Song for the Sabbath - Shine Your Light

You might have already seen this video, but it is so good.  The song is also especially meaningful to me because I listened to it as well as David Crowder's "How He Loves Us" from the same cd to start out my mornings in my classroom last year, before the students arrived.  I love this powerful truth and the beautiful ending of this video.  I hope you are able to savor this sweet Sabbath, and spend some time shining your light "so all can see it."


Project #2 - The Buttercup Bag

I am still just loving this new world of sewing, and I'm already longing for an entire day to dig into a new project!  I hurried home Tuesday night to get working on my first "solo project," one that was first on my list to attempt - the Made by Rae Buttercup Bag.  Love it!  Even more helpful was Couterier Mommy's video tutorial for the bag.  (I also learned a lot from watching her other tutorials about the importance of pressing and pinning.)  It took me about 5 hours to complete it, and I only called my grandma 3 or 4 times in the process. :)   I've been carrying it around everywhere, and I can't wait to make another one!  Currently I'm working on a ruffle to attach to it as well.  Hopefully, thanks to all you super creative lovelies out there, I can keep the projects coming!


A Little Knick Knack

Happy Friday!

A Long and Lean Love Story

While I do have much more excitement to share about my new wonderful world of sewing, it's time to break out a bit of utter honesty. 

For many, many years of my life, (I'm almost 30 you know!), I struggled with a deep hatred of my body and the way I was made.  Many tears were shed in my childhood due to the intense struggle and frustration I endured from feeling like nothing in the world was made to fit me.  I always felt frumpy and not quite sure if I was beautiful at all.  Not only did I have the "bubble butt", (now a feature people pay for; then a shameful, hurtful nickname), but I also had those 80's/90's heavily hairsprayed bangs.  You know the ones.  Ugh.

  My mom and dad both worked so hard to help me, but I was just not built in an easy way to be helped.  I'm pretty sure I did not wear jeans until I was a freshman in high school.  Why then?  Because that year was the beginning of my two and a half year battle with anorexia.  Many from my home town know the story well; most who know me now would never guess.  It was a journey that would serve as some of the most defining years in my life, as well as one of those major times God exerted his strength and proved just how strong and able to overcome he is.  Fast forward to college, where I painfully struggled with who I was and my feelings about my beauty, and went in the opposite direction.  I was quite overweight and overwhelmed, incredibly insecure and scared out of my mind about how to live life so far from home.  All this time, through each of these situations, I was crying out to God, loving him with all of my heart, longing to please him with all of my soul; I desperately wanted him to be pleased with me.  I longed to live surrendered and have worth.  I just wanted to be beautiful.

The long road to realizing the true essence of that beauty began when I read a book called Beauty by the Book: Seeing Yourself as God Sees You, by Nancy Stafford.  I remember one of the most powerful things she said in that book being about how beautiful Satan was when he started out in heaven with God.  He was the most magnificent of the angels.  But he became obsessed with it.  He just couldn't get enough of himself, he was the epitomy of staring at oneself in the mirror all day, thinking this gloriousness about him was where his worth lied.  How tragically wrong he was.  In an effort to build himself up and believe he deserved the highest of honors, he missed the glory around him; he lost sight of his Creator, the very king of glory.  So he lost...everything.  He was kicked out of heaven, and unfortunately we know the rest of the story for him.  Now he literally despises all beauty, all that God has made.  He delights in our hatred of ourselves; when we weep over the uniqueness we carry from the design of our Creator.  He thrives on reminding us of our faults, plaguing us with our failures.  He still wants the glory all to himself.  He shudders at the thought that we might realize the glory within us that comes from the great Redeemer who created, forgives, and delights in us.

During those years I also read Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge for the first time, (which you already know I love!), and began to truly grasp that my questions of worth such as, "Am I valuable?  Could I possibly be lovely or even beautiful?" could only be answered by my Creator.  I cannot answer those questions, no matter how many futile and vain attempts I might make.  (The blond hair I pay for has nothing to do with my beauty.)  No man, friend, or child can answer them, no matter how often I might be tempted to take this deep desire for value and beauty to any one of them.  God holds the answers for me...I must go to him, listen to what he says, and believe it.

So the more this truth began to sank in, the more I began to transform.  Guess who began to glow a little more and smile a little deeper?  Because of this, I made the choice to get rid of my full length mirror my final two years of college.  I was finished with the obsessing.  It had been exhausting to say the least, and I was done with it.  To this day that is one of the most freeing choices I ever made.  When I quit obsessing over the parts of me I hated the most, the weeping over them surprisingly lessened as well.

Then, I bought the jeans.

