Monday, May 28, 2012

Dresser Drawers turned Succulent Garden. DIY: Gardening.

We had an extra set of dresser drawers after moving, and wanted to spruce up our big (and boring) yard. With some cheap pre-potted succulents and mulch, we have made a darling little nook.

Bookpage Wall. DIY Home Decor.

Book Page Wall.
(1) Place one of your favorite and most inspiring books outside for months. Let Nature naturally weather your book. Leave it open and don't be afraid for bugs, dirt, water, and other elements to alter the pages. I chose "Spiritual Partnership" by one of my favorite authors, Gary Zukav, because I thought this book would bring positive spiritual energy to our master bedroom.
(2) Purchase items when your book is ready. Loctite Spray Adhesive, Mod Podge in an aerosol can, and Scotch Tape. This is a CHEAP PROJECT, YALL!! I found these sconces at Canton and I think they add a nice vintage touch.

Begin by spraying the adhesive to the wall, and one-by-one, hang each page. I realized the hard way that using Scotch tape to secure the pages to one another is a good idea. We woke up daily with a page of insight on our laps, which is kind of fun, but not realistic for daily life!
I broke the project up into a few different days because it does get tedious.
Feel free to tear the pages when you get to the ends of the wall; I started in the middle and worked my way out...When the entire wall is covered, spray Mod Podge sealant over it. Wear gloves!!!  Place pressure on the edges of each page, and give each page enough time to set. Again, tedious, but completely worth it!  This is my final page wall!
(I didn't cover the ENTIRE wall...if you know where your furniture will be, you can cheat a little bit)
This is a fun, cheap way to spruce up any room. It's WAY cheaper than wallpaper, and each person can make their own statement. You could also use various tissue papers, children book pages (would be ADORABLE for a nursery!), and/or magazine clippings.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Christian Feminism.

I created the Denton Women's Collective in December of 2010. We have a Facebook page (here) that caught my attention today. A woman in the group shared a photo that she took from the Marcus High School paper. She told the group we had some work to do, and she was right.

If you're a skimmer, please, just don't skim this article. Skim my words, don't skim this picture. Read it. All of it. A girl wrote this. A girl wrote this. I emphasize "girl" because that is exactly what she is. Her brain is still forming. She is more vulnerable now than she ever will be. This sweet, innocent, impressionable girl thinks this way because people influenced her to think this way.

Ahh, Christianity. The topic gets my brain racing. I was baptized Episcopalian, confirmed Methodist, and taught Sunday School at the Unity Church in Norman during my college days. Lately I have been listening to weekly podcasts from Community Christian Church in Missouri, because I can't find a church in my proximity that articulates my religious views quite like this minister does. The sermons can be found here:

I have written about religion and spirituality a few times before...

When I read this article from the Marcus High School student, I felt my blood boil. I was mad. I wanted to wake this girl up to reality instantly and make her apologize to the feminist movement, specifically the women who are rolling in their grave, knowing their efforts to allow women to vote are not appreciated by at least one 2012 female.

But then I realized (thanks to my a comment made by my sister) that this was "...ridiculously sad and disturbing..." more so than infuriating. My sister just graduated Summa Cum Laude (so proud!), which also, wouldn't be possible if it weren't for the feminist movement. Speaking of smart females and the feminist movement, I don't think Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman in the US who obtained a MEDICAL DEGREE, would agree with the author of this article either. Furthermore, I think most women with a job and/or an education, would pity the high school student.

Personally, I don't believe that "God" or "Jesus" would be disappointed in Ms. Blackwell for obtaining a medical degree even though at that time, no woman had done it. I think He would be proud that there was one more doctor who could help in the country. Because God isn't sexist...but religion can be. And distorting God's message of love into a sexist agenda is dangerous.

My goal in blogging about this is to reach as many women as possible, who do love their religion. I consider myself a Christian, but would prefer to be called "Christ-like" than "Christ-ian" for many reasons. I firmly believe you can be a Jesus-loving, God-adoring CHRISTIAN WOMAN who is a FEMINIST. Allow me to explain. Give me a chance.

First of all, I'm fed up with people clinging to cherry-picked Bible verses. We all know the verse commonly used against gay marriage. Leviticus 18:22 says, "You shall not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination." Okay, you can't argue that the Bible speaks out about gay marriage in that verse. I wish it didn't, but it does.

