Monday, October 31, 2011

Upcycled Play Kitchen

So, FishPapa and I have wanted to get LittleFish a play kitchen. We prefer toys that are imagination based play, and what could be better than teaching our boy that cooking is for him too? (He always loves to help in the kitchen when I can find things for him to do...)

The problem is how freaking expensive those giant pieces of molded plastics are. It's a little shocking, and certainly not my favorite to have in our home. Then, when I was on Pinterest, I saw the cutest thing: Repurposed furniture being turned into Play Kitchens. After looking for a while, I decided I would try to see if it was a do-able project for me. If I borrow or buy a jigsaw and find the pieces at thrift stores, I think it's a do-able and inexpensive project!

So, today i looked at Goodwill (total bust). They wanted $50 for nightstands. Not cool. Someone needs to remind them that they are a thrift store. So I went down to the Salvation Army thrift store: SCORE! I found the world's ugliest piece of furniture that is PERFECT to upcycle into a play kitchen for $15. Once I get my hands on a handheld jigsaw, I can cut the whole for the sink and trim a piece of plywood we have to become the back splash. I'll spend the next few days finding knobs and faucets, and doing some planning, but I've got that new project buzz. Maybe even more so because I can do some cool repurposing while making something sweet and cool for my boy!

Here is the before picture of our play kitchen:

And the after, once we set it up for Christmas:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Choose Joy

Today, I cried for a woman I'll never meet, but who has impacted my life more than she'll ever know. She wasn't famous, and couldn't even leave her home. Gitzen Girl is truly remarkable though. Beautiful and insightful, she chose joy instead of al the things she could have.

See, she has a chronic illness. Something that's a pretty touchy thing for me. I've spent my whole life around people who are chronically ill. My mother passed away earlier this summer after a nearly 35 year battle with MS. It affected every area of my life. Three of my closest friends are chronically ill. I'm not even sure how that happened, but these are the women God has placed in my life.

Gitzen has done something remarkable though. Something most people don't. She chose joy.  She's been in terrible pain, but has chosen to focus on others. To LOVE, beautifully, passionately.  She's reminded me to  stop and smell flowers, to enjoy my sweet puppy. Her word for the year is "Praise". She considers herself blessed. She hasn't been able to even open her windows to smell fresh air, and getting out of bed very hard. Constant pain - but she remained beautiful and centered in that God is Good - All the time.

Now, her time here is drawing to a close. She's looking homeward. She's ending well. So loved, and has impacted SO MANY people with her choice.

I cry because beauty this precious is rare, and the world will lose this special light. Because of those left behind, and their pain. I cry because I know this sadness. But for Gitzen, I cry tears of happiness, knowing that she will be free of her shell that has held her. She will be whole and healed, and she will be rewarded for the way she lived.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


So, it's been a while since I posted anything.

It's been a rough year. The weather has SUCKED. I lost my Grandpa & my Mom in the span of 3 weeks. And I always feel at the edge of the depression cliff.

Surprisingly, potty training was much easier than I had ever hoped it would be. Our accidents are mostly limited to clothing failures, and it took so fast and well it was shocking.

Today I heard a worship band at an event. They were mediocre at best. They played and sang well, and it took me a long time to figure out why I was so put off by them. There was something about them that made them feel old to me, and I prayed that we wouldn't sound like that in a couple of weeks when we play a festival. Finally, as they played a favorite U2 song of mine, it dawned on me. They played and sang pretty well, but something was missing. Conviction about what they were singing.

When you listen to Bono, you hear the pain in his voice. You feel the passion coming through the speakers at you. He believes what he sings. Jessica, my favorite worship leader, is that way. I still can't get over how she would play, sing and cry at the same time. She allowed her heart to be full of what she played.

How often does that lack of conviction, that lack of passion hold us back from the things we are pretty good at becoming the things we are great at? The things we were meant to be known for?

Thursday, February 24, 2011


In the last week or two, I feel like there's a rebirth going on inside of me. The winter was long and hard, and the long frozen bulbs of life and beauty are beginning to come to alive again. I don't even think there's been time for them to come out of the ground and show the changes happening below.

But I see that tiny spark of hope, of community, and I know that all it takes is one good breath to either blow it out, or to fan it to flame. I feel so protective of it, wanting to make sure it doesn't go out again.

I have been so lucky to have musician friends, and often their own songs have really identified a period of time in my life. Gabe's music, filled with wonder, was there as we began our journey together as husband and wife, and had adventures and the awe of God to carry us.  Jess's music was there to comfort as I descended into the dark places of my life to begin to deal with the pool of pain that had been built inside me to protect everyone. But I can't really say that these last few years have had a song.

In so many ways, that was the problem. I left the places that gave my heart songs to sing, and went to the cold reaches of space. Eerily quiet and frozen, I sat, waiting to hear a melody I could pick up. Things that SHOULD have had songs in my life were crushed by grief and depression.

Finally, a lifeline was thrown out, and I grabbed for it. Eucharisto. The practice of communion with God through thanksgiving. I remember this in bits and pieces, but that was before the pool of pain and the vault of memories opened to reveal a life that I had not realized was my own. The recollection of the past allowed me to really begin to see things as they were, not as i wished them to be. But it hurt more than I thought I could bear.

And the thanksgiving stopped. I was angry, hurt, and a million other emotions at everything from that past life, especially God. Until the last week, I hadn't even begun to swim the depths of what that meant.

Now, as I put toes into the water I wonder if I am brave enough to go all the way in. To REALLY practice thankfulness for the little things so that I will learn to give thanks even in the hard things. But even the toes in the water have begun to thaw my heart, and I hear music again. Right now, It's Jer's music, open and honest, but with incredible gratitude toward the Father who Overwhelms us, who Washes over us and holds us in our dark places.

My tears fall, but they aren't angry or full of sorrow anymore. They are tears of Eucharisto, thankful tears to the Father who loves me and IS Good, not matter how I feel.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What God Does...

The way God makes changes, how he creates a theme for us to see over and over, until we finally realize he is trying to speak life into a new area of our's baffling, and completely beautiful!

I was struggling with insecurity in a friendship. I was completely afraid that the person would be so changed from an experience that they would no longer want me in their life. I KNEW that sounded wrong, but I couldn't figure out where this was coming from. In a flash a couple nights ago, it came to me.

Because it had happened in my past. I had a friend make a similar trip, and there were tears, I will miss yous, letters between us...then "I can't be friends with you anymore, you are a bad influence on my life". I seriously had another young adult tell me this. It had been the first female I had poured myself out to in years... I walked back into not wanting to be around women for several years after that. I still can tend to hold them at arms length.

For Years God has been working on my relationships with women. Too many wounds to try to clean out and heal at once. And then this beautiful young woman came into my life, and I opened up. It's an equal friendship, neither of us needing the other more (My other pattern is to choose people who "need" me so that they won't leave me). It's been hard, but beautiful.

This insecurity was making me afraid to keep opening myself up and being available. But once I realized where it came from, I confessed to her about it. She smiled in the sweet way she does, and told me she had been having the same fear. SHE was afraid I wouldn't want to be her friend anymore. She had her friends leave her too many times for her not to be wounded as well.

And then she told me that one of their exercises last week was to pray through insecurities and fears from their pasts to help them become fully functioning Christians. This was the area she had prayed through for herself. And somehow, God in his beautiful way, allowed me to be a part of it from very far away. God is mysterious, and wonderful, and even when we don't realize what he is up to; Good.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What is success in Motherhood?

Some days I look at our life and wonder if I am a terrible Mom.

We tend to eat the same things for breakfast every day.
When we need to run errands or do anything, we are gone most of the morning. LittleFish snacks on Z bars and fruit snacks and bunny crackers while we are out, and frequently skips over lunch all together.
When we do get dinner on, I'm lucky if we get much of it in to him, and then he snacks before bed.
I never feel like I've spent enough time playing with him, although I do try to include him in any special cooking I do.

Motherhood is hard, especially since I really don't feel like I had a good idea of what it should look like. I constantly feel lost and am never sure if I'm doing it well, or terribly. We don't tend to do well with rigid schedules, but I wonder if it would feel more sane if I had a better rhythm not just to the days, but to my weeks.

