Friday, September 30, 2011

Alicen :: lovely

Little sisters are usually much cooler than big sisters.
I think it's because they look at their older sister's unfortunate mistakes,
and resolve not to do the same.

This is my youngest sister, Alicen.
These are her eighth grade graduation pictures.
And, let me tell you,
my eighth grade pictures looked nothing like this.

{I'd show you pictures of what I looked like when I was in 8th grade,
but I burned all of them.
Just kidding.
But nope, you can't see them.}
This girl is amazing. She's hilarious, and beautiful, and she's really smart.
She's the best friend you could ever have. 
She loves babies, and doggies, and her family.
She's ridiculously great at the piano.
She's a soccer star.
She pretty much gets 1st place in everything she does. {I am not exaggerating.}
And -- most importantly -- she loves Jesus. A lot.
It's all over her face.
Did I mention she's a killer dancer?
In summary,
my sister is awesome.

 if you are a boy, and you're anywhere near her age, and you're reading this:

{you can come back in 30 years.}

Thursday, September 29, 2011

mighty little micah

This is my cousin's son, Micah.
He was born nearly two months before his due date,
and he is a little miracle bundle.
I got to hold him for about thirty seconds yesterday,
before my own {mammoth-sized} baby started screaming.
It was bliss.
{Micah with his great-grandmother.}

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

hello June

I just came across a memory card with these pretty pictures on it -- I took them right before Matt & Liz's wedding, right at the beginning of June. These are my front porch flowers, when they were at their very prettiest... because, if I've learned anything, it's that colorful plants and I do not get along, no sir-ee. Give me a shrub, or a tree, or a potted, plain green plant any day, rather than a pot of marigolds. 

Because, you see, I have a superpower: I'll kill the pot of marigolds, simply by looking at them.

These pictures serve another purpose {besides reminding me of my poor gardening skills}. Can't tell you how many times I've heard the words, "September already? October around the corner? Really? Where'd the summer go?" My favorite months of the year are already gone, and the cool, dark days of fall and winter are here again. But wait -- blink -- and it'll be April... May... and then June again... and I'll be back on my porch with an armful of annuals, hoping that I bought enough MiracleGro this time around.

James describes life as "a vapor that appears for awhile and then vanishes away." Like the summer that melts into fall that melts into winter, days pass slowly but years fly quickly. 

And so, I'm asking myself these questions today:

What am I doing that really matters?
Those things that I'm so carefully planning on my to-do list
 -- today, tomorrow, next week, next year -- 
will these things matter for eternity?
Am I just living for the here and now? 
Or am I investing in something bigger than myself?

Friday, September 23, 2011

backyard tomato picking, in pictures

I wasn't going to write anything in this post -- the pictures speak for themselves -- but I should say two things. 

(1) As a novice gardener, I've learned a new, painfully-obvious concept: only plant vegetables that you enjoy eating. This year, I planted mostly tomatoes... and while they're typically a go-to, easy-peasy sort of plant in the midwest, I don't happen to like them. This is definitely a problem, especially when I don't have time for canning and such. Oops.

(2) No matter how grody and rotten a tomato may be, never throw it in the presence of your 1-year-old. Said 1-year-old will mimic you happily, and your good tomatoes will start to disappear...

Which, I suppose, would certainly take care of observation #1.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011


One of my earliest memories of my friendship with Lydia: pranking a coworker's office by turning his books around -- hundreds and hundreds of them -- so that their spines faced the wall and their pages faced outward. {Did I mention that this coworker was also my boss at the time? Oh yeah. Clearly, I was not a very bright 21-year-old editorial assistant.}

Lydia is fun. She's an east coast girl, living in the heart of the Midwest. An author and editor, Lydia is currently putting the finishing touches on her seventh book, due out next spring. She's also a speaker at conferences across the nation -- so when she asked me to do a few updated headshots, I was excited! Flattered! Nervous! {Because, WOW, what if my pictures STINK?}

I'm happy to report... the pictures do NOT stink -- wink -- and here's why: Lydia also happens to be a natural in front of the camera. She was completely at ease the entire time we were shooting, which tells me what I already knew about her: she's confident about who she is and what she does, which comes from being rooted in a strong, deep faith in Jesus. {I love that.}

So, meet Lydia -- writer, editor, conference speaker extraordinaire, my sweet friend, and all-around superwoman :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

how to paint a bookshelf

Have you ever made your way over to Young House Love?
You may have noticed them on my sidebar...
If you're into home improvement and decorating on a budget, 
you should definitely take a look.
Marty groans inwardly whenever he sees me perusing their lovely blog,
because he knows full well that I'll have an itch to 
as soon as I walk away from the computer.

I ambled my way over to their blog a few weeks ago
{if "ambling" is possible on the internet},
and re-read this great tutorial on how to paint pretty much any piece of furniture.

{This is where Marty closed his eyes and did that inward groan thing again.}

And then, my eyes spotted two bookshelves that have been in our house since the beginning.
Marty rescued them out of a dumpster {truly},
and they've been sitting in our living room and kitchen, useful and happy...

Except now, I'd decided that they were going to be pretty, too :)

I didn't take "before" pictures.
But trust me. They were ugly-ish.

You see, I'm not a fan of orange-y colored wood,
and that's exactly what these babies were made of:

So, I dragged them down to the basement
 and gave them each two coats of primer...
{which was agonizing. I'm a very impatient painter.}

Then, I painted them a soft beige,
the same color as our living room walls.
{which means the paint was free = bonus}

Here's one bookshelf in our kitchen.

Note: the second shelf is empty, because it's at Charlie's eye level.
I had these really cute storage jars there before,
but you can imagine what curious little fingers did to my really cute storage jars.
Now, it's a shelf for his snack bowls :)

And here's the other shelf in our living room.

Instant {er, sort of} transformation,
that should have cost me nothing...
except I bought these silly sponge rollers, thinking that they would make everything go faster,
and they didn't.

Still... $3.95 for non-orange bookshelves is a superb deal :)

Now, did you check out Young House Love yet?
You probably should.
Just ask your non-decorating-inclined significant other to close their eyes...