Oh the jeans.  I smile even as I type that line.  At the age of 25, I had never owned any sort of "brand name" pair of jeans.  I grew up simply, frugally, and 45 minutes away from a mall, and was determined to continue living that way even in a big city.  That was until I finally got a clue and was done with the hours of failure in dressing rooms.  I was tired of waiting until I fit into a size or number that was "socially acceptable" to talk about.  Not going to happen.  Even so, there were still many more hours of failing in "brand name" dressing rooms with 20 pairs of denim that fit every body shape but mine. 

Until, one lovely day, we met.  GAP's "Long and Lean" (two things I've never been) jeans in who-cares- what-size, met this short, "ankle-fit," curvy girl's body.  Instant love.  Trust me, that was the first day I ever smiled in a dressing room.  Not because I was skinny, (the only times in my life I was ever truly skinny, I was probably also hungry), but because they fit me!  At that time, it was the best $60 I had ever spent.  And I wore those jeans until there were holes from where my legs rubbed together.  (Yes, I just said that.)  Trust me, they're everything that today's "skinny jeans" or dare I say, "jeggings" will never be on this body of mine.   This whole post was inspired by a delightful little fling that occurred in GAP just one day ago.  It has been awhile, and yesterday afternoon we were lovingly reunited.  (40% off this time though - double joy!!)

So what's my message to you through this silly story about a pair of jeans?  Quit trying to fit into the world, and delight in what fits the 'you' God specifically designed.  Like me, he just might use that body of yours to bring you to your knees in realizing your focus must only be on him, so that you will experience the joy of your own beauty.  He'll help you see that this temporary, over-emotional and hypersensitive shell is just another part of our lives that we were given so that we might glorify him with it; not so we could bring glory or attention to ourselves.  When you start to believe this, you might even like what you see.  Trust me, I am far from conquering this to the point of true freedom, I could write other posts on very different "defining moments" of my life in the not so distant past that strike this same nerve.  Yet this is just one of the many ways he keeps bringing me back to Him.  I love that even in the midst of surrendering to this difficult truth, he will often give us little jolts of great joy and reminders that he cares about even the smallest cares of our hearts.  For me, one of those jolts was through one simple pair of jeans.

In a few weeks I am doing a three-part session for a group of teenage girls on the meaning of "True Beauty."  I am thrilled about this opportunity, and prayerful that God will use me to begin to unveil the beauty of Him that lives inside of each of those lovely young ladies.  I would be honored to hear your stories, either through comments or email, and glean any insight or wisdom you might have to offer!  In the meantime, go be beautiful...just be you!

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;

but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Proverbs 31:30


The Crazy JOY of Sewing!!!

Hello friends!!  Sorry I missed out on the always fun "Miscellany Monday" linky party, but I have a great excuse.  I spent about a day and a half having the most GLORIOUS time with my grandma, receiving the ultimate, "how to sew on the machine I gave you a month ago" lesson!!!  Seriously, it was like Christmas!  JOY.  We had so much fun, laughing and learning.  My lovely and beautiful grandma did of course resist the ongoing photographing and recording, but I would not relent. (Love those memories Grandma!!!)  We spent all afternoon and evening Sunday cutting, creating, and correcting, taking a break only to eat.  I couldn't even sleep that night because I was thinking about patterns and pondering so deeply about my next project.  Of course our visit ended with a quick trip to JoAnn Fabrics yesterday to purchase materials for just that.  LOVE IT.

I told her it was the greatest gift ever.  It's like my whole world has opened up and now I can be a part of all those fun projects out there!  SO exciting.  Family and friends, or those who live within driving distance, make your requests now...something handmade by me is definitely in your future!!  (A girl has got to practice, right???)

So what did we make???

Well,  my grandma for sure wanted me to take my time and practice sewing a piece of fabric and getting to know the machine.  Unfortunately I am known to be a bit over-zealous when it comes to something new that I'm super excited about, so I thought jumping into a cute little project was a better idea.  Turns out we were both right.  I needed LOTS of help and we ran into a few hiccups but in the end, learning by doing was definitely the way to go for me.  And my grandma's inspiration and passion for a hobby that she is so gifted at was renewed. This process even allowed me to learn how to change a sewing machine needle, after the tip of one flew off!  I loved it all.

The project we made was called an "Artsy Clutch," which can be found in my new favorite sewing book, (okay, first favorite!), Bend-the-Rules Sewing by Amy Carol.  It is actually the project shown on the cover.  We used what we had, including a bag of fabric I brought with me, and whatever my grandma had on hand.  She was definitely the source for beautiful vintage buttons!  (I contributed my ponytail holder, used for the elastic loop!)  Unfortunatey we did not have lining or interfacing on hand, so we made do...with fleece.  Definitely the poofiest version you could make of this clutch.  We basically made fun of ourselves and made up all the different things we could use it for...(potholder, mitten, etc.)  The joy was definitely in the process, though I am loving the outcome.

