today, embracing all of the moments that come your way, and recognizing that in the "in the bitter, in the sweet, in the calm and in the storm, All of Life is Holy Ground."

Friday, February 22, 2013

Lent: A Modern Prayer of Saint Francis for a Digital Integrator

At my new job, I hold the title of Digital Integrator.
No, it's not from the movie The Matrix and yes, I'm still waiting for my business cards. What it means is that I make sure all of the advertising campaigns that my company runs get integrated into digital media. On things like Facebook, Twitter, emails, Pinterest, and banner ads, and across their website. And what it means is that all day everyday I lead a large team, I help explain how to make things work, I get to play counselor, I hear out problems, I find ways to do things that no one has likely ever done before. I love this job and I have to be totally honest, it completely exhausts me. I'm an extrovert and I put it all on the line everyday, because I am a people person and I want my team to know I support them. To the point that last night (most nights, really), Sean and I fell asleep on the couch with american idols singing their hearts out to a snoring crowd. Anymore, I seem to have a whole arsenal of TiVo'd TV shows I like to sleep to, like Ellen and The Biggest Loser. Some nights we fall asleep at 8:30. We are beat.
And that's what I hear from so many people. All of us. We're exhausted. After a day of our own integrating, of interfacing, of doing things that have never been done before, all of us are weary. 
C2 shoot 056
This is me, holding a cup of mayo at a photo shoot for work.
I'm lucky that I love the work and that it goes fast. I'm lucky that Sean likes to cook (and is studying to be a chef ...yesssss), and that we have our time scheduled so we shop and run errands on the weekend.
And in the end, I asked for this. I straight up asked God to help me find a new way to support my family, to give our budget some breathing room, to take me back to the creative work I love and to challenge me. I've been challenged. And I know at the same time that I have not been given more than I can handle. Everyday I thank God for this, and at the same time, pray again to help me find a way to give up the crazy that comes with the job.

I find myself, sometimes, saying parts of the Prayer of St Francis under my breath. It manifests itself in a modern way -  Lord, make me an instrument of Your Peace. Help me understand the people I work with. Help me be Your Light in a place where Light is so very much needed. Let me live up to Your expectations, let me be in wonder of this job I have been given, let me find ways to make the burdens of others easier. In my actions and my ways, let me represent your love, and your hope. Let me see Your face in everyone I encounter. Let me recognize the beauty in each person and creature I meet. And please, oh Lord, give me the strength to keep on keepin' on.

In case you want to read the real Prayer of Saint Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.


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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Lent: Bathing in Goodness

In our first week of Lent, we are pondering the idea of Movement. Of God's movement in our lives, in Jesus' journey to the Cross.

My mind today is drawn to the early chapters of Genesis, to the creation. Such is the place of all beginnings and I find it a great place for starting Lenten reflections, too. Perhaps it was because I was at Lake Tahoe this last weekend, or because Kathleen introduced the idea of God's motion in our lives, but I am drawn Genesis 1:2 " the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters."

This passage fascinates me and fills my mind's eye, I find myself meditating on God, flying, silently, effortlessly,  hovering but inches from the surface of the water, dancing above it, leaving only ripples to indicate His presence. Maybe a bit like the pelican, gliding, focused, moving, intense. It would have been dark and cold (my guess), but there was God in motion on that first day. Soaring across the waters.

God's action in that first week included breathing that same life-wind into everything, and at the end of  the sixth day we are told that "God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good."

And there is the affirmation. That we are, all of us, everything here, is not just good, but VERY good. It says so, right there in Genesis. We are "blessed," we were given every plant, every seed, every beast, everything that has the breath of life, just for us.

It's a lot to taken in, that loving affirmation. That we are so loved, so chosen, so hand picked, and so very good, that God created all of this just for us.

And yet, it is just the kind of thing that we need as we step out into this journey of 40 days. That we are good. It is that simple. As we head out on this journey, it would be easy to get caught up in the noise in our head, the bustle around us every day, and listen to the other voices, the ones that tell us to doubt, to question ourselves, to think we might be "less than." It's time to shake those words from our minds, to begin to fill our hearts with a word for today, which is good. You are good.

What we really need to do is to listen, deeply, to that voice, blowing from the deep, coming from the waters that says we are good and chosen, that we are loved. It is something worth meditating on. Breathing in, breathing out, the goodness.

As we start these 40 days, I encourage each of you to soak in that goodness, to bathe in it, and to let it wash over you. To slow down, to listen, and to believe. Because you are indeed, very good.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Beginning of Lent: Living Words and Being a Quickaholic

Last year my friend Kathy and I led a Lenten Study Circle on Facebook and we are doing the same again this year. After a flurry of excited exchanges, we've landed on the notion of "Living Words." I can't wait to see how this theme plays out with nearly 50 women sharing their own words. Their own lives.

Zoom kicking it on a Wednesday night.
For today, for the beginning of Lent, I'm struck by the word "quickaholic." Did you see this post by Pete Wilson (no not the former California Governor).  The meat of his post (for me) is this:

"Maybe we all need to slow down a bit. Breathe a bit.

I know we're all quickaholics that have become enamored by words like, fast, easy and instant, but efficiency is not God's highest goal for you. Love is."

I can relate to these words. To the quickness that I easily get sucked in to during the day. Throughout the work day, there's a lot of rushing around, of being preoccupied with checking email, even while in a meeting. I think we've all become quickaholics.

And then I come home, and there's a tiny person who reminds me of another way. Of the way we all started, of living in the present. Of the days when "now" is the only thing, the people in front of us the only ones that matter for the moment. When we could focus and laugh and soak each other in. Of a whole lot of love.

This Lent I'm giving up the crazy and the addiction to "quick." Who is with me?

Monday, February 4, 2013

$20 Thrift Store Challenge!

This weekend I took part in the Young House Love $20 Thrift Store Challenge. We were in San Jose, and decided to see what we could find at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. If you haven't been to the ReStore, it's awesome. We found our medicine cabinets there at $125 each. And it's my go to place to stock up on painter's tape, brushes, light switch covers, etc. It's hit or miss, as they don't stock specific items, but instead sell things that are donated or that they are not going to use in one of the Habitat for Humanity houses.

Anyway, back to the challenge. Here I am with my $20 bill in front of the ReStore.

$20 thrift store challenge

We did a couple of laps up and back in the store, and then I saw "it." A gorgeous brass and hand painted ceramic chandelier. And when I saw it, I squealed, I ran around in a circle, and did a dance, and could not actually find the words to adequately explain my excitement. Then Sean asked if I wanted it, and I said "YES!"

But there was no price on it. Anywhere. So we asked the manager and he looked it up and down and said, "Twenty dollars."

I have no idea how or why this amazing chandelier was $20, but it was. I had completely forgotten about the challenge, and moved it up to the front of the store before I recalled that I was supposed to take a picture of it.

So here she is at the front:
$20 thrift store challenge

And this is the shelf I found her on, down on the bottom:
$20 thrift store challenge

And lastly, here is my lovely in our kitchen. I really can't wait to get her all all cleaned up and hung in the dining room. I'm thinking some little shades might add a little modern update to her. Otherwise, she's all I've ever wanted in a light fixture :) and I'm so excited about the Spanish flair she'll add to our little casita!

$20 thrift store challenge

Friday, February 1, 2013

Zoom Friday: Burning Love, an Elvis (and Elmo) Fan

Last night during dinner we started talking about Elvis. Zoom (now 2) has been a fan for a "long time," and tonight as he had peanut butter and bananas (The King's favorite sandwich), Zoom chatted along with us, saying both Elvis and Elmo.

Then he jumped down from his chair and pulled a blanket over his shoulders like a cape. I like to think its because he has seen Elvis in a cape.

Wise men say

We pulled up the footage of "Burning Love" on YouTube (from the 1973 Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite album). And Zoom started dancing.

Zoom dances a lot like my Dad. And my Dad used to play "Burning Love" off of an LP, seemingly on endless repeat when I was Zoom's age. Our family had epic dance parties when I was growing up. I was struck by the different ways we play music, the different generations, but the love of this music, and the uncanny likeness in dance moves.

Here's my little one, dancing like his Grandpa:
Burning Love from Paula on Vimeo.
Have a great weekend and Go! 49ers!