Here's the catcher. Leviticus 19:19 says, "I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments." Okay. Wow. Where do I begin? First of all, walk in a church.  I guarantee that is one of the best locations for you to go if you want to see pearls and costly jewelry, even some (gasp) BRAIDS in those halls. I feel as though either of these verses would be fine to incorporate in Christianity...but not both. It is not logical to believe one part of a chapter and not another. So you either believe both or you believe neither. If you believe that God is against gay marriage, you MUST believe that gold, pearls, and braids are just as bad. If you don't believe this, you at least must admit your lack of logic in exchange for fanaticism.

Oh, also, if you are a Christian against gay marriage but have a cross tattooed anywhere on your body (or any tattoo for that matter), you are also a walking hypocrisy, so maybe consider that cross meaning love and acceptance rather than blind faith. Because Leviticus 19:28 clearly states, "You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the Lord."  Oh, and you can't be a football playing Christian against gay marriage, nor can you be a meat-eating Christian, if you take the Bible literally. Because Leviticus 11:8 states, "You shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall not touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you."

If you believe God created you (yes), then don't you believe He is responsible for that brain of yours (yes)? And it's ability to have complex thoughts and rotating perspectives (yes)? Wouldn't it be a slap in the face of any creator to not utilize one of the coolest functions? That'd be like inventing the iPhone and no users utilize having songs or text messages on their phone. What's the point of making such an awesome phone? In other words, why wouldn't God just have animals running this planet? As humans, we are given the gift of the brain, and I believe He wants us to put it in High Gear and figure out the deeper meaning while we have this awesome gift.

Back to the photo. And being a Christian feminist. Let's look at Bible verses that support Feminism.

Galatians 3:28 says, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Wow. This verse even includes JESUS, the most distinguishing factor between CHRISTIANITY and JUDAISM.  This makes me proud to be a Christian, because the Old Testament was BEFORE Jesus. New Testament was AFTER. And after the Savior, the Messiah, the Lord, Christ...after HIS coming to the world, the Bible tells us that there is no male or female in God's eyes because we are all ONE. What a beautiful and uplifting verse.

While searching furiously for more verses in support of feminism, I struggled because I came upon many sexist messages. But that was when I reminded myself of another fact, which the author of this article is probably unaware of. The Bible as we know it is not complete. There were passages that men (not Jesus, not God) decided to take out. The Bible was CENSORED by MEN. Just keep that in mind. In a time way after Jesus, but way before women's rights, men had control over religion. If from the beginning, half the population was ruled out for a chance of having a power position in the church, half the competition was eliminated. Which gave men a huge advantage. Fortunately, I know the Methodist and Unity churches don't apply the verses against women working in the church. I've always thought highly of these denominations.

When I stumbled upon a verse often used in weddings, I thought of it with a new meaning tonight. "What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate." Matthew 19:6. Reading the two verses I've cited back to back sounds amazing to me, and is the basis of my Christian feminism. There is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And what therefore God has joined together, let not man separate. Let not MAN separate. Think about it. I choose to believe God is speaking to women, telling us that no man can separate the Oneness he created. We are one. No matter what an institution decides to say otherwise.

Also, I want the author of the book (and others who think this way) to realize the comments, "I believe the feminist outlook is just another argument that will never be won," and "...my place in society is following the footsteps of the man..."are masochistic. You are not only attempting to set the women's movement back (which fortunately, you'll never be able to do), you are holding yourself back. My heart goes out to you because at this point in your life, you don't know any different. You've only lived under your parents' roof. You've only heard what you've been forced to hear. You haven't chosen to hear another perspective yet. However, when you move away from your family and spread your wings (hopefully at college, which is socially acceptable thanks to the feminist movement), you will quickly realize what real life is. And when you vote for your conservative political official who stands up against gay marriage and stands up against abortion, you can thank the feminists who paved the way, giving you your right to vote.

I'm not going to lie...the imagery of the "good ol days" appeals to me. Thinking of a sweet great grandmother who served her family her entire life warms my heart, and I aspire to be a stay at home mother for at least a portion of my children's lives. However, as you also mentioned, it is very hard to live that way in this economy. Unless you are born extremely privileged (which if you were, Jesus calls you to give up all earthly treasures, so feel free to reallocate as necessary), you will have to work, sweet girl. And trust me... When you are married, and you come home after a 12 hour shift on your feet all day, you're not going to feel like you should submit to your husband, regardless of what he did. You're your own woman, your own person, and you're entitled to kick up your feet if you want to.

Or, like me, you could wake up at 5:15, go to work until 5:15, visit a friend in the hospital, do a senior photo shoot, and come home to your husband who you haven't seen all day. And then rather than spend time with him, find yourself furiously pounding away at the keyboard because the cause is just that important to you.

