Friday, April 27, 2012

portland discoveries

This past weekend was filled with friendship rekindling, venturing in fields & streets of color, and eye-opening conversations of life.

I ventured to the northwest, mainly Portland area Friday evening to spend some much needed quality time with a dear friend of mine before she headed off in her next endeavor. I came into the trip with some expectations of my own, but also with an abundant amount of room for whatever came our way. But the trip ended up being more than that. It reminded us of why we became such good friends and continue to be strong sisters. It reminded us of who we were before and how much faith it took to get us to where we are now in our lives. And more importantly, it reminded us of God's faithfulness.


For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11, NIV

Thursday, April 19, 2012

embellished wine bottle

I have a collection of empty wine bottles in my home. They sit on our very lengthy windowsill. I've been hoarding them since I've been married hoping that one day I will use them to decorate our place. Sadly, spiders have found more use of them then I have.

A couple of months ago, I wrote an article for artist Leslie Shewring for the Spring 2012 issue of Somerset Life titled Transformed Bottle D├ęcor. She transformed empty bottles into unique collaged vases for her fresh flowers. I loved how she embellished the bottles with Washi tape and other bits as well ( ). 

One night, I decided I wanted to paint one of my empty wine bottles. After soaking it in hot water and soap, I peeled off the label and started to work. But after painting a couple layers of white acrylic paint and coating it with Mod Podge, I was stuck. I didn't want to copy exactly what Leslie did; I wanted to add my personality to it. And with moving and all, I didn't want to create a bigger mess by opening my arts and crafts bins.

I eventually brought it to work because there was no place to put it at home. For a couple of days, it sat on my desk. At first, I was just going to leave it as it was: a painted wine bottle. But then I realized it was an excuse for my laziness. I looked through my desk drawers to see if I could find anything. I ran into a roll of mustard-yellow Washi tape, twine, corrugated cardboard, old book text, patterned paper, and millinery flowers. Perfect.

I was happy with the results. And I feel a little bit more confident in my arts and crafts skills. Practice makes perfect, right?

Thank you Leslie Shewring for your creativity. To view more of her art, visit her blog at

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I can't believe it's already mid-April! With all the busyness in life, it's made the year go by fast!

In less than two weeks, Brian and I will be moving into our new place, and we still have halfway to go in packing everything up. As much as I am very excited to move into our new place, I do not enjoy packing. Well for one, allergies. And, of course, I'm not a fan of packing in general. It's too much work, not enough time, and I'm discovering bugs have made some of our boxes their home :(  

It wasn't until I came across my college-marked boxes that I had a difficult time sorting through. I hadn't opened them for almost two years. From endless pictures to notes my residents wrote on my corkboard to even little knick knacks I've collected on adventures with friends—the memories came flooding back to me. Every time I came across another keepsake, I paused during my sorting/packing process and proceeded to tell Brian the ENTIRE back story of the piece.

Sorting through my boxes, Brian took out this little bottle out and knew by my facial expression what it was and that it was a keeper. This little bottle contained dirt that I collected from the first time I went on a mission trip to Mozambique. The day before we left to go back home, a few of us decided to use these leftover mini bottles to collect the dirt from different parts of the orphanage: the school where we taught arts and crafts to the children in the community, in the refatorio where we shared our meals and stories with new friends, in the church where we witnessed the beauty of God's grace and love through the joyful cries of the congregation, and even right under the feet of the little children who blessed us more than we can imagine. Sigh. I've held on to this little thing for five years. It was more than just a bottle of dirt…it represented a turning point in my life.

In these boxes, each little piece had a story. And all these stories represent the person I am today. I was reminded that my college years weren't just about living independently from my parents or focusing on my major. It was about finding myself, who I am, who God created me to be. I was also reminded that I'm still on that journey. God is still doing work in my life. It didn't stop right after I graduated; He continues to move in my life in ways that are beyond my reach. In college, it was more visible because I was surrounded by a community of people who also witnessed God creating beauty in their brokenness. But now, I'm learning more about myself in a new light, in new environments, and in new relationships. And I constantly see God's hand in any situation that I'm in.

As much as I wanted to hold on to every single treasure, I had to let some of them go. But the memories, their stories, will still live on. They are a part of me. And I'll continue to create new ones each day as I continue on my journey.

Friday, April 6, 2012

never too old for cookies & milk

This past Sunday, we celebrated my brother-in-law's 40th birthday. The theme was a rustic, classy southern feel. My sister-in-law, Christin, wanted to throw him a memorable party to celebrate this milestone with family and close friends. The party was filled with childhood photos, roast n' toasts, and children running all around in the backyard. 

When it came to planning this party, details meant everything to Christin. From centerpieces to table set up to even party favors, she wanted everything to be perfect. And perfect it was. She surpassed everyone's expectations, even her own at times as she was setting up the party.

   Top&Bottom: Banners made from burlap.
Collage: Pictures from childhood to present.

Kid's Table
Sweet Potato Fries, BBQ Pulled Pork, Mac N' Cheese, Salad
I like LOVE food.
Dessert Table: German Chocolate Cake, Red Velvet Cupcakes, Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies
My favorite part of the evening was the roast n' toasts. It was a chance for everyone to share a story (most of which were embarrassing, of course) about Todd. Since his family couldn't fly out from Tennessee to celebrate his birthday, Christin emailed them ahead of time to share some stories about him. People around the table read the emails that his family wrote (Guess he's a fan of the song Crazy Train, who knew?) Afterwards, it was open to everyone to chime in. Although there were many laughs (and a few tears as well), it was obvious that Todd is loved by his wife, family, and friends.

Turning 40 may seem scary. A lot of times, we're not prepared for that milestone. But when you're surrounded by family and friends who you love and love you even more, you realize that being 40 doesn't define you. It's just another number. What defines you is the imprint you leave on the people in your life.
Happy Birthday Todd!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

a snippet: todd's 40th birthday

This past Sunday, we celebrated my brother-in-law's 40th birthday. The theme was a rustic, classy southern feel. My sister-in-law, Christin, wanted to throw him a memorable party to celebrate this milestone with family and close friends. The party was filled with childhood photos, roast n' toasts, and children running all around in the backyard. 
Here is just a little taste of what the party looked like: 

 More pictures and stories coming soon :)