At the moment, I have a happy kid who has eaten SOMETHING, been read to and snuggled and loved on by both of his parents, and is seemingly well adjusted. For right now, we'll call that success.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Aiming at something

I got a call last night at about 8pm asking if I would lead worship for a small campus of the church Roy works for. I agreed, and set about trying to pull a worship set. I realized it has been at least 5 months since I had to pull together a set, and nearly as long since I've played regularly. I stressed over the details, realizing that my style of worship and playing isn't really what is normal for this church. God laughed at my worries I'm sure, because once I was there I found out this poor little congregation had lost someone this week, and were in exactly the mood for my style.

Something in the message really struck me. The pastor talked about needing to have a goal to aim at. 3% of Americans are well off and successful. 3% of American's plan and write down their goals for the future. Probably not a coincidence that those stats are identical.

It got me wondering about what our goals are as a family. We have a goal to get out of debt. God is hugely blessing that one. Once I made a goal of what we would pay off by the end of the year, side work has been rolling in for both Roy and I. And for the first time in a VERY long time, there's hope of a raise in the future. Things that would make this goal we have WAY more attainable. It's been awesome to see God bless those plans.

But what other plans do we have? Where DO we want to be in 10 years? What do we want our legacy to be? These are things I'll be working on as I finish out clutter clear out in the next months. :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

That feeling in the pit of your stomach

This is a really hard week for me. There have been tears nearly every day, and that usually also gives me headaches.

My best friend is leaving on a 5 month missions trip with YWAM. I'm totally excited for her and her wonderful husband. They are an amazing couple, and I know that God will enrich their lives and bless them beyond belief with this trip. I also know that anyone who comes into contact with them will be hugely blessed. I'm so ready to hear the amazing stories they will have to share from this adventure.

But for myself and my family, I'm sad. Josh and Kassi have become so much a part of our family. We've spent holidays with their families, we've spent birthdays and vacations together. When I need advise, Kassi and her mom are the first people I think of. Kas and I share so many little adventures in daily life. And my LittleFish adores them. It hurts to let them go, even for a limited time.

So I'm trying to let myself cry my tears and be sad, in remembrance that "My sadness does not harm others". I'm trying to not pretend everything is ok and shove the feelings deeper. I'm trying to not eat the pain away. And little by little, I know that the pain will subside, and though we will continue to miss them dearly, they will be back, and we will video chat with them in the meantime.

I wonder if they could possibly know how much we love them. How much I love them. How much Kassi is a sister of my heart. And loving people well means not being selfish with them. Because they are far too fabulous NOT to share with the world!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Yesterday, LittleFish discovered a book that's been on his shelves for a while. I had originally seen it at Anthropologie, but was unwilling to pay their prices, so I got it off of Amazon. I don't think I ever expected him to like this book so young.

It's called "How to Behave and Why" by Munro Leaf. The book talks about four main things you need to be in order to make good friends and keep them.  You must be Honest, Fair, Strong, and Wise. This darling book was originally printed in the 40s and is by the author of "Ferdinand". There's not a lot of pictures, and they aren't fancy. Mostly they are stick figures. But something about this book has grabbed his attention, and he has been asking us to read it to him. I am SO glad he did!

See, I think I learned something from the book while I read to LittleFish tonight. It wasn't something that I had never heard before, but put into the context of this children's book about teaching little ones how to behave, it really resonated with me.

It was a line about other people having ideas, thoughts, and ways to do things, and that their way can be just as right as yours. It really struck a chord with me, because I know I try to make FishPapa load the dishwasher, do the laundry and clean up just the way I like them done.

But this little kids book just gently reminded me that "I can't always be right no matter who I am" and that I can choose to do things the best of all ways. But that also means I need to watch and take in how others do things. I need to close my mouth (I admittedly talk WAAAAAYYYY too much) and open my ears to hear what others think. I would be a better friend if I can take this to heart. I'll at least try, and read the book to LittleFish as often as he will let me so I will be reminded.