I hope this blogpost finds its' way to the author of this article at Marcus. And I hope she takes this as a bit of advice from one woman to another, but most importantly, from one Christian to another, looking out for her best interests. Don't follow fear because you're afraid. Follow the Lord, and follow YOUR passions (not anybody else's, including a man's), because you only have this one life. And to waste it out of a misconceived notion of required submissiveness would be a crying shame.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Thoughts on Being a Wife.

Ahhh. It feels so nice to have the internet. And my cup of coffee, warm in my hand.

Several times since returning from our amazing honeymoon, I've had conflicting thoughts bouncing around in this overactive, obsessive-compulsive brain of mine.

I'm happy. So very, very, happy. After dating for 7 years, it feels amazing to have George in my bed every night, and it feels very comforting knowing we have both decided to do this thing called "life" together.

Photo by Stephanie Rose Photography.

We are in the formative months of our marriage. We've been married for about two months, and I feel as though almost every decision is laying down the foundation. Sure, dating had to precede this foundation, but now I feel I am creating the future I want to have with this man. Little things...like, I finally picked up flowers to hang near our front door. Is this something I should attempt to hang myself, or let him, because he's the "man of the house"? Having found feminism somewhat recently, I constantly have internal conflict wondering if I should prove that I CAN do certain things, or if I should encourage George to take the traditionally male gender roles.

So far, the gender roles are working, so I'm not going to complain. He mounted the TV, hung up our wall pantry (no real pantry in this tiny little cottage!), and moved the heavy items. He also assembled the Cat Genie (oh my gosh yall if you have multiple cats, GET ONE OF THESE BAD BOYS), and has picked up a few checks this week that have made me smile from ear to ear. I've made breakfast on our one and only leisurely morning (see, a "good wife" would ensure her husband had a good meal at least once a day, but I digress), and I've definitely been the CEO of the home organization. I feel confident that this is my strong contribution to our little family of two. I also have been tidying up after the dogs, cats, and hubs. My favorite traditionally "female" gender role I've taken on has been (of course) the decor, and DIY projects.

Our bedroom accent wall, a work still in progress...

I've also had some conflict wondering how to balance the families we each have come from, and the family we are now starting. Not having any children made me think this would be easy, but I have wondered at times if I should be at home in Grapevine, or home in Flower Mound, with my parents, on certain occasions. For instance, "Glee Nights" are Tuesdays at my mom's, and I would hate to give this up. I wouldn't, actually. Sometimes I caught myself feeling obligated to go home right when it was over, because I felt bad if George was home alone without me. One night I stayed the night at my parents', and it felt great being in my old bed, with my family. I guess doing whatever feels right is okay, as long as I consider George's feelings. He's fairly laid back. For the most part, we both lead busy lives, and it's not too big of an issue, but I still feel an obligation to my parents (and "obligation" sounds like it's a chore...it's not, it's something I want to do) and I also feel an obligation to George, and it's hard to determine which one wins out. I can only imagine how tough holidays will be, and even worse, when kids come into the picture....I guess that's why we're figuring out what works now, before it gets too complicated. I don't mean for this to sound negative; I'm so grateful that I have two loving, married parents, 10 minutes down the road, who I can spend time with. I'm so happy to be married to my best friend. I'm just saying it's not easy as pie determining who you're going to spend time with when you want to merge the two, and your husband isn't a Glee fan. Hehe.

I drove with my mom, dad, and sister, to Lubbock this past weekend to watch Laura graduate from Texas Tech. I was so proud! Getting to have family time in the car felt really nice. I flew back by myself, and George picked me up. That was an example of something different since the marriage...I probably would have driven back with my family if we weren't married. However, I really enjoyed the time with family and the short flight back, and MOST enjoyed the concert George and I went to after. I don't think I hurt anybody's feelings, so I think it's all good...I hope? I'm constantly paranoid about letting people down.
So in summation, I feel some conflict, but nothing that I can't handle. Just like when I graduated high school, or college, and felt bittersweet...like a part of my childhood was behind me. You want to graduate, you're proud to graduate, but you leave a little bit of innocence behind. I guess that's my point with marriage. I wanted to get married, I'm proud to be married to George, and I wouldn't change a thing. But when you grew up in as loving a home as I did, leaving behind a small part of your childhood isn't easy. Today I'm focusing on how fortunate I am to have both my family and George in my life. I feel very full of love.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

We Finally Have Internet! And...a New Pad.

