Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Favorite Running Music

Good music definitely makes running easier.
Different people like different kinds of music.  My husband listens to 80's black music.  I guess it takes him back to his high school years.  The songs do have a great beat.  But they don't really inspire me.

I like to run to Christian music that has a great beat, good chords and harmony, and a message that speaks to my heart.

These two songs are my favorites right now.

They both came from the CD "Hope for a Broken World" by Selah.

Take a minute to listen to them. Try not to dance, or move. It will be hard.

First is "Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus".  It is the traditional hymn, but so much more, so listen to the whole thing.

This is a new one (at least to me).  I can't get it out of my head.

Have a wonderful day!  God is good!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Carys's Room (details)

I had a lot of fun working on Carys's room.  I really like taking what I already have and making something pretty out of it.  I think it has something to do with my indecisiveness.   (I have a hard time making decisions.)  If I see a store full of stuff, my brain can't think and I can't decide what to do.  But if I have a few things already that I want to use, then I love to take that and see what else I have and make it all fit together.  For this room, I used this owl fabric for colors and ideas.

Here is a little explanation of how I did everything.  There are going to be a lot of links, because I used Pinterest to find most of the ideas.  

1.  Wall Collage.
I love wall collages.  It is so easy to take what you already have and make a cute arrangement.  I read the other day that wall collages are just now becoming popular.  But, I remember my mom making wall collages of things ever since I was little.  
Carys loves animals.  She already had the big dog print, the pig print, and had just bought the horse print with her birthday money.  She wanted to keep all of them.  I added some free printables from the internet (I'll talk about this in a minute), some other little paintings and things that she already had, painted all the frames to match the owl fabric and just figured out a cool arrangement.  This wall gave me some good ideas.
2.  Free Printables.
If you get on Pinterest, or even on Google and type in "free printables" you will find all kinds of cute things that nice people have made up and put on the internet for you to print and use.  I chose some things I thought Carys would like, downloaded them onto a pen drive and took them to a photo place and had them printed up in 8x10 size.
The cupcake hooks were bought in the US (in secret) and the "Keep Calm..." print fit great with them.  Carys loves sweets and loves to make cakes and cupcakes.
These are just two colorful prints with great messages.  "We're all in this together" is from High School Musical.  Carys loves musicals.  The owl artwork was a mask that someone made as a free printable.  I thought it was way too cute to cut up for a mask, so I framed it.
There is a website called Feed Your Soul where artists contribute a painting monthly that you can download.  This cute fox came from there.  In the morning she can switch the picture around to the Good Morning Sunshine side.  I made the frames from cardboard and fabric using this idea.

 3.  Reading Nook:
This was the most simple, tab curtain that I made out of what was left of the owl fabric and some coordinating stripe fabric.  I hot glued the pom-pom trim on and I don't even think I hemmed the curtain!  I hung some wooden curtain brackets painted green on the bottom side of her loft bed and cut a curtain rod to fit.  I want to get a comfy chair or bean bag or at least some fluffier pillows later.

 4.  Reverse Collage blocks.  A few years ago, I painted some little animal pictures for Giovanni's nursery.  He wasn't using them anymore, so I got the blocks and covered them with colorful scrapbook paper, putting a layer of glue on top.  Then I cut out some letters of little sayings from contact paper, stuck them on the scrapbook paper and painted white paint on top.  When the paint was dry, I pulled off the letters.  Carys had said that she wanted "little signs" for each part of her room (reading, studying, etc.)  This was my attempt at that.
Ansley painted this painting for Carys years ago. 
The flower painting was a gift from Aunt Melissa a few years ago.
Carys  and I made the crayon melt canvas back in February.  We got the idea here.
The crosses came from Hobby Lobby.
 5.  Stuffed Animal Solution.  Carys loves stuffed animals and she had just gotten at least 10 new ones for her birthday.  She had them all on her bed and was sleeping on top of the covers at night with barely enough room because of all the animals.  She told me that she still wanted all the stuffed animals on her bed, but I went ahead and painted these shelves we already had.  She is OK with them staying on the shelves but still has to have at least 3 at a time on the bed with her.
 I was going to put these LOVE letters above the stuffed animal shelves, but they ended up being bigger than I had remembered, so I put them above the bed.  The letters were bought at Hobby Lobby and painted with q-tips.  (really advanced painting technique...)
6.  Chalkboard.  We don't have chalkboard paint in Brazil (that I know of).  So I had to make my own using these instructions.  It turned out rougher than I had wanted, but it works!
 7.  String light.  I made this using these instructions.  It was messy, but easy and worked out great.  This is definitely the most popular room accessory among Carys and her friends.
When Garrett (our 15 year old son), saw Carys's room, he said, "Whoa, Mom rocks!".  That made me feel so good.  I asked him if he wanted me to do his room next.

"No", he said.

I guess I don't rock THAT much.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Happy Birthday, Carys! (and a new room)

On March 8th, this little girl (yes, I will still call her "little") turned 13.

We had a fun family day, and a party with her friends.

Her main birthday present this year was to have her room re-decorated.  It is the first time she has ever had her "own" room.  (Except for 2 - 3 months of the year when her big sisters are home from college...)

We did it "extreme makeover" style.  Which meant that she had to leave the room and not come back in until it was all done.  Everything was a secret.

I actually got started on it only last Friday (about 10 days after her birthday).  But, no biggie.  It got done.

Here are the befores and afters....


It was so much fun doing this.

I will put the "how to's" of everything that I did in the next few days.  For now I just wanted to get these pictures on here for the curious sisters and grandmothers.

The happiest part of it all was watching her see the room for the first time.  She loved it and was very excited.

Sweet memories!
PS  This is the view outside Carys's window.  It didn't need re-decorating!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Me and my Blog

I really love blogs.

I don't really watch TV anymore ever.  For entertainment and relaxation, I go to see a movie with my hubby on our date night and usually watch a family movie on Friday nights.  Other than that, I like to read, dream on Pinterest, and read blogs.

So I started my own blog.  Only I'm not that great of a blogger.  About half the time I think I should just quit it, and then I think of all the things I could do to make it better, but in the next breath I realize I don't have a lot of extra time for that right now.

I'm pretty sure my family and close friends read my blog, though, so I'll just keep on doing it.  Maybe I'll get better?  Who knows.

Anyway, one neat thing about having a blog is making friends.  We have made some friends through our blogs, especially our family blog.  One is a sweet mom named Roberta who is Brazilian, but now lives in Australia.  Roberta has a blog, too.  On her blog, she gave me an "award".  It is a list of questions that I answer and then forward it to some other bloggers.

I'm happy to answer the questions and I will forward it to my other family members' blogs.  But other than that, I don't think anyone else in the blogging world really knows who I am!  I'm kind of the bottom of the totem pole of bloggers.

Anyway, thanks Roberta for including me and for being my friend.  I would love to meet you someday in person!

Here are my questions......
Favorite color?    blue

Favorite animal?    dogs, but I'm enjoying not having a pet right now.  

Favorite number?  2

Favorite non-alcoholic drink?   sweet tea

Prefer Facebook or Twitter?    Facebook  (I don't know a thing about Twitter and kind of want to keep it that way!)

My passion?   Honoring God with my life and my family

Prefer getting or giving presents?   This is going to sound really bad, but I prefer getting.  I am always so insecure about what I give someone and worry about whether they really like it or not.  

Favorite pattern?    I don't really understand this one....  

Favorite day of the week?   Tuesday (date night) or Friday (family night)

Favorite flower?   Daisies

Monday, March 5, 2012

Some Helps...

In the last two posts, I shared my struggle lately with keeping my mind fixed on Jesus.  With the day to day busyness of being a wife, mom, housekeeper, cook, church member, missionary, (maybe) English teacher, etc.  I get to the end of a day and realize that my focus has not been on God.  Not that it has been on anything necessarily BAD - but I think I could do better about thinking about God.  I know he thinks about me:

If I can focus more on my spiritual life in the midst of my busy, crazy "normal" life, maybe I can learn that all I that I do is spiritual and can and should be dedicated to God.  I'm not talking about sitting around all day long just praying (although that would be great from time to time).  But there has to be a happy medium between that, and falling into your bed at the end of the day having barely thought of God at all.

Well, enough of trying to explain myself.  Here are two books that I have found helpful.  Actually, they are books that suggest habits.  Good habits - disciplines - that cause you to focus on God.  Both of these books are really, really good. So good that I want to read them again and go back and underline, highlight, take notes, etc. 

The first one is One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp.  Simply (very simply) said, it is about keeping a gratitude journal.  But that one sentence doesn't do justice to the book.  Ann Voskamp is a mom of 6, just like me, and she has laundry, etc. too.  She has a great gift for writing and has wonderful insights about how keeping a gratitude journal blessed her life and brought her closer to God.  This book is really, really good.  I started my gratitude journal on March 1st.  It has 3 things on it.  Not so good.... yet!  Like I said, it is a habit and a discipline that is actually work at first.  But, I am excited to see the results!

The second book is called  Seven Sacred Pauses:  Living Mindfully Through the Hours of the Day by Macrina Wiederkehr. I am actually not finished with this book yet.  It is about pausing throughout the day at certain "hours" and entering in prayer.  Each "hour" has it's own theme.  The author of the book is a nun and evidently this is a discipline that the nuns do in the monastery.  I am loving it so far and am going to try to put it into practice soon.  I have already read the chapter about the night time hour and how it is a time of silence and waiting to hear from God.  From someone who wakes up many nights and then can't go back to sleep because the brain won't "turn off", this has been really good for me.

Thank you Lord, for showing me where I needed to grow and then giving me some tools to help!