Monday, May 28, 2012

On differences, soldiers, and bearing burdens

Lately, I have been distracted by differences in people.  I will be having a conversation with someone in which we agree, agree, agree and then BAM...we disagree.  I thought we were the same, but we are different.  Sometimes it's personality.  Sometimes it is preferences or desires or opinions.  Sometimes I think what they are doing is wrong and destructive.  Suddenly, I feel isolated.  Maybe this sounds extreme, but you can easily see this play out in how we group off with people who are similar to ourselves into finger-pointing factions in politics or even within a church.  How am I supposed to live with people who are so different from me?

I was struck this week with the answer when I was reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Life Together.  He quoted Galatians 6:2, "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."  He explains, "It is only when he is a burden that another person is really a brother and not merely an object to be manipulated.  The burden of men was so heavy for God Himself that he had to endure the cross...It is the fellowship of the Cross to experience the burden of the other.  If one does not experience it, the fellowship he belongs to is not Christian."  I have always interpreted "burdens" as problems people might have that can be fixed, so we can then move on.  However, Bonhoeffer expands the definition -

"It is first of all, the freedom of the other person...that is a burden to the Christian...The freedom of the other person includes all that we mean by a person's nature, individuality, endowment.  It also includes his weaknesses and oddities, which are such a trial to our patience, everything that produces frictions, conflicts, and collisions among us."

So, I am to give each person freedom to be themselves.  But what if they are doing something I think is wrong?  Bonhoeffer goes even further -

"We may suffer the sins of our brother; we do not need to judge.  This is a mercy for the Christian; for when does sin ever occur in the community that he must not examine and blame himself for his own unfaithfulness in prayer and intercession, his lack of brotherly service, of fraternal reproof and encouragement, indeed, for his own personal sin and spiritual laxity, by which he has done injury to himself, the fellowship, and the brethren?"

And this is where I get to Memorial Day.  This morning I was reminded of one of the greatest human "burden bearers" of our society - the soldier.   The soldier bears our burden of protection and freedom (even unto death).  The soldier doesn't ever say to me, "You are too different from me and you get on my nerves. So, I am not going to bear your burden any longer."  He may even disagree with the politics of the mission, but he bears our burden fully.  However, even as the soldier bears our burden, he is not alone.  Soldiers don't live and work in isolation.  So "he who is bearing others knows that he himself is being borne, and only in this strength can he go on bearing."

Unfortunately, Christians are better known for identifying with the "fighting" aspect of the soldier than the "burden bearing".  To be fair, I know that there a lot of Christians out there who are bearing huge burdens without any fanfare or media coverage.  But I am much more likely to be found in the "finger-pointing" camp than the "burden bearing" camp.  So, I will isolate this question to myself.  How would my world be different if I was known as a "burden bearer"?  Today, I am thankful for the soldiers who have shown me the possibility of that which seems impossible.  Thank you for bearing my burdens, and thank you for inspiring me to take steps to do the same for others.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Farmers Market

It's that time again.  Fresh organic food coming to a parking lot near you. 

I really like being able to talk to the people who grow and produce the food and to hear their passion about the taste and quality of what they are selling.  My girls especially love the ice pops from Wholly Pops -

They have a lot of interesting flavors filled with real fruits and vegetables -

While they were occupied with their ice pops, I bought some cauliflower at Owl Pine Farm and some ground beef and smoked ham from Greendale Farm

Last week, we made hamburgers out of the grass-fed beef from Greendale, and I really do think it tastes better than regular beef.  It is twice the price of regular beef, but I think it's worth it.

Along with the healthy stuff, I have been craving baked goods.  I keep intending to make something at home, but I never get around to it.  So, we indulge in bread and pastries from the Best Bread Baking Company -

This week, we purchased personal size bundt cakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes.  I am not really a cake person, but these are delicious (and I can't resist chocolate chocolate chip anything) -

The full size cakes are even more elaborately decorated - 

Next week, we need to get there earlier before it gets so hot.  There is always good music -

And some cute style -

We're hooked.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Parisian headboard

The headboard is finally complete!

I think the fabric is super cute close up -

But every time I walk into the room, I'm taken aback by how small the pattern looks from far away -

Well, the benefit of doing something yourself is that you know how to change it.  Maybe it will grow on me.  But I'm not committing to making curtains until I feel better about it. 

The most difficult part about the project was moving the pieces of plywood around.  If you are making a headboard for anything bigger than a twin bed, you probably need two people.  I bought the 3/8 inch plywood at Home Depot, and they were very nice to cut it to my measurements. 

I bought 1 inch foam at Hancock Fabrics.  (This is not the cheapest place to buy it, but it was convenient.  Years ago I bought it much cheaper from an upholsterer, but I had to order it.)  I spent a few frustrating hours trying to get the foam to stick to the wood.

I tried spray adhesive, but the foam kept falling off.  In the end, I resorted to old fashioned Elmer's glue, which held the foam on long enough for me to turn the board over.  I spread the batting down on the floor and layed the board (foam side down) on top of it.  Starting from the middle of the top and bottom, I stapled (with a staple gun) the batting to the board.  Then, I did the same with the fabric.  (Tip: It is much easier if your fabric does not have discernible lines that you have to keep straight.)

My daughter lightened the mood while I was getting frustrated with the foam.  She said, "Mom, there are a lot of things that are harder to do than foam.  Like trying to make perfume from flower petals" -

My final tip is that if you don't need to lean against your headboard, you can use a canvas, which is much lighter than plywood.  A few years ago, we painted a canvas for my older daughter's room -

Now, I am finished with the headboards and off to the park to just hang out.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

One man's trash...

I hate clutter, but for some reason I love old knick-knacks.  The right old item can give character to a contemporary decor.  Years ago (before I had kids), I would spend many Saturdays wandering around antique stores.  I bought this vintage camera before I was even interested in photography.  For $20 I couldn't pass it up -

It is hard to find really good deals in these kinds of stores anymore, but I found a new spot today.  I wandered around "A Classy Flea" in Marietta for over an hour.  They have really good prices.  These vintage purses for $12 -

Vintage roller skates for around $20 -

They also had some cute ideas that you could do at home.  Framed chalk boards -

And document covered books (but at $5 a book, why not just buy?) -

I walked out with 3 beautifully illustrated hard cover children's classics including this one -

It was hard not to buy an old adding machine for my kids, but I'm holding out for a typewriter.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My projects

I've been working on some projects this week.  Some successes -

Some failures -

I tried to glue pretty paper onto this canvas, but it ended up with too many bubbles.  So, I pulled it off.  Now, I have to think of something creative to do with this crazy mess.  This is what I was trying to do -

I don't even remember how I managed to not get any bubbles in this one.  That's the problem with jumping around from dresses to purses to paintings.  I don't remember all of the tips and tricks every time. 

I'm also working on a headboard and pillows for my daughter's bed -

The fabric in the middle has various French scenes.  I asked my older daughter if the fabric is too literal.  She couldn't even understand that concept when I tried to explain it to her.  Then, I realized that nothing can be "too literal" in a child's bedroom.

Hopefully, I'll have more successes this week.  I'll keep you updated...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

More color

More from my neighborhood -

Amazing color

I drive by these hydrangeas everyday -

The colors are amazing.  

Friday, May 18, 2012

What does relaxation smell like?

One of my most vivid vacation memories is when I walked out the back door of the MacArthur Place in Sonoma, California and was immediately encompassed by the smell of lavender.  It was almost magical.  It smelled like relaxation and happiness.  Greg has tried to recreate the smell for me in our backyard -

Our lavender grew, but it doesn't have a very strong scent.  You have to get right up on it to really smell anything.  So, as the humidity starts to rise and the mosquitoes start to come out, I am going to press my nose up to this lavender and dream of cool, bug-less California.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Yesterday, I had my first real temptation since starting my clothing fast.  I went to Macy's to look for a quilt for my daughter's bedroom.  As I was walking by the dresses, I spotted a perfect paisley wrap dress by Tommy Hilfiger.  You know I love wrap dresses, and this one was silky with a beautiful print.  I couldn't try it on, because I wasn't sure I would ever take it off.  And I didn't even have my camera with me - THAT is how little I've been thinking about fashion lately.  I had to flee the scene repeating to myself, "I have plenty of dresses.  I have plenty of dresses.  They may not be as cute as that dress, but I have plenty of dresses."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


As I am redecorating my daughter's new pink room, I have noticed that I really like outfits and rooms that are layered in texture, pattern, and color.  I love the way this girl put together a print dress, a denim shirt and a textured coat (with sparkly buttons) topped off with a sparkly necklace -

Her outfit actually reminds me of my bedroom with the blues and creams and a bit of sparkle.  However, my bedroom is a little more "design on a dime" than her outfit and has literally been "collected over time", which is now a popular phrase used by interior designers.  I have been using the same headboard since I was 6.  Although it's not my favorite headboard in the world, I'm glad wicker is finally back in style.  Well, wicker purses are in style.  Headboards are going to be next.  I can feel it. 

The lamps are from Target.  The bench and mirror are from Homegoods.  And yes, I have recently converted a bookshelf into a shoe shelf, because I have no closet space.  It may become a much larger installation very soon.

Monday, May 14, 2012


Yesterday, my daughter walked along every board on our deck - back and forth...

...back and forth.

And she wanted me to take a picture of her on every board.  It reminded me of something G.K. Chesterton said about a child's love of repetition -

"It is supposed that if a thing goes on repeating itself it is probably dead; a piece of clockwork. People feel that if the universe was personal it would vary; if the sun were alive it would dance. This is a fallacy even in relation to known fact... The sun rises every morning. I do not rise every morning; but the variation is due not to my activity, but to my inaction. Now, to put the matter in a popular phrase, it might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising. His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life.

"The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon...The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical ENCORE." *


 *The excerpt is from Orthodoxy, which is a fabulous book to read if you doubt the existence of God.  I took liberties in breaking the quote into paragraphs.  That book is very "train of thought" - but brilliant.