I have been using my phone as my only source of internet for a while now. The wedding blogpost is going to take an immense amount of time, and I can't wait to sit down and write all about it. I don't have that time today, but I do want to share photos of what the two of us have been up to since the honeymoon

For starter's, we found us a house.

We created a joint account (I'll blog about this at another time!), and filed taxes. 

We took a good look around, packed up, and got out of Arthouse!

We celebrated our friends' little bun in the oven! This was at my first gender reveal party, when we found out our friends Andrea and Kyle are having a little baby boy. Can't wait to meet the little guy!

I learned more of George's little quirks (and thereby, my own). For instance, if we both need energy and have 20 minutes, he'll take a nap. I drink coffee. 

Before the move, we tried to get as many thank you notes done as possible. We were absolutely inundated. There are still more to come...

We both have been working full time. We are proud to be "DINK"s! Dual Income, No Kids! :)

I'm still at the Plastic Surgery center. 
George is with an entertainment company. He sells fog machines, laser shows, confetti, and fireworks to corporate parties, weddings, concerts, and other venues. The company is also in the works of creating an 80's cover band, synced with special effects. I'm so proud of how well George has transitioned from college student bachelor to full time working husband. And he's still cool, which makes me even more attracted to him.

I attended my first (and last) Keller Town Hall meeting in support of my gay neighbor who was trying to pass a petition for gay's rights. Hearing him speak was very rewarding.

I got together with some girls and tie-dyed some old shirts.

I've tried utilizing our new appliances from the wedding! Deviled eggs. Mmmm.....

I went on a scrapbooking retreat (I believe it was our 8th annual trip) with my mom, sister, and friend, Wendy.

We had a great time getting away from it all and focusing on our many blessings. Mine was filled with wedding pictures! Scrapbooking remains my favorite hobby of all time. Photography has become a recent new favorite, but mainly because it increases the quality of my scrapbooking pages....

When we returned, I enjoyed seeing my favorite men rave about the hard work we put in!!!

And...we started moving. May 1st. Into the precious new place!

I had a couple breakdowns, feeling overwhelmed with "stuff" and financial upheaval. George and my parents were really consoling and supportive. I'm feeling better now.

I helped (as a "daughter in law") the Tinker family with their grand tablescapes parents' 50th wedding anniversary party! The were inspired by our wedding decor, just a couple months prior, so set up was actually really fun! 

The Tinker Family Band!

I love how animated my father-in-law is! And such a sweet heart.

My husband on that pedal steel!!!! 

I can't adequately explain why, but I've thoroughly been enjoying bluegrass music lately. I think it has to do with moving onto "Texas" Street...

My mom hosted a Denton Women's Collective Happy Hour...and it couldn't have come at more perfect timing. Seeing my most inspirational friends and enjoying their company in the comfort of my mom's house was good for the soul.
I celebrated Mother's Day in our traditional way, no changes this year, despite getting married. That was a a relief. I stayed the night at my parents' house the night before, and Laura and I made Mommy breakfast in bed. She'd hurt me if I posted the pic, so I'll post a dedication pic instead. Three generations of women, all around the same time period in our lives...before becoming mothers. Free spirited and loving life.
(Glad I'm not a mom just yet! And grateful for all my mom gave up for me!)
My best friends came over and broke in the house with a Thirsty Thursday before Jessica left for Jamaica. We laughed at some pretty hilarious stories, and enjoyed one of my favorite beverages...sweet tea vodka and lemonade. Mmmm!

And then this past Friday, I went to Lubbock to celebrate my sister's graduation.

I've never been more proud. She graduated Summa Cum Laude and is going on for her Master's in Speech Pathology. We had a great time celebrating her huge accomplishment in Lubbock until Saturday, when I flew back solo.

Way to go, Bud!

George picked me up at Lovefield, and we went straight to the Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes/Dave Matthews Band concert at Gexa. Holy Moly, Me Oh My, what an amazing show.

Worth. Every. Penny.

And then this morning, our first leisurely morning in over a month, I made Gingerbread Belgian Waffles. 

...while listening to this awesome Dre album on vinyl...

And drinking a new iced coffee treat.
(Coffee poured in the ice tray. After they solidify, pour coconut-almond milk on top. Delish!)

I'll definitely be drinking lots of these in this Texas heat!

And as I type, I am circulating the laundry. I'll probably have done at least 7 loads by the end of the day...I hadn't done any since the end of April....

Anyway, that pretty much sums up what I've been up to lately! We've been busy little bees....