As for materials, for each clutch we used (2) 8in. by 9 1/2 in. pieces (each) of outer fabric, lining fabric, and facing fabric, though I think it would be fun in different sizes as well.  So there you have it.  My very first sewing project...and joyfully, not my last!  I'm already thinking about getting up super early to start working on my next thing.  (I know, pace yourself Page!)  Thanks for celebrating with me!  I'm linking to whatever crafty parties I can find today to commemorate this special event. :)

Thank you Grandma, for the most beautiful, wonderful time, and for teaching me the art of sewing.  I look forward to many more lessons and projects with you!!!  You are amazingly gifted and generous, both patient and kind...I love you!

handmade projects


Song for the Sabbath #2

I had to post this song as well, because I loved it so much during worship this weekend!!


Song for the Sabbath

"Better than a Halellujah" by Amy Grant

I love this song.  Check out the "official" video on YouTube - I had tears rolling down my face by the time it was over!


Giveaway Winner!!! (and a new favorite)

First of all, I am SO sorry I have been MIA when the giveaway winner was supposed to be announced Wednesday!!  So today's the day.  Randall, my student, enjoyed being my "random selector"....

And the winner is Suze!!!  Congratulations!  Thank you all so much for your encouragement and for playing along...it really was difficult for me to just have one winner.  I would love for you all to read the book...it seriously is a life changer!!

On another note, last week I read about Seeds Family Worship, a company who has put over 60 verses from the bible into song form.  I am loving it!  This week Randall and I have been starting off each day after our bible time by listening to a few of them.  He really enjoys it.  What a wonderfully creative job they have done putting verses to music, and they really are easy to remember.  I'm excited to have this resource some day to help my children memorize scripture, and Kevin and I are excited to use them for us as well!

Here's my favorite so far:

Happy Friday!


A Powerful Parable

 Francis ChanTalk about a man God is using and moving through to change the world.  This guy has definitely been a defining part of Kevin and I's mission for our lives.  Two crazy good books he's written are Crazy Love and Forgotten God.  And he's done it again...with children's books!  We recently watched a clip of "The Parable of the Big Red Tractor," a convicting perspective on the church.  I was pleasantly surprised this weekend to see it is in book form along with another story he's written called "The Awful Adventures of Halfway Herbert."  The second one is all about doing things wholeheartedly.  I love books for little ones that teach about life and godly character!  And I love what God is doing through Francis Chan's example of absolute surrender.


Miscellany Monday

1.  Another beautiful Fall weekend.  Kevin and I repeated last Saturday with a long day of reading at our new favorite cafe.  I finished "Out Live Your Life," and I can't WAIT for someone to win it on Wednesday!!  It is going to mobilize people to a completely different way of living.  Love it.  And I found there are small group resources and dvds available to go with it!  Don't forget to enter the giveaway here

We also went to Bernheim Forest yesterday for something called, "Colorfest."  It was a gorgeous day, we hiked through the woods, and ended our fun with an hour of reading by the lake.  A beautiful memory.

2.  What we were reading...

My incredibly kind and thoughtful brother had this book delivered to me last week!  I couldn't put it down this weekend, as it is a powerful message concerning both bullying and autism, and what kids go through.  My eyes were definitely opened to some realities I wasn't aware of.  Karen Kingsbury has done it again, with another inspired and inspiring story.  Thank you Darin!!

Kevin is currently reading this - an essential read.  This was a required book for me in college -a true classic about a hero of our faith.

3.  Whole 9.  

Hear me loud and clear:  I strongly dislike diets of any sort...but I do believe in and have had success in the past with "eating clean."  Kevin has recently introduced me to whole9life, and I think we're both going to try their suggestion of going hard core with it for 30 days.  It will be tough, yes, but the extra weight that keeps me from fitting comfortably into warmer clothes is getting annoying.  And honestly, I've experienced how much better I feel when I'm being really intentional about what I eat.  Bonus:  if we start soon, we'll finish right before Thanksgiving!! :)

(from whole9.com)

4.  Supporting adoption.  I am loving the idea of buying most Christmas presents this year from families trying to raise money for their adoptions.  I'll share the ones I've found soon, and would love to be told about more. What could be better than helping a little one come home to his/her forever family??

5.  Speaking of an awesome cause...a lot of you in blog world have probably already heard about the amazing vision of several lovely ladies to build wells for those who need clean water.  Last year they built two!  I am loving how God is blessing how people are coming together to make a difference.  Check out how you can participate by visiting Project 320

6.  A girl's best friend.  I just adore and am so grateful for my little dog, Chai.  I mean come on, look at that face!  He is so sweet, and has been a source of great joy for me for the last 6 years. 

Happy Miscellany Fall Monday from us to you!!

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters